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First time with a kitten -- some simple questions...

jbr4gg
October 4th, 2006, 11:10 PM
Hey everyone!

First time cat owner here and new to the forums so let me apologize if this is in the wrong forum, I didn't really necessarily think that my questions would fit well in either the training section or in the health section so I hope this is the right place :angel: . On to why I am here though...

As I mentioned above, I am a first time kitten owner. I adopted my 13 month old kitten about a week and a half ago from the local humane society. He adapted well and very quickly to his new home (as far as I can tell anyway) and was already litterbox trained. However, my first question centers around this.

I have almost all tile in my apartment and only a few area rugs for carpet. Litter being tracked around was becoming sort of a big deal to me since it was so visible (honestly it probably wouldn't have bothered me as much if I just couldn't see it ;) ), so I threw down a towel under the litterbox for the time being.

Apparently, Odin much preferred the towel to the litterbox (I have one of those dome-shaped ones with a detachable roof that has a hole in it for entry/exit) and I noticed that on two separate occasions he urinated on the towel instead of the litterbox. I quickly realized that this probably wasn't a big deal and just did away with the towels. When I was at the store the other day I noticed a few of the litterbox mats and thought I'd give one of those a try. I purchased one which essentially looks pretty much like fake grass except for the "fibers" are far more rigid, a good bit longer, and its black/gray. Since then, though, I have had two separate instances of him deciding to pee on that instead of in the box again.

I've washed it, rolled it up and put it away for now but it really seems to help as far as general cleanliness of my place. I never had a problem with litter (and sometimes feces) being tracked when the mat or towels were down. Is Odin just getting confused about where to go and is this something he'll get better at as he gets older? Or am I going to have to find a different solution or just deal with the (I'll be the first to admit it, minor) problem? Like I said this is my very first experience with having a cat as my dad was fairly allergic to them.

Onto the second question! I've been able to find a fairly good amount of information on the internet about biting, but I thought I would check with a community's personal experience with this issue before deciding if I need to do anything about it. It seems like Odin has increased the amount that he bites a *lot* in the last week or so to the point where I can wake up and if my leg is out from under the covers he could be gnawing on it. Honestly, the play biting/nibbling doesn't bother me too much because I understand that he IS a kitten but he can get a little wild sometimes, especially in the evenings when I am trying to calm him down before bed. I don't want him to not play with me but on the other hand I don't want him gnawing on my younger sister when she comes and visits, either (she is really young and is unsure about him so far). Also, tied to this issue is the fact that he has come to view my bed as a great place to "hunt" for things under the covers (namely my feet). Are both of these behaviors nothing to worry about and things he will grow out of?

Anyway, thank you very much to anyone who bothered to read through the tome I wrote. I know those probably seem like very simple, if not stupid, questions but like I mentioned I am pretty much in the dark about a lot of things when it comes to taking care of a kitten. I look forward to finding out what ya'll have to say about it :)

Thanks a lot guys,

jb

badger
October 4th, 2006, 11:47 PM
The behaviours you describe are typical of an active healthy kitten. Since he doesn't have another playmate, you're It!
Give him lots of playtime, especially in the evening. Get one of those laser pointers and make him run (the only risk is to his eyes, so don't let the beam get anywhere near his face). Throw balls of screwed up paper to him, he will quickly learn to bat them back for another go. Anything on a string. Those small plastic balls with the bell inside.
Protect your hands by always having a toy nearby, don't play/tease with your bare hands, his natural instinct is to bite. If he bites you unprovoked say NO and turn away or if he is on the bed, put him on the floor and turn away. He will learn.
I'd take the lid off the litter box and see if he likes it better. Put it in a fairly central place. What kind of litter are you using, some track more than others. At this age (and some people say forever) it should not be clumping litter because it sticks to their feet and they lick it off, which could cause serious internal problems (blocages, etc).
Maybe you could try something like newspaper around the litter box for now. Since a newspaper has no texture - which cats love - he may be less likely to pee on it.
Good luck!

MyBirdIsEvil
October 4th, 2006, 11:57 PM
I agree with badger.

You could also try switching litter, because some cats just don't like the texture of certain litters, and when given something else they'd rather pee on (such as the mat), they may use that instead.

Also make sure you constantly keep the litterbox cleaned out, because some cats HATE using litterboxes that are even a little bit soiled. If you're using clumping litter the litterbox may look clean but in fact need to be scooped.

chico2
October 5th, 2006, 07:40 AM
Like Badger says,he's just being a kitten and loves to play with things moving under a blanket.
My 4yr old"kitten"still does,but now understands NO..
I never liked the covered litter-boxes and tried it only once.
IMO the smell and the dust would be more concentrated if the box is covered,hence unpleasant for the cat.
No matter what litter you buy,some will always end up on the floor,I bought a higher litterbox,actually a Rubbermaid storage box and it helps.

dogmelissa
October 5th, 2006, 01:03 PM
I agree with a couple things; the biting behaviours are normal for a kitten, especially of his age (I assume you meant 13 weeks, though you typed yrs). Lots of toys... you can even make some really fantastic toys from "garbage". Crinkle a ball of tinfoil up... cut a 1" wide ring out of an empty toilet paper roll or papertowel roll (my mom's cat *loves* those!)... get an old sock, stuff it with tissue paper & some catnip (even at his age, he'll be attracted to the smell of catnip)... lasers are good, but reflections of your watch in a sun beam are less dangerous and challenge you, too. Have a good scratching post, too, the taller the better. Encourage him to climb it; cat trees are *awesome* for climbing up, but be careful he doesn't fall off.
You can try locking him out of your bedroom at night until he grows out of the "knawing" behaviours (he will), or keep a squirt bottle of water next to your bed and give him a squirt when you catch him biting on things he shouldn't be. If you're playing and he does get your hands/toes/arms, you need to stop the game immediately. Fold your arms, tuck your feet under, or walk away, depending on your position. Just for a few seconds. Make sure you give him lots of praise when he does play nicely (you can teach him the word "gentle").
My cats all went through a phase of "hunting" under the covers. As gross as this sounds, my ex-hubby had one of the cats laying between his legs (in a playful mood), and he farted; cat launched herself at his crotch. I thought it was funny, he learned a valuable lesson. And that cat was nearly 3 yrs old at that point, so the "hunting" things under the covers isn't just for kittens.

As for the litter; I'd 100% agree that a covered litter box is usually not appreciated by too many cats. Try it without the top and put back the "grass" mat and see if that's better. Also, try changing the litter (what are you using now?). There's so many alternatives on the market, including "pellet" forms, or crystals, which simply are too heavy to track. Buy small bags in case he really doesn't like it, then you don't have to throw out 40 lbs of litter. I use a generic clumping litter, and I actually have a litter "enclosure" with a carpet runner along the "entrance" so all the litter that sticks to their feet gets dropped on the carpet before they get out. One type of litter I'd highly recommend if he's not showing a 100% consistency with the box is called Cat Attract. Link: http://www.preciouscat.com/precious-attract-p-5.html
I use this stuff exclusively in a litter box for one of my kitties who used to pee on the floor (and now she doesn't!). It's expensive, but once he's consistent, you can change it out (slowly) for something less expensive if you want.
Most people will recommend a non-clumping formula for kittens, but the most important thing is the ingredients. There is a certain chemical (someone help me with the name of it?) in the clumping litter that can make cats sick, and some will say that if they eat it, they could get an intestinal blockage. I'd argue that cats aren't likely to ingest enough litter to get a blockage, but I am concerned about the dust getting into their lungs and then clumping in there. If I could get my cats to use it, I'd rather them use the corn-based litters, as they clump without being dusty, and if a cat does eat it, there's no chemicals to make them sick. But my cats don't like it. You should try it, though!

One other thing which can reduce or eliminate tracking are the top-entry cat boxes. I'd argue that they're maybe not a lot better than the dome-top ones, but if your kitty already uses a covered one, it might be worth a try. There is this one: http://www.hdw-inc.com/clevercat.htm but I think there's also another one which is kinda a two-tiered system; they come in the top, but don't jump directly into the litter, but onto another level of plastic, and then go down through another hole to the litter, so there's no way that litter can get sprayed out or tracked out (they may not make this anymore). The only problem might be that a kitten may not be able to jump into it, so you might have to give him a walkway to get up to it until he's bigger. Or you can build one of these: http://www.catsplay.com/harris012.php3

Hope that helps... please post pics!!!!
I'm kinda jealous that you have a kitten, they're so much fun. But my grownups are good, too. :)

Melissa

badger
October 5th, 2006, 02:22 PM
If you can't fart in your own bed without fear of attack...

jessymoka
October 5th, 2006, 03:01 PM
Ah, it seems like only yesterday I being woke up by having my big toe attacked :cat: ... how time flies!

Kittens like to "hunt", that is totally normal and he should grow out of it. When he is older and more mature, bed time will be cherished... but right now it's just fun. Wait until the first time you change your sheets.
Our orange tabby, Buzz... I couldn't make the bed with him around. I would have to close him out of the bedroom.
Totally normal.

As far as the peeing on the towel... Is he doing it on your area rugs too?
Some cats, neutered or not will urinate on clothing that is left on the floor.
Again, going back to Buzz... we adopted him at 6 years old from the Human society and he was neutered if I would allow a pile of clothes to accumulate on the floor, he would whiz on them.
Which can be frustrating if you have laundry issues... i.e. to much laundry, not enough time :(

Anyways... just my 2 cents, but maybe he is going to be a cat that you cannot leave towels, clothing etc. on the floor.

Good Luck... and try to enjoy the toe biting while you can.

dogmelissa
October 5th, 2006, 05:59 PM
If you can't fart in your own bed without fear of attack...

LOL.. Just *not* when the cat is in "hunt-mode" and laying between your legs, facing your head. He deserved it, IMO. :evil: