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Concern About Head Shaking Behavior

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by TaroTheBengal, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. TaroTheBengal

    TaroTheBengal Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 10, 2018
    I recently bought my first kitten at 12 weeks old. He is a male bengal and is awesome!
    When he first came to the house I did my best to make him feel safe and I believe that he has warmed up. He has been with me for 2 1/2 weeks so he is 14 1/2 weeks old now. He is very curious and loves to run around and play and explore the whole house. He is eating a consistent diet mixture of Blue Wilderness Kitten Wet and Dry food and gets about 250-270 calories per day. He uses the litter box regularly and his stool is normal, minus the few times it was a bit runny when switching his diet.
    My concern is, when he is playing with me or sometimes just when he is exploring, he gets super excited and I can visibly see his head shake VERY slightly. Its not a twitch or anything, and its not the normal "shake off water/dust" shake. The best way I can describe it is like when you tense up a muscle really hard and it kind of starts to vibrate/shake. It is noticeable if you focus on him and his eyes get very wide. To me he doesn't seem scared really as he continues to play, and it could be that hes just overstimulated/excited, but it does concern me since it happens daily.
    Is this because he is still getting used to the new home? Or is this normal for an excited kitten? Thank you!
     

  2. Columbine

    Columbine TCS Member Staff Member Advisor

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    Feb 27, 2015
    The kitty playground
    Hi, and welcome to TCS :hithere::welcomesign:

    This sounds most like intense excitement to me. I wouldn't be too worried :)

    @bengalcatman may be able to shed more light on this, however, as (unlike me) he's experienced with Bengals :winkcat:
     
    TaroTheBengal purraised this.

  3. Yanaka

    Yanaka TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Philadelphia
    Is it your first kitten? I wonder if it's the normal shake cats do when they play-hunt and they are ready for the thing to move. Could you find a video on Youtube, maybe?
     
    ArchyCat purraised this.

  4. bengalcatman

    bengalcatman TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Eastern PA
    Columbine is likely correct: over excitement. Bengals are generally more active than other breeds and tend to get REALLY excited when playing. If this only occurs when playing I would not be worried.

    The obvious concern is seizures. The type most similar to what you are describing is a simple focal seizure, which would be accompanied by some transient confusion and/or a "dazed/confused" look. That the kitten continues to play without interruption sounds more like over stimulation. If the behavior becomes more frequent and the episodes start to last longer a trip to the vet would be a good idea. A vet would do a physical exam and check blood work for an underlying cause.

    We have a (non-bengal) kitten now who sometimes gets so excited that she "shivers" for a second or so when she is playing. When she was younger, she would often pause for a second with eyes wide when she was playing.

    Enjoy that kitten and post up some pics, everyone would love to see them!
     
    TaroTheBengal and Columbine purraised this.

  5. TaroTheBengal

    TaroTheBengal Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 10, 2018
    Yanaka, I have checked out some of the Youtube videos and I can't find any with the exact thing I am talking about. They are mostly very intense seizures and things similar to that. Yes this is my first Kitten, and first pet for that matter. It is hard to discern what some behaviors mean because of this, but I just want to do my best !~

    Thank you Bengalcatman, and yes it does mostly happen when playing. However, sometimes when he is exploring the house and I call his name or he hears a subtle noise he would look straight up and kind of "freeze" with that subtle head oscillation. Its kind of like he is on high alert all the time.

    Anywho, thank you all for the information! Here's some photos of Taro!
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    bengalcatman purraised this.

  6. Columbine

    Columbine TCS Member Staff Member Advisor

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    The kitty playground
    He is just STUNNING! :loveeyes::redheartpump::lovecat3::redheartpump::loveeyes:
     
    TaroTheBengal purraised this.

  7. bengalcatman

    bengalcatman TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Dec 5, 2014
    Eastern PA
    What a beautiful Bengal kitten, love the rosette markings! I bet that kitten is non-stop with playing/investigating/racing... great entertainment!

    You will have your hands full with a Bengal, they are very active, inteligent and talkative. They also require lots of attention to keep them happy. Once out of the kitten stage they are also fairly easy (as cats go) to train.
     
    TaroTheBengal purraised this.

  8. TaroTheBengal

    TaroTheBengal Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 10, 2018
    Thank you! You are right he is non-stop!!! Its been really fun so far :)
    How much sleep does a kitten like this need? I have a few weeks off work and I am spending quite of bit of time with him at the moment. Whenever I am around he seems to follow me and wants to play, but I also want him to get proper rest as I've heard kittens need quite a bit off sleep.
    Either hes never sleepy during the day, or he doesn't know how to regulate it on his own yet?
    At night I've been keeping him in his own room with all his stuff, and he doesn't make any noise so I assume he is getting at least 8-10 hours at that time. Any advice? Thanks!
     

  9. bengalcatman

    bengalcatman TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Dec 5, 2014
    Eastern PA
    The literature and most articles and experts say cats usually sleep 15-16 hours a day and kittens up to 20. But many Bengal owners say their cats sleep a lot less than this. I think this is part of the reason why people find Bengals more demanding to own: they are simply awake and active more of the time. Our large male Bengal sleeps around 12 hours at most and around 8-10 hours when he was younger. Our female Bengal now sleeps about 16 hours, but when she was younger it was around 10 hours. We didn't have either of our Bengals as kittens (both rescues.)

    Cats and kittens regulate their sleep very well. Cats can defer sleep much more than humans and without ill effects. So if there is fun to be had playing or hunting, they will put off sleep, but certainly will sleep when needed. I suspect the quiet time you are providing is just fine, and might help the kitten learn to sleep more on your schedule.

    Cat sleep patterns and their REM phasing are markedly different from ours and very interesting. They are naturally crepuscular (awake only with the minimal lighting of dusk and dawn.) When not in REM sleep, cats retain muscle tone and balance allowing them to sleep on a thin tree branch or sitting upright. They also require much less REM than humans.
     
    Columbine and TaroTheBengal purraised this.

  10. TaroTheBengal

    TaroTheBengal Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 10, 2018
    Ahh, very interesting.
    Thank you so much for the amazing info! I'm feeling much less concerned about things now!
     

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