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Starting to lose patience in the learning process...

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
As some of you know, Tara and I JUST got our kittens on 11/5/2005. I know it hasn't been a week yet but we are kind of wondering how much we want them now. We put the kittens in a spare bedroom when we are gone with their litter box. They were getting very good about using it for a couple of days but now they seem like want to use the carpet a lot again. I think some of the problem is that one uses the box and doesn't cover it up, and the other sees that and doesn't want to use it. We are just already getting sick of the smell in the house and want them to get good about using the box. I also had them in the living room today and one of them tried to squat by the wall. I'm afraid that they don't know where the box is unless they are actually in that room with it. I'm sure we have a lot of work to do regarding the smell and the amount they go to the bathroom. Right now we have cheap litter and cheap food which probably has an affect on the odor and amount of times they need to go to the bathroom everyday. We are just slowly losing our patience and confidence in them. Please help with anything we can do to help them learn where the box is and how to use it.
post #2 of 25
You need to give them TIME!!!

Only a week?? Thats nothing! Just keep putting them back in the box when they go to squat and praise them after they have finished in the box.

Never scold them for not using the box as they do not understand what this means.

How young are they?
post #3 of 25
Do you scoop as soon as they have been - our two indoor kitties absolutely hate a litter box that has evidence of past goings in it - we scoop after every visit.

Please do give them time. Remember they are only babies.

When they are in the living room are they a long way from the litter box - should they remember how to get back to it? If they were carried from the room with the litter box to the living room it may be that they simply have no memory of how to get there.
post #4 of 25
When you have kittens you allow for mistakes. You don't lose your cool or think about turning them in if they poop out of the box- because depending on thier age, most kittens will poop out of the box. You keep them contained in one room when feeding and about an hour afterward. You provide them with plenty of litter pans because they sound like they might have left mom at to young a age and they have no concept about litter pans and what to do with them. If they were outside, and they think they are- they would poop and pee when and wherever they wanted to.

I always buy those throwaway aluminum pans you can buy in the baking section of most major grocery stores. You get about 4 of them in a bundle.

if you are this frustrated right now, what are you going to do when they start running up and down your drapes? Running over the top of your chest while you are asleep, or running hell-bent for leather across your dinner plate knocking food everywhere?

Also if they only have one litter pan, that is not near enough. Ideally, they need three. Especially if you are gone all day and not home to clean and scoop it several times
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
We think they are about 7 weeks old. We walked in to a Pet Supply Plus one day and they were in a cage and were free so we decided to take them in. Neither one of us have ever really had kittens or cats so we are trying to learn and adjust as well.

My kitten (male) seems to follow her or I EVERYWHERE meowing like crazy until somebody holds him so I do think that they were taken away very young. There were actually 4 in the cage when we took the 2. We are battling some fleas now as well so that doesn't make it any easier. We did give them a bath with some flea shampoo and they are a lot cleaner. They are also wearing flea collars but from what I've read tonight I think I am going to go home and remove them right away.
post #6 of 25
The kittens are obviousle very loving which is a great thing!!

Yes, take off the collars and go and get a flea treatment from your vet (Advantage, Revolution or Frontline).

They are VERY young!!

I have a seven week old and she uses her tray, but still has accidents. Like I said, just take your time and take them to the tray and show them what to do i.e. get their paws to scrap a hole, or to cover what they have done.

They will get the hang of it soon!
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
About how much do you pay for shots, flea treatment from vets?

I forgot to mention that Tara (18) and I (21) are also very young too.
post #8 of 25
Thats ok!!! I'm only 22!!

Well, shots are around $60 AUS and Flea Treatment around $30 AUS.

But ring around and see who will do the best deal for you. Especially as you are doing two at once - You may only get charged for one consultation fee.

Or there may be some low cost clinic in your area!
post #9 of 25
Ideally kittens should be 12 weeks before leaving mom, but most people push them off much faster. My thinking is, when they are small and helpless, you have the "aww" factor. As they get their eyes opened and their feet under them you have the "Awe" factor

But then as they get older, they start scratching, biting and running about the house and you have the "ah chit" factor and people get tired of them quickly.

I try to never adopt out my bottle babies until they are at least 12 weeks old- by then they know about litter pans and drinking water, and all sorts of things that kitties need to learn about.

There are safe flea treatments for these kittens available at your vet only. Also flea collars can be toxic as well as unsafe for kittens especially- as active as they are, they can get the collars caught on something and choke
post #10 of 25
Originally Posted by hissy
Ideally kittens should be 12 weeks before leaving mom, but most people push them off much faster.
Totally agreed! I wish that Portia had the opportunity to have her Mum but unfortunately I have to be it for her and I still love her even when she bites my nose at 5.30 in the morning!!!

Its just part of the process of being a baby! But cats don't have the luxury of a nappy!
post #11 of 25
Bless their hearts, these kittens are barely past weaning-age! Do you notice them "makin' biscuits" a lot? That's the motion they used when they were nursing. If you will let them make biscuits on your hand or chest, it's a wonderful way to reassure them and to bond with them.

They'll be a bit of trouble for a few more weeks...but please bear in mind that this is a very formative time in their lives, so it's important to remain patient and gentle with them as they learn. Your kindness will help them grow into calm, confident cats who love and trust you.

And by the way... all this is terrific practice for when you start a family! :-)
post #12 of 25
Definitely get some extra litter pans. I use storage bins from walmart ($3 each). They're really big and I just stick the lid on for easy transport. When I first got my kittens, I felt similarly overwhelmed and kind of regretted getting them. But now I can't imagine life without them. I just boarded them yesterday while my apartment cleaned my carpets and being in the apartment without them was incredibly depressing. When I first got meowser, he peed in my suitcase and also in my bed. It just takes time. Definitely get some advantage, frontline, or revolution. It costs $12 each at my vet.
post #13 of 25
Definitely have them vet checked. If they have fleas, they may have worms! That could be causing them to have the urge to poo more often. Get a litter box for every room they go in! You shouldn't have to have this many forever, but for now it can't hurt. My two kits are sharing a box right now, and that thing gets pretty full and needs be scooped daily. So far we haven't had any issues, and they are usually confined to a room.
post #14 of 25
They do sound normal, but they should have more litter pans. I would put two in the bathroom to start with, so there is always a clean one. And please try and find the money to take them to a vet. Once they are dewormed and deflead professionally some of hte problems you are seeing should disappear. Be thankful that kittens are kittens for a much shorter period of time than toddlers are toddlers! That is much worse!
post #15 of 25
I agree with Jenny because children would be a lot more hard work.

But like Beth said make sure the litter box is clean because they rely on you for doing that. I clean mine out twice a day, and when both of mine were kittens i used to make sure i had a litter box placed downstairs as well as the two upstairs just while they got used to where they were incase they got caught short

Please bear with them because their only babies
post #16 of 25

I got my kitten when he was 9 weeks old, and we had no accidents, so you probably only have 1 or 2 more weeks to go. If they were free at the petshop, could it be that they are rescued ferrals ? Then they won't know what the litter box is for, and you just have to teach them. I have found that kittens learn amazingly fast, and you could be lucky and with a bit of patience and following them around all day for 2 days, you get it sorted.
The other thing is, if they have fleas, there is a good chance they have worms. That can give them diarrhoea. That can make it difficult for them to make it to the toilet, and also the urge to go can be very big (remember the last time you had Delhi Belly and refused to leave the toilet area for any amount of time ?)
You say you use cheap food and litter...hmmm. They should be on Kitten Food, that isn't cheap, but has a lot more protein and moisture that adult food. Adult food is no good for them yet. Cheap litter is a nightmare. I have so far tested 6 different cat litters, and the cheap ones actually cost more, as you have to change the whole box several times a week, rather than just scooping out the dirty bits. You can go very expensive and try Worlds Best, or medium and use Catsan. Either seem to be good, but Catsan is better for odour control. The clumping Catsan is not recommended for kittens younger than 12 weeks, so, if you want a clumping litter, go for World Best. Don't be shocked at the prize, it does last 10 days with one cat. Only marginally more expensive than the Supermarket Value Brand.
I never had 2 cats, but yours sound like they would prefer to have more cat toilets about. Maybe they want to poo in one and wee in the other ? Or they want one each ?
And don't forget, they are only babies.... you wouldn't expect a 7 week old baby to be toilet trained and nappy free ?

Have fun
post #17 of 25
Originally Posted by zak&rocky
Definitely have them vet checked. If they have fleas, they may have worms! That could be causing them to have the urge to poo more often. Get a litter box for every room they go in! You shouldn't have to have this many forever, but for now it can't hurt. My two kits are sharing a box right now, and that thing gets pretty full and needs be scooped daily. So far we haven't had any issues, and they are usually confined to a room.
also, if they've been feral, there are bacteria that can cause diarrhea... Java was 3 1/2 months old when i found her, & she had loose stools, terrible gas/smell - the vet said she had a bacterial overgrowth. it took 2 rounds of antibiotics & a does of bene bac to get her normal. i suspect she also had abdominal pain, like cramps, because she used to sleep/sit on me all the time. once i got the stool issue under control, she stopped laying on me all the time.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well last night was definetly no exception. They didn't use their box once but the carpet many times! Also one of my kittens threw up 3 times during the night. I'm not sure if I should be worried or not. My black kitten (which I now think COULD be female, I still can't tell oddly enough) was very bloated last night when put to bed so I'm thinking that was the sick kitt.

I'll be able to keep a lot better eye on them this weekend and hopefully all goes well!!

Oh and we are setting up our Xmas tree this weekend. What kind of experiences should I be looking forward to with the kitts and the tree?
post #19 of 25
I got my babies for free and very young as you did. It was a similar situation, although I had cats before and had a general idea of what to expect. You have to remember that they are babies. Any frustration you have right now is wasted energy. It isn't going to solve anything and is causing you to develop resentment toward these babies instead of enjoying them. When you have a human baby, you have to change diapers. When you have feline babies you have to clean up messes. It comes with the territory, and by taking them in is a responsibility you accepted. That said, it shouldn't be long until they start to catch on with the litter training. When my two were babies I was always sure to put them right into the litter box a few minutes after they finished eating. You have to be very consistent with this. Feed them at the same time each day and put them right into the box. They will catch on. At this age, you may want to keep them in one room with the litter boxes in plain view right near them. Having more than one box is important. Please take your kittens to the vet. They really need a check up. Any reputable vet will allow you to set up a payment plan if money is an issue (as it has been for me many times in the past). Please stay away from flea products such as Hartz, which is toxic to cats and especially young kittens.

As for the Xmas tree, stay away from very small ornaments and any kind of tinsel. Cats will look at an Xmas tree and see lots of haning things to play with. They will try to bat ornaments near the bottom of the tree, so keep the bottom a litte bare. They will try to find out what things are by chewing on them, so keep cords from tree lights covered. They can choke on any kind of tinsel or garland where bits cat be pulled off. This can be lethal so avoid it completely. Basically, you should not let them near the tree unsupervised.

Having kittens is a lot like having human babies, and it can be exhausting and frustrating. Keep coming back to these boards for help. There are many helpful people here. Before you know it your kittens will be using the box consistently. They grow up fast.
post #20 of 25
Your xmas tree will be chewed, batted, rammed, jumped on, jumped at and most likely knocked over!!!! Have fun!
post #21 of 25
I really do think you have to be patient with your kittens. I understand that you have never had cats before, but before taking them in I would have got a cat book so you can understand what you are getting yourself into before taking them on.

Don't forget, your kittens are probably very frightened. Firstly being kept in a cage in a pet shop, being taken away from their mum (too early) and secondly moving again into your home.

I have a cat called Naughty, and in April she gave birth to 4 kittens. Now, although I have grown up with cats, I have NEVER had kittens, so it was all a learning experience for me. When they first starting pooping, they refused to use their litter tray. Instead when I put litter in their box (no matter what type) they ALL ran over to it and tried eating it!! And they would poo and wee EVERYWHERE!! The flat would stink and it was very frustrating. However, I just put compost in their tray instead, and moved it under the bed (gross I know) and within a few days all 4 were litter trained. I then re-introduced litter and moved the box back into the normal place, and I am pleased to say I have never had a mis hap since.

I kept one kitten (Alfie) and the other 3 went to good homes, fully litter trained.

Admittedly it was frustrating but I never once got angry with them (they are only babies for gods sake, and if you didnt put a nappy on a human baby it was piss and poo everywhere). You cant let yourself be annoyed or angry, they dont deserve that.

Please be patient. But if you really cant handle them, then please find them a good home.
post #22 of 25
Personally, I would take the kittens to the vet to be checked for worms and get a proper flea treatment. I'm no expert, but it sounds to me like they could be sick from worms.

Someone with more expertise will probably be around, but like I said, I personally would opt for a vet visit - sooner rather than later.
post #23 of 25
I'd have to agree with everyone that they likely have worms. All of my cats had worms when we got them. They went to the bathroom a lot and vomitted. You don't always see the little rice like worms coming out of their bums, so get them checked. I paid 45$ total for the vet visit plus worm test and dewormer. At my vet's office in Indiana I paid about 200$ for all of their shots, plus two flea treatments and spay. Obviously they are too young to be spayed or neutered, but it's a good idea to keep that cost in mind for three months down the road when they do need these things done.

Be patient. Kitties are like babies in that they need constant attention and can't control their bowels. They'll learn eventually. My vet has really great pamphlets on litter training cats and catproofing the house. I think they came from the American Vet. Association. You can learn about vaccinations and spaying from them here:

Good luck to you and your babies and welcome to the Cat Site!!
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well some better news after this weekend. They are doing a little better. I switched them over to Purina ONE Kitten food, dry. Their stools have hardened now

They did great last night, everything in the box. We now have a box in the living room where they are when we are home and in the spare bedroom where we keep them when we're gone. I am still going to mix in some wet food every once in a while. They have certainly gotten bigger in just the week that we've had them and are now more playful than ever!!
post #25 of 25
I didn't see this before, but might have suggested you do what we've been lucky with as far as kittens go... when you have a litter box set up (not too high for them to get into), take them into it, hold their front legs from behind, and make 'walkies' just a few times.. in other words scrabble their paws lightly in the litter and they immediately understand and go straight for it next time.
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