How To Trick Your Cat Into Doing Things Your Way

Learn how to get your cat off your laptop while you’re trying to use it.

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

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Kittens, like all baby animals, are all sorts of fun as they discover the world and explore everything, including your fingertips. They are innocent and full of gentle wonder, just like human children. Things can change when they grow up – I’ve encountered some adult cats that immediately hiss at me and swat at my face. On the other hand, I’ve met cats that saunter over and start rubbing their body against my leg.

So, what is it that makes a kitty friendly when they grow up? According to Claire Bessant, the CEO of International Cat Care, there are many ways to help shape a kitten into a well-balanced adult; it’s about stopping unwanted behaviors early.  By doing so, you can even get them to stop using your furniture as an overpriced scratching post!

Kitty Nips

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It’s adorable when kittens dangle off your finger…when they’re three pounds and have baby teeth. But once they start growing, it gets less cute and more painful. Bessant advises to use toys instead of fingers so that cats don’t see your hands and feet as playthings. If your cats nip when they start to get excited, settle them down by walking away so they learn not to get attention from biting.


Carrier Phobia


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If someone came to pick me up periodically in a black van and brought me to the dentist (or something equally unbearable), I would also dread the sight of the van. In the same way, if cats only see the cat carrier as a vet trip, they’ll know to hide in the very tight corners of your home. To prevent this, keep the carrier out regularly so your kitten knows what it is. Let your kitten play and eat in it too! This way the carrier will have your kitten’s scent in it.

Unsolicited Scratching

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Cats need to sharpen their claws and mark their territory and don’t give a rat’s –ahem- butt where they do. Bessant suggests introducing kittens to a sturdy scratching post as early as possible. Since kittens don’t start scratching until five or six months, you can use this time to help them mark their scent on the designated post. This way, they will gravitate toward it more than your expensive lounge chairs.


“Fun” (Mostly Dead) Surprises

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Some people dread the day their cat brings home a dead mouse, bird, or baby rabbit. The truth is, your cat worked hard to catch this prey and usually presents it triumphantly at your feet as an offering of love and dedication.  All cats have the natural instinct to hunt, but the degree varies from cat to cat. Bessant says, “If you want a cat that doesn’t hunt, get a rabbit”. So, there you have it!

Sweet Forever

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Cats differ from dogs in a lot of ways. Some kitties are all up in your face the second you sit down, and others must be sought for hours before finding their secret lounge spots. The kitten stage is blessed with a readiness to play and share a cuddle – how do you keep that? According to Bessant, cats are solitary creatures unlike their sociable dog counterparts. They don’t have to be social and are designed by evolution to be self-sufficient at six months of age.  If you are consistently affectionate to your cat, the two of you will develop a bond; but that feline love will always be on their terms.

Laptop Lounger

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As cute as it is to see your cat curl up on your laptop, your stress level probably goes through the roof, worrying over all of the buttons being pressed that could wreak havoc, including obliterating any unsaved work! You might have guessed already, but cats like to sit on laptops for the warmth. Bessant suggests giving your kitty an alternate warm spot with treats. She says that this could work, but it might not. You just may spend your days pushing the cat off the keyboard.

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At the end of the day, unsaved files, short-lived cuddles, and ruined furniture can’t stop the love you have for your kitty!  Tell us about your worst kitty behavior problem, and how you solved it.