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Just got a kitty

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm not a new cat owner but I am new to this site. I have had cat before but I had to leave him with my parents and their cat (with whom he grew up) in Canada when I moved to the US with my husband. I knew he would be happier with his sister and in the home where he grew up.

My husband and I just adopted a kitten yesterday. He was one among a litter of unwanted kittens that a friend's neighbor's cat had. We believe he's 5-6 months old. My question is: My husband and I both work full-time and I feel guilty leaving him alone at home all day. We left him in the bathroom with food, water, a litterbox, a towel to lay on and a couple of toys. Will he have behavioural problems because he was separated from his mother and sibling and now left alone? I hear kittens left alone can be "destructive". What does "destructive" mean exactly? We can't handle more than 1 cat as my husband is allergic to them but can tolerate one short-haired cat. I feel like we're traumatizing him by first separating him from his mother, and now leaving him alone all these hours.

Another question is: my husband and I were kept awake all night by our kitten's constant crying. I don't believe he's "in heat" yet (if male cats can be in heat) because I'm familiar with the howl of cats in heat and his cries are just kitten cries. I think he might be looking for his mother and sibling. I feel so guilty but I want him to be happy. (He was going to be euthanized so I know he's better off with us.) What can we do to ensure that he sleeps the same time we do and minimize (if not eliminate) the crying at night? We eventually put him in the bed with us and after half an hour, he finally fell asleep.
post #2 of 16
It would be great if you could get him a friend. We use allergy reducer febreeze. and we try not to let the cats sleep in the bedroom with us. We have 8 inside and we are both alittle allergic. The allergies are getting better with time.

I would get him fixed ASAP. That should keep him from spraying. If you can him some toys and a kitty condo, I don't think that he will be distructive. you just have to teach him.

Welcome to the board!!
post #3 of 16
I would do two things. I would kitty proof your home, and not just shut him up in one room. Kittens need to run and bounce off of things and play. He needs to know your whole house and become a part of it. How you kitty proof is you go into each room of your home, lay down on your stomach on the floor in the center of the room, now raise your head and look around carefully. See that extension cord? Cover it with a board, duct tape the wires to the board, and get rid of the hazard. Any holes that the kitten can get into? Behind the television? Under the stove? In back of the fridge? Block the holes. Look for anything a kitten can get into mischief with and do something about it.

Also invest in a Snugglekittie- Snugglekittie

If you just can't see your way clear to let this kitten have the run of your home, then at least put up a baby gate vertically in the doorway, so the kitten can smell you and see you and not feel so darn isolated!
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses so far!

We have kitty-proofed our place and only left him in the bathroom today because it's the safest place for him to be alone (no wires, lid on toilet shut, etc.) When we are at home, we let him roam around because I want him to become familiar with his new home. We watch him very carefully, though, and play with him as much as possible (he is, after all, at his most playful stage in life!)

We are also going to take him to his first vet visit today to get his first series of shots and schedule an appointment for him to be neutered.

As for the snugglekittie: that's a terrific idea! I was going to let him sleep with a stuffed cat doll my husband gave me but I think I'll get the snugglekitty. Thanks!
post #5 of 16
I adopted Max at 3 months. He was nutured at 6. He has always had free run of the house. He hasn't detroyed anything, except for chewing the strings off the mini blinds. I didn't know he had a thing for string (he still does). The point is that he didn't hurt himself and he is a happy kitty. I mentioned on another post that he had a bit of separation anxiety, which was corrected by a soothing CD which was recorded for cat anxiety. He just loves that music.

As for sleeping at night. You have to remember that he is a baby - all babies don't sleep through the night at first. I remember thinking he would never sleep through the night. From the beginning I took him to bed with me. The first thing I did was play with him till he was pooped out before bedtime and I would feed him so he had a full tummy. I pet him until his purr is quiet (he's asleep) or until I fall asleep (that purr is better than any sleep medication). When he would stand up - I would gently push him down and pet him some more. Max now sleeps through the night.
post #6 of 16
Hi Margie! I'm so glad you got a kitty - especially an unwanted (unplanned one). I'm also really glad you're going to get him neutered - it'll save you a lot of heartache and is so much healthier for him in the long run!

What's your kitty's name?

Right now, he's experiencing separation anxiety. It's very much like if you were five or six months old, and plucked up out of your family and taken to a new home... you'd be sad and scared too! This is totally normal. There are lots of things you can do to try to help him. Nora's suggestion of leaving a soothing CD playing (on repeat) while you're away should help. A snugglekitty will really help. Also - as you two are away all day, he probably sleeps a lot while you're not there. Kitties are most active in mornings and evenings (when their natural prey is out). It'd help your little guy a LOT if you spent some time interactively playing with him before you leave work and when you get home. Those "wand" type toys are great for this!

One thing to do that is important is to not make a big deal about coming and going. This can increase a cat's anxiety about it.

Also, I'm REALLY allergic to cats. I don't know how "into" cats your hubby is... but if he's willing, he can do what I do. I take Zyrtec-D twice a day. I also get hives sometimes from them...and scratches swell up something fierce. I have a prescription steroid cream for this. And for when it's really bad, I also have a nose spray - I use flonase, but there are many others (prescription strength). If his allergies aren't bad (which they can't be to have a cat with no medication), just taking Zyrtec or Zyrtec-D should be enough. ...That way you can get your kitty a pal, and he'll be a lot happier.

But don't get me wrong... an alone kitty can be happy. It just needs to be managed right. And leaving him alone in a bathroom all day isn't a long term solution. If you have scratching posts and/or mats (several different kinds are best until you figure out what he likes best) your furniture should be just fine. And if you leave toys out for him (don't leave the wand toys out unattended) or hide treats around - he'll have things to do.

But leaving music playing is a good idea, and a snuggle kitty in his bed might make him more comfortable too.

He'll learn the routine and come to love and trust you. It just takes some time to get over missing his family, and it takes time to learn the new "rules" and to come to feel safe in his new place and with his new "parents."

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, we haven't named our kitten yet. We just got him yesterday and my husband and I cannot agree on a name. Besides, we thought we'd observe him first and allow his personality to assist us in providing him with a name.

I have another question (on top of my already numerous list of questions). Our kitten was outdoors all its life. His mother's human parents never let the cats or their kittens inside their home. Might this previous "outdoors only" life experience affect our kitten? Will he become the type of cat that always yearns to be outside? Just wondering.
post #8 of 16
I think he is a little too young to want to go outside. Max is 3 years old now and he is afraid of the outside, even though he was a born outside (he was found in the rafters of a garage all by himself at they guessed 3 months old). It is much safer for your kitty to keep him as an inside pet. I have a kitty hammock that is in an open window so he can get some fresh air. I also open the front door (and leave the screen door closed) to let him have some fresh air. He has never tried to get outside.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yes, I agree that kittens (and all cats) are safer inside. I don't plan to let "Smokey" (one of the names my husband likes ) outdoors. I just want him to be happy and if he is accustomed to being outside, I somehow feel like I'm depriving him of something. Am I making sense? I don't have any human children yet but I can only imagine how torturous it must be for new parents. All I've been thinking about all day is how my kitty is doing! Is he okay? Is he happy? Did he eat?
post #10 of 16
I had to laugh as I read your post because I was the same way when I adopted Max. He consumed my life and became my child. I don't feel like I deprived Max of anything. He is healthy and happy. No car can run him over, no mean child can torture him and he is free from many of the diseases that are out there. I work during the day and he is always there to greet me when I come home. He is a real snuggler. Like I mentioned before, I usually have soft music playing for him and toys are out for his enjoyment while I'm gone. He also sits in his hammock and watches the birds and chipmunks.
post #11 of 16
Know that feeling! Although I have the great pleasure of being able to work from home most of the time.

Just to help calm your fears, our cats are all feral rescues. They were born outside, grew up outside, and never knew humans. They are all great pets and VERY happy as indoor only cats! None show any interest in the door, and they love to sit on the window perch we have for them and watch "Cat TV" as we call it - the three birdfeeders we put outside.

Lazlo, the first kitty we brought in, cried and cried at first. We thought that apart from missing his family, maybe he missed outside. We bought a leash and put it on him. We didn't realize how slowly you have to introduce them (re-introduce them) to the outdoors. They have to make the territory their own - just starting with the steps to outside. We lugged him outside, plopped him on the lawn - and he was like - what am I supposed to do now? Then a huge stray came up, scared him out of his wits - and to make a long story short, he got off the leash! He ran back to his home up in the woods. I was a complete mess. I grabbed some chicken and went and laid up by his burrow, crying and pleading with him for hours. I told him over and over how sorry I was. He finally got hungry enough and came over for the food. I snatched him up, ran inside - and he's never shown the least bit of interest in going outside again. Who could blame him?
post #12 of 16
welcome! I'll leave the expert advise to Hissy and LDG! Glad to have you aboard!
post #13 of 16
I like Smokey.

Welcome to the boards.
post #14 of 16
post #15 of 16
has allergies to EVERYTHING and she tolerates one short-haired cat really well, so well in fact that I brought home a second short-haird cat and with GRADUAL exposure and over time, my mother is not very allergic to the second one either. Some people just need time for their system to get used to a new cat's dander in the house and they will gradually build up some immunity to it. (not all but some). We also are FANATICAL about vacuming. We use a rainbow vacume that has a water tank attached. The cat hair, dander, and dust get drawn into the water where it cannot recirculate back into the air. My mother also minimizes contact and washes her hands after petting either cat. I also TRY to groom the cats on a regular basis (not very diligent about it though!) All in all, as long as your husband isn't asthsmatic around a couple of cats, I bet with time his allergic reactions will diminish around YOUR particular cats. Good luck!
post #16 of 16
hi there!
Look here at very funny cats You know, my husband has an allergy for cats. But we have 7 cats of don hairless breed and have no problem at all!
A friend of mine has Cornish-rex. it's coat structure also leaves a chanse for people who have allrgies to have a cat. But you must check first!
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