Photo by Debbie R
Proper raising becomes a factor of key importance when we talk about a cat getting along with its people well. Unfortunately, a lot of cat owners tend to think that all the required qualities will come by themselves as soon as a kitten grows up. This doesn't happen like this. As soon as a kitten enters your house, it becomes your responsibility. Don't accuse a cat of bad manners if you didn't make any efforts to correct his or her behaviour!

Don't let the kitten do everything it wants

From the very first days it is necessary to set clear rules about what the kitten is and isn't allowed to do. If it's doing something you're not happy about like walking on the kitchen table, say a firm "No!" in a loud voice. Cats understand voice intonations very well. You can also ignore the kitten for a while so it knows doing forbidden things will always result in a lack of attention.

Prevent unwanted habits

It's incredibly difficult to change habits of a mature cat. Sometimes it's nearly impossible. That's why it is very important to influence your pet's behaviour at an early age. Do not allow it to scratch the furniture or wallpapers, bite your hands, climb the curtains, and so forth. If these types of behaviour aren't stopped while your cat is a kitten, it will be very hard to correct them later because your cat won't understand why it was OK to do them in the past but not now.

Kittens will usually scratch and bite while you're playing with them. If your kitten bites too hard, stop the game and ignore it for a while. Eventually, it will realize biting isn't an acceptable form of communication that results in no attention. That's important because if the kitten thinks there are no limits, you're likely to be hurt badly when it grows up.

If the kitten scratches the furniture, wallpapers or doorways, make sure you've provided it with a scratching post or a cat tree. Cats don't scratch because they want to make us angry; they scratch because it's their natural need. If a cat has no proper place to do it, it will start doing it on any object that looks appropriate. There is a great variety of cat scratching posts available on the market, including vertically and horizontally oriented ones. Before getting one, watch your cat for a while to see what it likes more (as in, whether it prefers to scratch horizontal or vertical objects). You can also make a scratching post yourself. If the kitten keeps on scratching furniture and other objects, try applying a cat repellent that can be found in pet stores.
A kitten is a small and very delicate creature

Adhesive tape and foil have been reported to work well when you need to stop your kitten from walking on tables and other furniture. Cats don't like it when something sticks to their paws. Neither do they like the feel and sound of foil when they step on it. They're likely to stop walking on the surfaces that are associated with such experience. However, it's also been reported that some cats start doing it again as soon as the adhesive tape (or foil) is off. Unfortunately, we can never tell if this trick will work for your particular cat or not.

Never use physical force

If your kitten has misbehaved, ignore it for a while, but don't forget to give it affection again after you think the lesson has been learnt. Never beat, smack or otherwise intimidate a cat! This won't teach your cat anything but will make it fearful, neurotic, and even aggressive. Cats take all types of physical punishment as a personal insult and offence; your actions will never be taken as retribution for bad behaviour. Besides, there's no such a thing as "bad" behaviour in a cat's understanding. Cats don't misbehave on purpose, they simply look for ways to satisfy their natural needs. Therefore, consider bad behaviour as a sign that you and your cat don't understand each other well enough, and look for ways to improve your communication. Besides, cats don't have any idea about the cost and importance of things they accidentally break. Try to be less upset when it happens. If you cannot live with it, it is better to refrain from having pets.

Influence your kitten with voice intonations but never with physical force. If your kitten is doing something wrong, it is often enough to say "Stop it!" or "No!" in a firm loud voice, and it will work great. Never raise your voice for nothing. A kitten whose personality is respected lives a happier life and can learn many tricks such as opening doors, pushing the doorbell, flushing the toilet, and so on.

If the kitten misbehaved while you were away, late punishment is usually pointless. The accident will most likely be forgotten by the time you return, and therefore the kitten will not understand what he is reprimanded for.
If a kitten is surrounded with love, care, and patience from the very beginning, it will most likely grow up into a healthy and well-behaved cat

Teach your children to respect the kitten

If you have kids, it's extremely important to explain to them that kittens and other animals are living creatures, not toys! Therefore, they should be respected and treated accordingly, with love and care. If your baby is too small to understand what it means, then you should probably wait with getting a kitten until your child grows up and becomes more considerate.
If your kid pulls for the kitten's whiskers or tail or otherwise hurts him, don't blame the kitten if it starts scratching or biting! That's ordinary self-defence. If your children don't learn how to treat the kitten respectfully, the cute furry ball can grow up into an aggressive and neurotic cat. If you want to raise a well-behaved cat, you and all members of your family should behave well, too.

Encourage good behaviour

Don't forget that you should never focus on correcting bad behaviour only. Good behaviour should be praised and encouraged, too. If you often ignore your cat for misbehaviour but never praise it for good behaviour, it's going to become a poorly balanced approach that leads to a lack of bond between you and your companion.

Spay or neuter

If you're not going to breed your cat, it's best to spay or neuter. This is a general practice to improve a cat's behaviour, and studies have proved a positive effect of neutering on cat health.
Even though it sometimes looks like cats are nearly humans by wit and feelings, they are nonetheless animals driven by instincts, not by reason. Keep this in mind at all times. Respect your cat's natural needs such as scratching behavior, regular physical exercise, love to high spots, etc, and you'll increase your chances of happy co-living very much. If a kitten is surrounded with love, care, and patience from the very beginning, it will most likely grow up into a healthy and well-behaved cat.