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Noob Question Regarding Kitten Attachment

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your time and advice.

My girlfriend and I recently added a kitten to our apartment.
All is going well, she (the cat) is becoming more affectionate and playful, is eating well and using her litter box.

Just one "problem." I have read many threads and articles about "night time
crazies" and have learned a lot. Bur I am concerned about the possible mixed messages I may be sending the kitten and possible effects on her personality and behavior.

Ok, before I go into this, I will add that by profession, I am a child therapist and may be reading way too much into this. But, I cant help it I guess.

Well, in order to sleep at night we will put the cat out of our room. I tend to sleep in more a series of two hour naps and get up frequently. When I do, the cat has begun crying louder and more intensely when she sees me. Last night, I got up, went into the kitchen and she started her crying that was more rapid and more like a chortle....really sad. In addition she stood upright and grabbed a hold of my calf (no claws) a just cried over and over....Needless to say I felt terrible and of course, let her back into the room.

For several minutes, all is well. Lots of purring and love. Several minutes later however, we are back to attacking feet, running about the room, et.

So, I picked her up and went to take her out of the room again.

As we entered the door way to exit the bedroom, the cat looked up at me and went "nuts." The only thing I can compare what happened is to a "night terror" experience of a young child (children around 3-4 may wake up at night in terror- crying and screaming- and are inconsolable, may walk around the home appearing awake but looking right through you and will not respond to attempts at communication)

So, the cat looks up, starts hissing and growling and squirms out of my arms. I dropped her and she went into a very defensive, crouched-ready-to-attack stance and just hissed and growled for several minutes. For about 5 minutes after this she would not let me touch her and would get all plexed up and hiss.....Very weird. Or maybe not...

Ok, I am a noob at this.

I am concerned that I am sending mixed messages and effecting her by giving into the crying after being placed out of the room and allowing her back in repeatedly.

Is it best to remain consistent if we want to keep her out of the room at night and not give into the crying?

I really love to have her in the room and even sleep with us, that would be great. But I fear by trying to ease her into it through gradual exposure and removal I am setting her up for some kind of attachment problem where she may develop a skittish or mistrustful kind of relation to people.

Thanks for any help.

post #2 of 7
She needs to adapt to yoru schedule and this will take time. I think she was confused and maybe the way you held her hurt or something. Is there a possible illness? During the day sometime try pressing gently around teh torso and see if you can duplicate teh response.

Otherwise I'd say it might have been like a temper tantrum (sp?). She shouldn't be allowed back in if you don't want her to play. She's wide awake at this time since she's noctural and it could take a year before they turn their schedule around. In the meantime she needs stuff to do. Cat buddies of teh same age are best for kittens but that is not always possible.
post #3 of 7
I'm guessing this is a young kitten. Cats are nocturnal creatures so we sort of have to "train" them to let us sleep at night. Your kitty is probably lonely at night and wants to be with you, but he is really just a baby and also wants to play.

Try playing with him before bedtime and tiring him out. As he matures, he'll settle down and you'll be able to enjoy having him sleep with you all night but right now, as you say, he's like a little kid. He sees you getting up and he figures it's a good time to play and get attention. Ah, the joys of being a new "parent".
post #4 of 7
You are sending her mixed messages by letting her in sometimes and banning her at others. I`d suggest you do one or the other.
If you decide to keep her out, then how about giving her her own room at night? And I would`nt let her in and out and in and out of that one as you get up and down. I`d put her in there when you first go to bed and then let her out when you are up for the day....as close as possible to the same times everyday.
She will protest the first few nights, especailly when she hears you keep getting up....but soon she will set her own inner alarm and know what to expect. Just be sure she has litter, food, water, toys and maybe a night light in case she wants to play and possibley a radio playing soft music (quietly) if you like. The latter 2 may help cover that you are up.
You also may want a box fan in your own room the first few nights, as a cover noise, so that you can`t hear her till she gets used to her own room.
If you have 2 cats that get along I`d put them both in there together for company for one another.
Our 2 sleep in the bath/utility room at night because the one is such a loud "YOWLER" (In your ear!) at night. They have adjusted very well...and will actually go and get in their own beds if we happen to stay up past their bedtime.
Whatever you decide to do....it`s very important to be CONSISTANT...just like you need to be with children.
Good luck!
post #5 of 7
The new thread on kitty movies made me think of this thread. Maybe put in a kitty movie when you go to bed? This should help keep him preoccupied. If you have to get up frequently then maybe you can change or restart the movie. This could help...Mewvies
post #6 of 7
I find that by giving all the cats a 'bedtime' and a 'get-up' time that they can be trained pretty quickly to keep human hours. With my two latest arrivals I put them in their own room with the light out and a litter box and water, when I went to bed and didn't let them out till I got up. They cried a few nights but in a month or so got used to sleeping on the spare bed all that time. Then I started letting them in with me and the girls and they now curl up on my bed with all the others - no space for me!(LOL) and mostly stay put till 6 0r 7 in the morning. If I get up at night maybe one or more cats follows me but usually they just look at me as if to say ' don't disturb us!', and the one who follows soon follows me back to bed.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your advice and help.

Great forum by the way, very nice.

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