Another “my kitten is being crazy” thread… help!

batting1k

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Hi everyone,

Been lurking for a while but jus created an account to post and get some advice.

I got my first cat, a 3 month old tabby, in October.

A little background first: Obviously cats and dogs aren’t the same but I have had dogs my entire life so I have some experience caring for and being there for an animal/pet.

I primarily wanted a cat because I was naively under the impression that they are relatively low-maintenance… not in the sense that I could completely ignore them for 90 percent of the day but that I could still have a normal life schedule of work, friends, etc and not have to worry about “is the cat going to get fed” or “does the cat need to be taken outside to use the bathroom” or “can I just focus on these few work tasks for a few hours“, etc.

I knew people who had cats and I never got the sense that they had their lives and schedules completely altered by having a cat, but admittedly I didn’t do much research beforehand. I knew the basics like needing a litter box, some things to scratch, maybe a tree, a few toys. Not a big deal really.

So, I saw there was a litter of 5 that was just brought to my local adoption center and they were so cute! I couldn’t resist and thought it would be fun to raise a little guy from (almost) the very beginning and see him grow up, etc. I got one of them and he’s now almost 10 months old.

I love him to death, but I feel like I have lost control over my own life to him. For a while, I could sleep past 5am or so, because he wanted a combination of food and play, so I recently broke down and bought an auto-feeder. Surprisingly, this has helped a bit and I’m able to get to around 6:30 before I have no choice but to get up.

I can’t go to sleep until 11 or even 11:30pm because he will wreak havoc if he himself isn’t ready to sleep.

If he isn’t sleeping, I can’t sit around and relax for more than several minutes before he starts meowing/crying for attention/to play so I don’t get much free time to myself. I’ve heard some people say to just ignore them, you can’t give in because then they’ll learn how to get what they want, and so on. But if I try to ignore him for more than several minutes, he will literally jump up walls and put scratches on them, pick at the carpeting with his nails, jump onto furniture that happens to have a particularly soft coating (read: IKEA) and leave gouge marks in it, and generally mess around with things I’d rather he not mess around with…. So off I go to grab a toy to distract him. And of course, this all happens at the worst times, like when a work meeting is starting, when I’m trying to eat a meal, when I need to leave the house to get some where on time.

It has gotten to the point where it’s pretty frustrating because I just moved into a new place and I feel like to some extent I don’t own it, because it just gets scratched up and messed with every single day.

Let me be clear though: I don’t mind playing with him at all, in fact he can be quite funny at times the way he jumps and speeds all around chasing after the dumbest “toys” lol. It’s just the handful of times per day where it ends up being furniture or the walls getting scratched or takeout dinner getting pulled onto the floor because he tried to jump onto a counter and missed (yeah, that happened tonight). Or I sit down for a meeting and he starts crying which is basically his code for “I’m going to jump up at this wall if you don’t play with me in 30 seconds”.

In general, I just feel like every move or decision I make, I have to consider what state he is in. Is he going to start crying if I try to sit down right now and do something? Can I take a slip a quick shower in right now or is he going to start going ballistic soon? Will it delay me going to bed if I delay his play time by 30 minutes because I really need to do X Y and Z right now?

Was it a bad idea for me to get a kitten? I’m not as busy of a person as I may sound but I do like to have some time to myself. Was it wrong for me to not anticipate being completely beholden to him/any cat in general? Did I just luck out in getting a cat that is overly needy/hyperactive?

I feel absolutely terrible, because most of the time he is a great cat, he’s very loving and he’s just acting the way he is naturally wired to act, so it’s not really his fault.

It’s probably tough to say whether or not he’ll be like this forever, but is it likely he will? Is there anything I can do to remain sane, if it’s even possible at this point?

Thank you in advance!!
 

kateallen

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It is not a bad idea to get a cat. But you need to take care of yourself too. You need your sleep. You can purchase toys for your cat. Some toys don't need human supervision and your kittens can play with them easily. If you have a spare room, you could put your cats and their toys, tree, bed, and litter inside that room and let your cat roam around without worrying.

Hope this helps.
 

Neko-chan's mama

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It does get easier. Your kitten is like a teenager right now. Boundless energy. Having a schedule for food and interactive play helped my girl when she was a bratty teen. A sturdy cat tree or two can give him something to both climb and scratch. Neko-chan is 2 now and a little calmer but will yell at me if I try to skip her scheduled play time
 

FeebysOwner

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Your cat will calm down with age. And, tbh, when that does happen, you might find yourself somewhat 'mourning' those crazy days when he was most reliant on you.

A lot of people are under the assumption that a cat requires less care taking 'effort' than a dog - and, that is, in general, inaccurate. Yes, they can use a litterbox so they don't have to be taken outside, but that is truly about the only difference, especially when they are young as your cat is.

Not sure these TCS articles will resolve your issues, but it might help for you to read them anyway - they might just give you some other ideas!
First-time Cat Owner’s Guide – TheCatSite Articles
How Much Time Does It Take To Care For A Cat? – TheCatSite Articles
Kitten Proofing Your Home: 13 Practical Tips – TheCatSite Articles
Why Do Cats…? A Guide To Understanding Feline Behavior – TheCatSite Articles
 
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