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Kitten help desperately needed!!

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by lauren84, Oct 12, 2013.


  1. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,

    My kitten is almost 6 months old. I bought him home at 11 weeks and decided that I wanted to keep him downstairs at night.

    My house is quite small but there's a door from the living room and kitchen that shuts off the stairs, so I thought this would work quite well - he'd have the run of the bottom floor and upstairs would be out of bounds at night.

    But after the first few days (when he was too scared to come out from behind the sofa) he started scratching at the door and crying to come up. I ignored it for a few nights but he is incredibly determined and would just not stop. He was wrecking the carpet and I was not sleeping so I tried letting him up. Of course, he just wanted to play, so he had to go back downstairs.

    He's now almost 6 months old and it's not gotten any better, and frankly I'm at my wits end. He has his claws trimmed regularly and I had him neutered at 5 months because the vet thought he might be crying to go outside and he was getting aggressive. It basically hasn't made any change at all to his night behaviour, he doesn't cry at the front door to go out much these days but he is still tearing up the carpet and crying to get upstairs.

    I've scoured loads of forums for advice, I've tried sticky tape on the stairs and tin foil - he doesn't care, he just shreds it. I've doused the stair and the door with lemon, it doesn't bother him. I've tried squirting him with a water gun - it stops him until he hears me go back upstairs then just starts up again. I've tried the expensive route - feliway - but it didn't seem to do anything.

    I literally don't know what else to do and I can't go on being woken up so early. He usually waits till about 6.30am but if me or my boyfriend gets up in the night to use the bathroom, that's it. He kept us awake from 4.30 to 6.30 the other morning, scratching and crying. He just doesn't give up and eventually one of us caves and lets him up cause its driving us crazy.

    Currently he's an indoor cat, I live really close to a main road and I'm scared he'll get hit. He's also a silver tabby and quite unusual looking so I do worry he might get stolen if I let him out, but it's the traffic that's the main concern. In the day he's only alone a max of four hours - I feed him and fuss over him before work, then my boyfriend pops over at lunch to do the same, then I rarely go out in the eve so he's got some company till bed time, as I feel guilty about him being alone in the day.

    He eats the best food (royal canin) and he has loads of toys. He can be so affectionate when he's in the mood but he does have a habit of suddenly turning round and nipping. He's a pretty naughty kitten and I don't know why cause even from him being really small I've told him no, but recently I've had to turn the water gun,but he doesn't seem to get it.

    My vet has run out of ideas, other than letting him out. i dont have a cat flap so he would have to stay in at night anyway so id still have this problem. The woman at pets at home suggested getting him a play mate or putting him in a cage at night, but my house isn't big enough for either of those things really and I'd feel so guilty putting him in a cage at night.

    I really hope someone has some advice because I'm at my wits end and there's a huge chunk of carpet missing and I need some sleep :-(

    Thank you!!
     
  2. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    Welcome to the forum Lauren.
    I have a six month old kitten too so I know they can be a bit of a handful.
    Have you got a garden?
    If you have then you can cat proof it quite easily. There is a sticky at the top of the cat chat page with pictures and information on what some of the forum members have done in their gardens to keep their cats safe.
    If you live near a busy road then I would not let him out.
    The chances of him getting killed on the road is very high. I had one killed in a cul de sac:(
    Six months is far too young anyway for the outside world.

    The carpet problem is common. I have had the same and now have wooden floors put down.
    If you go onto Pet Supplies, Pet Food, Dog Food, Cat Food and Pet Accessories at Zooplus there are a lot of toys and cat trees/scratching posts that are good. Maybe that might help.

    Also playing with him before you go to bed so as to wear him out a bit might also help.
    Cats do wake up early.
    Mine tend to sleep more now the nights and mornings are darker.
    I hope this helps and you will get a few more replies when the other forum members wake up;)
     
  3. sashski

    sashski PetForums Senior

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    I remember those crying, scratching times!

    Does he have plenty of scratching poles/pads?
    My 2 grew out of it, so hopefully yours will too!
    X
     
  4. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    Morning Jill!

    Thanks for your reply.

    He has a scratching post already and he's so good with it. He never scratches anything other than the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, and I think it's because he's trying to get up to me.

    He seems to really hate closed doors, I think that's part of the problem. Even when I use the bathroom he sits at the door crying, even if its only shut for a minute.

    I sort of have a garden but the houses on the street are terraced so none of the gardens have walls that separate them, theyre all open. Ill have a look at that thread though, maybe there'll be something on there.

    Is your cat naughty too? I just don't know how to train him. Tried shouting at him, ignoring him, squirting him with water. Nothing works :(
     
  5. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    Hey Tempy,

    My vet suggested the water gun, I hate doing it but it was a last resort :-(

    When I said he was naughty I meant the turning round and biting out of nowhere.

    I know him scratching the door is just an attempt to get at me, but I've tried keeping it open and he just scratches at the bedroom door instead. If I leave that open, he just runs round the bed and wants to play.
     
  6. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    Oh and I've tried beds, and little nests of blankets and cushions and he's not interested in any of them. He just goes wherever he feels like it. He slept on a pile of books the other day, he never seems to go for a comfortable option!
     
  7. rox666

    rox666 PetForums Senior

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    Is'nt that just normal kitten behaviour? They just want to play and as he doesn't have another kitten/cat to play with then it's down to you!

    If it were me I would just get used to getting up early (4.30/5.30 is pretty normal for me during the working week anyway) and spend some time playing with him. He'll grow out of it. That or get another kitten or young cat for him to play with. If he is going to be kept as an indoor cat then having a companion might make more sense anyway - another cat to play with and lots of cat toys/trees would help keep the boredom away.
     
  8. AtticusRavel

    AtticusRavel PetForums Member

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    Hi!

    He just doesn't give up and eventually one of us caves and lets him up cause its driving us crazy.
    I don't think he's naughty! I think he is clever :) If he's seen it's working then why will he stop?

    For the scratching, I think some kittens prefer to scratch horizontally rather than vertically, have you tried having one of those sisal mats put on top of the place where he usually scratches the carpet? I have this one, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cat-Scratching-Mat-With-Toy/dp/B000OLYF6K
    and is a well loved accessory of the house. I also have scratching posts for my almost 5 month old kitten, but he is just now starting to feel more at ease scratching vertically! Also, the more he scratches in one place, the more he will want to scratch there. Is a way of marking territory for cats as well as something pleasurable and necessary for them to do.

    He cries because he's lonely or bored or both, could also be he is hungry.

    I don't think there is a magic solution, we get woken up everyday at 7ish, 730 tops, he sleeps in the kitchen. We are considering giving him full range of the house at night to see weather he is more content and we could push our weekend lie in to 8.. However, he can be noisy when playing, so we have assumed that 7 it will be ...

    I think you could try having more toys at his end, having some food over night in case he is hungry and try to play with him tiring him out at night so that he needs his sleep more.

    But he is a kitten after all... What won't get you far is squirting water at times, and picking him up at others. This is a mixed message that is confusing to him, and will only reassure the bad. There are some interactive toys that are not that expensive,l I saw a mat that has lights lit up when clicking them, which could be fun as a night game. I have also seen other toys like feathers to follow that move automatically and can be fasten to a door, so maybe that would keep him more entertained... I might just be he wants your company, in which case if you give in, he gets what he wants through negative behaviour so that won't stop. Either completely ignore so he grows out of it, as it brings him nothing to behave that way. Or change your plans and let him to the bedroom.

    I'm open for any suggestions too, as said before I miss getting up at 8.. 9 seems like Utopia..
     
  9. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    I've found that giving them free run settles them down so quickly. Mine have free run as soon as they're fully litter trained, and by the time they leave me at 13/14 weeks, Every one of them is happy to settle on the bed and sleep the night through. They know that if they want to play, they have to get down off the bed. I taught them this by picking them up and popping them on the floor every time the started to run or wrestle or generally be a pain whilst on the bed with me when the lights were out. They know they can play when it's morning and I'm awake, but not at night. It's hard, hard work and you'll have 2 or 3 nights where you literally don't get any sleep, but persistance is the key here. Each and every time he tries to play, pick him up and put him on the floor and he will learn that the bed is for snuggles, and nothing fun happens if you start to play up there.

    I also don't have any noisy toys in the bedroom. I have balls on the floor and things they can chase without making a racket, but all the super fun toys are in other rooms, so again they learn that there's lots more fun to be had elsewhere.

    In this way, my kittens can be kittens and still go mad at 2 in the morning, my cats can be cats and come for cuddles when they're sleepy and tired and want some quiet human time, and I can have my lie in on the weekend because they have learned that they are only to bother me if it's an emergency or something urgent while I'm still in bed. Mind you, this works both ways as they also know that I will make sure their bowls don't go empty just because I want longer in bed.

    As your kitten is on his own, I'm afraid he's going to have lots of energy to burn off, so you do need to expect that you will have to up your playtimes. Is your house definitely too small for another cat? This is the ideal solution, and your little one will be much happier in the long run as he will have a friend of his own species.
     
    NATPT89 likes this.
  10. Cookieandme

    Cookieandme PetForums VIP

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    I should imagine when he was very young he was frightened on his own and needed company. I bought April at almost 10 months and the first night she cried and cried on her own and then shut in her own room. She wasn't used to being along, cookie has always had free range of the house and neither of them like closed doors.

    Is there a reason he isn't allowed upstairs at night ? I am sure if he has company he will settle down :)
     
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Excellent advice from Carly!:)

    It really is a lot to expect one little kitten on its own to be happy all night long with its own company. I think your little fellow is doing very well to stay quiet until 4.30 a.m, bless him. When he hears you or your OH get up for the bathroom early in the a.m. he no doubt thinks it is breakfast time.

    I have only ever adopted kittens in pairs, and my routine was always to settle them downstairs at night. I never had any trouble with them after bedtime because they had each other for company. At present though I have two 5 mth old kittens who sleep in the spare bedroom at night, and this has not presented any problems at all.

    If I had been ever in the position of having only one kitten, especially if I had no other cats, I would certainly allow him/her in the bedroom with me at night so he had company.

    If you feel unable to relent and allow him in the bedroom with you, then I suggest buying a battery operated auto-feeder, and putting some tasty wet food in it, timed to open around 4 a.m. He will eat and then snooze until you get up at 8 a.m. The you can give him his 2nd brekkie.

    On the subject of food, feed him a high protein wet food diet, 4 meals a day, with his last meal being his supper, just before bedtime, and he should sleep well after that. Do not feed dry food as it is full of carbs and only satisfies him in the short term, giving him a burst of energy and then a few hrs later he is hungry again.

    As already mentioned by previous posters - every night before his bedtime you need to play an energetic interactive game with him for an hour, e.g. with Da Bird, or chasing balls etc. At present I have at least one and a half hours interactive play with my two 5 mth old kittens before bedtime every night, as this is one of the times they are at their most lively. After that they have their supper, then bed, and I do not hear a peep out of them until 8 a.m. even though they are in a room just across the landing from me.
     
  12. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your advice guys.
    Yeah my house is definitely too small Carly. I take him round to my friends' houses as they have kittens a similar age, but my little one just runs off and hides.
    Ill try your bed method. Do you think there's any chance of it working though given that he's almost 6 months old, can they still be trained?
    Does anyone know how to stop him randomly biting or trying to attack my hand/arm?
     
  13. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry didn't see the other two posts! It's not that I don't want him in my bedroom, id love nothing more than for him to snuggle up with us. But he does it till midnight, maybe 2am, then wakes us up running round the bed and walking over us and wanting attention. Ignoring him doesn't work, if we do that he gets aggressive and starts trying to attack our arms :(
    Does anyone have any specific recommendations for games in the uk? Think he's bored of the rattley balls/feather on a stick etc.
    On the subject of food, the vet told me to feed him dry as its better for his teeth. He was on wet food until last week, tbh it hasn't made any difference to his night activity.
     
  14. muffin789

    muffin789 PetForums Senior

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    If you haven't got one of these, I promise it will be one of the best things you do, and I really don't think he'll get bored of it, ever!!! The thing that makes this different from most of the other "things on the end of a string" toys is the way the feathers spin in the air due to the flight being on a swivel.

    Give him a good session with something like that just before bedtime, so he's nice and tired and ready for a sleep. Good luck with him xx

    Oh and ETA - your vet is talking rubbish re dry food :( Get him off the junk and back on wet as quickly as you can!!! Dry food can lead to all sorts of problems and contain cereals and fillers that cats just can't digest - they're not designed to eat dry food; they're carnivores for heaven's sake!!!The only thing you will get keeping him on a dry diet will be higher vet's bills, I'm afraid.

    Do a little research on here, as there is a ton of excellent advice about food and diet, and why dry is not the way to go.
     
    #14 muffin789, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  15. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    6 months is not too old to train, but honestly, this little boy sounds like he's got far too much energy and nobody to play with to burn it off. he's not a dog, so won't just play in your friend's house with their strange kittens, he probably finds the whole thing very scary, bless him.
     
  16. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    Would that be the same vet that told you Royal Canin is good food and sold you the Feliway? :rolleyes:

    Just wear him out for 30 minutes before bed time the give him a meal of decent meat based food (ie not Royal Canin) and let him have access to the bedroom. He'll be no trouble once he gets over the novelty factor and you will get woken up with kitten nuzzles.
     
  17. lauren84

    lauren84 PetForums Newbie

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    There's no need to be like that :( I'm clearly a new cat owner and new to all this and I came on here to get some friendly advice. Not really sure who else you'd expect me to listen to other than a vet...

    As for everyone else, thank you for your help.

    I let him upstairs last night and he slept most of the night but he was pretty lively by 6am. I put him downstairs, fed him, left a radio on and some toys out, and he still scratched the crap out of the carpet. So it can't be loneliness as he spent all night with us and it's not that he was hungry because I fed him. I'll get some interactive toys and hopefully that will keep him entertained until it's a more reasonable time to get up.
     
  18. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    #18 chillminx, Oct 13, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  19. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    My exasperation was not directed at you but at your vet since you have clearly been badly advised.
     
  20. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    That's pretty good to be honest. I may have done the same but left the door open for him to come back up. My boys have always slept on my bed and even though they are 1 and 2 years old now I still get woken up when the sun rises or earlier, but they can usually be tempted to lie in a little longer :001_rolleyes:
    He is only a baby and will grow out of this in time, pretty soon he will snooze all night on your bed, just persevere, you will get there :)
    Em
     
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