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Help! I'm a nurse, I'm worried about leaving my kitten alone.

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Bex&Lyra, Oct 24, 2020.


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  1. Bex&Lyra

    Bex&Lyra PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone!
    I have been so excited to get my new kitten. I have had kittens in the past but here has always been someone at home (my mum or siblings) to take care of them. I have wanted a kitten since I moved out.

    I am a nurse, so I work 12 hour shift, usually leave the house at 6:30am and am home by 7:30pm (I live 5 mins from work). I work 3 days a week so the other 4 I am at home. I am a pretty anxious person and want the very best for my kitten and have been doing loads of research and reading on making sure she is happy and safe. oh and I live alone.

    My first dilemma is that she will be ready to come home on Friday and I am working Saturday and Sunday night shift. I did everything I could to get a swap/ holiday day but no luck. I am off Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, back on a night shift Thursday. Am I right in saying I should just get her Monday? A friend offered to check up on her Saturday and Sunday night (9-10pm) and play with her a bit but that's introducing a new person and a new smell very soon after getting her. All her siblings are leaving on the Friday so I'm worried she will have extra stress if she leaves Monday. The breeder won't let me take her on Thursday (as she will be 7 weeks and 6 days) and is keen for them to leave all the same day.

    My plan is to let her roam around the living room with her toys, cat tree, litter box and food. My kitchen and utility room don't have a door so she will have access to that too but I am going to try and make it the least interesting as possible so she won't go in there as much. I considered putting up some kind of barrier or gate until I am sure she's safe in there an doesn't jump then get stuck on the counters (she won't be allowed this anyway). My cat camera only has a view of the living room.

    Second dilemma, I am worried she will get bored for 12 hours on her own. I will play with her for a while, give her the wet food then leave. she will always have access to fresh dry food. I can check up on her at lunch time if I have to but it will be for 10mins max. I am getting loads of interactive toys and am looking at getting a smart plug so she can watch Cat TV and that to keep her occupied. My friend who had loads of kittens says she will most likely just sleep, especially if I play with her before. I have considered getting a second kitten. Unfortunately I thought about it too late and all her siblings were reserved but my friend thinks I should wait to see how she is on her own first.

    Any thoughts or advice?
     

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  2. ChaosCat

    ChaosCat PetForums VIP

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    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    Your little kitten is cute but at 8 weeks far too young to leave mum. Kittens shouldn’t go to a new home before they are at least 12 weeks old as a lot of serious social education happens in these 4 extra weeks. Sounds like the breeder is rather a backyard breeder who wants the kittens gone before they start costing money.

    Being 12 hours alone isn’t great for a kitten at all and especially not for one as young as that. Getting her on Monday would indeed be a better option (getting her four weeks later still better) but even then the poor little thing will regularly have to stay on her own for far too long.
    Could you at least get another kitten to keep each other company?
    If you consider that, please choose one from a rescue, not from a backyard breeder.
     
  3. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    Firstly she's a very pretty little girl - does she have a name yet ?

    It sounds to me that you've got most bases covered - kittens do sleep a lot more than we realise ! But just a couple of thoughts -

    Please ditch the dry food - it really isn't good for cats as they don't drink enough to compensate. You could look into getting a timed feeder - although with the cooler weather it's unlikely that a wet meal left down for during the day would go "off".

    If she has access to your kitchen/ utility room please make sure that there is absolutely no way she could get behind/under any of the cupboards or white goods - you'd be amazed at how kittens can get into the tiniest of spaces (many times we hear of cat parents having to take up a floor or demolish a cupboard because their fur baby has gone exploring !).

    And, lastly - it would probably be better if the breeder will let you collect her on Monday as then you'd have 4 days to get her settled :)
     
  4. Bex&Lyra

    Bex&Lyra PetForums Newbie

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    I thought 8 weeks was fine to get kitten? They said they are respecting the guidelines. 12 weeks is obviously better but yeah they basically are coming dewormed and flea treatment and that's it. They would need their vaccinations.

    I was looking for about months for any rescue cat or kitten and it's actually so hard to rescue where I am. A whole load of application forms and rejections because there will be someone who works from home who is a better choice. I have been continuing to look but no luck. If I had known I would have got 2 from the very beginning. Is there a risk of her becoming anti social? I have split my shifts for the first 2 weeks then I have 2 weeks holiday so she won't be alone for more than 2 shifts in a row.
     
  5. Bex&Lyra

    Bex&Lyra PetForums Newbie

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    Calling her Lyra! Thanks so much for the input! I am worrying way too much about this! I just want her happy and safe. Dry food is only to nibble on during the day if she wants it. She will get wet food 2-3 times a day. I have read a lot about types of food and the best ones to give her (settled on lily's kitchen dry and feringa wet food). I don't really want an automatic feeder... I don't want her food to be from a machine, I want her to know she will get it from me.

    That friend I mentioned is going to help me find and cover every single little hole even if I think it's nothing. These rooms are making me nervous but I just need to be careful.
     
  6. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I would never leave a tiny baby like that for 12 hours at a time. It's cruel. Please don't do this. Get two, or get an adult cat.
     
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  7. Bex&Lyra

    Bex&Lyra PetForums Newbie

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    Not very constructive feedback... If I had known before I put down the deposit I obviously would have got two or an older cat but now I'm trying to fix it and do what I can.
     
  8. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    It was quite constructive actually. Leaving a kitten alone for 12 hours a day is just wrong. The kitten is too young for one thing, and you are likely to encounter behavior problems, even if you were home with her all the time. Being left on her own, how will she ever become socialized?

    Refuse to take this kitten until you can get two together.

    Take time off from work to help them settle, or don't bring them home until you have a number of days off.
     
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  9. Chaddycat

    Chaddycat PetForums Senior

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    Bit random but what about bringing the kitten home on the Sunday before you start your shift as its good for them to have time to settle for a few hours on their own anyhow.

    I am a health care assistant and I too am out the house for 14+ hours a day when I'm on shift. I personally don't see the problem with leaving cats that long. They will be asleep for 2/3 of the time you are at work, and I normally leave a box of toys out for them to play with. I do have an adult and a kitten but my adult cat is so chilled out that my kitten may aswell be on his own! Lol

    I too got my kitten at 8 weeks. The only problem I've had is he's started to annoy my adult cat when he wants to play but Chadwick wants to sleep whih has caused a bit of hissing.

    Good luck with new kitten. She will be fine. Can't wait to see some pics of her x
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Bex&Lyra - I am very sorry this is probably not what you want to hear, but leaving a young kitten alone for 12 hours a time is too long.

    I have adopted a lot of kittens over many years of living with cats, and have never left any of them alone for more than 5 hours at such a young age. Also I have always adopted kittens in pairs so they had each other for companionship/playmates.

    Supposing your wee kitten became ill while you were gone so long? If a young kitten becomes ill they can go down hill quickly. Someone would need to be there to notice and get her to the vet.

    I also think feeding her nothing but dry food is not good for her health. A little one like her needs wet food in 5 or 6 meals a day.

    If you are determined to go ahead with the adoption I would advise negotiating with the breeder, extra time for the kitten to stay with her mum until she is a bit older, say 10 to 12 weeks. I appreciate her litter mates will all have gone, but she will have her mum for company and will not be on her own for 12 hours at a time.

    When I say "negotiate with the breeder" I mean offer to pay for the kitten's food and litter for another 3 or 4 weeks, while she stays with the breeder. This is often an arrangement made when the buyer/adopter is going to be away on holiday at the time of collection. I can't see why the breeder would not co-operate with this arrangement.

    When you do collect her, arrange for it to be a time when you can be with her at home 24/7 for at least 3 or 4 days, preferably a week. Maybe take a week's holiday leave if you can, to settle her in.

    Before you go back at work, book a professional drop-in cat sitter to visit kitty twice a day on the days you are out for 12 hours. The sitter can feed the kitten 2 of her meals and check she is well. The arrangement can be short term until the kitten is say 5 months old. It won't cost that much, and certainly the peace of mind ought to be worth it.
     
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  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Leaving an adult cat for 12 hours is OK if it is necessary. But in my opinion it is not Ok leaving a young kitten of only 8 weeks totally alone. Your kitten at least had the company of your adult cat so he was not completely on his own. It does make a difference, even if the two of them ignored each other, and did not play together.

    EDIT : at the Shelter we would never home a solitary kitten to be left on their own for 12 hours a day. I am sure that people do it, but it is not good practice, so I cannot be in agreement with it, sorry. :(
     
    #11 chillminx, Oct 24, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  12. Chaddycat

    Chaddycat PetForums Senior

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    No apology needed. People have different views and that is fine.
     
  13. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    But the situations are not the same. Your kitten had an adult cat with her not only for company but for socialization. I have rescued infant kittens twice, but there were always adult cats as well, so the babies were never alone, and they had cats to teach them appropriate cat behaviors. I still never left them alone more than a few hours though. As chillminx stated, young kittens need wet food meals every few hours throughout the day to keep them healthy and hydrated.

    They also need human companionship.
     
  14. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    In my experience, people who take in a solitary kitten and leave the kitten alone for long hours end up complaining about how "needy" the kitten is, how much the kitten cries, how much damage the kitten does both to the home, and to the human when they actually are home to spend time with the kitten. Often these kittens are dumped, and because they've never been properly brought up or socialized, passed from one home to another, never having a happy loved life.

    I also ended up with one of those types of kittens too. By the time he came to me at 6 months old he was a wreck. He never did learn to be around anyone else but me (or any other cats for that matter). I gave him the best life I could, but it was too bad he had to spend his first few months living almost completely alone because his first human simply "wanted something alive in the house when he went home" but was hardly ever home. It still hurts my heart, thinking about Baby and how alone he was for the first few months of his life, before I stepped in (after I got tired of hearing my coworker complain about him all the time)

    It hurts my heart to think about this baby being alone so much too. It's just not right.
     
  15. Whompingwillow

    Whompingwillow PetForums VIP

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    Your not the first person that has tried to rescue and found it too difficult so bought a kitten instead. It’s a real shame rescues make it so difficult sometimes :( My neighbours who are amazing cat parents with a perfect home for a cat also found it so hard to rescue, and at some point were tempted to buy a kitten instead, they ended up finding a small rescue that had less blanket rules.
    when I fostered a family of kittens and their mum, that rescue homed babies at 8 weeks so I too didn’t know it was too young back then, one in particular was crying for his mum it was very sad. I’ve learnt heaps since!
    If you’ve put down the deposit and it really is too late to cancel, it’s not too late to get a friend for your kitten from a rescue if possible (I find catchat.org quite good)
    I agree with everyone else that leaving such a young kitten alone for 12 hours a day is unfair and cruel.
     
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  16. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    TBH I wouldn't leave an adult alone for 12 hours except in an emergency .
    Why would anyone consider having à pet if they are not around to enjoy their company :confused:
     
  17. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    I totally agree with the often ludicrous rules some rescues have for rehoming as I too came up against a brick wall as soon as I said I wasn't prepared to allow "free roaming".
    That said I can understand a rescue being unwilling to rehome where an owner is out of the house for 8+ hours a day on a regular basis .
     
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  18. Whompingwillow

    Whompingwillow PetForums VIP

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    I agree with that completely too
     
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  19. Chaddycat

    Chaddycat PetForums Senior

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    Because those of us who work 12 hours a day also have 4 days off a week.
     
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  20. Bex&Lyra

    Bex&Lyra PetForums Newbie

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    THANK YOU!!! We have more than half our week to spend with them! I think half the people here didn't even read my post properly...
     
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