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Need help with problems with kitten

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭ lilsis

    Well I already have this post up, and somehow it went into all things retro, don't know what I did wrong and I can't seem to move it or delete it and I'm not going to get any replies where it is, so thought I'd put it up again. Sorry if I'm breaking rules or anything.

    I just got a wee kitten about 7/8 weeks old. Anyway I've been having a few problems with him. Like he's always biting and scratching my fingers, I have pretty much got him to stop that by saying ouch quite loudly which seems to be working, was really my own fault that he was doing it as I was probably playing too rough with him and not realising that that can cause a lot of harm, and leave them very aggressive later anyway I know now. So that one is pretty much sorted except that he keeps jumping for my hands and trying to pounce on them.

    Then next problem is he can be very out of control, like he will be running around the place and pouncing at my face which I jump at every time (probably shouldn't but I'm always scared he's going to scratch my face) and he'll just be super hyper, a lot of the time he'll spit at me (thought he was very young to know how to do that) and if I'm standing up he'll start climbing up my legs, but I just bring him to his scratching post then. The worse is he'll jump up on me and start biting and scratching the crap out of my clothes, now I don't really mind except that I assume he's attacking me when he's doing this, anyway when he does this I try to scruff his neck like the way his mother would have done and press him to the ground for about 5 second to show him that he's being bold, but he knows I'm going to do this so lies on his back so I can't and then he just goes back to the same thing again. I've tried a time out box aswell, where I put him in a box when he's being bold and cover it with a sheet so he can't see out and leave him there for a few minutes, it seemed to quiet him down for a wee while when he came back out but he can now get out of it so to keep him in it I'd have to hold the lid on and I'm a bit worried about smothering him, might try the time out room instead, where I'd leave him for 10 minutes but if anybody has any other suggestions that would be great. he's just seriously hyper and I really don't like him spitting at me.

    Final problem and perhaps a very strange one is that he keep trying to feed of me. When we first got him, he hadn't be weened at all very well, so I'd notice him trying to bury him head into my stomach and he'd be making a sucking noise, so I started bringing him to his food then and feeding him out of my hand. After a while then he'd only do the feeding thing when he was sleepy and didn't realise what was going on so then I was just able to drop him to the floor and over he'd go to him food. Now it seems like he's gone completely backwards. Basically after a week of getting used to his food he's now trying to constantly feed of me. Like I'll be sitting on the couch in my dressing gown and he'll jump up and start sucking/chewing it, it doesn't matter how many times I put him on the ground, or over beside his food or even start feeding him from my hand he still does it, I don't think he's even hungry hence why he doesn't just eat the food, and he's not a stupid cat like he clearly knows he's not getting any milk. Anyway after a while he just falls asleep then when he's trying to feed, so I'm wondering if maybe it's a comfort thing, but then why did id just start suddenly, does anybody have any ideas about this? I give him water to drink, and he quite likes it, he drinks quite a lot of it, I give him the Whiskas dry food for kittens which he was eating a lot of but doesn't seem to be now, then when we got to bed at night I give him a little of the Whiskas cat milk as a treat, but maybe this is causing the problem as at the start I was giving it to him instead of water but then he'd fill up on it and not eat so now it's just a treat and maybe now he knows he'll be getting it so he avoids his dry food and is feeding of me as a hurry up and give it to me already? Maybe he's not getting enough nutrients from his dry food and hence the attempted feeding? I've no idea, but if anybody has any they'd be very welcome. I don't particulalrly like being covered in cat slobber.

    Anyway it probably seems like I'm painting Gizmo out to be a nightmare, but obviously he's not like this all day long. He's super cute and I love him to bits, I just want to rectify these problems. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks and sorry for the exceptionally long message.


  • As far as I know the suckling is a comfort thing. Our cat is a year and a half now and she still occasionally does it to my boyfriend but not half as much as before .He just picks her up and puts her on the floor when she starts . Has never done it to me!! I've heard it can happen if they are taken away from the mother too early which could be true for mine as she was a only about 8 weeks when we got her from DSPCA.
    I don't think I can give any advice on the scratching/biting issue as having behaviour problems with my own at the moment but the room time out is supposed to work for a lot of people. If you put the kitten in there for say 20 mins immediately after it has attacked you and then make a fuss of it when you let it back out hopefully it will come to associate the bad behaviour with being put in the room!! A lot of it does sound like pretty normal kitten behaviour so though !!

  • Hey well he was taken pretty young too about 6/7 weeks and taken straight from his mother so that probably makes sense. Suppose I took last week off, his first week with us, to help settle him in so maybe now when I'm not there all day he does it because he's lonely and wants the comfort. Definitely going to try the time out room thing and hopefully it works. I know it is normal kitten behaviour, I'm just worried about him becoming a bully as what happened with my sisters cat, they rough played with him and now he attacks every single cat in their estate, not blaming them as he could have grown up to do it anyway but I'm guessing it's a factor and I don't want Gizmo doing the same. Still worried about the spitting though, it is only when he's super hyper, so maybe will have to do the time out for it too.

  • The running around/hyperness/pouncing on your legs you've described sounds like normal kitten high jinx/playing and I wouldn't be very worried about it - it doesn't mean that he's going to grow up to be an aggressive cat. He will get a little less hyper (probably a lot less hyper!) as he grows up but he's just having some fun right now!

    Regarding scruffing him/putting him in the box to punish him - this is probably a bit too rough to be honest. Given that he's so young and this is a time of stress for him (just weaned, new home etc), I would definitely avoid being over rough with him or punishing him too much for little things. Cats often bite/spit/scratch out of fear and punishing will only make him even more scared - so it could turn into a vicious circle! Instead you want him to learn that his new home is a safe, friendly place. It might take him a few weeks to get comfortable and learn the way things work, but he eventually will relax.

    As long as you're feeding him the right amount of food as written on the packet, then his kitten food should have all the nutrients that he needs right now. It's best to always provide plenty of water for him, even if you already have kitten milk out too. The attempts to suckle off of you are more than likely a comfort thing rather than a problem with his food and he will probably grow out of this fairly quickly.

    Anyway, congrats on your new kitten, and best of luck with him!

  • Interesting. I'm probably not the best for giving advice, as you sound like you're describing my old cat.

    She used to do that suckling thing all the time. She was with us until she was about 2 and she never stopped doing it...only to me, and funnily enough, only when I was in my dressing gown too.Figured it was just a comfort thing, but I didn't appreciate the cat slobber much either!

    The scratching and biting was a major problem for us, as she never really grew out of it. If you can stop it as early as possible, you're probably better off, but I kind of wonder is it something they "inherit" or "copy" from their mothers.We never managed to get her out of it.She was absolutely adored, and was the happiest cat, but she would scratch and bite at your fingers if you weren't petting her exactly when she approved of it (which of course, we could never possibly know).So if you can try and get him out of it, do, otherwise you're doomed to a lifetime of raw fingers!!!

  • I had the same problem with my kitten. Used to go hyper/bite my hands/stratches all over them.

    The best solution I found is to go to a €2 euro store and buy a little water gun. Whenever the kitten does it shoot her with water (on the body not face). They HATE it. I did this for a week and then it stopped completely. It also worked for her climbing on top of the fish tank. Now all i have to do is show the gun and straight away she is back to normal. I dont even have water in it. Its actually really funny cause once i pick up the gun, she just makes a really funny face of disgust. :D

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  • He was too young to be taken from his mother - 9 weeks would've been preferable. All the behaviour described is normal kitten behaviour, enjoy it while it lasts. I can't believe you're trying to discipline a tiny kitten, he's a baby!

  • Gizmo must be a brother to our Pepsi..We took him in about 5 weeks ago and hes an absolute terror! Scratching and biting,climbing up your leg and pouncing at your face. He was very very tiny,Id say not even 4 weeks old when he found us so we've been forgiving that he didnt have his mammy to chastise him.But he really isnt getting any better.Hes eating fine and has the run of the house,but basically hes just a brat :(. Hopefully they grow out of it soon OP :)

  • Sounds like fairly normal behaviour, if he was still with his litter mates you would see a lot of this, along with meowing and squeeling too :)

    I had a cat way back now, who had a fetish for suckling on my dressing gown, i think she enjoyed the feeling of catching the threads loose, and would always keep going until the patch she was playing with was saturated with saliva! She was a quirly little thing though, loved Polo mints, once climbed into my handbag and ate a full unopened pack, paper and all! Cleaning her litter tray was not fun after that episode i tell ya!

    At 7/8 weeks old he's a bit young yet to be disciplined in the way you described, far better to get some toys that you can use at arms distance, like feather danglers. Great for keeping him occupied while kepping your extremities safe! Keep laptime and grooming as quiet and calm as possible and he'll learn by your example when its appropriate to play.

  • My 9 year old does the suckling thing still. Only the odd time if we have been away. Its bonding. The rest is play. Buy plenty of toys, little balls and stuff covered in twine, or a potato is good, long as it moves

  • What did you expect when you got a kitten? And when it was taken from its mother so soon. It's a baby - that's what they do!

    Is he at home on his own all day? If so, he probably sleeps all day then is excited when you come home. We got out two at the same time so any scratching and biting they did to one another. But our female used to always jump on our backs and climb our legs - she stopped after a while.

    The suckling is comfort - he was taken away from his mother too early. Our girl still 'paws' us when she's sleepy - it can be annoying but it's comforting for her. When he gets like that have a special blanket or facecloth for him - it will save your clothes.

    Don't try to punish him - it's what kittens do!

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  • Sounds exactly like my cat when I got her at 7 weeks. The mad behaviour went on for months, you just have to realise that he will grow out of a lot of it by a year old. My cat is just over a year and she's more like a grown up cat & a bit more chilled out, still playful enough though (but enough to tolerate).

    She used to do this dry nursing thing as well but always to my dressing gown. So I gave her that one & got myself a new one of same material. Well she ignored the donated one (not warm & didn't smell of me anymore) & would anihilate the new one I was wearing. So that is now donated & she still dry nurses it before going to sleep or is sleepy. I've never had any other cats that did that but she has a nervous disposition anyway. Now I wear cardigans instead so I can be left alone!

  • Hey lilsis, congratulations on your new kitten.
    It sounds like like he's a bit of a handfull at the moment and, unfortunately, a lot of kittens can be very bouncy and full of beans one minute and then fast asleep the next - it's all part of the fun biggrin.gif

    The sucking thing is something that a lot of kittens do and indeed it often continues into adulthood. It's mostly on soft fabrics like fleece blankets and dressing gowns. They're not actually looking for food, it's a comfort thing for them and it shouldn't be a major problem unless you object to being covered in cat/kitten drool rolleyes.gif Some of them grow out of it and some continue all the way through their lives. You can get them to stop by moving them every time they do it but why deprive them of a little bit of comfort if it's not hurting anyone. It seems to appear in kittens that have been weaned early and we have one who's just 8 weeks now (a rescue) who does it as she's falling asleep, either on one of us or in her bed. Her little pal, who's about 10 weeks, doesn't do it at all and seems to be fascinated by her doing it and will sit and watch her until she falls asleep.

    The scratching, growling, hissing and rough-housing in general is just part and parcel of kitten development and boys seem to be a lot worse than girls. I wouldn't punish him for it as it's just his nature and he doesn't have any other cats to teach him right from wrong. He probably won't understand what you're trying to tell him and he may get upset and stressed as a result. This in turn will only serve to make the problem worse instead of better.
    He needs a lot of love and cuddles at the moment as he's still very young and any attempt at trying to dominate him may actually make him more aggressive in the long run.
    Your best bet is to get loads of toys for him to take his aggression out on instead of your hands and face. Anything dangly on a string or little balls with bells in them are a great distraction and will help enormously. There are the crinkly tunnels you can get for him to run through and hide in or, failing that, put down a few different sized cardboard boxes with holes cut in them for him to use as coverage for his 'hunting expeditions'. Things like the plastic lids of larger cartons, well washed, provide hours of fun when chased around on wooden, vinyl or tiled floors.
    If he's an only cat, chances are that he'll be asleep any time you're not there and the novelty of having you around and paying him attention will mean that he'll be mega-excited and revved up and full of beans. The best way for him to get that out of his system is lots of play that involves him tearing round chasing things that he's allowed to 'kill' without hurting you. I've found that if you put a few small cat balls or table-tennis balls in the bath, they get hours of fun out of chasing them around and it gets out all their excess energy. Just make sure you put the plug and chain out of harms way.
    There are also toys that you can get where you put some cat-treats inside and they have to turn them round and play with them in order to get the treats out and these often keep them distracted and occupied for hours. Just remember that he'll get bored if you use the same toy all the time so rotate them every few days so that the novelty remains.

    If he scratches at you, just put him, gently, to one side and say a firm 'No'. Then ignore him for about 5 minutes keeping your hands out of his way. He'll only be trying to play but he needs to learn that that type of play is not allowed. After his little time-out, you can praise him and try again. Repeat a necessary and, believe me, it may take a bit of time but he'll eventually understand. In the meantime, keep him busy with things that he's allowed to hunt and kill.

    Try and stick to regular feeding times unless you're planning to free feed. If you're giving him both and wet and dry food, try leaving out dry food all the time so that he can snack if he's hungry but keep his wet feeds to strict times. Only put out enough wet food for one meal at a time and if he doesn't eat it all within an hour, take it away again as he obviously isn't hungry enough. Make sure you use a good kitten food as he needs all the extra minerals, vitamins and suppliments that they will contain.
    I wouldn't worry about the kitten milk at this stage as he's obviously happily eating solids. Most cats are lactose intolerant and it's better for their little tummies if they don't have any lactose in their diets and a lot of kitten milk contains some lactose - even in small amounts. Cats in the wild get the liquids they need from the prey that catch but if you're feeding dry food, you need to have a regular supply of fresh clean water available for him to drink. If you can stretch to a drinking fountain, they are a great investment as they circulate and filter the water and keep it fresh for longer. Failing that, a large bowl of water is perfect but just remember to clean the bowl well and change the water regularly.

    I assume you're going to have him neutered before you let him out when he reaches about 6 months old and this will also help with the aggressive behaviour as it'll take away all the hormones that can contribute to the problem.

    With a lttle love and understanding, Gizmo should turn out to be the perfect little cat and your best friend for life.

  • Hey everyone thanks for the help. I've just decided to let him at the suckling, it's only with my dressing gown and it's funny if I don't have it on and he wants to suckle he cries at me until I put it on! He seems to have calmed down a lot this past week, especially as we say ouch to him if he starts biting and he stops then, if he's hyper we just get him to chase his string and that keeps him occupied for a while, if he's super hyper and out of control we just put him out to the hall and leave him there for ten minutes and he's calmed down when he comes back in, don't really like doing it but I do think he needs boundaries, I know some would disagree with me.

    Anyway I said before what I had been feeding him, anyway now I'm trying to get him to eat some wet food aswell as dry food alone probably isn't good enough esp as he needs protein, and the dry food is mostly carbohydrates and I'm a little worried about him getting fat, he's not fat at the moment but he's definitely chubbier than when we first got him. I've tried him on the Whiskas kitten puches and he wouldn't touch the chicken one completely ignored it, so I threw it out. Was chatting to my sister and she said that her cat much prefers the fish ones rather than the meat ones, so tried the tuna one on him and he wouldn't touch it either, although as a lover or fish myself it looked or smelled nothing like tuna, so then I got this other wee tin in Dunnes called Gormet cat food or something, it was tuna and shrimp and opened it and just a wee bit of shrimp and the rest was tuna and looked and smelled exactly the same as when it comes in a tin, but he wouldn't touch it either. Now I've left dry food out for him anyway as i don't want him to starve if he woun't eat the wet food, but I don't know what else to try, I don't really want to buy boxes if I've to just throw them out but I can't really see any pouches around either. Any ideas anyone? Bearing in mind that he is only 8-10 weeks so is ir too early or anything for him to eat certain types of food?

  • Hi lilsis,

    Glad to hear that he's settling down a bit and the madness is not constant :rolleyes:

    I wouldn't stress over the wet/dry food issue as long as he's eating. You can feed either wet/dry or a combination of both as long as he's getting the right amount of nutrients.
    Science Plan do kitten pouches in fish or chicken and are supposed to be perfectly balanced. They also do a kitten kibble which is small and has the right balance of nutrients that they need. Both my kittens and adult cats like both and as the kittens are still very young, I feed them two meals of wet food daily and free-feed the dry food. I mix it with the Orijen dry food (which has loads of protein and no rubbish in it) which is suitable for both adults and kittens so there's no problem if they all eat the same thing.
    I find that the Orijen/Sci Plan kitten mix works very well as it means that they all have solid/non-stinky poo and I don't have to worry about whether anyone is hungry while I'm out at work all day.
    You just need to remember that he'll need access to fresh water as he'll need to drink more if he's on dry food.

  • MaryK666 wrote: »
    I find that the Orijen/Sci Plan kitten mix works very well as it means that they all have solid/non-stinky poo and I don't have to worry about whether anyone is hungry while I'm out at work all day.

    Thanks. Just wondering where I could buy the Orijen and the Sci Plan, still not sure if he'll eat the wet food but it's worth a try, esp if he's poo won't be as stinky! Oh another thing he sometimes steps in his poo and then tramps it across the floor, bit stupid of him but not sure how to stop it. Like if we're there then we just pick him up and clean his paw with a baby wipe, but if not then we can sometimes come home to a pooey floor. Think it's just because he's trying to cover it up and then he goes to sniff to see if it is covered and instead steps in it. Silly kitten!

  • lilsis wrote: »
    Thanks. Just wondering where I could buy the Orijen and the Sci Plan, still not sure if he'll eat the wet food but it's worth a try, esp if he's poo won't be as stinky! Oh another thing he sometimes steps in his poo and then tramps it across the floor, bit stupid of him but not sure how to stop it. Like if we're there then we just pick him up and clean his paw with a baby wipe, but if not then we can sometimes come home to a pooey floor. Think it's just because he's trying to cover it up and then he goes to sniff to see if it is covered and instead steps in it. Silly kitten!

    Oh the joy of kittens :rolleyes:

    I buy my Orijen from Zooplus as I order in bulk or the special offers because I have 5 to feed. I know that there are a few places you can get it here but it tends to be more expensive than zooplus. I've found it to be the best food I've tried on all my cats and they all like it. Their poo is solid and stink-free, their coats are soft and shiny and they're full of energy.
    The list the ingredients on their website and there's no rubbish in it.

    Fresh boneless chicken*, chicken meal, fresh boneless salmon*, turkey meal, fresh chicken liver*, herring meal, russet potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sweet potato, peas, fresh boneless walleye*, fresh whole eggs*, fresh boneless turkey*, fresh boneless lake whitefish*, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fiber, fresh boneless herring*, organic kelp, pumpkin, chicory root, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, blueberries, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium.
    * DELIVERED FRESH, preservative-free and never frozen.

    I buy the Science Plan dry Kitten food either from the vet or from Maxi Zoo in Naas as they have a special offer on it at the moment. They also do the pouches but if your cat's a fussy eater, I'd advise buying a pouch to try before you buy a box as it's not the cheapest of foods.

    I'll be weaning them off the wet food over the coming few months as I find that the adults are thriving on the Orijen and it won't be a stretch for the kittens as they're eating some of it already.

    The issue of tracking poo around the house is one that all cat owners will probably contend with at one time or another. All you can do is make sure that the litter tray is big enough for him and that you have a decent depth of litter in it to allow him to dig and bury, especially if you're out during the day. Once he develops solid poo, it shouldn't be an issue but while it's soft, it's something that can happen :( Also, make sure that you clean out the litter box as many times a day as you can as he'll be more likely to dig and bury if the litter is clean. Use a good quality litter as some of them can be very harsh on little paws and they don't like to dig in something that hurts them. I use a mixture of the OKO Plus and OKO Plus Gold and, luckily, don't have any problems.
    If he's still struggling, you could try putting a track-mat outside the entrance to the litter tray to see if you can catch some of it on that. And maybe scatter a bit of litter on it so that some of the poo is caught on the litter rather than reaching the floor.
    If the smell persists while his stools is still soft, and even for later, you could try getting a Litter Locker for the waste from the tray. It works like the nappy disposal units that new parents use. The litter goes into the unit into a thick plastic bag and is covered over with two lids so that it keeps the smells and any germs contained. Then, when that section of bag is full, you just knot it, throw it in the bin outside and use the next section. We have two in our house and they're a godsend. I know that they tell you that you can flush the OKO Plus down the loo but with 5 cats - it's a lot to ask of a domestic sewerage system. This way we don't have to worry about the place stinking like a sewerage plant.

  • You're a god send. Thought I knew lots having cat sat for my sister countless times but it's different when they're little, anyway thanks for your advise.

  • No matter how much you think you know, or how long you've had cats, there always seems to be something new to learn.

    They're lovely little people and I wouldn't be without mine but they have me completely under their spell and in no doubt but that it's they who run the house and not me.
    At one stage, one of mine was on a twice daily antibiotic when my OH's old school friend was getting married in Galway. We'd had a hotel booked for a long weekend and someone organised to come in and look after the cats but she wasn't confident about giving tablets so we cancelled the hotel, did the morning tablet, drove to Galway for the wedding, stayed for the meal and the first few dances and then got in the car and drove back to Kildare - all so that madam didn't miss out on her meds :rolleyes:

    With a bit of luck, your little man will have you that well trained before long.

  • MaryK666 wrote: »
    With a bit of luck, your little man will have you that well trained before long.

    I think he already has!!!

  • lilsis, just a quick tip for play things. I've spent a fortune on toys and gadgets for my little one, but her favourite thing to play with is tin foil, balled up. She chases it non stop for hours. And if it goes in under the couch she will cry until you get it back out for her.
    You also cant beat a piece of string - cliche but always works.

    Be patient with your little man, he's just a little baby who misses his mammy and is still getting used to you. He will settle down eventually. If he starts to scratch and bite, place him away from you and say NO in a firm voice. A few repeats of that and he will get the message. If you are putting him into another room, do so calmly - never loose your temper with him, never slam the door.

    You'll be fine - he's just going through the terrible two's. :D

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