can a single kitten be happy? and is a cat's teenage phase worse(more demanding) than kittenhood?

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koo1kat

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Neko-chan was a single kitten who is now a sweet 3 year old. I think the single kitten syndrome every one warns about is more for kittens that are adopted before the 10-12 week mark. Kitten hood doesn't last forever! I found my cats calmed down after being spayed or neutered. Cats are emotional sponges. If you're calm, they'll be calm. Make a routine for play time. 3 or 4 times a day, take out the interactive toys and play, same time every day. Before you know it, your cat will let you know when it's play time by sitting at the closet you keep the wand toys and meowing or just staring holes into you. Sometimes I think kittens cry just because they want you to talk to them. Once you acknowledge them with your voice they calm down. It's not hopeless! I've had 2 single kittens, and both grew up to be wonderful cats.
Thank you so much! It's great to hear that your Neco-chan grew up to be a sweet adult cat! I will try to calm down and trust that she'll turn out fine as long as I provide her with love and safe home:)
 
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koo1kat

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You have a baby kitten/need machine that wants you to be prey, littermates & a surrogate mom! So if she is to much, then rehome her in the next week. people can have trouble adopting 4 month old kittens & by 5 months? Forget it in most cases! That said in 3 months or less she will be a whole different cat behavior wise!

My advice? Lock her cute furry but up in a room with food, some toys, water & a litter box while you work. Work the same hours every day so she can learn your schedule. Midmorning, lunch & afternoon give her a 10 minute play break in her room. Run a box fan or two to drown out her loud protest meows until she adjusts. Then before work and after work, play with her 10 minutes every hour you are awake (until she calms down a bit.) You can give her dry food in a simple puzzle feeder while you work, to keep her entertained. Ideally you would hang bird feeders by your bedroom window, so she can bird watch from the window. When she gets older, you can give her a cat bed on your computer table/by your work station. Teach her to let you sleep.

Routine and a daily schedule will help a ton in training her! Single kitten syndrome rarely plays out on kittens that are raised together until 12 weeks. Interactive toys you rotate help.

If you do give her up, please know you are doing what is right for her (& you.) If you keep her; you might be in a place to adopt in 1-5 years.
Thank you so much for your advice! I have never been good at forming a routine, but I will definitely try to set up some kind of routine with her. I think I will go out to a coffee shop to work because my tiny home office was her safe room when she first came to live with me and has become her bedroom day and night since then. She'll probably freak out if I keep her out of here. lol. I'm going to a local thrift shop to hunt for a bird feeder! thank you again!
 
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koo1kat

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I foster kittens and have 2 foster fails and I 100 percent agree with others that the 4 month mark is when they get crazy! It's basically their preteen months where you are no longer cool enough for them and they are Just go go go!
As for single kitten syndrome it totally depends on their personalities. Some of my fosters I tell the rescue when it's time to place them that they absolutely must have a friend in their new home and others that I think will be fine without. Usually the really high strung and hyper guys I'll say need another animal that they can interact with ( not necessarily another cat, just someone to help run that energy out and teach them appropriate boundaries)
Some ideas for helping with her perceived boredom:
Don't just leave all the toys out they do get bored with them just laying around. I suggest only taking out a handful of them and rotating through puting new ones out each week or swapping out 1 a day, whatever works best for you your and mochi. Also cat toys aren't always as exciting as we think they will be to them. Try finding toys that are completely unlike ones you already have, some of my most popular finds are from the dollar bin of toys or one's made for small dogs. One of the unexpected hits in my home for all ages has been a high bounce ball. It doesn't take much to get the rolling and they bounce back haphazardly off of anything they bump into especially on wood floors.
Kittens at the age to have a lot of energy they need to get out so the zoomies are totally normal and encouraged. That's actually her entertaining herself!
The biggest thing is keeping their brains engaged. Try puzzle feeders and treat balls if she has any food drive. I am also a huge fan of harness training and taking cats ( especially social or wound ones) for little adventure walks around the yard or block depending how into it they are. There is so much activity and things to see outside and it really engages all their senses. Just start off slow and in a contained area until they are comfortable with the harness and the outdoors before venturing out too far or into overwhelming spaces.
As for the yowling at the barrier. It may never stop, some cats are just like that. My girl screams to go into the garage every night like clock work just to be unimpressed and come right back in. It's just the sheer idea that shes not granted free access that drives her crazy.
My first foster fail was from a litter but she became an only cat for about a year and a half before our next fosters and honestly she's a way more adjusted and we'll behaved cat then my second foster fail who's had her and other foster kittens around his whole life. He's actually never learned to just entertain himself like my girl has and is so reliant on kittens to entertain him when she won't.
As for her not wanting to be picked up or cuddled that's pretty normal for that age. But I DO recommend working on her with liking to be held! It's a learned habit, it doesn't usually come naturally so teaching her now will make handling her as an adult sooo much easier. Just pick her up and pet her for a minute, or offer something tasty and put her down when she starts to wriggle away. Just a few times a day to get her used to being held. Also make sure to hold her with her facing outwards not towards your face. A lot of people like to hold them towards their face to smooch on them but it's actually super uncomfortable for most cats especially in the beginning.
Otherwise if she's not being aggressive or destructive she seems to be doing fine! If her needs aren't being met she will let you know by becoming a jerk. Also if she was with other kittens and then suddenly became a singlton she's gonna have an adjustment period. I find that when we are down to the last kitten of a litter that they become a little depressed and restless for a few weeks so she may still be adjusting. If you are still worried maybe try finding a friend with a cat that will be open to play dates? Or try some calming pheromone sprays, or even a hot pad wrapped in a towel where she sleeps to simulate another kitten body.
So to answer your question yes your are thinking way to much into it! If you described the amount of time and effort you have given your new kitten in an adoption application for one of my fosters I would be so happy and excited for this wonderful attentive home for them!
Thank you so much for your reply! Every sentence gave me so much hope and encouragement. I'm taking everyone's advice and trying to calm my anxiety. I think the problem has been not Her but Me. I think she's attached to me, though she doesn't show it. I will try my best to survive this adjustment period without driving myself crazy. lol. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful reply!
 

ClumsyBear

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Hi! I wanted to jump in because I could really relate to this post. When we got our kitten, he was VERY needy. Always needed attention, always got in trouble. He was almost a full-time job. Both me and my boyfriend were worried we had made a terrible mistake by getting him. However, we established boundaries. Ignoring him when we couldn't give him attention had to be done. It can be hard and you might feel guilty, but it'll help in the long run. At the same time, if they're being too annoying, including them in normal activities is great. I use to put my kitten on my shoulder while cooking when he was very small. He loved just seeing what I was doing and helped with reducing the meowing and scratching. A kitten is a baby, they require lots of attention and that's just the nature of babies.

However, now my kitten is 1 year old and he's a lot better in terms of being needy. His temperament and personality remain needy and quite active (he LOVES to play and run around). But, it's definitely not destructive and we lobe having him around. He's learned boundaries (and let's us sleep). He's definitely not crying for my attention at all times. He's still needy but it's not the same exhaustion as when he was a kitten.

Continue playing with the kitten when you can and try providing things she can do alone as well. A food puzzle helped me a lot when doing Zoom meetings at work!

Another 'syndrome' that I've found more common than single-cat syndrome is new owners thinking they made a huge mistake, especially when the new cat is a kitten. It'll get better, I'm certain of it. Keep boundaries, find toys she can use alone, take time to interact with her as well with play or just talking. Most cats do calm down with age and everything is also new for your cat. She's trying to rely and feel safe with you, so she definitely might be more clingy than she will be once she feels more secure in your home.
 

BoaztheAdventureCat

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Hi all,

I adopted a 3-month-old kitten about a month ago(now she's a four-month) and am constantly worrying about her developing a single kitten syndrome.
I've been wanting to adopt a cat for a long time and even moved out of my perfectly decent apartment to a new place because the place had no pet policy. I read enough forums to know that I should adopt an adult cat if I can have only one pet(the new place has one pet policy)
I did intend to adopt an adult cat and browsed Petfinder every day (sometimes 3~4 times a day) to find my "one" for about six months while waiting for my apartment contract to end.
But by the time I moved to a new place, all the cats I had in mind had gotten adopted, and I couldn't find one that seemed to be compatible with me.
Having grown impatient, I made a huge error in judgment when I saw this amazingly cute kitten. I told myself that I could make it work since I'm a freelancer working from home and therefore can spend lots of time with her. So I applied for her and got approved before I knew it.
I came to my right mind a few days later and wanted to cancel my application, but she was already on her way to being transported to the state I'm in, and I thought it cruel not to adopt her when she was coming such a long way. (now I know she would have been fine. She would have gone to a foster home with her siblings who all got adopted a few weeks later)
Long story short, she came to live with me, and it's been a crazy, hectic month, mostly for ME.
She hasn't displayed any behavior issues(biting or scratching) so far, maybe because she's lived with her siblings until the 13th week, or maybe because I'm spending time with her constantly to the point it's taking a toll on my work, emotion, and general well-being.
I'm always worrying that she might be lonely or unhappy being a single kitten. I play with her like 6~7 times a day(about 30mins each), but whenever I stop, she seems restless and bored,(or am I imagining it?) and then gets crazy zoomies or cries. She looks like she doesn't know what to do with herself. She gets so easily bored by all her toys after playing with them maybe once or twice. Playing hunting with her with a wand is also challenging because she loses interest so quickly. (I watched Jackson Galaxy videos and try to imitate the movements of worms or birds). She has lots of toys, a cat tree, and a seat by the window where she can look out the neighborhood. I recently tried to get her on flea preventive medication so she can explore the yard as well. She did seem to enjoy being outside, chasing small bugs.(but then I got worried she would eat poisonous plants or get stung by bees or spiders.)
Still, if I leave her alone, She goes to sit in front of the big barrier that blocks the way into my husband's workspace(the only place she's not allowed to because of dangerous painting materials) and yowls even when both my husband and I are on her side. I know cats do not like barriers, but she's almost obsessed with that thing.(It's like 5 feet, and this small 4-month-old kitten JUMPED to the top once)
The biggest problem is that I have been unable to work almost at all and have been stressing too much. My husband is also unhappy because I seem to be unable to think of anything other than this kitten and spending way too much money and time on her. (The fact that she's not affectionate adds to my concern. She likes to play with me, eats from my hand, but hates to be held, and doesn't come up onto my lap. I've never seen her knead or headbutt or do anything that is supposed to express love and happiness. She purrs, but that's pretty much it.)
I guess I'm fed up with these constant worries that are literally draining my soul.(it's not the kitten's fault but mine)
I'm hoping she would grow calmer and more independent once she reaches 6 months, but some people say cats become crazier and more demanding when they reach their teenage years. THAT really scares me and makes me wonder if I should rehome her while she's a kitten and has a better chance of finding a new home. Please don't get me wrong. I like her a lot and am providing good food, lots of playtimes, and a safe space.
But are my worries valid, or can a single kitten be happy with just adequate attention and play time, like maybe 4 times a day(20mins session)? Will she turn violent and destructive in her teenage years because she has no feline friends to wrestle with? Can I leave her alone and do my thing if she cries even after play time?
Are there any single kitten success stories? It would really help me to read other people's successful experiences with raising a single kitten.

Thank you for reading.
My cat was a solitary kitten for 2 months. BIG MISTAKE! He was the worst little ankle and hand biter (all in play, he wasn't intending to be mean) and he had a mind all of his own. Nothing I did to discipline him worked. I tried yelling OW or NO, I tried ignoring him, scruffing him, hissing and growling like a cat, shaking a shake can, spraying him with water from a squirt bottle, and he did not give up his play attacking until my Dad and my brother brought their kittens home.

There are some lessons that a cat can only learn from being in the company of other cats INTO ADULTHOOD. When my cat had other kittens in his life again, he learned quickly what was appropriate play behavior and what wasn't, for the most part, and his play attacking of the humans stopped.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you were hoping to hear. I'm sure there are solitary kitten success stories, but my story with my cat is one of many that I've heard of people having problems with their single, socially awkward kitten.

My Dad's cat that he had when I was born was a solitary cat from kittenhood. I loved Willy, but I was also a bit afraid of him because I saw how rough he played with my Dad. Cats can't discern that what rough play some adult humans can tolerate, small children cannot. If there are children in your future, you would all the more do well to consider now if it's worth keeping this cat solitary with you or not.

Is it possible for you to bring another kitten home anytime soon? If it's not, it might be worth it to consider re-homing him while he's still little and easier to be adopted out.
 

Purr-fect

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I adopted a 3-month-old kitten about a month ago(now she's a four-month) and am constantly worrying about her developing a single kitten syndrome.

I guess I'm fed up with these constant worries that are literally draining my soul.(it's not the kitten's fault but mine)
I'm hoping she would grow calmer and more independent once she reaches 6 months, but some people say cats become crazier and more demanding when they reach their teenage years. THAT really scares me and makes me wonder if I should rehome her while she's a kitten and has a better chance of finding a new home. Please don't get me wrong. I like her a lot and am providing good food, lots of playtimes, and a safe space.
But are my worries valid, or can a single kitten be happy with just adequate attention and play time, like maybe 4 times a day(20mins session)? Will she turn violent and destructive in her teenage years because she has no feline friends to wrestle with? Can I leave her alone and do my thing if she cries even after play time?
Are there any single kitten success stories? It would really help me to read other people's successful experiences with raising a single kitten.

Thank you for reading.
Relax........your kitten can likely sense you and your partners stress. Over time THAT can cause behavorial issues for her.

She is a kitten and will most likely calm down in time. There may come a time when you will wish she was more active and miss her energyy and antics.

I have had cats most of my life. I have not found they become violent and destructive in their teenage years. Do get her trained to using a scratching post(s) now, before those claws get big. We have 4 posts thruout our home.

Walks on a secure harness are a great idea. Our cats are about 9 years old and we still take them out on harnesses and leads.

Try putting half a dozen ping pong balls in the bath tub and swirl them around. One of our cats loves this game. Once you show her how to chase the balls, she can amuse herself.

We have had success with playing videos for cats (on youtube). Videos with birds, chipmunks, mice, sounds and movement are a hit. Ive seen our cats happily watch a video for 20 minutes at a time.

A good window seat is a must. Some are held to the window with suction cups, allowing for optimal sunlight and visibility.

Perhaps an old romba vacum cleaner that doesnt vacuum anymore would amuse her. You could tie a string to it and let her chase it around the apartment.

Spend loving quality time with her every day, but it doesnt have to be 20 minutes at a time. Perhaps more frequently, but in shorter durations. You dont want her to be dependant on you for entertainment.
 

mxphs

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Another 'syndrome' that I've found more common than single-cat syndrome is new owners thinking they made a huge mistake, especially when the new cat is a kitten.
Amen.
It feels so so so validating to read this thread, Koolcat because what you described is basically exactly what i am going through. Thank you so much for sharing, it's really reassuring me that im not the only one dealing with this.
Humphrey is a lovely cat and I can sense that he's going to be the perfect cat me for once he leaves his kittenhood but I too worry myself sick with all the things i read on the internet, single kitten syndrom stuff, i obsessively check his poos for anything abnormal and if he begins to meow and carry on it literally gives me ptsd to the first week i had him where i did not eat or sleep for three days.

What i'm feeling is that it's slowly getting better. Im worrying less about him, he's showing signs of happiness and contentment and he's learning day by dayhow to be an indepdendent boy. There is still episodes where i am just beyond confused about what he wants. I never wanted a vocal cat but that's who he is and I have to live with that but it isn't easy at all. I wish I couild just work out what he wanted.

My point is that, I HEAR YOU. I'm going through the exact thing. You sound like you are a truly committed and good cat owner. I feel likek things will get better for you but i know it's hard to see that when you're in the middle of the battle. Joining this forum is helping me share my experiences and learn more from all the super experienced cat owners here. Glad there is someone out there like me going through the same things here!!!! sending lots of support and encouragement to you :creampersian:
 
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