I thought I knew all about cats, but I think kittens are a different story...
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:
-where she came from: a foundling.
-any vomiting or diarrhea: 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.
-what are we feeding her: 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. 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". 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!
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 .
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. 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?