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Kitten & claw clipping / Intros?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
We're fostering what is now a 6, MAYBE 7 week old kitten (MaeMae). She's been here for 9 days, and it didn't take this long to introduce Tuxedo "peacefully" into the mix, although I know we've been lucky that way.

We keep her in a separate area when we're not around or asleep. We are NOT comfortable that Spooky or Tuxedo will not hurt this kitten. Tuxedo looked like he'd stopped actively stalking her... and then we caught him doing this again Friday evening.

We're thinking we should NOT clip her claws yet - 1) we think she's probably too young to have that done to begin with... but 2) we want her to be able to defend herself.

So this is kind of two questions....

1) Forget aggression by other cats... how old should kittens be before you start clipping claws? Right now we can do just about anything to her without protest (baths, for instance), and she's already learned it's part of the routine... I did a number of searches, but can't find a reference to claw clipping and age.

2) Any idea how long it might take before Tuxedo and/or Spooky stop being upset about this baby kitten? Spooky was scared of her at first and would run away... but now is fascinated enough to get close - but as soon as the kitten moves, Spooky swipes and hisses before running away. Only now she's not running away, and she'll take multiple swipes at her. ...and Tuxedo sometimes walks up to MaeMae and sniffs her... and other times he'll swipe and hiss and just not move (and if we don't interfere, he'll keep it up).

We have the Feliway plug-in going...we give Shelly, Lazlo, and especially Spooky and Tuxedo extra attention and play time... Everyone met everyone gradually. We put wash cloths with the kitten's smell under their food dishes... when they first met, we wiped everyone down with vanilla first... but they know her, and they know she's here now... anything else we can do? Have I overlooked something?

Any idea when Gary and I might expect to be able to leave the house without separating MaeMae? Right now when we plan to be gone for extended periods of time, we bring her with us (if we're going someplace she'll be able to get out and stretch her legs somewhere)... but we don't want to have to leave her in the bathroom for 8 or 10 hours... which means I can't join Gary in business meetings I would normally attend...

???? Thanks for any thoughts....

post #2 of 6

You can start clipping her claws at any time. In my experience, the earlier you start, the less likely they will resist clipping in the future. But, make sure you clip only the very tips of her claws. Because she is so tiny, at this point you are more interested in getting her used to the procedure than in removing the sharp points!

Also, given her age, it wouldn't be a problem to lock her in the bathroom for a long period of time. After all, think of all the kitties at shelters who are kept in relatively small cages for weeks until they are adopted. The bathroom is a luxury in comparison!

I think that the time it will take for Tuxedo and Spooky to leave her alone is going to vary according to their personalities, so I have no advice here.

Good luck!
post #3 of 6
I started clipping the kittens very young. baby nails are sharp!! also it gets them used to it. So i would say anytime, just be careful because the wiggle alot and there nails are so small.

As far has her being alone with them, I think when she gets alittle bigger they will all be okay. Right now she is prey size, they might not relize she is another kitty neo and more where that way with the little ones until they were around 7 weeks old I think. But my kittens were BIG and mae is so tiny!!

Good luck! i'm sure everyone will be friends soon.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks! On keeping her in the bathroom... I guess I was just looking for reassurance that we're not torturing her or something. She does have plenty of room to play there...

I guess we'll just pretend to clip her nails for now. We want her to be "armed," and she uses them for climbing - it's the only way she can get up on the bed (to get to her litterbox).

LOL! Today was a funny one though.... Gary and I decided to run to the supermarket just to pick up a few things. A new A&P opened that is just a 15 minute drive from here. The way the RV is set up, the bathroom door swings all the way open - to close off the hallway into the bedroom. So that's what we did. But when closed that way, it just clips into place, it doesn't use the latch. ...so we left her in the back, and everybody else in the front (they all sleep during most of the day anyway - or aren't that active anyway).

We came back about 40 - 45 minutes later... and the bedroom/bathroom door was busted open! Obviously someone figured out how to jump at it to get it to open. The only one out front was Shelly. We don't know what went on, but MaeMae didn't look traumatized. She was hopping around on the bed playing with something... of course, everyone else came sauntering out front when we came inside. She hopped off the bed and came skittering into the kitchen, and Tuxedo went for her... she ran into a tube we have on the floor, and popped out at him and hit him in the forehead!

But whatever happened while we were gone, she was none the worse for it. But I think we'll leave her in the bathroom next time. Just so we don't have to worry.
post #5 of 6
Hi Laurie,

I clip the triplets claws. I always start early because little kitties tend to get them caught in drapes and carpet and get hung up. I use human fingernail clippers make sure they are new, not an old pair with no spring.

About confinement, in order for the cats to get along, they need to smell and see each other. I would put her in the bathroom, but I would buy a baby gate and put it up not so it runs horizontally but vertically, so it covers the whole doorway. That way the cats can see and smell each other, and they have so many different kinds of baby gates, everything from mesh to netting. You just want to be sure you don't get one that Mae can get her head stuck in.

Tuxedo and Spooky can see the kitten, smell the kitten, get used to her and things will relax. You will relax as well knowing they can't get to her.

Gosh she is a cutie!
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
She does have the sweetest personality!

They do see and smell each other already. We carried her around and let everyone sniff her when we first brought her home. We let her play on the bed, and the cats were allowed on the bed to watch her. She's been out and about in the general population of cats here since about day three here.... we just keep an eye on them, and intercede when Spooky or Tuxedo get too aggressive. Initially Spook was just scared of her. And now Spook only really strikes out at her if she's not paying attention and accidentally jumps real close to her playing.

As a matter of fact, Tuxedo and MaeMae were actually playing for a few minutes yesterday. He was lying in his crinkle tube, and she snuck up on him and touched his paw with her paw. He didn't freak (we were watching VERY closely!!!). He swatted back very gently. This went on back and forth for a few minutes... until he got mad, got out of the tube, and gave her a big swat and hissed. She hunched back, and we whisked her away. She hasn't been hurt yet, we're just afraid she will be. So if we can't keep a close eye on her, she's in the back or bathroom by herself. (Which, fortunately, is not often )

We always say "NO" when Spook or Tuxedo swat hard and hiss, and we give them treats when they're nice to her, especially if there's contact and they're nice. Then we praise them to high heaven and give them a treat.

Guess we'll just keep it up!
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