Adjusting to back-to-work with a COVID kitten

Juniper_Junebug

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I got Juno at around 4 months last October, and for most of that time, I was working from home and rarely out of the house for too long. When I adopted her, I was clear with all the rescues I applied to that I wanted one cat and so I put in for an adult. But she needed a foster and when she was offered to me, it must have been fate. I fell in love with her right away, and the feeling seemed mutual.

Now I've started going back into the office, at first one day a week, then two, now three. Last week, I had to travel for work for the first time, so I had my mother look in on her in the middle of the day. After a minute or two of hiding, she was friendly with mom and even played a bit.

When I got home, she alternated between super snuggly and pretty bitey. I still had work I needed to do that night and she seemed to crave attention non-stop. And she was generally more bitey last week, when I was busy with work (in the office and at home). She's taken to sitting on my keyboard for attention (even though previously she was pretty good about sitting on her perch above my desk and letting me work). I figure she just wants my attention. I spent all weekend at home with her, and she was super snuggly and not at all bitey.

Anyone else in a similar boat? I do try to play with her as much as I can, and also give her a chance to snuggle before bedtime (even if it means staying up later than I should). I don't let her in my bedroom, so that may be part of it.

I know the general advice is to get a second cat but (1) I really don't want a second cat and (2) I'm not convinced she would want one either. It's just the two of us and I think she would be very jealous. I would be pretty bummed to get a second I don't want and find out it didn't make her happier either.

I guess I just want to make her happy and nip the whole biting thing in the bud. When she bites me while I'm at my desk, I swivel my chair for a few seconds so she's not rewarded. What else? Has anyone had a single cat who got over this phase and settled in as a happy only, even it means she doesn't always get attention exactly when she wants it?
 
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hannahe01

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She will get used to it. My cat (only cat) was home alone while I worked full time during covid and before covid. He’s totally over the biting phase now as he is 2. But I got him when he was around 6 weeks. She’s still a kitten and has a lot of energy. I would try and work in about an hour or more of play a day. Play for 20 minutes in the morning before work, 20 minutes when you get home, and for 15-20 minutes before bed (before her last meal of the night.) and do this consistently and I promise it will help.
 

hannahe01

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She will get used to it. My cat (only cat) was home alone while I worked full time during covid and before covid. He’s totally over the biting phase now as he is 2. But I got him when he was around 6 weeks. She’s still a kitten and has a lot of energy. I would try and work in about an hour or more of play a day. Play for 20 minutes in the morning before work, 20 minutes when you get home, and for 15-20 minutes before bed (before her last meal of the night.) and do this consistently and I promise it will help.
Getting another cat could be potentially great for her or potentially not great. It all depends on the personality of said cat. If you don’t want a second cat then don’t worry because it’s not necessary if you’re providing enrichment and play time with her when you are home. Get some self play automatic toys and food puzzle to keep her busy while you’re working or sleeping
 

Talien

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It sounds like mild separation anxiety, so yes, just pay more attention to her when you are home and it will help.

Why don't you let her in your room? If she can sleep next to you at night that might help too.
 
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Juniper_Junebug

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It sounds like mild separation anxiety, so yes, just pay more attention to her when you are home and it will help.

Why don't you let her in your room? If she can sleep next to you at night that might help too.
I don't let her in my room because I prize my sleep, and no matter how tired she is when I go to bed, as soon as she gets into my room, she goes crazy. I realize this may be at least partly because my room is a novelty for her, but I tried letting her on for a few weeks, and she the exception of one of two times, I ended up kicking her out each night because she wouldn't settle down.
 

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How To Deal With Cat “love Bites”? – TheCatSite Articles
How To Stop Playtime Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles
Cat Behavior Problems [What to do and what not to do] – TheCatSite Articles

There is a combination of advice in these articles which may help. I do think that she misses you but will figure out what is going on with your new schedule and will adjust. Getting a second cat may or may not help. If cats decide not to bond, you will have two cats who need attention individually which will not help you at all.

So when she bites, everything ends. Don't pull you hand away too quickly as that simulates prey, but get up, walk out of the room, make a high squeaky sound to let her know that it hurts, such as her mother would if she nursed too hard. Don't use a spray bottle as cats don't associate the spray with the situation at hand and it just creates one more problem for both of you and won't stop the biting. Most effective thing for me with Jamie was that playtime was over, for a long time, if he bit.
 
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