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Does Puppy like it here? (BEWARE-long)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this long post. I joined TCS about 2 months ago when we adopted Puppy. Puppy was 6 months old and very shy. The only background we were able to get on her was that she was from the streets of West Virginia and brought here by truck. She had a URI, roundworms, and pinkeye when she arrived. She was already spayed. She allowed me to hold her upon our introduction but did not play at all. Her foster home had a lot of cats, however, she did not socialize with them. We live in a 3 "person" home (David, Puppy, and I) with no other pets...well an aquarium, but u know what I mean. Puppy has EVERYTHING they make for a kitten. She is litter box trained and accepts the "self-cleaning" litter box in stride. She has multiple scratching posts, cat tree, 3 beds, a play tent, every toy, etc. She only accepts "Pit'r Pats Breath Mints" as treats, drinks only Brita Water, loves her Cheddar flavored milk treat, and will only eat Kitten Chow. She was going kinda crazy eating the area rugs in our house, but I sprayed them with NO-SCRATCH and she laid off a lot.
She has been given a clean bill of health from the vet, however, she is licking the spot beneath both shoulder blades pretty bald. We are looking into an allergy - she is a strictly indoor kitten.
The thing that concerns me is her appathy. She will play with me actively for about 20 minutes when I first wake up and for about 2o minutes before bed. By actively I mean will "chase and kill" the toys I throw for her. She meows a few times when I first see her after an extended period of time (sleeping or work) and rubs against my legs. Occasionally, if I sit on the floor she will sit on my lap. With the exception of these times she stays in her covered basket bed emerging only when she hears me in the kitchen.. She will wait for a treat, but she will not beg. If I do not provide her with one, she will simply go back to bed. Is this a happy kitten? I lay on the floor for hours a day and talk to her and when she eventually comes out I gently pet her and give her treats. I have seen other kittens at the homes of friends and family and they play a lot. I know she lays on the couch at night whike I am asleep, however, she will not come there when I am there. I have picked her up and put her on the couch with me but she jumps off. My biggest concern is that today when I came home I picked her up and she tried to bite me. I know I didn't hurt her. She could have bitten me but it was as if she was trying to WARN ME! I am a firm believer that the pets in the home ARE NOT TO BITE THE HUMANS. David says that is just how cats are. I know that my function in the relationship is to provide for my kitten. Will my kitten ever appear to be happy? Will she ever show affection? Am I being selfish in asking...WHATS IN IT FOR ME?

Thanks...this is the longest post in TCS HISTORY!!!!
post #2 of 7
Hi Tara,

I think a visit to the vet is warranted. Kittens are usually quite active and playful, and one that sleeps as much as Puppy does may be showing signs of illness or depression. She didn't have an easy start to life and she may still be harbouring some sort of problem or illness that requires further treatment.

It sounds from her background that she didn't have the opportunity to socialize at the proper age -generally before she was three months old - and learning how to socialize especially with people after that age is a lot more difficult. If she was taken away from her Mom and litter mates at too young of an age she may also have never had the opportunity to learn how to socialize as a cat either.

Compulsive licking- which is what she sounds like she is doing on her shoulder blades - can often be a sign of stress. It does sound like she is suffering from some sort of depression or stress caused either by an illness or condition, or as a result of some sort of 'challenge' in her life (post traumatic stress syndrome).

Has the vet done a blood panel for her? I would certainly have that done along with taking her temperature and checking her over carefully - listening to her heart, palpating the abdomen, etc. Invest in one of the feliway plug-in diffusers - it should help to 'calm' her and make her feel less stressed and possibly more playful. See if she will let you 'groom' her even if you just do this while she is in her cat bed. Take a brush or a comb and lightly stroke her with it around her ears and the top of her head and along her back. You want to try to imitate the 'nurturing' her mother might have done and helping her feel 'safe'.

I suspect that there is still something in her background that is unknown and having an impact on her. If you are able to rule out anything abnormal physically, ask your vet if he can recommend a cat behaviourist who might be able to help.

Good luck with Puppy,

post #3 of 7
Another suggestion to try re: getting her more interested in playing. Try one of the 'cat videos' that have birds and little moving animals or bugs. You can buy them at Petsmart, and someone posted a really good link to another series on one of the Forums. I will see if I can find the post and refer it to you. She may be bored, and never having learned how to play with her siblings, she may need this added incentive.

Regarding the biting - cats who are in pain or feeling unwell may bite. If you tried to hold her against her will and she was struggling - although I didn't get that impression from your post - she may bite as a means of getting away. Cats don't normally bite if they are feeling good, so yes, I would also take this as an indication that a vet visit is in order. Please advise David that this is NOT just how cats are.

post #4 of 7
Not that a vet visit isn't always wise, but for Puppy she does not know how to play. You see out in the world, when Momcat has her babies, kitten play is dangerous. Kitten play brings predators so Momcat makes sure that her kittens are safe, and she growls and hisses and bites, and even sits on them when they are active.

Once a kitten is rescued, and placed in a loving home, it can take months before this kitten is even comfortable enough with its person to relax. Once the bond begins and the kitty knows it is safe- watch out! Kittenhood begins in hyper-drive!

Before you rush Puppy to the vet- because it sounds like Puppy is doing okay otherwise and you are pretty attentive to her already about her health- find something outside that a kitten would play with, like a dry leaf, a pine cone, a small pine branch, a twig? Anything from outside and bring it in and see if she plays then. You want to engage her prey drive, because that is what play is for kittens. So you allow the object to act like a frightened creature being stalked, move it, stop it, shake it a bit. You don't talk to her when you play with her, you are just silent and you don't make eye contact. Try that and see what happens, and if she doesn't play, just give her time- let her adapt-
post #5 of 7
Hi Tara,

I really think patience, consistency and love is the key. You've got to earn puppy's trust and that takes time. Do you know where he lived before you got him? Maybe he dealt with some abuse.

When I got my Chloe as a baby she licked herself raw. Chloe was having anxiety over us not being home for the majority of the day. She was also a bit depressed because of this. We took her to vet and decided to get another kitty to keep her company. It was the best thing we could've done. Not that you've got to get puppy a kitty, but this might shed some light on his behavior.

Sounds like you really love your little guy and I'm sure with time, he'll come around.
post #6 of 7
idea how to get her to play and perk up:

this might sound silly but what about bugs? i mean, does she chase bugs?

Hissy told me about a friend of her who buys live crickets for her cats to chase when i asked for ways to keep my cat entertained.

whats more natural and outdoorsey than live bugs? lol

they sell then as lizard food in most pet shops. it sounds cruel but they are going to get eaten one way or another.

last summer maverick had the time of her life chasing crickets!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
OK... it has been about a week since I got everyone's great advice and I have taken ALL of it! I will list the actions:
1. The Feliway plug-in...no results yet but I hear it takes time
2. Vet Visit - he seems to think it is an adjustment period thing and I should give it another month b4 blood work
3. Sticks & leaves - this one was very telling. She was deathly afraid of the stick on the floor. Could she have been chased/hit with a stick by humans???? Also, Puppy will not go outside. She has no interest in it and will not even stand near our open patio doors. She will look out windows sometimes.
4. Cat Video - she liked this for a while and then rushed the screen to try and catch the birds...this was very entertaining for ME!
5. Cricket - this was the best idea EVER. That cricket had NO CHANCE!!! I will get her one a week from now on.
6. Patience and Love - Puppy will continue to get this from me. I sure do love this little girl! She has begun to show some affection with me for a few minutes in the mornings. I am unable to allow her to sleep in my room at night due to David's allergies. (I hope we get to keep David...LOL) When I come out of our room in the morning she is waiting for me.
Thank you for everything!!!
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