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Afraid to let kittens loose...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Any advice?
We have two kittens in the house. They're both around 4.5-5 months old. Most of the time they aren't allowed the run of the house and they each have their own separate area where they stay. In the evening when we are home we often let them run around the house, but we are afraid to allow them to be loose too much. The main problem is that there are 4 people in the house and some of them are not very careful about opening outside doors. When they let the dogs out they sometimes hold the door open for the dogs for quite a while and same when they come home and walk in the front door. They forget to watch for the kittens when they're running around. I'm really afraid that one of the kittens is going to get loose outdoors, so we won't let them free in the house unless the dogs have been out recently and everyone is home...
The kittens don't understand the concept of "outdoors" and are very curious and interested in the doors. They don't realize what would happen if they went outside, and I think if one of them did run out they'd get scared and run away and hide somewhere. One of the kittens is also scared of the dogs so if she got out when the dogs were being let out I'm sure she'd run away. Our older cat seems to understand "outside" or at least she knows she doesn't want to go out the doors so she usually stays away when they are being opened and does not try to run out, but I am worried that the kittens could run out and possibly the person who opened the door might not even notice... There are a few other reasons I'm afraid to leave them loose including that our large older cat does not like them and sometimes will lash out if they come too close.
I'm not sure what to do.
post #2 of 13
I'd keep the routine you have for a few more weeks, but start planning for when they're a little older. You need to talk to the other people in the home and tell them you do not want to lose your babies because of their negligence (only phrase it bit nicer).

This give you time to further kitten proof if you need to. Are they both fixed and up to date on shots? That would be the first thing to cover. Then work on introducing them to the dogs and older cat.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have told them that they need to be careful when they open any doors, but so far it hasn't helped...
The kittens have been around the dogs/cat, when I do let the kittens run around the dogs are around too, but the Maine Coon is still scared of the dogs-- especially of my larger dog, who is the calmest gentlest dog in the world!
The other kitten (my rescued stray) totally ignores the dogs and is not scared of them. Both kittens are scared (rightly) of the older cat who is very grumpy and dislikes them. She usually just hisses when they come near, but once she actually attacked the Maine Coon with her claws and teeth so we keep an eye on her when they are loose.

They are up to date on vaccinations but not spay/neutered yet. The male (rescued) kitten will be getting neutered as soon as we can get an appointment, but the female (Maine Coon) will not until 7 months old per the breeder's recommendations.
post #4 of 13
Watch her then. That's your biggest concern if she gets out. Sounds like your boy my try to sneak out with his past history.

I just remembered you're the one wanting to get your kitties some acting parts! Sounds like fun.

Are the other people family or room mates? If room mates and you're paying partial rent you have more say in matters... family on the other hand is a big pain in the butt to get to listen. Are both microchipped? just something to consider.
post #5 of 13
Be careful if you are letting them interact together at all. The male is just about the age where he can get the female pregnant. Why on earth does the breeder say to wait until 7 months to spay her? She will most likely be in heat by then. You want to spay BEFORE the first heat cycle to cut back on the risk of cancer. I would never ever wait that long. If she were to slip out she would be pregnant in a second. That is really irresponsible of your breeder....

Also if you neuter the male after he matures (meaning he can impregnate) then he can STILL get your girl pregnant for a month or two after he is neutered. So do that quickly. If you tell us your city/state we can help you find low cost clinics.
post #6 of 13
^I think that is because maine coons mature slower?
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I don't know if the male kitten remembers what it was like to be outdoors, because when I rescued him (his mother was a feral) he was just 6-7 weeks old. He doesn't seem like he exactly wants to be outside, he just is really curious about the smells and everything from the doors/windows.
I was planning to get the male neutered like next week but I'm not sure if I can get an appointment that quickly. I've already called one low cost clinic and they are booked until April so they said to call back in April. I'm going to try a different one tomorrow...

The other people are family members and you're right it is hard to get them to listen, especially when it's a rule about my pets! The Maine Coon kitten is owned by another family member (but I help take care of his cats because he works long hours) and the stray rescue kitten is mine. We have both been telling the others DO NOT open the doors when the kittens are loose, but they still do it!

The breeder was very insistent when it came to spay/neuter. They (well, the co-breeder actually) sent us an info packet before the kitten came home.. I've pasted below the info it included on this topic. My vet has said this is fine, and actually when I first asked about neutering the male stray rescue she said she likes to wait until 6 months usually. However since we have a male and a female I'm getting him neutered earlier. He is approaching 5 months old and the Maine Coon is about 4 1/2 months.

Quote:
Your Maine Coon Male or Female should be neutered/spayed between 7-9 months of age. Do not do this any earlier or later! Spaying/neutering before they are 7 months old can stunt their growth and not allow them to realize full size potential. Any later than 9 months and spay/neuter becomes just a bit more risky and gets even riskier the older your Cooner gets. If your Vet does laser spay/neuter or you know of our hear of a reliable, caring Vet that does laser work, that is the best and safest for your Cooner.

One more item: if your Vet ever tells you your kitten should be spayed/neutered before 7 months of age, FIND ANOTHER VET. If your Vet says your Cooner is an inside cat and doesn’t have to be neutered, FIND ANOTHER VET. These are Maine Coons we are talking about, not an everyday house cat or stray. Trust us on this, if you neuter/spay as we suggest, you will have a healthy, happy Maine Coon who will reach their full size potential and you will be minimizing another health risk to them.
post #8 of 13
Neutering/spaying does not stunt growth at all - the body doesn't work like that, it's the pituitary gland which is located near the brain that controls growth, not the testes or ovaries.*

Sounds to me as if the breeder has a slightly old fashioned viewpoint, one that does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Whatever anyone may think about paediatric spaying, the fact of the matter is that pregnancy in a cat that is not fully grown can kill. Spaying is much less of a risk, even if done at a very young age.

*EDIT: if you think about it logically, body growth slows down and stops as adulthood and full maturity is reached. Therefore it doesn't stand to reason that removing the sexual organs before maturity would stunt growth, if they were responsible for growth in the first place, it would prevent the slowing of growth and you'd end up with larger than normal individuals.
post #9 of 13
Both of my DSH were neutered between 5-6 months old. And really it's fine to neuter them younger.

Personally, I'd ask in the breeder's corner on here about maine coons. It's very possible that's just another myth - one is that even domestic mixes won't grow to full size if neutered or spayed under 7 months... well if it's stunted my Sho's growth that's a frightening thought - he's a fairly big cat.

Edit - I figured it was a myth, Epona. As far as size... I like to at least wait till a cat is 3 lbs, but that's only because if something goes wrong - such as an infection the kitten might be a bit stronger to handle it.

Edit #2 - Early hysterectomies in women throws their hormones in an upheaval and can trigger other things to become unbalanced. Maybe that's the sort of thinking that makes some people say wait till 7 months? More likely it's just because older spaying and neutering practices (and the drugs used) as not as safe as they are now.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekochan View Post
I was planning to get the male neutered like next week but I'm not sure if I can get an appointment that quickly. I've already called one low cost clinic and they are booked until April so they said to call back in April.
Wouldn't you book the appointment instead of calling back then. If you call back then their waiting list will be into the next month.
Does the breeder know you have an intact female cat? I would think the breeder would want the kitten altered as soon as you could if that was the case. I know many breeders alter their kittens before sending them home. They are usually around 3.5-4 months or so.

How old do male cats start spraying? That would be one of my first concerns with an intact male.

I wish I had an answer about the doors. That is a hard one.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, my vet knows we have a male and a female. She told us she likes to wait until 6 months, but since we have a male and female now it is fine to get the male neutered any time now that he is healthy and doing well. He should be ok because he is pretty big for his age. I have not seen any sort of hormonal behavior so far from either cat.

As for the clinic, it would seem to make more sense to make appointments now for April if they are booked for March, but the message they left when they returned my call said that they are booked until April and will not be taking any new s/n appointments until the beginning of April so I should call back then. We'll see what the other clinic says... I'm crossing my fingers because the last time I called that other clinic (last time I had a rescued stray) they had a several-month waiting period.
post #12 of 13
How odd. All of the vet clinics here are about a week long wait. If your location is correct, you should have plenty of vet clinics to choose from or maybe you should check one in a more suburban area.

This town has 8,800 or so people - 3 vet clinics.
The next town over is only slightly bigger, because of the college, and it has 4 or 5.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekochan View Post
As for the clinic, it would seem to make more sense to make appointments now for April if they are booked for March, but the message they left when they returned my call said that they are booked until April and will not be taking any new s/n appointments until the beginning of April so I should call back then. We'll see what the other clinic says... I'm crossing my fingers because the last time I called that other clinic (last time I had a rescued stray) they had a several-month waiting period.
I gotcha, that makes sense. I did a google search on the location you listed and found so many vets and low cost clinics it was overwhelming! Good luck to you in your search, hopefully there are other options since the two you talked about seem to have very long waits.
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