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Cat attention seeking behavior, help needed!

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Sev, Aug 14, 2019.


  1. Sev

    Sev PetForums Newbie

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    I need help. My 14 weeks old kitten has lived with us for 2 weeks now. He is healthy kitten according to breeder.

    First the kitten seemed to be extremely clever (he was able to learn his name and to sit only in couple of days) and very sweet kitten. Now all he want to do is to destroy the house.

    Of course we know that kittens are wild and they want to explore things as we have had 2 cats before and we also have experience from puppies. But this is something different and we feel that we cannot connect with our kitten.

    We have playing times for him and we play about 1,5-2 hours every day with him. We have lots of toys for him and we change the toys for him every day so that he doesn't get bored to the toys. We offer him raw food every day and we have meal times. He can also stay on our balcony if he wants to and we also try to activate him by throwing treats for him and by teaching tricks. He also has two climbing trees.

    However now he either stays in the balcony or concentrate on destroying the house (scratching and biting everything). He doesn't want to learn tricks, he doesn't want to play alone but he still doesn't want to play with us. We have encouraged him every time he does something we wish him to do (even when he is just laying on the floor) and we have made clear what he can't do by saying firmly "no" . We also have ignored his naughty behavior if it's clear it's made just for getting attention.

    He even might start destroying the house while we are giving attention to him. We are stressed out because of this.

    He clearly wants attention (he is often purring and walking around legs) but he doesn't want to be petted, he doesn't want to stay in lap and he often doesn't want to play either.

    What can we do? We won't get another cat so that's not the option.
     
  2. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

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    I think your last sentence is a problem. What he needs is another kitten to play with. I too had a very bored kitten who needed tons of stimulation, and it was only really resolved when we got him a companion, they played together every waking hour.

    In the absence of that, I really can't see how things are going to improve. It sounds as if you are already doing what you can, playing with him regularly (I assume you're playing with wand toys?) I doubt you will get far with teaching him 'tricks'. Some cats will 'retrieve' but they choose to do that, you can't teach them in the way you can with puppies.

    Are the scratch towers fit for purpose? He needs to be able to stretch up to it and swing off it, e.g.

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/scratching_posts/large/large_cat_trees_height_180_cm/84900

    Realistically though, he will destroy things. At that age he has a lot of energy to expend and if he hasn't got a feline companion to chase and wrestle with, it'll find an outlet elsewhere.
     
    Jackie C likes this.
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Sev and welcome :)

    A single kitten on their own needs a big investment of time from their humans, a lot of interactive playtime. If getting a kitten playmate is not a option then you will have to be your kitten's playmate. This will involve around 4 hours a day of interactive play. 1.5 to 2 hours a day is just not enough I'm afraid.

    Your kitten has lots of energy to use up, and his energy needs marshalling and directing by you into safe outlets. e.g. Use fishing rod toys several times a day to get him jumping and leaping. Keep playing until he wants to stop.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/PurrSuit-Feather-Spinning-Cat-UKmade/dp/B01H463R2U/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=17POSEFMMXJJO&keywords=purrsuit+feather+cat+toy&qid=1565780823&s=gateway&sprefix=purrsuit,aps,129&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFURENXVTFQN01BUzkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAwMjUxODEzMVpHM1RMVFdFSlFNJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTEwMzQ3NjJHTUdQUFA5RFhIWFEmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

    if you have stairs throw ping pong balls up the stairs to get him running up and down chasing them. This is very good exercise for his development and will help build strong muscles.

    Play tunnels are popular with kittens. I bought 3 of these for my girls when they were kittens. Fasten the tunnels together to make one long tunnel, and then throw toys inside for kitty to pounce on. Also play hide and peek-a-boo, with him inside the tunnel and you outside it.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-My-Pets-Cream-Tunnel/dp/B01M044EZY/ref=sr_1_17?crid=3RSLZLWF2PI5M&keywords=play+tunnels+for+cats&qid=1565781071&s=gateway&sprefix=play+tunnels+,aps,134&sr=8-17

    To make a 'fort' for him use several cardboard boxes taped together with openings cut in the sides.

    Rotate the toys, putting some away, so he doesn't get bored with the same toys all the time.

    Put away any breakable items in cupboards until he is older.

    Feed him a low carbohydrate diet. Carbs cause peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels and can cause kittens to become hyperactive. Feed him wet food only - or raw as you are doing, no dry food.

    Ensure he is getting enough to eat. A hungry kitten can be very destructive with biting and scratching. A kitten of his age should be allowed to eat as much as he wants.

    What breed is your kitten? Some breeds are very high energy e.g. Bengals.
     
    Jackie C likes this.
  4. SilkyPaws

    SilkyPaws PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,
    I just got a new kitten too. He is now 4 1/2 months and i have him for about a month now. He is a male and very very active...
    I would like to suggest to try what i do with mine. My son and i got him used to a harness and a leash and bring him outside in the park to play outdoor twice a day. Yours is still young enough to get used to the harness and the leash easily i am sure.
    I see a huge difference if i bring my kitten only once and he plays by himself the rest of the day indoor, or if i bring him twice...meaning that the time indoor, instead of outdoor, looks like destroying the house indeed, as he climbs everywhere he can, jumps from beds and sofas or from us even to the farthest he can, run wild after all his toys and try to catch us (our feet if we move or walk) in the process so much he is into his game; we can't pet him really when he is very active as he is in a game mode and try to play with our hands too. But this is all normal cat/kitten behavior, as cat are naturally hunter and predator; their playing involve practicing their skills at catching, jumping, climbing and running. Also they like to practice running away and defending themselves from predator of them. When you have 2 kittens, they will play wrestling together and that is how they practice; if you have only one, then you are the one they practice with.
    If i bring my kitten outdoor with the harness and leash and let him do all he wants, climbing, running from tree to tree, jumping, catching things (not birds)...then it doesn't seemed at all destructive and so overwhelming as when he does it indoor.
    Then he sleeps better and is more calm when we are inside, and he appreciates more the cuddling time with us.

    Mostly they grow so fast, soon he will be sleeping most of the day...

    Good luck :)
     
    Jackie C and lymorelynn like this.
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @SilkyPaws, it sounds as though your kitten has a wonderful time when you take him out.

    Is he neutered and microchipped? if not it would be good to have him done soon, before he reaches sexual maturity.

    Cats can become sexually active from 4 months old and once this happens your kitten will be very keen to find a mate. At the Shelter I help run we have had a number of stray un-neutered, male (and female) cats handed in over the years, still wearing their harness and leash. None have been microchipped so we have been unable to reunite these cats with their owners.
     
  6. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

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    If you're going to a public park which allows dogs, be very very careful with your kitty. My neighbour used to take her cats for walks in the nearby fields (not on a harness) and one day they met a dog. Didn't go well.
     
  7. SilkyPaws

    SilkyPaws PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Sev,
    I liked the input of chillminx and Ottery...definitely to be taken into consideration. Indeed, i myself was planning on having my cat neutered pretty soon; as after he starts his puberty he might be even more wild and male starts to be more territorials and might "spray" for territory. The Microship is a good idea as well, as i had my dog and cats have it in the past. Mostly, if you ever have to claim your lost pet...then it proves it is yours at least, as the owner information are all registered with it.
    Also, of course, be very careful in parks when you meet dogs and dog owners...everyone pets are their best friends and dog owners do not appreciates we get their dogs all "round up" with exhibiting our cats in front of them...but I have a trick for you if you try to bring your cat to a park...I stay always close to a tree where he can climb, and it came naturally to him as a reflex to do so when there is a dog nearby; I also hold him on me to comfort him like on my shoulder and i turn my back to the dog so he doesn't see the cat...most dogs brought to park are very friendly and some have cats at home, people have told me, so they walk their way and when they have pass i put him on the ground unless he is already in the tree. Once we met this nice couple with a small dog that was more curious and my cat too this time he was just watching him, so the lady said her dog liked cat and i brought him close on my shoulder (not face to face) and petted the dog and it went fine. I guess you have to just be cautious and use best judgment for the situation.
    Have fun :)
     
  8. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    Cats can be trained. Clicker training is one popular method.
    A lot of my kitten owners teach them to sit, stay, beg, shake a paw, lay down, roll over etc.
    Clicker training can be a fun way to bond as well.
     
    lorilu likes this.
  9. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

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    Some cats, and some tricks, yes, but the OP's cat doesn't seem to be one of them. I have Burmese cats who are fairly biddable tricks-wise, but it's variable. Some love to retrieve, others don't, which is fine, and I let them show me what they like to do best. I think the OP has a problem which is bigger than tricks or no tricks.
     
    chillminx likes this.
  10. SilkyPaws

    SilkyPaws PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,
    I want to say thanks for one of ChillMinx tricks in his previous response about the cardboard and tunnel; my cat loved it. I thought i would try it even if he has so many toys, but just few rolls of paper towels i was going to put in the recycling box, and he played with those for 2 hours...So simple :)
     
    chillminx likes this.
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Aww that's lovely to hear @SilkyPaws! Thank you for the update. :)

    It is true, that cats quite often like the simplest toys the best! Ones that cost little or nothing.

    One of my cats is obsessed with the brown paper packaging that sometimes comes in parcels. It is cut so it makes a see-through lattice and is excellent camouflage for a cat to hide under and be able to watch what is going on around them. My cat loves hiding under it and my other cats (and I) forget she is there......then one of my other cats wanders past, and she pounces on them! :eek:They get such a surprise!
     
    SilkyPaws likes this.
  12. Babyshoes

    Babyshoes PetForums Senior

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    As well as all the good advice you've had, I also want to come back so something @chillminx mentioned - his diet.
    My cats are young adults, fed on mostly good quality wet food, but occasionally they have a treat sachet of a rubbish brand of food that they really love, because they were fed it as kittens. It has added sugars and I almost always notice a difference in their behaviour afterwards.

    If you let us know what you're feeding him, we can see if that might be a contributing factor. Unlikely to be the whole reason, of course, but if you can make a small difference by changing his food, then it's worth doing alongside some of the other suggestions.
     
    SilkyPaws and chillminx like this.
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