Help I don’t want to ruin my relationship with my cat anymore!

Yania

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Ok so for some context I have two kittens, Oreo and Nugget. They’re about 9 weeks old now and Oreo is the main troublemaker here! She is very strong willed and will keep doing something even when I tell her stop and no plenty of times. And when I get up to pick her up and put her somewhere else she either hides under the couch or tries to run away. This is really frustrating for me because in the moment I grab her when she is in the middle of trying to hide under the couch and I don’t want to do this anymore. Also, she just doesn’t like being held as much, it’s annoying when I try to cut her nails or simply put on a new collar because she doesn’t sit still and I have to keep grabbing her in my arms again and again because she wants to run away.
She meows when she doesn’t want to be held for long and it makes me sad because nugget on the other hand is so much tolerant than she is. You can pretty much do anything to nugget like kiss her, hug her, pet her, and keep her in place in your arms for a while but with Oreo even when petting her she pulls her head away and it really discourages me sometimes to even interact with her. I play with them everyday with a wand toy and I try to give them as much love as I can. My mom and I have spoiled them and give them treats everyday as well as wet and dry kitten food almost 4 times a day because they’re really hungry throughout the day.

When we first heard of Oreo and her sister our next door neighbor found them in the snow around earlier this year and told us about Oreo and how playful she was. She gave oreo to us and she was instantly comfortable with us, at first I gave her some space and she had full access to the house. She slept on me on the first day and she was really cuddly and loving- she still is but much less than before. Then when we got Nugget, her sister which she’d been separated from for only 5 days. Oreo became very aggressive with her as I don’t think we introduced them properly. Oreo would get on top of Nugget, bite her neck and make nugget scream and we didn’t like this at all. Nugget was much more timid, fearful, and in our opinion more loving than Oreo. Oreo also started getting into more trouble and more aggressive over the next few weeks (We got them both in March). They’re almost fully vaccinated and so far it’s been ok with them except for today when Oreo wanted to scratch the inside of the pullout sofa we had today and I kept pushing her off and telling her no and stop and she wouldn’t listen and after two times of pushing her she still had the audacity to scratch the side of the sofa once more and then when I finally got up she wanted to run away and she tried to go under the sofa but midway I grabbed her lower stomach and pulled her before she could escape and put her in her cat condo. She always thinks she can get away with these things and hide. Like I have no intentions of hurting her but I seriously get really frustrated when she can’t be as relaxed and somewhat not as much of a troublemaker like her sister is. When I don’t feel like picking her up and bothering her because I know she doesn’t like being held or being pulled from a place she wants to hide I spray her a few times with a small water bottle we have when she does something wrong again. I don’t think I’m doing this right with Oreo, I think I need more patience and I need more tips to deal with kittens. I love them both it’s just that I don’t really know how to properly handle Oreo when she misbehaves and I don’t want to scare her. Can someone please help me? I really want to reconnect and repair my relationship with Oreo and raise my kittens well and I will do anything to do so. here are some pics of Oreo and Nugget for reference:
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Oreo :)
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Nugget :)
 

mani

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Hi Yania and welcome to TCS!

There's so much to say here, but the main thing is that you don't train kittens through punishment. In fact training a kitten at all is not an easy task. Ever hear the phrase 'it's like herding cats'? The only way to get them to do what you want it to make the alternative more appealing. She's running away from you because she is becoming scared of you. In fact, that may be the whole problem.

This all sounds like kitten behaviour to me. Not all cats are alike. We may like to have what we perceive to be the perfect cat, but it just doesn't work that way. They all have their own unique character. And they often 'play hard'.

Basically, give up on the punishment. If she does something you don't like, distract her with a toy, if that is what will take her attention. Know that some cats don't like to be picked up and cuddled, but also at the moment she's a squirmy kitten discovering the world and has the attention span of a gnat, so try not to have expectations.

It's wonderful that you want to do the right thing by her, and you've certainly come to the right place. :) See if you can try to let go of the expectations, try positive reinforcement and get to know your kitty from that perspective.
 

di and bob

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I agree with the above completely, they are tiny babies, full of boundless energy and enthusiasm, AND they are cats, not dogs who can be punished and molded into what you want because they are pack animals. Kittens are stubborn, have different temperaments as you know, and distraction is the way to push them in the direction you want. Physical punishment, like spraying them with water and chasing them just makes them fearful of you and sneaky. Some cats, especially females, do not like to be held or cuddled, be glad you have one that does. Everything you have described above is PERFECTLY NORMAL for small kittens and your reactions to them. We have all been there. They will be teenagers too!
Scratching is instinctive and very important to cats. there is NO way to stop it. The secret is to provide them with something they CAN scratch. My cats leave my furniture alone now, I give them several corrugated cardboard scratchers to use (Walmart and online). Get some double-sided tape and put it on areas they keep scratching at, they hate it and won't do it again. it IS only temporary until they grow out of the monster kitten age.
Biting the neck is a show of dominance. Oreo is trying to establish a higher station in the hierarchy of the household. Kittens quickly 'forget' each other and they really didn't recognize each other after 5 days. Being so young they should have no problem getting along in time. Make sure you take BOTH to vet appointments at the same time or they will smell different and the sister that was left at home will try to fight/hurt the returning one. If there is no blood drawn, bloody scratches, and bleeding holes from deep biting, it is normal. Kittens ALWAYS sound like they are killing each other. if it gets too intense, get two kickeroos on Amazon and throw it towards the one stalk8ing the other to distract them, or a small toy they especially like. Keep the other kickeroo 'steeping' in a plastic bag filled with dry catnip to keep them enticing. Interchange them frequently.
Have several litterboxes around, small kittens have tiny bladders, and often can't make it to the box. Keep them well-fed, give them as much as they want several times a day, you can't overfeed a growing kitten.
Most of all, try to relax and enjoy Oreo for her antics. Often, it is the troublemakers who squirm their way deepest into your heart. They are sisters but totally different. We can help you with ANY problems that crop up. Mostly, keep in mind that they are like toddlers, they try your patience and make you angry and frustrated, but as they get older they will grow out of all this, and turn into the cats you hold dear. Just take a deep breath, ask for help, and keep saying to yourself, "this too will pass"..........
 

arr

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Sounds to me like you have two perfectly normal kittens. They sound just like mine were at that age. They are a year old now and our boy still loves snuggles and our girl still wants no part of it, she will cry to be put down. It is just their personality, not all cats want to be cuddled and petted. Kittens are super high energy, they get into everything, you can’t “train“ them not to do something. Take the sofa, for instance. You cannot tell them to not scratch it and expect them to listen to you, end of story. So you need to do whatever you can to make it inaccessible to them and then redirect them. If they are getting inside to scratch it then you need to block access to the inside in some way, we used pool noodles to block off openings in our couch. If they are scratching the outside then put something on the outside that makes it unpleasant for them and provide a more attractive alternative very nearby. And as everyone mentioned, cats are not dogs, they don’t respond like dogs, they are very different. As humans, we have a tendency to view cats through dog colored glasses. What helped me was educating myself on cat behavior, I recommend going to You Tube and watching every Jackson Galaxy video ever made and reading his books. It helped me so much. Now is a great time for you to start learning, with two little kittens you have their whole lives ahead of you and you can start setting a good foundation for them. In no time at all, you will be an expert!
 

Kelj78

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If I’ve learned anything from raising cats my entire life is that you can’t make a cat do anything! Cats are not like dogs who can be trained and who know when they’ve disappointed you. I learned the hard way that using punishment on a cat only backfires on you. I have a male cat that I’ve had since he was a young kitty. He used to be affectionate, would sleep in our beds, let us hold him, and once in awhile sit on our laps. But after a few years he started spraying in the house. This made me very angry. I thought I could teach him by taking him to the urine, making him smell it, then firmly saying “no, do not pee in the house”. But this did work and he kept it up. I lost my temper a few times and shouted at him and chased him out of the house (all my cats are both indoor/outdoor cats). This became a daily power struggle with him. I finally stopped letting him stay indoors at night since he wasn’t supervised and that’s when he’s spray. In a very short time his personality changed quite a bit. He no longer came in the bedroom, quit getting in our laps, refused to be held and just seemed more timid than usual.
I know it’s my fault because of how I handled the situation. It breaks my heart after all these years and many efforts to show him how much he is loved and that he doesn’t have to act that way anymore but the damage was done.
As for Oreo and Nugget. Think of two toddlers, maybe twins. One is calm and even tempered, not a risk taker, not overly hyper, the other one is the total opposite, always testing their boundaries, doing things on purpose just to see your reaction, refuses to get a bath, fights you at mealtime,one power struggle after another. You’d say that child is very determined and head strong.The more you get frustrated and raise your voice, the worse it gets.Simply distracting a 2 year old is all it takes. Kittens are the same way. Maybe get a laser pointer and use it to lure Oreo out from under the couch. Instead of trying to grab her and pull her out, entice her to come out on her own to play. Let it be her decision to come out. Maybe start giving them treats for good behavior and get their attention by shaking the treat bag so next time you need to change her focus onto something else, shake the treat bag so she will stop and come to you.
 
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