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I don't know what to do...

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
O.K. everyone, I'm stuck in a moral dilemma. Until yesterday, my boyfriend and I had three 6-week old kittens. From the very beginning, I knew we were keeping one permanently, and were keeping the other two until they were 10 weeks old. I had made this clear to my boyfriend, and had shared with him all of the literature on ideal adoption age. Yesterday he took one of the kittens to a friend's house for a "visit". They were interested in possibly adopting one of the kitties and wanted to see her. I told him I was unsure about the visit, because I didn't want her to be apart from mom from too long, but he assured me she'd be fine. When he came home, however, I found out (to my horror) that he'd left her there! Apparently he made the executive decision (without ever mentioning it to me) that six weeks is old enough to give away kittens, based solely on the facts that it's a good home, and that she "didn't cry" at their house and "ate fine." But all the kittens are still nursing, and have only been eating solid food for about a week. Needless to say, I am absolutely devastated. Not only was the kitten not old enough to go, but I didn't get a chance to make my peace with her leaving. I cried for hours (literally), and begged him to go get her. I even called the family, but they were already out buying kitten things (plus they took her to the vet already). So pretty much the problem is...

I know she's not old enough to be away from mom. My boyfriend has refused to go get her because he doesn't want to "look like a jerk." The family apparently does not want to give her back because their children will be upset (my boyfriend talked to them today). I am the only one in the situation who has a problem with this, have been told that I'm acting crazy, and that I need to be an adult. They all think I'm just upset because I miss the kitten (which is true, but it's not my main concern). In your guys' opinions, is this important enough to fight? Tonight will be the kitten's second night at their house. Will it just upset her more to move her again? Would mom even take her back? To get her back home, I'm going to have to go to their house (and I've never even met them). I'm sure this will upset them, and I've been told that my boyfriend will be furious if I go over there and "embarass him." However, the kittens' welfare is more important to me. Do I need to take a stand or will she be o.k? If she's fine to leave, any tips on how to mend my broken heart would really help. I feel like she was just ripped away from me, and I didn't get a chance to prepare myself. I'm so sad! Thanks guys.
post #2 of 33
Although it is not an ideal age for the kitten to have a new home, probably will run into some litterpan problems and some socialization issues with other cats (if they have any other cats). It happens all the time when 6 week old kittens are taken from their mother and put into new homes.

The kitten may be suffering some separation anxiety- depending on how active they have her involved in their life (is she sleeping with anyone, or just shut into a room) www.snugglekittie.com can offer her great comfort.

If she is eating, and drinking okay, then try not to worry. Though I think it is low of your boyfriend to pull this type of manuever on you. I would rethink his role in your life
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I think they're taking good care of her. The husband said she slept in their bed last night, they've already bought her a bed, toys, etc..., and they took her to the vet the very next day. It is a good home (except I'm worried about the children...they're only 3 and 5). I just don't see how any of that could be a suitable replacement for her mom. Won't taking her in the middle of the weaning process be traumatic?

And I am questioning my boyfriend. In fact, this is my second night sleeping in the living room. However, I don't want to cause unnecessary friction (it would probably be silly to break up a 6 year relationship over a kitten). I just can't understand his reasoning for doing that. Not only was it disrespectful, it was just downright mean!

Also, do any retail stores (eg Petco) sell snugglekitties (or something similar)or do I have to get them online? I'd love to get her one, but it probably wouldn't do much good if I had to wait 6-8 weeks for delivery!
post #4 of 33
And I am questioning my boyfriend. In fact, this is my second night sleeping in the living room. However, I don't want to cause unnecessary friction (it would probably be silly to break up a 6 year relationship over a kitten). I just can't understand his reasoning for doing that. Not only was it disrespectful, it was just downright mean!
Actually, i would put the kitten at more important than the relationship, no matter how long. I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone like that, no offense. If he is more worried about being embarrassed than the kitten being ok.....
post #5 of 33
When we found Blaze, the Vet said she was only 5-6 weeks old.The only problem that we had was she cried on and off for the first week.We held her and cuddled with her all the time to get her use to us and so she would feel safe here.
My kids at the time were 4,7,11,and 14................they all knew she was a baby and had to be treated gentley.She now runs to the back door when she hears the bus, cause she knows "her kids" are home from school.
I would think the Mom (cat) would not take the kitten back as it now smells unfamiliar to her.And why chance the Mom hurting the kitten thinking it's not hers?
post #6 of 33
They may have aggressive issues and litterpan problems, as hte kitten will not have been taught 'manners' by the mom. This could cause a problem as there are young children in the house. But kittens lose their momsd at all ages for all kinds of reasons and if they are well looked after they grow up OK. I would really rethink your relationship though - the next thing he does wiothout reference to you may be even worse.
post #7 of 33
There is a high risk of problems here. The kitten is too young to be separated from the mother. But much worse is the age of the children. Preschoolers are not mature enough to take into account the needs of a tiny kitten at every moment. It doesn't mean they're bad kids, it's just a fact of developmental psychology. Kids do things like run without looking where they are going, open doors that are too heavy for them (which could slam on Kitty's head - unfortunately, I know people this has happened to), etc.

Plus the kitten has not learned bite inhibition and other important social behaviors. These can cause major problems with small children who are not able to properly respect the kitten's space.

I would definitely call the people and talk to them. Express your concerns clearly. I would suggest asking to take the kitten back until the kitten is 12-14 weeks old, letting the family visit regularly, and then letting them have the kitten at that point. Explain that this will make things much better for everyone in the long run because the kitten will be really ready for their family at that point.

And I agree that this is scary behavior on the part of your bf.
post #8 of 33
I used to have a boyfriend that did things like that. Later, I found out he was abusive to me, the kids, and the cats. He went to jail. I went on with my life.

It all depends whether you are a modern woman or not. Which is more important, making your own decisions, or having them made for you?
Apparently your feelings aren't very important to him.

As for the kitten, I would go get it. It's only been two days.
post #9 of 33
I agree with what everyone's said so far. I think this kitten should definetly be with his mother as he's got more to learn and only things she can teach him.
post #10 of 33
Hi Andria,
First, I think this isn't the end of the world for this little kitten. Many people give kittens away at 6 weeks of age and lots of kitten grow up without mothers or siblings. It's obviously not the ideal situation, but it's not unacceptably horrible.
If you really want to bring this kitten back to be with mom and siblings I can suggest a few things.
1. Stop crying. When you act so visibly upset about this kitten being gone, people assume it's because you wanted to keep it for yourself. Your boyfriend (who may not be a 'cat person') most likely doesn't want 3+ cats and the people who have this little one now will not want to give him back because they think you may not give him back. You need to explain the facts in a very level headed manner.
2. Pull together some solid research on the benefits of kittens staying with mom until 8 or 12 weeks of age. There's information all over this site. Make sure it comes from reputable sources. I know you can find advice out there that says 6 weeks is fine and you need to counteract that.
3. Present this information to your boyfriend and the kitten's family. Assure everyone that this is only for the best interests of the kitten. I would strongly suggest NOT bringing up the young child factor. Any kind of language that presents their child in a bad light (even if they are the most angelic of children) is going to imediatly make them stop listening to you.
After that, there's not much else you can do but hope you educated them.
As for your boyfriend, he really may not like cats as much as you think and maybe he was eager to reduce head count. Or he was honestly misinformed about when kittens can leave their mother. How you choose to deal with him is up to you.
Good luck with what ever you do, let us know if you do decide to talk to the family.
post #11 of 33
I have been with my husband for going on twenty years now, but I'll tell you straight from the gut, if he did anything even remotely like this, I would leave him. That now being said, it is your decision how to handle that end of things and no one here, least of all me, can advise you on how to proceed with that.

If it were me, it isn't me, but if it were ... I would go to the people's home, explain the situation intelligently and with as much compassion as you can muster without getting emotional about it. Explain that kittens of this age have not had the time they need with Mom to become properly socialized and that your concern is for the young children in their home. Also explain to them that you feel it is best for the kitten to come home with you so that she can continue receiving the care that only her mother can give at this time. Suggest family visits with the Baby at your home so you can witness for yourself how those kids will interact with her and most importantly, how the parents of those kids will react if the kids don't treat Baby with kindness.

And this is very, very important ... you need to tell those people in no uncertain terms that if FOR ANY REASON they don't feel they can keep this baby in the future, you are willing to take her back NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

I don't envy you this situation. But a little embarrassment on the part of the boyfriend is nothing compared to what can happen to the kitten, the kids or to you if anything goes wrong. Tell him to suck it up and go get that Baby.
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks so much everyone. It is really comforting to have so much support. I knew I was standing up against something that was wrong, but no one else was supporting me, and frankly I was beginning to feel like a lunatic. I wrote the family an e-mail this morning (I figured this was better than going to their house because they've never met me), and think I was very rational and straight-forward. I explained that I am only thinking of what is best for the kitten and their family. I told them the potential risks of taking a kitten too soon, and provided website links to back up my claims, urging them to conduct some research of their own before making a decision. I explained that although she seems to be eating fine, that she was still actively nursing and had only been eating solid food for about 4 days, so she's not fully weaned. I said that if they love her enough to take her in, they should want her to be as healthy and well-adjusted as possible before making her part of the family, and that means a little extra time with her mom and siblings. I made no mention about my child concern, and instead emphasized that I know they are taking, and will take, very good care of her. I assured them that I have no objections to their home and that she can come back as soon as she's old enough (I didn't say anything about visiting, but that probably would have been helpful). I really don't have a problem with this home (except for slight concerns about the kids). They are financially able to meet her needs, mom stays home with the kids during the day, they seem to have really fallen in love with the kitty, and I know they have good intentions. Now I just have to wait and see if they are responsible enough to make the right decision without worrying so much about upsetting their children. If they aren't, I'll suppose I'll just drop it. I don't really feel like storming into their house like a crazy person and stealing the cat back. I'll know that I did what I could, and just try to do the best for the two we still have.

As far as my boyfriend goes, he did something very wrong, but I probably made him sound like a bigger jerk than he really is. He told me that he really didn't know it was harmful (he got his cats at 6 weeks), and that he thought it was a really good place for her to be. He's apologized for hurting me, and said that if he knew how upset I would be he would have never done that (although I don't know how he could think I wouldn't care). I showed him all the information on the internet, and he has admitted it was a wrong decision, but that he just didn't know at the time. And apparently he was worried about finances because I had mentioned that they'd all need their shots soon. If this family was going to take her to the vet the next day, that was one less we'd have to pay for. Also, he did call them immediately upon learning that I wanted her back, and tried to explain the situation. I guess the guy's exact words were "I don't want to start a fight with you about this man, but that would make me look like a real dick to my kids." (which doesn't give me a lot of hope about my e-mail, but it was worth the try). After that he just dropped it and refused to call back, so I'm upset about him not supporting me just because he doesn't want to start a fight with his buddy.

But anyway... enough rambling (my posts are always essays, sorry). Everyone just pray that this family sees the light, and that she comes home today. If that happens though, how should I reintroduce her to mom? Do you think she'll really be rejected after just a couple of days? Thanks for all your advice and support!
post #13 of 33
I think the one not acting like an adult here is your boyfriend. Being taken away that young can cause serious socialization problems. I know I've been there, however mine was a stray rescue. He knows how you feel and he still did this you may want to reconsider your relationship with him before he runs the chance of ruining another life.
post #14 of 33
Whoa! Wait a minute.... I don't think this is a reconsider-your-realtionship-issue. The boyfriend, perhaps is not familiar with kitten care and thought it was ok, as it seemed to him and the family that the kitty was adapting fine away from mommy and kitties. I got my Matilde and she was less than a week old after Hurricane Katrina. Momma and kitties where nowhere to be found and later on we learned that a cat had given birth to four kittens close to a tree. Theat same tree fell (uprooted) and the neighbor never saw mommy or kittens again. When we showed Matilde to her, she said that all the kitties looked exactly like her. The bottom line is that I brought her in, with my two male one year-old cats and they get along just fine. With Montgomery, the couple that gave him to me, didn't know anything about kitten care, neither did I, and he was three weeks old. I have not encountered any socialization problems. I think that it all depends on personalities, traumatic events and lots (or lack) of love and care.
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Well, no word from the family, so I guess that's it. I'm so angry. If they're that irresponsible, and don't care about giving this kitty the best start in life, I don't want them to have her at all. I feel so helpless. I tried the mature, rational approach, and I'm really struggling against taking the crazy approach! lol. I'm going to send another e-mail though just saying that if at ANY point down the road she doesn't work out with their family, we would take her back, no questions asked (I'm so worried that if she starts taking out her unresolved kitten issues on the children one day, they'll put her in a shelter or give her away to strangers). Any other suggestions or comforting words would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for all your helpful comments and encouragement!!
post #16 of 33
Don't go nuts yet, give it time. They may want to discuss it before they respond.
post #17 of 33
When they took the kitten to the vet is it possible the vet said everything was ok and perhaps gave them all the appropriate information and instructions on how to take care of the kitten? If the people are responsible enough to take the kitten to the vet right away and Mom is home all day I don't think you really have to worry too much. Maybe you could email the family and ask what the vet said or get your bf to talk to his buddy and find out because the vet knows best in this situation... perhaps you could even explain to the vet the situation (the kitten was still nursing etc.) and get an opinion from him/her...
post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 
Don't go nuts yet, give it time. They may want to discuss it before they respond.
I know... I'm much more calm than I was at first. It's just that it's been three days, and I've now left a phone message and sent an e-mail, both of which have been ignored. At some point, reuniting her with mom will probably become more risky than leaving her there, so they don't really have a lot of time to think it over.

And thanks Melsa, for the suggestion. She is a big, healthy kitty, and I'm sure if the vet found any problems, they would have told us (I'd hope anyways). My bf sees the husband almost everyday, and apparently he said yesterday the kitten's doing fine (which was after my e-mail mind you...that's all the response I got). Considering the situation though, she's probably getting the best care she can. I'm more concerned about her future behavior concerning their young children. If she doesn't become a "kid-friendly" cat, they could just get rid of her, and I really want to know that she'll have a good home and good care for life. I will definitely ask my bf to get their vet's name and number though, and give a call. Somehow I think they probably didn't voice the proper concerns (since I'm the only one apparently concerned about her age/weaning), but it would ease my mind to better explain the situation to the vet and get an opinion from someone who's checked her out.
post #19 of 33
Originally Posted by gayef

And this is very, very important ... you need to tell those people in no uncertain terms that if FOR ANY REASON they don't feel they can keep this baby in the future, you are willing to take her back NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
Yes, definitely let them know that if anything happens down the road, you want that kitty back.

Your bf screwed up royally. But he did apologize, and admit his ignorance in the matter. And so long as the kitten is eating and drinking, it will turn out fine. However, he needs to be sure to know when to let you make decisions, and when he can make decisions, and when it is a team effort.

What if you took his car and traded it in without his input, would he be ok with it? If you decide to keep the other two kittens without his input, is that ok? Every couple has big decisions to make, and you need to negotiate how they are decided. He needs to understand that to you, this is huge. That to you, this is a little life that you were responsible for, and that you let the baby down. Yes, the kitten will probably be ok, as are the hundreds who are bottle fed from a tender age. But your kitty had the opportunity to spend a full 10 to 12 weeks with its mother and siblings, and he took that away from the kitten and you.

Discuss it fully, and hopefully you will become closer through this experience.
post #20 of 33
And if the mother is a good Mom, she will supervise the kids closely with the kitten. One of my kittens from my last litter is playing well with a two year old that her owner babysits several days a week. IMO, there is no better companion for a kitten or cat, than a child.

My kids love my cats, and the cats love them right back. I think my foster kittens are so wonderful because of the time my kids spend with them! And when I started, Shane was 4 years old. Sure, he needed to be educated on not touching a newborn kitten. How not to drop a baby, even if it scratches you. But he spent so much time loving on those kittens! Some mornings he can't get out of bed, and blames Garfield for distracting him, because Gar likes to cuddle in the morning.

Anyhow, I think your kitten will be fine. Now the issue is your relationship with your bf. I'm sure you can work things out.
post #21 of 33
Hi - This really sucks - I think I would feel like storming over to their house and wrestling with them to get that kitty back - I had to fight with a couple over one of my kittens - he was 10 weeks old and under the weather (not eating) from his first shot, so i told them that their collecting him was out of the question

They reeeally didn't like it but at the end of the day, its the kitty that will suffer, not them..

Anyway, another approach - can't you impress on them that this kitty may well be ill-socialised and a possibly be a danger to their little kids if she is not taught how to be around humans by her siblings and mother? I would be genuinely worried about that, as kitten claws are very sharp and can do damage to little children if the cat is not aware that getting their claws out can hurt their human handlers. And the possibility of cat bites are definitely not something to ignore.

Having said that we got our cat at 7 weeks and he never gets his claws out, but like all things it depends on the cat..

Anyway, good luck, it doesn't sound like this family will cooperate, but you should let the family know that if any incident like the kitten scratching the kids occurs and they are no longer comfortable with the kitten, that you will be happy to take the kitten back.
post #22 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks Becki, and I'm sure you're right. I wish I knew the family a little better. They haven't impressed me with their stubbornness, but I've been assured that it's a loving family, with a safe, clean home, and good children. I suppose that I've been acting like he gave her away to drug addicts or something I'm quite a worrier, but with good intentions. And it doesn't help that I just miss her so much!

My boyfriend and I have had a chance to discuss it more now that I've calmed down. The first couple "conversations" mostly consisted of me screaming "How could you be so stupid?!" and "If you don't plan on coming home from work today with my kitten, don't come home at all!!" Not very productive, I know, but I was pretty angry. It's not like he does this kind of thing all the time, we have a good relationship and make plans together, so that's why I was so floored by his actions. And he loves cats, and dotes over the kitties almost as much as I do. He helped me with the delivery (Chloe ran into a few snags), and said as soon as they were born that he wanted to keep them all. This is very sudden and out-of-character, so I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. Unless I discover some horrible secret motive to hurt me, we'll be fine.
post #23 of 33
I was, unfortunately, one of those people who thought kittens were "good to go" at six weeks. I think it gets a bit confusing if you're not living it day-to-day, and puppies go to homes best at 6 - 8 weeks. So people get confused. We got a kitten about 8 years ago at the age of 6 weeks. She did have a couple of issues with the rug (spots where the former occupants had cats that had accidents) and with biting people's ankles and hands. That could have been from us playing with her incorrectly.

However, she was the very best kitty we had as far as being cuddly, and sleeping with anyone, including the kids, and she always knew someone was sick - she was our "therapy cat." (One time my daughter said, "Mommy, am I sick? Because Sassy's sleeping with me.") It sounds like your kitty is well-loved, but the people should be watchful over any signs because even though they have the best intentions, the kitten was taken from the mother too young, and could have separation issues.
post #24 of 33
Thread Starter 
Chupi, I did include that in my e-mail, but part of the reason my bf left her was because she was so good with the kids while he was there (apparently the little girl was brushing her with her doll brush, which the kitty loved). Since she's not having problems now, they probably don't believe me that there could be problems in the future. She is really sweet, so hopefully she'll be fine with the kids (but I just can't shake the mental image of a little 3 year old, running and screaming through the house with a cat attached to her ankle I know its more serious than that, but its a funny picture). I'm going to give it the rest of today before giving up hope, but I will definitely reiterate my concerns for their children and my willingness to take her back at any point down the road.
post #25 of 33
I think it is too late to do much at this point other than to impress upon them and ensure these people know that if they have any behaviour issues with this kitten and are not willing to work them through, that you would want them to give the kitten back to you rather than to anyone else or a shelter.

At the same time I would reiterate to them that you are aware they are good, responsible people and that your only real concerns are that the kitty was really too young to be separated from it's mom and it could cause behaviour issues.

Then I think you have to sit back and accept that they probably will not return this kitten to you as it seems the kittie is doing fine. Now you have to accept that, and go on from here. If they are friends of your BF you will always be able to "keep an eye" on things in a roundabout way through your BF, so I suggest you stop anguishing over this and get on with things.

It seems you and BF have sorted it out and that is good. Maybe he'll feel guilty enough to help you "keep an eye" on the kittie.
post #26 of 33
Thread Starter 
LOL. I can't keep up with the replies (thanks everyone). Your kitty sounds sweet kluchetta. My bf got Chloe (the kittens' mom) at six weeks, and she's generally a good, loving, cat too. She's sucked the stuffing out of my boyfriend's favorite blanket, chews and claws at our hair while we're sleeping or watching tv, has broken my favorite vase, the window fan, the blinds, and entire set of water glasses, my curling iron..., and likes to jump on my back when I'm at the computer and then claw all the way down as she falls (I think I have permanent scars), but all in all she's a good girl I can definitely see the nursing issues, and we've never been able to teach her how to play without biting, scratching, and kicking... On second thought, maybe it's good Chloe didn't get a chance to teach her how to be naughty! (just kidding ) I hope this kitten will be a little sweetie like yours and be a loving addition to this family.
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Ah, it happened again. Thanks Yosemite, and I plan on doing everything you've suggested. I'll be fine once I've done everything I can to ensure her well-being. And I'm pouring extra love into the kitties I still have, which is making me feel better (and I'm sure they like their new bed, toys, litterbox, and french cat food I got yesterday... but I also made their vaccination appointments. hahaha)
post #28 of 33
Well, my cat had 8 kittens in April, and I did pretty much insist that the kittens stay until 10 or 11 weeks. (We had a european trip planned, and thought we'd get them rehomed before the trip.) There were separation issues I had to get over - and I got myself through it by thinking of all the one-on-one attention and loving the kittens would be getting in their new homes. Even though I loved them a lot, I just couldn't give that much attention to 11 cats altogether!
post #29 of 33
Originally Posted by Andria313
Ah, it happened again. Thanks Yosemite, and I plan on doing everything you've suggested. I'll be fine once I've done everything I can to ensure her well-being. And I'm pouring extra love into the kitties I still have, which is making me feel better (and I'm sure they like their new bed, toys, litterbox, and french cat food I got yesterday... but I also made their vaccination appointments. hahaha)
You are a good "mom" to your kitties and I applaud you. Hopefully it won't be too much of a hardship to pour all that extra love on the 2 remaining kitties. Good thoughts and hugs to you.
post #30 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks again everybody... I'm feeling much better. I know that she's being well taken care of and receiving more one-on-one attention than we could give her with four cats. But you won't believe the response to my e-mail to the family (which I assure you was calm, rational, and unoffensive). The husband actually printed off the e-mail, took it to my boyfriend's work, and told him that he considers this harassment. He asked that I not contact them again, and said that if I ever come to their house, he's calling the police! This is a 35 year old man! I hardly see how one phone message (the day of) and one e-mail (3 days later), neither of which were angry or threatening, is harassment. I guess sending a follow up e-mail and calling their vet are both out of the question now, lol. Plus the guy made a big scene of it at my bf's work, and apparently everyone there now thinks I'm a stalker lunatic! This is ridiculous. Thought it would give everyone a good laugh though. Thanks again for all the support and kind words.
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