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new kitten behavior - long... need advice!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
hey everyone i have posted here a few times before... i have 2 cats about a year and a half old, and i took in a kitten about 1.5 months ago.

the kitten has been to the vet already, but i have to keep him separate from the other 2. one, because i am scared he will spray, two because he will claw my new furniture, and three, because the other cats fight with him.

my question is, he has a biiig room upstairs with a window he can look out into the neighbor hood, a cat tree, some couches to lay on, toys to play with, dry food and water, a comfy bed and covered clean litterbox... and a nightlight at night. he is very spoiled....... he usually opts to lay at the bottom of the stairs (he even knocks his bed over to be able to lay down there) and he waits for me day and night.

he has gotten into this new routine of every time i went up there to check on him, his water would either be filled with litter and food, or knocked over on my carpet. so i then tried getting him an automatic water and feeder to avoid knocking it over. this doesnt work- now his new thing is to put toys in there, and then rolls them all over the carpet while they are sopping wet. JUST YESTERDAY, I CAUGHT HIM DOING THIS: he STANDS his 2 front feet in the water when he is drinking!!!!!! and then walks around right after. i now have an old upside down coffee table where his water is so that he cannot soak the carpet. but he manages to get so much water all over the table and rug in a matter of hours. i am SO completely lost on what to do.

he also jumps at my leg when i go up there and attacks my feet. he knocks pictures over, eats away at the couch, etc etc etc.. you name it.

i got him august 4 and he was about 5 weeks old. (found him at a gas station) when can i have him neutered already????????? hes nuts! not like my other 2 when they were babies.

i have no clue how to handle his behavior but i need it to change ASAP or my fiance will want to find him a new home and i don't believe in "throw-a-ways" if you know what i mean! (giving the cat away after they get attached)

post #2 of 12
to start with he sounds like he wants to be where the action is and since he is confined he is making action, this is what kittens do. So:

1.first learn to clip his claws or put soft paws on him.
2 talk to the vet about how soon he can be neutered.
3. put down shower curtains under his water and then some super absorbent towels so his paws will be drier by the time he reaches the carpet. A cat can't be socialized in a room alone, if you are going to have multiple cats they need to learn to live together ASAP. those are my thoughts but maybe a far more experienced person has another view or tips.
Best of luck! Diana
post #3 of 12
I agree. He sounds like a VERY bored kitten, and that he needs more time with you, and possibly your other cats, as soon as you can, before these bad habits become ingrained.

We went through something similar with my last foster kitten, and I must say, it was pretty miserable around here, with 4 adult cats in a bad mood and jumpy (our foster never gave them a break- she was so energetic, and rough and tumble-yes, nuts!!! that she played with our Boxer dog!), and a kitten whom I had to train beyond anything I ever had to do with my other cats (and we've had several litters, and bottle fed litters, over the last 14 yrs), so that she would be adoptable (she was a limb attacker, too). But she had free run of the house, so I could properly socialize her, and I worked with her all the time (I stay at home) to get her ready to go, and at 6 months, she was .

If it turns out that this kitten is disrupting your life and your other cats' lives to the point that you can't see living like this for the next 15 yrs, then there is no shame in contacting a rescue or no-kill shelter to take this kitten. They usually have foster homes, often with kittens his own age or about, and other cats who are used to putting up with "bad mannered" kittens, and he will be properly sociallized by people (and often, cats!) with plenty of experience. Or, many rescues will post courtesy listings, if you want to find him a new home, but don't want to turn him over.

I feel a little guilty (but less and less each day ) about being relieved about her being gone to a new home, but she went to a good home with a cat much closer to her own age, who was lonely after losing her sister, and my cats are back to their old selves (and I didn't even realize how much I missed them being their normal selves, until our foster was gone), and we are all happier. I have come to a resolution in my heart that I did the right thing, because my first responsiblity is to my other cats who were here first, and, of course, my family. And I believe my foster is better off, not being around all the stress of my older cats, and the stress that caused everyone else.

That being said, there are several threads around about acclimating a new cat to your old cats (and vice versa), and socializing your kitten- I will take a look around and see if I can find them for you later (sorry, am running to the end of my toddler's naptime ), and you might want to do a search on your own, because you know better what kind of advice you are looking for. Good luck!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the help....
my main concern is him spraying... because i wont know until the damage is done if i dont keep my eye out for him........ and this is a brand spanking new house so i would really be pissed off!

lol, i know it isnt the best to have him up there constantly, i mean i do what i can, but he is just a complete terror. lol

one night while a hurricane was supposed to hit i had the three of them in my bedroom which is a spacious area, with little food and beds of their own, and they fought the entire time... then another night i tried sleeping on the couch upstairs to give him some company and he terrorized me and bit me to the point where i pack everything up at 3:30 am and came back downstairs.

when i get him neutered i think it will be abig help so he calms his little behind down. i will try to incorporate them more often and keep my eye on him for the scratching of the furniture i guess.

what do you think is an appropriate amount of time per day to let them lounge around (in his case terrorize the others) during a day? 20 minutes 3 or 4 times per day? an hour all at once? i have no clue.
post #5 of 12
Do you have a room that you can shut just him in with you while you do something, like cook or fold laundry? That would probably be a good place to start- just as much one on one time as you can. Then maybe one cat at a time, for 20 max, depending on the amount of fur flying . Also, put some blankets or something where they can get used to smelling each other. Maybe a large crate for a small amount of time each day (preferably after you've worn him out playing ), so your cats can sniff noses with him, see him, but not have to fend him off. We had one of these for Gretta until she was big enough to play with the dog ) Prepare for them to act like they've never seen him before though, when he comes home smelling like the vet, too . Here's you a thread that includes a couple of posts about me dealing with my foster kitten's rough behavior:

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98944 (pgs 1 and 2)

If you get him fixed at 12 weeks, I wouldn't think he would be spraying yet. And if he does, get an enzyme based cleaner- Nature's Miracle is one that comes to mind, just make sure it is an enzyme cleaner, so that it will totally break down the urine and the smell, so he won't go back to it. And keep in mind, both male and female cats can spray! My oldest female cat feels the need to spray my neighbor's big heat pump every so often (probably because we have a "neighborhood" tomcat who makes his rounds).
And make sure you have 2 kinds of scratching posts, one vertical, one horizontal- most cats prefer one way or the other. Put it where he likes to scratch, not where you want him to scratch, and slowly move it to a better place, if needed. You may have to protect the surrounding furniture for a while, either with fabric or plastic or, if your chairs or couch are fabric, tape- I have packing tape on one corner of mine, for one of my cats

I hope it works out for you, but if it doesn't after a while, please keep in mind what I said before- there's no point in the two of you making each other miserable, when you could both be happy, if just not together (Sounds like dating advice, doesn't it )
post #6 of 12
He's way too young to expect good behaviour from, and does need to be where the action is both to socialize and just to have some fun. Cats also need to be played with, not just have toys ('what are these for'?) put down. He's unlikely to spray til he's much older so forget that for now. And dry food alone won't do it for a kitten - he needs to eat properly a few times a day, and canned is much better for him. You took him in, now give him a chance to grow properly.
post #7 of 12
It's wrong to keep a kitten isolated like this. That is possibly why he's wrecking things. Cant you integrate him with your other cats - they'll get used to him eventually?
Not having a dig at you - honest. It annoys me though when people get cats for one reason or another, then get angry when the furniture gets ruined. We used to breed pedigree cats (Orientals and British) and we bought furniture that wouldn't be damaged by the cats. However, I would rather have cats in the house than all the pretentious, posh or smart furniture in the world!!!! When you moved our armchairs, the back fell out it had been scratched so much by the kittens. Then no one else saw it. When we had people come to the house, we moved the furniture so as the damaged areas weren't on show! To my way of thinking you either have cats or posh furniture. Personally, I'd rather have cats. Ultra posh furniture is pretentious anyway!
post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by Lizmarie View Post
To my way of thinking you either have cats or posh furniture. Personally, I'd rather have cats. Ultra posh furniture is pretentious anyway!
not sure how you define posh, but i have nice stuff and there are no rips or tears in anything. Spending alot of time with a cat, redirecting them and giving them many other objects to scratch and mess up is the key and then showing them how to use the stuiff and rewarding them when they do. But the original poster might think that since cats are independent and take care of themselves so well that she doesn't have to intervene and teach the cat. Cats get socialized by their mothers and having been taken from a mother cat, the human needs to intervene and let the kitty know what is acceptable and what isn't, her other cats could help her but not if they are rarely placed in the same room. Human babies left alone become holy terrors too. This kitty needs an involved mommy and peers to learn how to behave socially. so maybe it is time to consider helping the new kitty find a home where people are ready to take on the time investment in having a young animal and guiding them towards reasonable behavior. sorry. didn't mean to dump.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
He's way too young to expect good behaviour from, and does need to be where the action is both to socialize and just to have some fun. Cats also need to be played with, not just have toys ('what are these for'?) put down. He's unlikely to spray til he's much older so forget that for now. And dry food alone won't do it for a kitten - he needs to eat properly a few times a day, and canned is much better for him. You took him in, now give him a chance to grow properly.
i do play with him every single day for some time... i don't leave him in there in a dark little closet... i mean it is not cruel.... what about people who have one cat and leave him or her in their apartment while they go to school and work during the day??? are they cruel? i use the toys with him, and only leave a few for him to have when i amnot there (which he dunks in the water). i bet if i said i picked all his toys up when i left and took them away, i would be criticized for that. he does socialize with the other cats every day as well. i think people are getting the wrong idea here. they think i am leaving him up there in a cruel lonely way, and that is TOTALLY wrong. he is fed wet food 2 times every day and always has water and dry food to eat at his leisure. yes, you are right, i took him in. which most people would not have done. i saw him at a gas station in a very busy part of town... it took me 2 hours to get him out of the bushes, and i took him right to the vet. i just know that most people wouldnt have bothered, let alone do what i did. not to pat myself on the back but i have a heart for strays who have lost their way. i am giving him more than the chance to grow properly, just had a few questions, thats all. i am loving and caring for him, and he is more than welcome in my home, but there are restrictions.

i have 2 others that i couldnt live without. in our old apartment we bought brand new furniture before we got our other 2 cats, and they scratched that up something awful. that furniture is now in the room that the kitten is in. my fiance wanted to declaw them and i was first against it, but we ended up doing it (front only) with a vet we trusted. contrary to many websites and people who say it isnt good for them, they are just fine, sweet as ever, hold no grudge against me whatsoever, and they are extremely healthy. that is why we have new furniture, i never said it was "posh" furniture... i spent a lot of money on it because our other cats cannot scratch it anymore, and did not expect to have any other animals. so i prefer to have my cats, and the furniture i choose, not one or the other. i hardly think i am being cruel to him, should i have left him in the middle of a gas station on a busy highway? i don't think that would be a good idea. not to be a bitch, but i think everyone got the wrong impression of me and what i was trying to ask. i raised my other 2 exactly this way and they are the best cats a person could ask for. just wondering why he was different.
post #10 of 12
IMO, isolating the kitten to a room is definately the wrong way to go about things (and spraying/peeing/furniture/carpet/etc would be the least of my worries right now). He'll get spoiled rotten, and because you give him your sole attention while in that room, he'll come to expect that from you every time you're around.

If possible, you might consider adopting another kitten (one with about the same energy level). Actually, that might be your only option if you plan on keeping him. I don't think your two cats will ever get along with the kitten because they're declawed, they're basically unarmed vs. a very well armed kitten, and to them, that's probably downright terrifying. But if you want them to coexist in the same house, you're going to have to get them accustomed to each other sooner than later.

Just my opinion, but I don't like those softpaws things (the silicone claw covers). You put them on with superglue (toxic) and they can potentially bite em off and swallow them (choke/impaction risk). Clip nails if you have to, but don't declaw (use a blindfold if cat refuses to let you clip claws) though the more you cut their nails the more they scratch to get their hone back, just causes less damage. Cats just aren't cats without their claws, they use them for everything, covering their poo, climbing the cat tree, playing, getting a message across, kneading their favorite nap spot, they need their claws. Also shows how careful they are when they make every effort to save your skin when you play with them (my old cat's claws were needle sharp and never clipped, but I've never felt them on my skin even during a good wrestling session).

If you're gonna play with him do it at the same time everyday (get a cycle going) and play hard, like till he's had enough and wants a nap. Change it up constantly (i.e. rattle ball AND string, and maybe a few sec of wrestling with a stuffed animal thrown in here and there, maybe hide and seek and make him RUN for it when you find him). Just becareful how you treat him, any maltreatment will come back right at you full force (cat will be unsociable, mean, be unapproachable, turn into that instant swat/bunny kick/chomp-out-of-your-arm cat instead of the instant headbutt cat). It's REAL tough when you got a kitten from hell, but be gentle and patient.

Sorry for the humongous post btw...
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by daisy00826 View Post
but i think everyone got the wrong impression of me and what i was trying to ask. i raised my other 2 exactly this way and they are the best cats a person could ask for. just wondering why he was different.
He's different because all cats are individuals. Where one kitten will be easy to care for, another may be totally destructive. Tbh, there's nothing in your original post that doesn't sound like perfectly normal kitten behaviour so I'm not sure what suggestions you were expecting. You don't say how long you leave him on his own, but a kitten of that age needs either another kitten/cat to play with or a human there much of the time, otherwise is likely to find his own amusement, and you can hardly blame him for that. He wants to play and if there's no-one to play with he'll have to make up his own games - and knocking things over is a favourite kitten game He's just doing what kittens do. I wouldn't rely on him calming down after neutering either - mine didn't calm down after he was neutered! Some calm down as they get older and some take their time! Mosi is calming down a bit now at 9 months. I'm not sure why you're so anxious about him spraying? He's unlikely to spray at that age, but he sounds old enough to be neutered now anyway so I'd get him done asap.
post #12 of 12
Daisy, it sounds like you have done a great deal in rescuing this kitten and in giving him great care. But like people, kittens are unique individuals and just because your other two cats developed in the way that fits into your household well with the exact same upbringing doesn't mean this new one will.

We had a kitten wander into our yard this past spring--the offspring of a wild mama in the neighborhood. He's an active one with the heart of a mighty little hunter and I have no doubt he would be an aggressive, destructive animal if he was in a confined situation without a considerable amount of time spent in contact with us. As it is he has the run of the house and spends hours with me since I'm home plus he follows the kids around when they're home and even with that he's STILL a bundle of energy, looking for mischief and action wherever it can be found! We had him neutered at the earliest possible age because he was ambushing everything and everyone that moved but I don't know that it made one iota of difference in terms of calming. When it came time to name him my kids seriously made the suggestion of calling him W.A.K. for Wild Attack Kitten. This is total temperament because this little guy had all the attention, TLC, training, and gentle treatment a kitten could ever wish for.

By way of contrast, one of our neighbors took in his sibling. Despite spending 4 more weeks with her wild mama, from the beginning the littermate is a sweet natured, calm female who they promptly named "Baby". They were originally scheduled to get our kitten until we found the littermate and we're all very thankful they didn't because our guy with his maniac rambunctious ways would have been a terrible fit for their quieter, all female household. Sure, there are loads of times we wish ours would be more of a lap cat and we're glad that mostly he's waiting until 6 am to wake us up instead of 3 am like he used to. And he does a whole bunch of stuff we'd never...uh...exactly planned for in a cat...like he never ever cuddles, sleeps in the bathroom sink, spills his food all over the kitchen floor, races around the house at warp speed until he's panting, routinely hops into the shower with us to test the water only to discover (again!) that it's too wet for his tastes, attacks spots on the wall because they look like bugs, hauls up wet laundry and delivers it to my feet like prey, climbs onto the kitchen table despite consistent training otherwise, is in our faces constantly, etc, etc, ETC. But somehow Pippin just fits into our household: wild, crazy, difficult behavior and all. Except for the times he digs his claws into our legs (and well, when he escapes out the front door when we're running late) mostly we just laugh at his antics. He's in his true element the few times we take him outdoors--health and safety aside, honestly we know that in most ways this cat would have been far happier spending his days prowling the nearby fields with other cats instead of being stuck in our house. That didn't wind up being his lot in life but maybe realizing that makes him easier to accept for the cat he is and not being too frustrated for him not being the cat we'd imagined he'd be.

I don't think it's wrong to discover that a pet doesn't mesh well with a family and to find a more suitable arrangement, provided it's a caring loving situation. You've given this kitten a chance at a safer life by rescuing him and caring for him but I definitely don't think it would be a "throw-a-way" if you were to decide he's not a good fit for you/your household and would look for a home that he would fit into better. I wouldn't worry at all about attachment at this point--he's young--people here foster kittens all the time to give them a loving start in life, knowing their affections will transfer to their new owners when the time comes.

If you decide to keep him, do it knowing you'll need to accept him for who he is because there's no guarantee he'll change.
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