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Kitten Behavior (long)

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  • Kitten Behavior (long)

    My kitten is really frustrating me and I wanted to see if its normal for his age.

    He's about 3-4 months, I've had him since he was 3-4 weeks. He never shows me any affection except meowing for food, and the only time he interacts with me at all involves him attacking my hands and feet. I've told him NO, hissed at him, tapped him on the head, scruffed him (more on that later), shoved him away, everything I could think of. I love him, but its maddening because I didn't get a cat to be scratched up all day long.

    Today I was laying in bed and in running around he must have been trying to jump over my head or something, but he managed to scratch my lower eyelid. Time for a nail trim! Of course his natural reaction is to bite me while I'm trimming them so I scruff him, and he does his normal reaction to being scruffed. Screaming, twisting, scratching, biting, making godawful noises and acting like I was killing him. He was such a brat, I couldn't even 'burrito wrap' my own kitten to get the nails done.

    Is this normal? Does anyone have any suggestions? I keep telling him he's working towards a one way ticket to the pound. (Its not true, and he knows it. haha)

  • #2
    I would go to the pound and get your kitten...a kitten! It just sounds like he is bored to tears..and when he does interact with you, he is punished. He can't win.
    I understand you want a soft, cuddly kitty...but he just isn't at that stage. He is at the 'terrible two's' stage and I thing having a buddy for him to play with, would benefit everyone!



    • #3
      From my kitten experiences (I've been through 3 I think) the more you tap them on the nose or scruff them, the worse the behavior gets. The more they get insulted. I've found that just hissing at them or chucking them away from the stimulus (aka, tossing them gently, though several feet away, off the counter) has worked for me. Have you tried petting when he's going to sleep or just waking up? Trimming the nails when he's just waking up might help too. We do that with our adult. She's groggy long enough for us to at least get the front done, sometimes the back. If you have someone else in the house, have them distract the kitten by dangling a string in front of him when you cut his nails. Not every cat is going to turn out to be the cuddly one. For our (my family) first kitten/cat experience ever, we ended up treating her like "one of the dogs" and we roughhoused with her a bit too much I think. She always expected us to roughhouse, so she did it back...roughly, all through kitten and adulthood. She never really was too much of an affectionate cat. We definitely learned from that experience not to treat a cat like a dog.

      So I think the more you ignore his attacks on you, the more he may see that you're not something to attack. Our current kitten gets bored if our feet don't move under the blankets, so he gives up and goes to sleep or leaves. Another kitten might help too, close to the same age (within a couple of months probably). Good luck, hope things work out for you.


      • #4
        didn't learn proper kitty manners!

        Maggy, you said you've had your kitten since it was 3-4 weeks old. That's simply too young for a kitten to leave its mother and littermates. Cats learn all about correct social behavior from each other and their mom is there to teach them limits and what's acceptable. If your kitten wasn't handled several times daily by a kind, gentle person from birth to 5 weeks it didn't learn how to accept human contact properly at a critical developmental stage.

        At this point there's still hope that you can turn his negative behavior around. I agree with dogma, a playmate would be a wonderful addition. Whether or not you can add another cat to your family, it's important that you engage him in play, but always with toys. Don't use any part of your body. Any aggression, even playing, with your hands, arms, feet, etc. is not acceptable. Wand toys are great. My favorite is DaBird. It's by far the best feather wand toy ever made. Flutters around and sounds like a real bird flying. Several minutes of DaBird play and all of my cats are wiped out. Just a safety reminder: Always put away wand toys in a safe place unaccessible to your cat. They can chew and swallow the string - very dangerous.

        Your kitten has so much energy at this age and needs a good release. Some cats enjoy a laser pointer (never directed at their eyes). Furry mice toys are realistic and lots of fun to bat around and chase. One of my cats, Angel, loves a wadded up piece of paper the most. While your kitten may never be a cuddler or lap cat, as long as you're patient and respectful of his limits, he'll likely come around more and more in time.

        Some cats are particularly hypersensitive to being scruffed which negates the whole reason you scruff a cat in the first place, to gain control and calm them down. Cats can and will reach a point of stress and aggravation so extreme that continuing with a nail trim or whatever you're trying to accomplish isn't worth it. That's not to say the cat always gets to dictate what happens. But with my oldest cat, Baby Kitty, I can only trim 2-3 claws at a time before she's giving me the most hateful hiss and eyeing my forearm like a piece of steak. I come back later to do a couple more until I have them all finished. I also can't scruff her or she goes ballistic. And trying to wrap her in a towel - HA! She suddenly turns into an 8-legged octopus mutant. It's most important to me that I respect her limits so that I can earn a little respect and trust in return. Once upon a time I couldn't even touch her paw, but we've managed to make progress.

        Good luck and keep us posted!



        • #5
          Maggy, I think your kitty is related to My little kitty seems to have the same behavor issues as yours does. But like Seleste mentioned she was very young (probably 3 weeks) when I found her behind my garbage cans. When I first found her, you couldn't even touch the little thing!!! She hissed and growled which was amazing to me for such a young one. I took her to my shop hoping to get her socialized and adopt her out. Well, at around that time one of my workers found a kitty of about the same size by her house and brought her in as well. It was an instant transformation!!! I guess since she had the other kitty to relate to and play w/it helped her to calm down. We did eventually find a home for the other kitty (who was a long haired love), but no one showed any interest in Earleene (yes we named her Earleene because she acts like a little because she does still have a "prickly" nature even though she doesn't hiss anymore. All in all I think she will make a great shop cat.
          SheilaB from SC


          • #6

            I have a large Ragdoll cat and I got lucky. He is very sweet and likes to ruffle and play. Comes around and sits by me, or once in awhile on my lap.
            But some arn't like that. In fact he was the only one in his litter that did not run and hide. Thats why we picked him at twelve weeks of age.
            The age thing really does matter. But I have had two from very young that were fine. I think its more just the cats personality.

            Some cats just aren't lappers. They just kind of reside with you.
            He is young, so I would feed him next to you. beside you at first and on your lap when he is comforatable with that. Don't push it.
            If he leaves when he is done, just let him. If he feels you might trap him he will just get worse.
            Hand feed treats too. Lots of cooing and talking.
            Some like their heads caressed, and some like their chins rubbed.
            It takes time. Some cats are just that way.

            The food thing usually works though.


            • #7
              I'm with Seleste. I got a kitten I used to have when he was 5 weeks. His mom was hit by a car. There were 4 kitties... 3 of them acted like normal cats. (I stayed in contact with the other people I gave the kittens to) Mine was nothing like a cat usually acts. He never scratched anything, I always had to clip his nails. He never bit, he always wanted attention. I had to push him off my lap when I was done, but then he'd just follow me around and wherever I stopped he was standing up on my leg wanting me to hold him. My son would pick him up by the back legs and carry him around and the cat would just hand there and let him do it. When my alarm went off he would jump on my chest and lick my face to wake me up. I've never seen a cat act like that before. I would tell people about it and they never believed me. Till they would come meet him themselves. Then everyone wanted to take him home. Poor thing one day suffered head trauma and then became nasty. He was on prednisone but it didn't help, he was getting worse and started having severe frequent seizures so I had to put him down. He was 7 months old. I miss him.


              • #8
                Thanks for the advice, everyone!

                The reason I got him so young is because his mom was feral and they spayed and released her, then kept the kittens to bottle feed and socialize. I handled him a lot as a baby hoping to get him socialized. He's strange, he comes over and sits in my lap sometimes, but he doesn't acknowledge me, I'm just a cushioney chair. lol He only purrs while he eats and he never head butts. A lot of my cats growing up weren't lap cats, but they still loved attention.

                I would get him a little buddy but I just signed a lease for a new apartment where I can only have two pets, if I got another it would have to look just like him so if someone saw one of them in the window they couldn't tell the difference. I will get him some toys and maybe try borrowing my coworkers kitten for play dates.

                It does make sense that he's bored, I'm sharing a house right now with two college students but I only use my little 8 x 8 room and the bathroom, so everything I own is crammed in here leaving little space for playing. Hopefully when we move he'll enjoy all the space in my new apartment, and thank me with lots of kisses and head butts.


                • #9
                  Last edited by pamperedpups; 02-20-07, 12:05 AM.


                  • #10

                    It must be really frustrating to hope for a snuggly kitten and find out that you have a mini attack cat! LOL. I was wondering if you have tried the cat phermones to help to calm her down? Also after owning lots of wonderful cats, I know that some cats are just not snugglers and seem to be more independant. Maybe that is the case with yours? Plus at that age they do have lots of extra energy. Seleste is so right about playing with your kitten. I have seen such a huge improvement in my young (abused) persian rescue through play interaction. BTW I just got one of those toys that makes the bird sounds and one of my cats goes pshycotic over it! She thinks it's alive! Good luck with your baby!


                    • #11
                      I agree that it is his personality. My mom's cat had 3 kittens and I got one. She was the most lovable kitten and cat. My husband is not a cat person. However he was amazed with her because she would come when he called her, even when she was in another room. My sister kept her sister. She was the total opposite. She did not like anybody except for my sister. She would run and hide when people went to her house. I believe that she too would bite my sister if my sister touched her the wrong way too.