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I'm an inexperienced kitty owner

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have a four month old kitten and I have some concerns. Her name is Lexie and I have never had a cat before.

My first concern is when I'm leaving for work in the morning she knows exactly when I'm leaving and sometimes gets out of the apartment before I can catch her and I'm not sure what to do to keep her inside.

Next, I need some help and advice on toys. She seems to get bored with them very easily. I have purchased balls. Balls with fur on them, cat nip inside, bells inside. A stuffed animal with catnip inside. I don't know what to get her next. She also has a tendency to climb all over my furniture onto my end tables onto my computer desk. She likes playing with my spider plant as well.

Now, with my Christmas Tree up I have everything up a little ways but, I'm afraid she is going to pull the tree over. The stand is sturdy though, do I have to worry?

I guess I just need help all around. I want her to be a happy kitty but I'm lost as far as training her. Can someone please help me?

I also was wondering about the catnip that you can purchase in stores. How do you make something that they can play with it. Do you place it inside a sock or something?

A concerned "inexperienced" owner.

post #2 of 16
Michelle, don't feel bad, I am going through the same thing...I am not an experienced cat owner either, as far as inside cats, I always kept them outside, but now I have fallen in love with one of them,Merlin, and trying to get him used to inside life....it is awful....

he does use the litter pan (thank god) but...I also have alot of houseplants, and my spider plant was upside down on the carpet this morning...I was not happy. Merlin is 3 months old, how old is yours?

He (Merlin) seems to be going through a stage....I hope that's all it is... he is onery, and won't listen.

I keep saying NO to him, but then he looks at me like I'm mean....it's hard to discipline them isn't it.

Maybe someone else with more experience can help us out here.
post #3 of 16
oops, sorry....guess you said he was 4 months... so he is just slightly older than Merlin....does yours like to bite at you when you pet him?

Merlin seems to think my hand is a chew toy.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi Debby:

Yes, Lexie likes to chew at my hand when I am petting her as well. (at least I think she is a she) I seem to always telling her no all the time also. I feel so bad she doesn't seem to listen.

Thanks for the quick reply.

post #5 of 16
Oh no problem! I have been having the same problem, so I guess it's nice to know I'm not alone!

I know Merlin is only playing, but it HURTS sometimes!!!

And I seem to be saying NO all the time too....like when I catch him climbing up my expensive drapes, or digging the dirt out of one of my plants....arrrggggggh

Guess we have to hope they outgrow this phase, unless someone else has some more experience with this.

It should be easy by now, to tell if Lexy is a girl or boy...just look, and if there are two "holes" right next to each other....she's a she....

and if there is a space of about a quarter inch, between the anus, and a furry hump, for lack of a better word...lol....it's a male...
post #6 of 16
Hi mblack and welcome aboard (no pun intended )!

Having a four months old kitten can be a lot of fun but they do need some extra attention

Well, you've come to the right place. I think we can help you out on most of these things.

First, did you get Lexie to the vet for a check up? If you haven't, now is a good time. She needs her shots and she also needs to be spayed - 4 months is old enough to be spayed. You shouldn't wait much longer with spaying, as you want to do that BEFORE she goes into heat (she could be by the time she's six months). Oh, the vet can tell you for sure if it's a he or a she...

As for the other questions.

Regarding the Christmas tree please read this article Christmas tips list and let me know if you have more questions.

As for the toys - Lexie, like most cats, is less interested in toys she's familiar with. I guess they seem less like prey . What you should do is hide them away and present her only with 2-3 toys every week. The next week hide these 2-3 toys and get out some others. Rotating the toys like that makes them seem new and exciting.

You may like to read this article as well -
Cat Play

As for getting on high places - well, this is what cats like . She needs to have some places to climb on, the more the merrier. It gives her a sense of larger territory. You can set out specific no-cat zones, but you can't deny her of all of them.

I'm really glad you came here. I think as an inexperienced owner you can bring up a lot of fasicnating cat issues that we can discuss.

Just one thing, with any other questions could you please split them into different posts in the different forums? Like bring up play issues in the behavior forum, nutrition issues in health and nuntrition etc.

That way, it will make it easier for others to find what they may be looking for.

post #7 of 16
Welcome to the world of kittydom!
My guys bored easily as kittens too. I found putting catnip in a sock, rolling it into a ball and inserting it into the toe of the other sock, then tie a knot on top - makes a great toy - and at 10 & 12 years old they still love it! I used everyday cotton socks...not furry socks.
Now for kitty training. To train a kitten you must be consistant - don't say no one time and let her do it another time. I used a water gun (squirt bottle) - and said a firm NO with a squirt. In time, all you'll need to do is pick up the bottle and shake it . Works like a charm and doesn't harm the kitty.
post #8 of 16
Good idea!!! I was thinking of trying a squirt bottle myself!!!
post #9 of 16
I have the same problem with my kitten (well, she's not such a kitten anymore , 9 months!) thinking my hand is a chew toy. Nothing I've tried has helped with this. I can put my hand out of reach, but she still keeps trying to go after it. I also have the problem with her trying to escape every time I open the door. I live in an apartment building, but I made sure to get her a name tag with my phone number on it just in case (she can run, fast!). She doesn't really do this very often anymore though. I don't know why - I think she's more afraid of what's outside than she used to be. You just have to be very careful when you open the door, and don't leave it open when you're not watching.

You certainly don't have to go out and buy toys for your kitty. Mine prefers her home made type toys to the boughten ones anyway. Tabby loves to play with ear plugs (I always wear earplugs to bed - I can't stand any noise when I'm sleeping), but Tabby is always taking them away to play and then they get lost. Her latest favourite is one of those squishy stress ball things. Anything small that can bounce around works well, like bottle caps for example. Cumpled up paper is good too, or wave a paper towel or kleenex around (or use a fan to blow them across the room! This makes a mess though)

[Edited by Megan on 12-18-2000 at 02:50 PM]
post #10 of 16
Oh yes, Merlin loves crumpled up paper...if I throw it across the room, he practically fetches it!!! LOL
post #11 of 16
I thought I was experienced in raising kittens. My cats had kittens when I was 10 years old. They were so sweet and perfect! Now I am 22, living on my own, and have a 6 month old kitten. She is a hell-raiser. I swear she is Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. One minute she is nice and purring and cuddling, the next she is attacking my hands. She does not like people touching her rear paws (the front ones are fine) and if you get to close to her under-belly or hind legs she will attack even if she is purring and happy at the time. I can deal with the jumping on the counter, and even the scratching of furniture, but I am going nuts trying to figure out when she is going to scratch and bite me or (even worse) a guest. When I am home, I like to pay her a lot of attention b/c i am so rarely home, but attention to her always involves getting my hands scratched up. Should I just ignore her? I dont know what to do!
post #12 of 16
I am going through the exact same thing....one time Merlin may let me stroke and pet him, then the next time he is attacking and biting my hands. He even punctures the skin sometimes.

I wouldn't ignore your cat though, that might make it worse, I think for me, the best thing I do, is if he allows me to pet and love him, I do it for quite awhile, then as soon as he decides to start biting, I put him down and walk away....thus...no more attention.

I think maybe he is getting the hint that if he wants attention, he has to play nice....but it is still a long learning process. I have the bite marks and scratches to prove it.

The weird thing is, my friends kittens dont act like that at all!!! Maybe I spoil him to much or maybe it is just in his genetics, I dunno, but sometimes when he is biting and scratching me or the kids, I have to put him in a room alone, for "time out". this seems to cool him off a bit, then when he comes back out, he is calmer.

Let us know if you or anyone else comes up with some good ideas on this!
post #13 of 16
I moved this thread to the behavior forum, I hope that's okay.
post #14 of 16
A friend of mine has 2 kittens about a month younger than Ally, and they are the sweetest things you've ever seen, no biting or scratching at all!! Do you think temperment has to do with their background? Or maybe b/c my cat was spayed very young (2 months)?

I usually pull my hand away if she gets into attack mode. sometimes, if she is really playing, I put a glove on, and let her go at it. I figure, if she had a playmate, they would rough-house like that.

Another totally unrelated concern... She has some dark flaky things on the skin on her chin. It looks like dry skin or something, but its dark/black. its not completely noticable, unless you look up close, but I do not think it is a good sign. Anyone know what this is all about?
post #15 of 16
Well, yes the kind of attention the get as young kittens really matters. Then again so does moms personality too. Theres lots of factors in cats temperment. Yours should settle down some when she gets older, my brothers cat did. I dont think putting a glove on may be very good down the road. You are teaching her that hands are acceptable toys. I might just try to get one of the wand toys and make her play with that when she goes for the hands. Yes, a second cat makes life a little easier if you can do it. Cats will learn new stuff if you have the patients. Oh and when she hurts you squeel at a high pitch and say owe..owe...it usually works.
As for the black stuff, it may either be flea dirt or feline acne. Theres a few things that go with that. Fleas are the most common. If you have any more questions on that can you post it in the health section??
post #16 of 16
i learned along time ago that its a waste of momey for the most part to buy toys for my cats. they love brown paper grocery bags, crinkled up paper. I did buy one of those long tunnels, they love that thing and play together in it. i also brought a turbo scatcher which combines a scratcher with a ball they chase around the circle. tiny balls get lost under the furniture to easily so i quit buying those. I brought this big white fuffy mouse that you can put catnip in(closes with velcro) and they really like that one. If you go to http://www.catclaws.com they have some neat toys that are somewhat different then what you find in the local pet store. It gets easier as they get older.
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