How to Discipline a Kitten: It Can Be Done (Kind Of)

If you’ve recently welcomed a new kitten into your home, congratulations! Kittens are adorable and make great pets, but taking care of them is tricky. You might initially face some kitten behavior problems, but don’t stress about it, because there’s a solution!

Learn how to discipline a kitten—we have all the tips.

How to Discipline a Kitten

Kitties can be hyperactive and mischievous, but this is typical for young felines—they are curious and want to explore their surroundings. However, with a little bit of patience, persistence, and the right training methods, you can ensure your kitty grows into a well-behaved cat.

Training a pet doesn’t have to be an intimidating process; often, it’s just about providing clear limits and consistent rewards. Let’s see what the best way to train a kitten is.

Get your kitten a scratching post

If your playful kitten likes to scratch furniture or walls, this is a great solution. Ensure the post is tall and sturdy enough for your cat to stretch out comfortably when scratching it.

Trim its nails

Invest in good cat nail clippers and trim your kitten’s claws regularly. This will prevent it from scratching your furniture, and you can also use it as a training opportunity to show your little one where they should scratch instead (e.g., the post).

More exercise!

Playing with your kitten is an excellent way to distract it  from doing naughty things while teaching it proper behavior at the same time.

If your kitty likes toys that make noise or move around, you’ll have an easier time keeping them busy—and supplying something they can focus their biting on that doesn’t include you! This will also provide it with both mental and physical stimulation.

Use a deterrent

Sometimes, it’s best to adjust the environment so that your cat doesn’t even think about bad behavior in the first place.

For example, if they keep jumping on counters, set up double-sided sticky tape on the edge so they won’t want to go up there. We have a whole separate article on how to keep a cat off the furniture, so make sure to check that out.

Use a spraying bottle

Keeping a spray bottle close by is an effective way to discourage your cat from acting up. Whenever you see them about to do something naughty, spray them lightly with water.

The downside of this method is that you can’t use it very often because your cat will eventually associate the bottle with you, not the punishment.

Use your hands and voice

This is a more positive approach than using a deterrent. If you catch them in the middle of misbehaving, clap your hands together or firmly say a keyword like “Stop!” or “No!”.

Reward their good behavior

If you do any of these methods well and long enough, after a while, you will notice that your kitten is slowly adjusting to the “rules.”

That being said, make sure that you give them a treat and a pet the next time you see them urinating or defecating in the litterbox instead of somewhere else.


When all else fails, give your cat a little bit of that holy herb! If this is your first time using it, start small. See how the kitten reacts to catnip, then gradually increase the dose if needed.

Note that not all cats respond to catnip the same way, so while some get that calming effect, other felines might become more hyper or aggressive. However, if catnip calms your cat, don’t use this on a day-to-day basis; this will help prevent habituation[1] and unwanted side effects from the herb.

These tips should help mold a bad kitten into an obedient, well-mannered one! Make sure you use any method right after your cat is naughty, so it’ll associate your behavior with what they just did.

Don’t forget that all cats are different and have distinct personalities, so patience and consistency are key!

Is Punishing a Cat a Good Idea

When taming a kitty, physical punishment is the last thing that should be on your mind.[2] Not only is it cruel, but it can also lead to worsened behavior from the animal. Instead of using any physical measures, go with positive reinforcement methods like treats or playtime. This will help build trust between you and your feline friend.

If the behavioral problems persist, you should consider other factors, like underlying health issues you’re unaware of. A visit to the vet is never a bad idea because it might turn out that the cat is stressed or anxious, or maybe going through teething period.

Some cat owners are also concerned because their cat licks and then bites them a lot, or even just vocalizes anger or fear through a hiss or a growl. That being said, don’t be quick to assume that your cat is naughty—it’s just a cat, let it live a little!

Related article: Why Does My Cat Lick My Face: Benefits and Dangers

Frequently Asked Questions

When do kittens stop being hyper?

This depends on more things, like the cat’s breed and the environment it grew up in. Each cat has a distinct personality, which is why owning them is a fun challenge. All in all, it takes about a year until a kitten matures a bit and settles down. Later on, when they get into their teenage phase, they’ll enter “hunter mode.”

How to discipline a kitten from climbing?

First and foremost, don’t make a big deal out of it, and avoid punishing your cat. Instead, disciplining should involve playtime with your kitty daily, as well as buying puzzle toys or a cat tree so it can climb on and scratch.

Key Takeaways

So, how to discipline a kitten, and is it even possible? Yes, but with patience!

At the end of the day, whether you use a spray bottle, catnip, or any other methods, being a good cat owner requires endurance and tolerance.


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