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Kitten Corner > Crazy Rescue Kitten Behavior

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Purred: Tue Nov 26, '13 5:33pm PST 
Dear folks,

On Halloween night we rescued a tortie kitten that the vet said was eight weeks old. Luckily for us she was not feral (although at the time we weren't sure) but purred deeply the first time we pet her (and now purrs anytime she sees us or gets petted... WHEN we can pet her).

From the start, however, she was a wild thing, playing and running (even without us assisting) until she panted and even then she wouldn't stop. Because neither my DW nor I had had a kitten for many decades (and never one this young) we weren't sure if this was normal but other forums assured us she would calm down as she grew older and we could wear her out (because eventually we need to integrate her with our 12 year old female tuxedo, Stella, who has ruled the roost for four years now by herself and isn't happy about sharing).

Now at 12 weeks Boo is, if anything more wild than ever. She has moments -- when she completely wears down she will cuddle and be as affectionate as any cat I've ever had. But these moments are few and far between. We have SLOWLY been introducing her to Stella, with mostly good success (due to the slowness of the introduction -- I read it was important to take it at their own pace and to always end with success so we have been doing it for only a few minutes at a time, with treats and the last couple of times no hissing on the part of Stella -- Boo has never hissed and would probably just like a friend).

So -- DW and I are worried. Is this normal kitten behavior to still be so crazed all the time? We absolutely cannot let her and Stella mix for more than 10 minutes or Boo would attack (she will leap at us when she's in this wild state -- nothing malicious it seems, but pouncing as if we are tiny mice to jump on and tussle with. I can only imagine what this would result in if she tries it with Stella). We are willing to keep them separate for months if that's what it takes, but I'm more worried there may be something wrong with this kitten (vet has checked her out completely health wise, and she will get the last of her shots this Friday).

We're also using Feliway throughout the house, with the dispensers installed in all major areas. I don't know if it helps but it can't hurt. I'm willing to try almost anything I can to make this work -- when she's calm she's the best kitten in the world (even when she's not she's cute -- but we old folks may not be able to handle a cat this active for too many more months).

» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Dec 6 11:41 pm

Behavior & Training > Is our new kitten too playful?

Member Since
Purred: Tue Nov 5, '13 5:46am PST 
Oh, and some follow up info.

I just spent an hour’s time with Boo and I’m far from reassured. I basically laid down on the floor and played with some toys to occupy her while I read. For a solid hour she was very aggressive in her play, literally attacking anything that moved… but also things that didn’t, like me. I remained as motionless as I could, not wanting to encourage any such behavior, but it was as if I was a giant chew toy and SO manic that she started panting and I could not just lay there anymore so I had to stand. If she hadn’t been a kitten (and had her claws trimmed) I would have literally been killed — it was like getting mauled and while there wasn’t anger or malicious intent (I do believe it was still in the spirit of “play”) it was way too much for anyone. If she’s that aggressive with me I can’t even imagine what she’ll do to Stella.

I’ll use our laser pointer (long since put away) and da Bird (although Stella likes the mouse attachment more, we do have the original) and see if I can wear her out, but I’m starting to strongly think this is not the droid… ahem, kitten we were looking for.

» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by , Nov 5 5:46 am

Behavior & Training > Is our new kitten too playful?

Member Since
Purred: Tue Nov 5, '13 4:36am PST 
Let me try and make a very long story shorter -- wife and I found an abandoned kitten (on Halloween night) and while we at first thought it might be feral (it clawed up the rescuer pretty badly) it turns out not: Boo is purring and sociable and clearly has had human contact prior to us as she is 8 weeks old according to the vet.

We are keeping Boo isolated in our master bathroom because our single other cat, Stella, is the queen of the household (and the love of my life although that isn't what's important, except that she will ALWAYS come first in whatever decisions we make). While she has been around a lot of cats (at one point we had five) it has been at least three years that she has had the house to herself and has gotten quite used to it so in addition to making sure no illness will be passed (although Boo checked out negative for all the bad stuff so far) we want the introduction to proceed slowly.

Whew -- that was the short story. Here's my question: we haven't had experience with kittens for a few decades now (all our other cats were much older when we adopted) and we've *never* had a kitten this young (youngest was probably 16 weeks). I thought I knew a lot about cats having had them for a half a century, but this kitten worries me.

She is a non-stop missile of fur, charging around the bathroom anytime we come to visit and literally hurling herself around with no regard to her tiny body. She plays with the tons of toys we bring in and although we are careful not to play with our hands (hands and fingers are NOT toys!) it's difficult because she wants to play with everything! She will purr loudly anytime she gets petted, so that's just fine, but she won't hold still for even a second (we can hold her close to us and she will purr and be fine for a bit, though, and we are having no trouble giving her antibiotics for the slight scratch she had when she was outside).

I'm worried on two counts: when we would adopt kittens/cats in the past one of the things I always looked for was if they could be "loved". While I realize kittens do *somewhat* calm down, I'm afraid she might never be a cat who wants to do anything other than hunt and prey, and never cuddle or initiate affection (she will squeak and seems to be begging for attention until we pick her up and cuddle for two seconds, when she purrs and then wants down).

But a far bigger issue is that if her energy levels don't come down she will absolutely terrorize Stella (who is a sedate 13 year old). I will NOT degrade the rest of her life. She has earned a quality senior time and if that is impacted in any major way we will just have to find another home for our Boo girl.

Okay, so I may be worrying too much about the future because we haven't started the introduction part, but perhaps some of you here can at least tell me your experience about kitten behavior. Do most kittens calm down, at least a bit? How long before that happens? Or does this behavior at age 8 weeks typify what we should expect the rest of her life?

» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Nov 5 5:46 am

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