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Home Alone - 2 Month Old Kitty

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I'm hoping to get expert opinions on raising my new kitty.

A bit about us first: I had and loved cats continuously during the first 20 years of my life. After several years of living cat-free away from home, I'm now going to have my own cat. My girlfriend had cats around her house growing up, but her pets were the dogs. She loves this kitty though and is enthusiastic about raising him.

A family member's cat recently had kittens and I've adopted one of them. He's 8 weeks old now, already got the litter box and solid food things down pat. I've had him at home for a few days so far. He's great, but...

My GF and I both work out of the home, so he's spent two days now home alone (we lock him out of some rooms, but he's got about 600 sqft of kitty-safe rooms to roam in). He cries terribly while were gone. When we're home, he needs to be with us all the time. He has to be playing in the same room as us. When I'm in the bathroom taking a shower he cries like its the end of the world; even if he's in the bathroom looking at me through the clear glass door, he cries and cries. My GF doesn't want him to sleep in our bed with us, so we need to close our bedroom door at night. Again, he cries most of the night.

We can put up with all of that, but I'm worried about him.

I saw a similar question in the link below, and the solutions was a second cat. Long term, we (especially my GF) really only want one cat. I'm thinking I've got three options now...

1. Change nothing. Leave him to cry while we're gone and wait for him to get used to it. Will he be okay if things stay as they are? Will he eventually get used to being alone without serious behavioral issues?
2. Temporarily adopt one of his siblings. The family member from whom we adopted plans on keeping 3 of the kittens from the litter. I'm thinking we'll take one of those three for a while until the cats get old enough, then return him/her. Is this a good idea? How long should I keep them both, so that they'll each be happy once separated (i.e., when my kitty will be old enough on his own, and the other cat be okay moving back in with his other siblings)? The family member lives hours away, so we can't just pop the kittens back and forth.
3. Send our kitten back with his siblings, let him grow up some more, then bring him back when he's older. I don't like this because I really want to teach/train him to my likeness...judging by the family members other cats, my kitten will come back a terror if he grows up there.

What do you think I should do?

Thank you in advance for any and all opinions!

Similar Thread
post #2 of 9
It seems to me like this is seperation anxiety (like in puppies). YOu could try to leave him locked in a room for a very short amount of time, just ten seconds or so. Then gradually increase the time. Try to open the door again before he has a chance to cry for you. If you come back before he misses you, then it will work. Put him in, close the door, turn around, and open it again. Pet him and praise him for not crying. Then go back out, close the door, turn around, and go back in. Praise him again. This will take a while, but as soon as he realizes that you will always come back, he shouldn't cry. My cat did that as a kitten. She had only been allowed on half of the house, so when we went to bed, she cried. We didn't do anything and it only lasted a few days, but she sleeps with me now, so that doesn't really help you. You could try giving her something just before you leave (a really great-got-to-have-it toy), or food. Then sneak out and don't make a big deal about it. If you do the same thing everyday before you leave your cat will get used to that. You might try changing it up a little. My cat is perfectly fine being an only cat and you don't have to have more than one. Keep me updated! And good luck with that. Even if it doesn't work, he will probably grow less dependent of you as he gets older.
post #3 of 9
I agree - the poor guy misses you and needs security. Kitty Queen has great advise and you can also try a snuggle kitty.

Here is the web site:


It's a plush kitty with a heartbeat and heat source. It provides
"Security" for the little one while he is home alone.

All the best....and plenty of huggs to the little guy
post #4 of 9
Welcome to TCS! Glad you found us. It is clear you love cats, and I'm so glad your girlfriend has "seen the light," so to speak! (My hubby was a staunch cat-hater... and now believes as I do that Cats Rule and Dogs Drool, LOL! I'm kidding - we both love dogs, too. But I'm glad you've worked this out. )

There are people who participate in this forum who are FAR more knowledgable than I. But I do know several things...

Just for your future reference, kittens really ought to be with their moms/families until they're 12 weeks old. They're still learning from mom how to be a cat... and they're still trainable at that age, but they're much better equipped to be on their own.

It's probably not a good idea to temporarily adopt a sibling. It would be traumatic for both of them. Cats are more territory oriented than people oriented (most, anyway ), and being moved around would be very stressful to the sibling. Also, some cats become very depressed when they loose a companion. This strategy might simply backfire, both for the sibling and for your kitty.

Most likely, what is happening is that your kitty misses his family. It probably is a function of age and just the transition. He's only been with you for two days, so he's definitely missing his family. When we rescued our first feral, he cried for four or five days even though we were home.

BUT, that said, there are things you can do to help your little guy.

1) Don't make coming and going a big deal. Don't immediately rush to him when you come in - it just reinforces that you were gone. Don't make a big deal about leaving - it just reinforces that you are going.

2) Consider purchasing a snuggle kitty. http://www.valueseek.com/snuggleme/kitties.html It has a heartbeat (and you can insert a heating pad type thing that stays warm for 3 - 4 hours. It is a very calming influence. Let them know The Cat Site referred you I think they provide a discount. Buy lots of batteries - they last for 3 - 4 days.

3) It sounds like you're already doing this, but play with him lots when you are there. Play is a great distraction, and it is a great stress-reliever.

4) Many people do not allow cats in the bedroom, especially those with allergies. Here at TCS we recommend ear plugs (for cats of any age who are learning they can't sleep in the bedroom). This is a function of time. Some cats will stop howling after a few days - some take a few weeks. The snuggle kitty should help this, too.

Mostly... I think you just need to give your little guy some time. You've adopted a little baby, and he misses his family. This is totally natural, and there's nothing anyone can do to change his schedule. It may take a few more days or it may take a few more weeks.

For our kitties, we purchased an oyster-shell bed - it feels very secure to them. We put the snuggle kitty in there, and we put their food and water near it. For ferals, we put a really sweaty t-shirt in there with them... but that's to get them used to our smell and to associate it with good things. However, you might consider working up a good sweat wearing a T-shirt you can sacrifice to your kitty... he might find it comforting while you're gone.

I know there are exercises you can do to get him used to your not being there, but I read those behavior books so long ago I don't remember them.

Most of all, good luck! It takes time and patience, and fortunately for your little kitty, it seems like you are willing to put the time and effort into it.

Scritches to your kitty!
post #5 of 9
Oh! Looks like you've already gotten some good advice.

Looks like Kitty Queen knows the exercises I was thinking of!
post #6 of 9
I wouldn't get one of the siblings either, nor would I send him back. I would just wait and try to reassure him that you won't leave him and never come back. Don't make a big deal of anything. Just play with him, and let him become an independent cat on him own.
post #7 of 9
I have an additional thought here, too...

When I say play a lot with him while you're there, I mean especially with wand toys. Hunt-and-chase games. Do not use your hands or feet (as I'm sure you know)... those habits are VERY hard to break!!!!!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks so far everyone, you've put me at ease. I'm open to more opinions, if there are any.

Nobody said "You're leaving an 8 week old kitten alone all day long? You monster, you can't do that!" So I'm going to stick with the current arrangement and get him used to it. I didn't want to go with the other options anyway, so I'm glad to hear you guys think he'll be okay, if temporarily upset.

Practicing leaving is a great idea. Just wondering though: if we practice with him watching me walk out the door and return, wouldn't it be better when I leave for real to let him watch me go out the door, instead of sneak out? What do you think?

I think I'm going to try the Snugglekittie. So it eats batteries, how about heat packs? Are there longer lasting alternatives?

I'm reading Think Like a Cat by Johnson-Bennett, so I'm learning about the dos and don'ts. (Boy did I so some things wrong when I was a kid; it's amazing the cats I had turned out mostly sane!) But I haven't read anything that addressed this particular problem, especially for a kitten so young. I simplied the story of where the kitten came from, but basically I had to take it now or bad things would have happened to him. I was afraid he was just too young for the move, but it sounds like he'll be alright.

I'll let you know how things go.

-The Ferocious Fox
post #9 of 9
If you have the cat watch you, then two things could happen. 1) You cat could give you really sad eyes so you don't want to leave 2) If you give it a really great toy or something to play with, then it won't notice you left. It isn't that he can't see you leave, it is just that it might make it a bigger deal if you keep saying good bye, and that you'll miss him. Just allow him to be occupied when you leave, so that he doesn't notice right away. As I said before, the goal is for you to leave and come back without him noticing. He will eventually notice if you leave him that way all day, but older cats will be less dependent on you. My cat is six and she basicly just sleeps all day with the occasional break to eat and get pet. A kitten feels very attatched to it's "human," so just be patient and reassure it.
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