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Water Gun Works!!!!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

You might have read my recent post entitled "Need Help". I have a 10 week old Siamese kitten called Kona who we have nicknamed "Siamese Tornado", "Kitten From Hell", "Devil Baby" and other names that I won't repeat!

The offensive behaviour he has been exhibiting includes very nasty biting on a regular basis. He gets very violent and his jaws lock onto your arm, hand, calves whatever and he just keeps biting down like a deadly snake releasing it's venom! He has even stalked me and while I had my backed turned has propelled himself across the room and landed on my back, arms and legs spread out, like a wild cougar screaming and scratching me with his razor sharp claws!

Well, after receiving some telephone counselling from an interstate breeder (I'm still ringing all over the country to find another Russian Blue!) yesterday I was convinced by her that it was time to bring out the old water spray bottle.

Total success! Of course whenever his jaws lock onto my arm I say a very firm and loud "No!" but that doesn't work - I gave him a couple of warnings then let him have it! He stopped instantly and was quite puzzled with what had just happed. Within a couple of minutes (once he'd licked all the water off his back) - he had another go at me - I gave him another "No!" and when he continued I "shot" him again! This went on about 5 or 6 times - same look of confusion, cleaning himself then having another go (we think he might have a learning disability!). Anyway, each time the nastyness of the attacks lessened but the most important thing is that it stops the attack instantly - before it was an all out fight to the death brawl going on between us!

The other spinoff is that he didn't cry once last night - he generally screams (just like someone's stabbing him to death or something) for about 15 minutes when we put him to bed and then once or twice during the night (when he hears us get up to go to the bathroom). He sleeps in our spare room because he wees on our bed if we let him in the bedroom. Don't know why he didn't cry but we're not complaining! Any theories? Was he just sulking? Have we killed his spirit? Or was he just tired?
post #2 of 24
Lisa, If I missed this before I'm sorry. A Siamese kitten should not be taken from its mother and litter mates until it is 12 weeks old. Normally, this kitten would still be playing "king of the hill" with its brothers and sisters and trying to catch Mommy's tail! Most people think that 6-8 weeks is old enough, but it's not recommended by breeders. I think this is part of the problem. Also, your kitten seems to me to be exceptionally lively. I think when he settles in and learns who's boss he'll be lots of fun. It's a shame he "wets the bed" because he would normally be sleeping with a brother or sister. I wish he could sleep with you; I think you'd bond quickly. Of course, he can't, under the circumstances. I hope you get a playmate for him; I think he's lonely. I feel bad for both you and the kitten. I think the breeder should have known better.
post #3 of 24
I agree with Jeanie.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Kona has been "accident free" (not weed on the bed) for a whole 2 weeks now and we were only discussing this morning that perhaps we should give him another go at sleeping with us. I agree, he'll bond quicker and of course it's always nice on a winters night to have a furry baby snuggling next to you! We decided that from Friday night onwards we'll give it a go (easier on the weekends because sleepless nights aren't such a problem). I'll report back on what kind of success we have!

I agree, I believe he was much too little at 8 weeks to be taken from mum. He was very scared and that's probably why he kept weeing on the bed. That's also the reason I haven't been too tough with the discipline up until now - he was just a little baby.

We bought him from a vet who had been given the pregnant mum by a local breeder who was closing down. He was the last one left so I'd hate to think how old the others were when they left mum - she should've known better.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yesterday, in my lunch break I was wondering through the local shops here in town and one of my favourite country style furniture stores was closing down. I was quite excited to see they had reduced all teddy bears and giftware by 50%. Anyway, they had some cute little teddy bears just the right size for Kona so I bought one for $3.20. Now given my previous encounters with a certain feline child (Tatiana), experience told me that he would probably ignore it and proceed to play with anything other than the purchased toy.

Suprise! As soon as I pulled it out of the bag he pounced on it whilst it was still in my hand! He thinks it's the little sister he should have! He plays and plays and plays with this poor, defenceless little teddy bear until he is all tuckered out and falls asleep on top of it!

Ahhhh, there is a god.... another little success - maybe there is hope for little Kona. :pinky:
post #6 of 24
Oh, Lisa, bless his baby heart; he was lonely! I'm so glad you bought that little bear. Yes, they are little monsters when kittens, but we can't forget that they're brand new and don't know how to handle this big world or us. But we must look like gigantic monsters to such little eyes; yet, we're all they have for comfort. I'm so silly; I have tears in my eyes! Well, it's touching to hear about your success.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jeanie,

Yeah, it does bring tears to your eyes - we got so caught up in what we wanted or expected from this furry little guy and our grief at losing Tatiana was also in the way. We need to realise that this little guy has been grieving too - he misses the unconditional love that was showered upon him by his mum. Here we are, two big monsters yelling at him, locking him in dark rooms and now, spraying him with a water bottle! Quick call the cat protection council!

I'm sure he'll continue to progress in a positive direction as will our relationship with him. Just last night we had a "snugglefest" on the lounge - I just kept patting and patting, rubbing his little forehead and stroking his little rubbery ears and the purring just kept getting louder and louder - must have gone on for about 30 minutes - very sweet.:tounge2:
post #8 of 24
He is being a kitty and I agree with the others, he left mom and littermates way to early. It will also help when he is old enough to get him neutered, that will calm him down as well, but right now he is way to young for that. I am glad you got him a bear, I use pound puppies with the orphans that come through here, and they all cuddle up to the stuffie and adopt it as their own. Good luck, he really sounds like there is a sweet kitty underneath all that kitty play.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
How old before I can get him neutered do you think? Our RSPCA (animal shelter) does them at just 8-12 weeks - what do you think? I would like to do it as soon as possible but I also want to make sure that it done with his welfare in mind.
post #10 of 24
I wouldn't take them in at 8 weeks, I don't take mine in till they are 5 months. Any earlier and most vets in my area advise against it. But I am sure different vets have their own set of procedures to follow.
post #11 of 24
Lisa - I am sooooooooo thankful that things are improving on your home front. You are a GREAT kitty momma! HEY! How about a pic of this little guy that has stolen away your hearts?
post #12 of 24
Lisa they haven't proven anything yet but it is thought that when a male cat is neutered that young their urethra doesn't develop fully and is too narrow and they can have urinary troubles later in life. Like I said there has been no definite word on it but this is thought by a lot of veterinarians. We won't neuter a a cat that is less than 5 months old.
post #13 of 24
Lisa, I am so happy that you and the kitten are bonding. I'd like to see pictures too. I agree with Jessica. He should be neutered at approximately 6 months old, according to what my vet says. You should consult your own vet, of course.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your input - really appreciate it. Think I'll wait till around 5 or 6 months of age before we get Kona neutered.

Sleeping with Mummy & Daddy Update!!!!!

Well we brought the date forward for the "sleeping with mummy and daddy" trial. Kona started sleeping in our bed last Thursday night and he loved it - woke up pretty early and wanted to play "bities" though. Since then he's settled a bit more and he's much more content. Whenever he starts to play "bities" in bed, we say "No" and put him on the floor out in the cold - he learned pretty quickly that it doesn't pay to play "bities" in mummy and daddy's bed!

He is still accident free, he does a wee before he comes to bed with us and when I get up in the middle of the night I take him to the litter tray but he doesn't go. I think he's getting bigger now and doesn't have to go so often - he waits till we all get up in the morning and then goes to his tray.

Ahhh, I see the light :tounge2:
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
I've taken a few photos of Kona and scanned them in - still trying to remove the red eye (forgot to put the red-eye reduction feature on). As soon as I've rectified the red eye problem I'll definately put his photo up so you can all go "Awwhhhhh - how cute" :tounge2:

You know what? I whinge to mum about how horrible he is and how he screams and carries on constantly - whenever she comes over he's as sweet as pie and curls up on her lap and purrs and purrs! She can't understand what we're on about - sure enough, as soon as she leaves he's at it again "Meeeeeowwwwwwwwwww, Meeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwwwwwww!"

(AKA "Kitty Momma" - thanks Deb!)
post #16 of 24
he sure knows how to work the house already! (hehehehehe) can't wait for the pics.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

After reading recent posts about biting kittens I thought I'd try the "academy awards approach". Starting last night, whenever Kona bit me too hard I screamed and yelled and held the bitten area as if incapacitated! Well, you should have seen the look on the little guys face! He was horrified that he had hurt me so badly! He was quite upset and obviously felt really, really bad for what he had done. Of course, his learning disability got in the way and we needed to go through it multiple times - but in the end he understood! Woohooo!!!!

Verdict: Academy Awards Approach Works


PS. I will get to that photo eventually
post #18 of 24
That's what I do, too! They don't hold it against you because you sound as though you're in pain. I wouldn't let the kitten read this if I were you. Who knows? They might be learning things we don't know about. They already have the upper hand; no use giving them any more manipulative power!
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
I've discovered that if one lacks the acting talents of Meg Ryan, the Academy Awards approach can be difficult to apply on a long term basis!

When my attempts at an Academy Award performance fail I still need to resort to the water spray bottle. Thank god for that little device!

I guess it's all about having options available - when one approach fails have another ready to apply!
post #20 of 24
You need to be careful with both the "academy awards" approach and the water pistol. It might be that he looks so shocked because he's scared. In the long run, he might actually become more aggressive because he'll grow to be afraid of you and what he considers to be your unexpected behavior.

What I would do instead is this:
First, acknowledge his need for playtime that is slightly aggressive. He's a kitten and needs this kind of playtime. Expect this behavior to last until he's at least a year old, possibly later (although it should diminish with time). That doesn't mean you should let him bite and scratch you, but you need to provide a good alternative in the form of interactive playtime.

The best thing actually would be to get him a playmate - another kitten his age. That way the kittens will play their aggressive games with each other rather than with you. You should do that as early as possible as he was taken away from his mom and littermates at such a young age he may have difficulties bonding with other cats as an adult.

If you can't adopt another cat than playing with him with a fishing rod type of cat toy is an excellent way to let him release his pent-up energies in a non-harmful way. Move the toy at the end of the line as if it were a mouse, changing speeds, hiding behind objects etc. and watch your kitty stalking the toy and charging at it Let him catch it from time to time so he doesn't get to frustrated. Play like this for 15-30 minutes at a time for at least 2-3 times a day (the more the better).

You should see a definite improvement within days, but expect some amount of aggressive nontheless. When that happens, avoid shouting or any form of punishment and simply walk away to let the kitten cool down for a while. If possible initiate a play session that doesn't involve your hands (as explained above). If he has caught your arm or ankle and is grabbing it with his claws, try to divert his attention with your other hand (preferably holding a toy or something else) and when he lets go, back away without shouting.

Stick to this for a while and you should also see improvement with his loud meowing as it could very well be stress related - he needs to get all his energies out in the form of aggressive play - that's what being a kitten is all about

Best of luck and let us know how it's going! Love to see his pics too!
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Anne,

Believe it or not we do all of that too! Oh, I don't know, it's so hard being a new mum!

Kona has FOUR catstands with scratching posts - one is an absolute duluxe model with stairs and a cubby hole, he has different soft balls and teddys attached with elastic to his stands he plays with often. He has a snoopy beany baby, a handmade teddy bear and plenty of different types of balls and other assorted toys.

We play games with him, make cool play toys out of boxes but he seems to need contstant challenges - he gets bored very easily. He's really happy when he can play outside - actually that's when he's most happy. Problem is, he's much too little to play outside unattended. Whenever we can we let him out for a play - we have to watch him constantly though. He still doesn't know about the dangers of the road, the 2 big vicious dogs next door and that it's not safe to be climbing around under the chassis of my husband's 4X4 (he got stuck in there last weekend!). After a day outside with us on the weekend he's quite well behaved and sleeps very soundly :tounge2:

I guess we need to set aside even more time to play with him. I agree, another kitten would be wonderful - just need to convince my husband of that! Tom won't let me have another kitten - says it will cost too much and that it would mean "double trouble". Must admit, I've got my eye on a litter of Russian Blue babies that will be ready in about a month though

post #22 of 24
Lisa, I have to concur with Anne. Using the spray gun is not the best idea, because sometimes it teaches the cat to fear water as well as you. Instead of *screaming in pain* try blowing gently once, into Kona's face, tell him no and walk away. You can also use Bear for a substitute of your fingers and feet. When Kona bites, put Bear down for Kona to reach, and walk away from your kitty. Good luck
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Don't get me wrong guys, we only use the water gun occasionally! We're not that horrible that we're busting to spray him whenever he does anything wrong! Firstly we use "No", then we try diversion tactics and simply walking away from him. It's only during a very violent attack that we use the "Academy Awards" approach or if that fails (and when his teeth have absolutely locked onto your arm [and you have visions of a siamese kitten attached to your arm forever]) that we need to resort to the water spray gun.

Thanks Hissy for the blowing idea - I'll try that one tonight!

post #24 of 24
Hi, Lisa:

Although you can't do anything about this because of the circumstances in which you got Kona, the biting is very likely related to being taken too early from his mom. One of the important things a mother cat does is teach the rambunctious kitten not to bite hard enough to hurt (also gets it from his kitten kin, LOL!). Add to this that Kona's obviously a high-energy Siamese, and I can see your dilemma.

If you want to try an alternative to yelling or the water pistol, I've found that mimicking Mom can work with some kittens. Normally, the mother cat will take the kitten by the scruff and pin the kitten gently to indicate that this isn't acceptable behavior. What I have done is said "No!" firmly, scruffed the kitten (and by this I mean, put your hand on the scruff area... not lift him or pull him by the scruff which should never be done) and pinned him for a few seconds before letting go. This is not meant to be a punishment (I can't say that enough), so don't "muscle" Kona: simply restrain him for a few seconds and let him go.

Another thing... tone of voice is very important. When you tell him no, it must be short and firm, very no nonsense. If your tone of voice is (sorry, no nice way to say this) wheedling or angry, Kona may not respond... in the first instance because he senses you're not in control and therefore not dominant and in the second there may be an aggressive response out of fear.

This doesn't work with all kittens.... the problem with this method, or yelling, or the water pistol, is that the kitten may have an aggressive response, so if he gets very agitated and stressed when you do it, you'll have to look for another method. There is no real magic cure except being consistant... and that's the most important thing, because if you do it sometimes and not others, the kitten is getting a mixed message (which is no message at all). And it's important that every one who deals with Kona use the same response.

I would also look at all your play behavior... do you hand play with Kona (by this I mean use your hand to rough house with him)? If you do, I'd stop it, given his biting behaviour, because you're teaching him to associate rough play with human skin (hence any skin is fair game). Redirect that kind of play to a stuffed animal that he can bite and kick to his heart's content.

Edited by TDT, who can't seem to type today...
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