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-   -   I thought I knew all about cats, but I think kittens are a different story... (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=83259)

dollface January 16th, 2013 04:04 PM

I thought I knew all about cats, but I think kittens are a different story...
 
Hi everyone,

It's been awhile, but long story short, new boyfriend, new address and I don't have 2 cats but now I have a 4 month old kitten, recently found about 2 months ago. Here is my long winded story asking for advice:

So about mid-November, my boyfriend's mom got an email from her old work (around Hwy 427 area in Etobicoke) about a stray cat that was found and living in the office, and also asking is she knew anyone that wanted a kitten. My boyfriend replied and said "We do...", so on November 9th 2012, he drove down to the office and picked up this grey kitten and brought it home. It had food, bowls, toys and a litter box. When I came home that night and picked it up and held it, I fell in love immediately. She purred immediately anytime we paid attention to her and would knead the air if we picked her up. Over the weekend, we had no idea if we had a male or female kitten so we named it Smokey because of its fur.

On the following Monday night we took it to the Vet and found out it was a female and she was about 8 weeks old.

She asked the usual questions:
[B]-where she came from:[/B] a foundling.
[B]-any vomiting or diarrhea:[/B] she was very gassy all the time so we had brought a stool sample for them to test before her initial appt and it came back positive for worms so that explained the gassiness and her bloated belly.
[B]-what are we feeding her:[/B] I told her I would like to feed a canned diet and my boyfriend said he wanted to feed dry as well. The Vet said that he should listen to me because "dry food has become bad news for cats lately" (I was really shocked to hear this and was bracing myself for the worst when this topic came up), so it's great that she agrees with the canned but not so great when she says that the Royal Canin brand is really good and her kittens love it. I have seen the ingredient list and am not impressed. :yuck: She did not agree with the raw when I said I eventually wanted to feed that, she said "cats are domesticated enough that they don't need to eat raw food". :rolleyes: Ok, whatever, I can live with a Vet that does not object to canned food.

She came with dry food, but I went out right away and got her some Merrick's canned and she ate it instantly! And has done so everyday, she prefers it to the dry food that is left out all day, Blue Buffalo dry kitten food. I know, I know, dry food is bad, and believe me I try to tell my boyfriend that "dry food is the WORST thing you can feed a cat" everyday, but then he just says his "cat 12 years ago, who died at age 21, lived off of dry food and didn't die of any diseases", and then I say "not all cats are the same" and he uses that against me and thinks I don't know anything. It's very frustrating to get through his thick skull about this, considering I have gone through it with a previous cat who has had UTI's because of dry food! :wall:

So her first visit at the Vet consisted of worm diagnosis, an Upper Respiratory Infection and a black scab on her rear paw pad. We got medication for the URI (eye drops and oral meds), worms (oral meds) and she got a bandage for her foot, because the Vet had peeled off the black scab, in which she diagnosed it as some kind of burn. The Vet used a honey ointment and wrapped her foot up. That did not last long, she woke my boyfriend up in the middle of the night tearing it off and then him waking me up to help him :rolleyes:.

So we brought Smokey home, and she's been a pretty energetic kitten despite her foot and having either escaped her previous home or abandoned by her original owners, we'll never know. We did have a problem with her nibbling/biting us, but my boyfriend seemed to have corrected this with her.

We have a water cooler type bowl for her water. Her kitten dry food is fed out of a ceramic princess bowl. Her canned food is fed in a silver bowl. We've been feeding her Merrick canned, is this brand still okay to feed? I like the chicken varieties because I can see the chunks of meat she is getting, I will occasionally feed her the beef kind but it gets so jello-like in the fridge and gets hard to mix with water, so I try to avoid that one as much as possible. The last few weeks I have been trying out other grain free brands @ Global Pet Foods (in case Merrick has gone south as a brand in the last 2 years) such as Nature's Variety, Chicken Soup, Taste of The Wild (I think) and a few others. She eats any kind of canned that I put in front of her without any tummy problems so I think we're prepared for the scenario where Merrick is not the best choice for cats anymore. If she was allowed, she would claw up our legs just to get to the canned food faster than we could put it on the plate for her.

We have a cat tree for her, and my boyfriend also put boxed shelving on his wall and made it so she can jump up and down them like stairs or an extended jungle gym. Yes, she's very spoiled. :laughing: The kitten sideways jump is always funny, and on New Years day I saw her puff her fur up at the sight of my boyfriend's aunt's dog who was growling at her, she hissed back and tried to make herself look bigger.

Ok so now on to the problems I'm starting to see with her. Up until a couple weeks ago, we left the bedroom door open so she could sleep in her tree (which is in my boyfriends room where we sleep) and have access to the litter box in the bathroom and her food bowls in the hallway. This was going fine until she started to wake us up in the early hours of the morning to be fed, resulting in a grumpy boyfriend, and a grumpy boyfriend and energetic kitten do not mix well! So we started closing the door at night, where we get at least 8 hours of sleep and Smokey is locked out to either sleep on the couches in the living room or on the bed in the office room. My boyfriend claims she meows at the door @ 3 am but I never hear her.

So since we have been closing the bedroom door, she now has started to bite/scratch/swat me after a few minutes of either petting her or holding her. Both times I dropped her on the floor like a hot potato. She never does this with my boyfriend. The other night, she was laying on my boyfriend's mom and she was petting Smokey and then Smokey got up and attacked her face for no reason! We both play with her and take turns feeding and cleaning out her litter. I give her more treats than he does. He works from home for 6 hours and stays in unless he has to go out for work or whatever. I work at least 8 hours a day M-F and just want to come home to the loving kitten she used to be. Not this psycho cat who you're petting one minute and the next she gets crazy eyes and looks at you while moving her neck like a snake to figure out which angle she can sink her teeth/claws into you.

Does anyone have any advice on how to stop her sudden attacks? Do you think this is jealousy because I get to sleep in the bedroom and she doesn't even though I was there first? She seems very protective of my boyfriend (a trait in female cats that I was aware of that could be a problem in the future) but we got her together; she's home with him all day everyday while me and his mom go to work and get home in the evening. Is it possible that this is normal kitten behavior and she will grow out of it? Is it possible that when she is spayed this behavior will stop? She was very friendly when we got her, so I don't think she was a feral cat based on this notion but if there is a chance that she was, are these signs consistent with a kitten that was abandoned by her mother because the mother sensed something "not quite right" with her?

Ever since we got her, we've been watching the TV show "My Cat From Hell" on animal planet. No we don't think she's from hell, but it is really educational. So from what we have seen, we've tried to apply the tactics that Jackson tells his clients. I play with her, feed her and give her treats whenever possible yet she still attacks me. What else should I be doing? :confused: :(

Jim Hall January 16th, 2013 11:38 PM

gotta have play time gotta burn off some energy a long piece of ribbon or as big piece of string a laser tag or some thing to bat around? play just before bed tahts all i got good luck

marko January 17th, 2013 09:38 AM

To me this "sudden attacking for no reason" sounds like petting aggression.

Cats are weird that way - when you pet them too much they often get overstimulated and then bite or scratch.

They give out signs that they are about to attack (tail flicking, body changes like stiffening of the body, hackles may go up, ears changing position)... and if we are alert we will SEE these warning signs. If we are petting them while not alert (like while watching TV or multitasking) then it will seem like they just went psycho....But when we are alert and [B]immediately[/B] stop the petting at the first sign of this body posture change, then we can usually avoid these attacks....which are normal when cats are overstimulated.

Here's an article on cats that bite - hope it may help
[url]http://www.pets.ca/cats/tips/cats-biting-humans-pet-tip-187/[/url]

Longblades January 17th, 2013 05:21 PM

Double ditto Marko. Some cats don't like to be petted much. Kittens in particular may appreciate play more than petting. The signs they are getting fed up with petting can be very subtle, as little as an ear twitch. Try to observe but don't push it. If she gets you in your face it could be a pretty serious injury. Cats, like dogs, can pick one person over another too, that they will tolerate different things from.

pattymac January 17th, 2013 05:55 PM

Noella can be like that. She'll go from being all sucky and purring to biting and wanting to play, she has awesome bite inhibition and never bites hard so as soon as she starts to get like that, all attention stops and I put her down or just leave her alone.

tezster January 18th, 2013 09:40 AM

I'm by no means an expert, but her behaviour sounds to me like it could be petting aggression as well, at least in part. Often times, my 5-month old kitten uses biting as his first reaction when he's had enough of petting, or simply to communicate that he wants to start playing.

Since you mentioned you had two cats before, maybe you could consider adopting another kitten (or younger cat) to keep Smokey company? My kitten and mommy cat play and interact with each other constantly.

As far as the bedroom goes, I would say that it will take some time to establish a normal 'routine' that both you, your boyfriend, and Smokey feel comfortable with. I think this is especially true of kittens. They are a bundle of energy, and there are times when they will go absolutely bonkers and drive you crazy ;) I went back and forth through a couple of phases of having my bedroom door closed, then back to open, before things settled down.

dollface January 23rd, 2013 11:16 AM

Thank you to everyone for the very informative replies!

I should have known about petting aggression, from my previous bengal mix, Gizzy.

I guess I just figured that since we knew her from 8 weeks old and on, she loved being picked up and handled frequently. I assumed the signs would never show up or I didn't know they could start in different ways.

But we have taken her to the Vet, who confirmed petting aggression. And the "snake look", she thinks she's just playing but if she's getting aggressive with it then we were advised not to play with hands (we don't at all, but since she doesn't respond when called by her name, I usually wiggle my fingers for her to come, but she does see that as a toy sometimes so I have been trying different tactics for that, anyone have any ideas besides shaking the treat bag?) and no playing under blankets with our hands that she can't see.

I think we've all been conscious with watching her for signs while petting her, I mostly keep to the top of her head to which she starts purring instantly. It's still amazing to me how she can be purring and then immediately act out but scratching or biting the instant she doesn't like the petting. Maybe I'm just out of practice?

Also, we have been keeping the door open slightly instead of locking her out and it seems like she's been calmer lately. However, @ 5:30 am DAILY, she tries to wake ME up by purring in my ear, but when my boyfriend gets out of bed and goes to the door, she follows him and then he shuts the door and we get another hour or so's sleep. The other morning, I tried to do what he does, but when I left the room, she had lied down in MY spot! WTF! :laughing: Clearly, she has chosen him as her person. :rolleyes:

So I think everything is fine, except we don't know how to get her to respond to her name/come when called. If anyone has any ideas, that would be great ! But in the meantime, I will post some pictures of Smokey for everyone to see :)

Smokey @ 8 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey8weeksl_zps3ad76f92.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 9 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey9weeksc_zps198a13c7.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 13 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey13weeksb_zps85b6fe8d.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 15 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey15weeksa_zpsed166b07.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 16 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey16weeksa_zps934bb099.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 18 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey18weeksf_zpsf9ec9dbe.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey18weekse_zpsb87ac70d.jpg[/IMG]

hazelrunpack January 23rd, 2013 01:48 PM

She's absolutely gorgeous, dollface!!

growler~GateKeeper January 23rd, 2013 06:21 PM

Have you tried whistling?
It's not just for dogs :D my cats were both trained to come to someone whistling for them.

Winston January 23rd, 2013 07:48 PM

What about bells? I have Sophie trained to ring the bells at the door to go outside but I think it being a different noise than she is used to she might be intrigues by it and come to you. The other thing might be a clicker? I know they are used mainly for dogs but once again it is a different sound.

I know one thing foe sure that will get Smokey running to you and that it the sound of a can opening, too abd you couldnt tape record it and replay it when needed. :laughing::laughing:

Have you tried giving her a tablespoon of food before bed? It might extend her hungry tummy giving you a little more extra sleep. It works for some and not for others.

She is precious BTW! :thumbs up

Jim Hall January 23rd, 2013 09:13 PM

Well is sounds like your training is going very well Good HUman !!!:thumbs up:D their a few ways better to wake up than a purring cat

tezster January 24th, 2013 07:58 AM

Smokey is adorable :)

dollface February 2nd, 2013 11:49 AM

Thank you everyone! She is a cutie but a terror too! :laughing:

I wish I knew how to whistle :( But we are thinking of getting the clicker stick to train her while she's still young lol or I could try recording the can opening... :lightbulb:

I will try all these suggestions like the "good human" I try to be :laughing: :D and keep everyone updated! :pawprint::cat:

Jim Hall February 2nd, 2013 07:40 PM

simpler shake a treat bag

dollface February 13th, 2013 11:42 AM

[QUOTE=Jim Hall;1053273]simpler shake a treat bag[/QUOTE]

So shake the treat bag [B]and[/B] while saying her name then give a treat? Or just shake the treat bag and say her name but no treat, just petting?

Jim Hall February 13th, 2013 12:41 PM

give her a treat give her a pet once she gets used to coming up you can slack off the treats

pattymac February 13th, 2013 08:38 PM

yup shake a temptations bag!! My Noella comes very well to NOELLA BIRDIES!! She loves watching birds! Hahah if I even look at the treat bags all 4 of them show up!! I usually give a handful of crunchies at bedtime, mind you two of them have it in their heads that they're my official wake up team!!

Barkingdog February 13th, 2013 09:13 PM

[QUOTE=dollface;1052631]Thank you to everyone for the very informative replies!

I should have known about petting aggression, from my previous bengal mix, Gizzy.

I guess I just figured that since we knew her from 8 weeks old and on, she loved being picked up and handled frequently. I assumed the signs would never show up or I didn't know they could start in different ways.

But we have taken her to the Vet, who confirmed petting aggression. And the "snake look", she thinks she's just playing but if she's getting aggressive with it then we were advised not to play with hands (we don't at all, but since she doesn't respond when called by her name, I usually wiggle my fingers for her to come, but she does see that as a toy sometimes so I have been trying different tactics for that, anyone have any ideas besides shaking the treat bag?) and no playing under blankets with our hands that she can't see.

I think we've all been conscious with watching her for signs while petting her, I mostly keep to the top of her head to which she starts purring instantly. It's still amazing to me how she can be purring and then immediately act out but scratching or biting the instant she doesn't like the petting. Maybe I'm just out of practice?

Also, we have been keeping the door open slightly instead of locking her out and it seems like she's been calmer lately. However, @ 5:30 am DAILY, she tries to wake ME up by purring in my ear, but when my boyfriend gets out of bed and goes to the door, she follows him and then he shuts the door and we get another hour or so's sleep. The other morning, I tried to do what he does, but when I left the room, she had lied down in MY spot! WTF! :laughing: Clearly, she has chosen him as her person. :rolleyes:

So I think everything is fine, except we don't know how to get her to respond to her name/come when called. If anyone has any ideas, that would be great ! But in the meantime, I will post some pictures of Smokey for everyone to see :)

Smokey @ 8 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey8weeksl_zps3ad76f92.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 9 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey9weeksc_zps198a13c7.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 13 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey13weeksb_zps85b6fe8d.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 15 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey15weeksa_zpsed166b07.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 16 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey16weeksa_zps934bb099.jpg[/IMG]

Smokey @ 18 weeks:
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey18weeksf_zpsf9ec9dbe.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v478/sexsiangel/Smokey/Smokey18weekse_zpsb87ac70d.jpg[/IMG][/QUOTE]

Smokey is very cute.

hazelrunpack February 14th, 2013 12:16 PM

Smokey is a beautiful little munchkin, dollface! :flirt: I love gray kitties!

sumtimesme January 7th, 2014 11:09 PM

OMG Look at that tounge
 
Too cute..

Ani-Mei December 7th, 2014 12:52 PM

Hehe, your boyfriend is her boyfriend now.:crazy: We just got two five month old kittens yesterday, both female and sisters.:cat:


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