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Young cat... I don't know what to do!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I'm new here - and desperately in need of advice!!!

About 3-4 months ago, we took in a stray who'd been lingering for months (and sleeping in our greenhouse!)

We've taken her to the vet to be checked out and all seems okay physically. He said she's about 2 years old by the way.

The only thing is... Her behaviour isn't something I recall experience with previous cats (I was quite young when we had them at this age though!)

She's extremely nervous, for starters. We think she might have been from a nasty home, hence becoming a stray. She's warming to us swiflty, and pretty much owns us... lol But she HAS to be around us at certain times. e.g. Sometimes, if I leave the room, you can guarantee she'll be under my feet - seemingly not wanting to be alone. I don't mind it but I've nearly done myself some damage!

Also... I know young cats love play... But WOW she needs serious wearing out. You can put her out for half hour with 5 mins of playing with a rope lol but she's really annoying my mum during the night, playing with things on the bedside table and even tapping my mum. Not to mention trying to get into the bed between my mum and dad! haha

She also loves doors. She'll hang off handles to get in... Put her paw underneath doors where someone's in a room with closed door, she tries getting into wardrobes that are slightly ajar, and - the biggie - she attacks hinges and the bit that comes out by the handle to go into the frame to keep it shut!!

On the window of the room I'm in, it basically has three panes of glass - two being ones you can open. One is really small at the top - she's tried climbing out of it! And just now she's been on her back legs banging against the window with her front ones?

She doesn't seem to understand no - it took literally pushing her to get her away from the wardrobe she was attacking... And she's even just jumped on the desk despite me keep saying no to her putting her paws up to look at what I'm doing.

And a not worrying point but really amusing as I've never seen it before... She chases her tail? LOL!

I just wonder how normal she is? How can I wear her out? How can I get her to understand no? Can I make her more independant/less nervous?

Also, we think she may have had kittens already (she's seriously big and my mum's convinced because of her nipples (that's the right word for cats right?) being disctinct!) - could this affect her behaviour? We've not found any kittens (or, heaven forbid, kitten remains) but we don't know if this, if true, was while she's had an owner before.

I probably sound very boring, possibly stupid! It's just been so long since I've had a cat this young... Our previous cat passed away last summer aged 23, so you can imagine she was nowhere near this active... lol

post #2 of 11
Hi, she sounds extremely normal, even if she has her own idiosyncracies and eccentricities (they all do). First, it sounds like she may never have been spayed, and if that's so, it would explain why she's frantic to get out of wherever she may be at the time. You didn't say whether she seems to go through 'heats', but I would imagine she does if she's not neutered. And she really, really should be, both for her health (unspayed cats can get serious female and other problems as they get older), and for your sanity, plus her safety and lack of opportunities to get pregnant if she were ever to get outside. Otherwise (if she's been done, and your vet can tell), it sounds like she's the perfect candidate for a tall, but stable cat tree (there are lots around and if you Google for them you should have no trouble choosing one, as she seems to like to climb. Cat get bored so easily! Have you considered getting another (younger male's usually the best bet) cat for her to play with, giving both of you a break? Of course he'd have to be neutered too when the time comes (~ 6 mos.) and better to get a cat that's just been done to save your furniture! I would also be extra careful about the open window top as if she ever does manage to squiggle her head into there, she could either escape (and possibly fall from a great height?) or ... hang herself. Also check window cords for open loops (as you would for a little child) and anything potentially dangerous.
post #3 of 11
Perhaps she needs a kitten to wear her out!!!

She may also need some cat trees to race up and down, and over all wear herself out even more.

Laser pointers make GREAT cat toys, for the record...mine will play till their tongues are hanging out...hahaha.

Oh yeah...and I would have the vet do a quick shave down her belly to see if she is spayed; if she's not, i would spay her asap; then she will have a better chance of living a long and healthy life...she may also settle down 'a bit'.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the swift responses, guys!

Glad she sounds normal, I felt I should check!

I did wonder if she was in heat - she's not doing any yowling or anything though which I was under the impression happened? She's been "squeaking" more than usual though... I say "squeaking" as she doesn't miaow properly... lol

We were going to get her spayed, we just haven't got around to getting her the bais treatment the vet suggested in December (terrible, I know - but it's always about the money!)

Another cat or allowing kittens isn't really an option - after our last cat passed, we actually vowed to have no more but this ones decided she isn't leaving LOL (Don't get me wrong - we're not going to kick her out or treat her badly!)

I'll look into the cat tree thing, and the laser... lol It's an odd thing with toys as she doesn't like balls or even catnip?! She just ignores them. Rope though - loves it! The only other toy she's played with is a fluffy strawberry scented thing that she chews on (which I keep trying to stop!)... Are there any other things anyone thinks she may like?

Also are there any suggestions on how to make her less nervous, or is this something that will just come with time? I know one of our previous cats was nervous and quite violent and we just had to let her get on with it, and she eventually grew out of it and into a very loving, playful cat - it took quite a few years though! Is it possible to speed up the process?

post #5 of 11
Something like 10-15-20% of cat don't react at all to catnip, so don't be surprised about that.
post #6 of 11
I would really try the laser pointer, that can keep cats going for hours!! Especially play hard before you go to bed. Cat condos/trees can be very helpful also.

Cats sometimes have silent heats or can just be less noticable while in heat then others. It varies between cats.
post #7 of 11
Try her on 1" balls of foil, or anything else (I think pet stores have little rubber ones). And for all my decades of cats, the one unbeatable game is to knot a 4-5' fat cord at the ends, then pull/jiggle it under newspaper or thinning cloth on the floor and watch your cats pounce! They love that!
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the responses! Nice to see there are some forums out there that are welcoming to newbies!

I didn't think of foil or cord/cloth - I'll be trying those this afternoon!

Good to know about the silent heats too - she seems to have calmed down a bit so I'm assuming that's what it was! Have been keeping her in, just in case - don't want any kittens belonging to the manky thing across the street, the thing seems a bit dim! hehe
post #9 of 11
Hi and welcome! It really does sound as if she has been in heat, and it could happen again within three weeks, so I really would get her spayed quickly and that will calm her a lot. Other than that, most of the behaviour you describe is very normal. Not all cats do the same things - if they did, we would not appreciate them for their different personalities, but she sounds just an active, intelligent cat. One of mine climbs door frames and gets the handle in his teeth, trying to open it, and they all have their quirks. For the night, try and wear her out before bedtime, and give her a small snack before you go to bed. I have found that they will adjust to sleeping during hte night as long as you do not encourage them in the least to play during hte 'silent hours'. Good luck, htere is a wealth of info here to help you.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
she sounds just an active, intelligent cat.
You're right on the intelligent!

I tried the foil thing last night, this is what I imagined she was thinking...

"Hmm, hello there shiney thing. So, what are you then? Not talking, eh? I'm keeping an eye on you. You move and you're mine, ball. *looks away then back* Still no moving hey? You're smart. *prod prod* Are you dead? I'm still watching you. Oh, screw you then! I'm off! Why, hello there Mr Rope, how I've missed you...!"

I decided she said it in a Russian accent.

She is DEFINITELY a night cat! My, she was so energetic! It took a good 20-30 minutes of rope play to wear her down, and even then I didn't - I had to give up as *I* was tired! LOL!

I'm certainly thinking she likes moving things rather than things she has to move herself (lazy as well as intelligent!) I'm thinking of getting my hands on some remote control things - means I can keep her active while I watch tv! lol (Also trying to find a laser pointer!)
post #11 of 11
With cats, it really is a matter of "if it moves, kill it"! If not, it better either taste good, or be soft and cushy. Other than those, they're not really interested!
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