Kitten Advice

Lokisdad

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We adopted an 8-week-old kitten, Loki, about a month ago. A friend of the family had rescued a mamma cat who had five kittens. Loki was the last of his litter to be adopted, so we couldn't get a pair. I work from home so I've been able to play with him, feed him, and cuddle with him throughout the day. My 14-year-old son also lives with me, but he's in school all day. It's been a lot of work raising little Loki and I've been having trouble getting my work done. I thought he would enjoy another kitty to play with, so we found another single kitten, a little sweetheart named Jupiter. Jupiter is about a month older than Loki.

We brought Jupiter home and Loki was immediately terrified and furious. We put Jupiter in my son's room with his own food and litter box and tried to slowly introduce the two kittens. Loki hissed and spat and growled and tried to fight Jupiter through my son's door. Then my son just let Loki into his room with Jupiter and Loki went into attack mode. He didn't actually hit Jupiter, but he was growling and hissing and spiting. I separated the two cats (and told my son how foolish that was). It was all very overwhelming. We tried the slow introduction for three days, but Loki did not budge. Both kittens kept us up all night, poor Jupiter crying to get out of my son's room and Loki growling and hissing at the door.

Monday came and I had to get my son to a doctor's appointment and then school. Both cats still in distress. I came back home to two very stressed kittens. I tried to play with Jupiter in my son's room, but Loki growled outside. Then I left Jupiter in my son's to attend to Loki and Jupiter cried. Then I had a work meeting. I'm not proud of this, but I became very overwhelmed and had a panic attack. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I just moved across country to be with my son. I have no support network. Excuses, I know, but I couldn't handle the pain of hearing poor Jupiter cry and Loki hiss and growl. I called the rescue where we found Jupiter and asked if they could take him back and find a better situation for him. I gave up. The rescue operator was understanding and gladly took Jupiter back. I cried all day.

I feel horrible. Jupiter was a sweet, sweet kitten, but I couldn't handle integrating him into our home. The rescue organization will find a better home for him where he can get the love and support he needs as a kitten.

The Jupiter situation was traumatic and now I am second guessing Loki. I've raised him basically myself since he was 8 weeks old, which now I realize was probably too early to adopt him, but the person we got him from said it was okay. He didn't have enough time with other cats. I'm worried that he will suffer from "single kitten syndrome" and become an unmanageable cat. I'm also worried that I won't be enough for him. My son has a lot to do with high school and just being a teenager, so I don't expect him to give Loki a lot of his attention. At this point I wonder if I should try to find Loki a better home with other cats where he can have a better life. On the other hand, I am pretty much all he's known. I'm his caretaker and playmate.

I love animals and I care for them deeply. I thought I could handle raising a kitten alone with a full-time job and a teenager—I know many people do. But maybe I'm just not able to right now. Maybe I should find Loki a good home with multiple caretakers, get my life and mind in order, and find an adult cat to adopt in a few years.

Your advice would be much appreciated.
 

ArtNJ

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I'm bummed that the rescue operator didn't explain things properly to you. Older cats are tricky, but I have never, ever, seen or heard of kittens this age that dont become friends. No matter what you do. You literally didn't need to do anything. It can take up to a week or so, even a tad more sometimes, but it *always* happens.

But there is no single kitten "syndrome". Thats some BS term coined by who knows. Its absurd. There are literally tens of millions of happy single cats that live long happy lives. Ok, maybe they are a little less active a little faster. Maybe they can be a bit more demanding of your time. On average only, individual cats vary greatly. But thats it. There are litterally dozens of devoted loving knowledgeable owners on here that have only one cat. Furballsmom Furballsmom is one for example.

Sometimes a kitten can become a velcro kitten, sticking to you and demanding attention. That can be a little hard to deal with for a bit. But it never lasts long, and we can provide guidance if thats what your dealing with. I adopted a kitten with a 4 year old cat, and he was a velcro kitten for a while -- I'm retired. That doesn't mean I want to deal with a velcro kitten, lol. Its too much! But as noted, there are tactics and it doesnt last long.

So breathe deaply. You *can* give the kitten back if you want to without guilt. He'll be rehomed and do great. However, I don't especially think there is a need. You got bad advice last time, and I don't want that to happen again. So lets chat if you have continuing concerns.
 
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Furballsmom

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Hello - Artnj is very accurate where kittens and households are concerned. You were making it work, and then admittedly got in a little deep.

I agree, --I think you might want to try and wait a bit, and allow yourself the chance to gather yourself back together again.
 
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Lokisdad

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Thank you both, I really appreciate your help and your kind words.

My son really fell in love with Jupiter (the second kitten I returned) and given your advice A ArtNJ I'm wondering if I should try to get him back and hire someone to help out in the short term. I don't know. Lots of emotions and complications in play here.
 

Hellenww

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We brought Jupiter home and Loki was immediately terrified and furious. We put Jupiter in my son's room with his own food and litter box and tried to slowly introduce the two kittens. Loki hissed and spat and growled and tried to fight Jupiter through my son's door. Then my son just let Loki into his room with Jupiter and Loki went into attack mode. He didn't actually hit Jupiter, but he was growling and hissing and spiting. I separated the two cats (and told my son how foolish that was). It was all very overwhelming. We tried the slow introduction for three days, but Loki did not budge. Both kittens kept us up all night, poor Jupiter crying to get out of my son's room and Loki growling and hissing at the door.
All of that is overwhelming but there are promising things in there also. Yes, Loki was scared and angry but when they came face to face he didn't attack just voiced his displeasure. Did you notice how Jupiter reacted when they were face to face and Loki was telling him off? With an upset Loki outside Jupiter still wanted out.

Sometimes seeing what's behind the door is less scary than a closed door. With kittens under 6mt this is very likely. At this age your more likely to have accidental injuries than really intention to hurt each other. If you bring back Jupiter there are things you can before that.

Trim Loki's nails and ask the rescue to trim Jupiter's. Get some big pieces of cardboard so you can block their view of each other if it gets too intense. Have string toys around the house to distract them.

Watch some youtube of kittens playing. It looks and sounds a lot like fighting. It can be frightening if you haven't witnessed it before. They learn how to keep their claws in and bite without hurting. Loki might not have learned this before leaving Mom but will quickly.

I've found this site "family friendly". Pass it on to your son if he's interested.
 

BoaztheAdventureCat

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We adopted an 8-week-old kitten, Loki, about a month ago. A friend of the family had rescued a mamma cat who had five kittens. Loki was the last of his litter to be adopted, so we couldn't get a pair. I work from home so I've been able to play with him, feed him, and cuddle with him throughout the day. My 14-year-old son also lives with me, but he's in school all day. It's been a lot of work raising little Loki and I've been having trouble getting my work done. I thought he would enjoy another kitty to play with, so we found another single kitten, a little sweetheart named Jupiter. Jupiter is about a month older than Loki.

We brought Jupiter home and Loki was immediately terrified and furious. We put Jupiter in my son's room with his own food and litter box and tried to slowly introduce the two kittens. Loki hissed and spat and growled and tried to fight Jupiter through my son's door. Then my son just let Loki into his room with Jupiter and Loki went into attack mode. He didn't actually hit Jupiter, but he was growling and hissing and spiting. I separated the two cats (and told my son how foolish that was). It was all very overwhelming. We tried the slow introduction for three days, but Loki did not budge. Both kittens kept us up all night, poor Jupiter crying to get out of my son's room and Loki growling and hissing at the door.

Monday came and I had to get my son to a doctor's appointment and then school. Both cats still in distress. I came back home to two very stressed kittens. I tried to play with Jupiter in my son's room, but Loki growled outside. Then I left Jupiter in my son's to attend to Loki and Jupiter cried. Then I had a work meeting. I'm not proud of this, but I became very overwhelmed and had a panic attack. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I just moved across country to be with my son. I have no support network. Excuses, I know, but I couldn't handle the pain of hearing poor Jupiter cry and Loki hiss and growl. I called the rescue where we found Jupiter and asked if they could take him back and find a better situation for him. I gave up. The rescue operator was understanding and gladly took Jupiter back. I cried all day.

I feel horrible. Jupiter was a sweet, sweet kitten, but I couldn't handle integrating him into our home. The rescue organization will find a better home for him where he can get the love and support he needs as a kitten.

The Jupiter situation was traumatic and now I am second guessing Loki. I've raised him basically myself since he was 8 weeks old, which now I realize was probably too early to adopt him, but the person we got him from said it was okay. He didn't have enough time with other cats. I'm worried that he will suffer from "single kitten syndrome" and become an unmanageable cat. I'm also worried that I won't be enough for him. My son has a lot to do with high school and just being a teenager, so I don't expect him to give Loki a lot of his attention. At this point I wonder if I should try to find Loki a better home with other cats where he can have a better life. On the other hand, I am pretty much all he's known. I'm his caretaker and playmate.

I love animals and I care for them deeply. I thought I could handle raising a kitten alone with a full-time job and a teenager—I know many people do. But maybe I'm just not able to right now. Maybe I should find Loki a good home with multiple caretakers, get my life and mind in order, and find an adult cat to adopt in a few years.

Your advice would be much appreciated.
I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult situation. I'm not sure where you got Loki from, but you're right, it was a bad choice to adopt a kitten that young. Kittens that are adopted at younger than 12 weeks of age, especially if it's a single kitten, are being taken from their mother and siblings too early, which will make them miss out on the opportunity to learn proper social skills with other cats AND humans.

Yes, there are many cats that live long, joyful, content lives as the only cat in the house, BUT raising a kitten as the only cat in the house can have disastrous consequences. I'm not saying all kittens will have problems if raised alone, but my cat Boaz and one of my dad's past cats Willy are two examples of MANY cases of cats that were raised as single kittens and had lasting behavior issues.

Kittens that grow up without other cat company often develop issues with playing rough with the humans. While this may not be an issue according to some people, we must consider that an adult has a much higher level of tolerance than a baby or young child has. Even if you don't have small children in your house now, cats live a long time, so you must think ahead.

My Dad raised his cat Willy as the only kitten. Willy was a rough player and it didn't help that my Dad and his friends egged him on. This combination resulted in Willy being a rough player all during his life and when I was little, I was afraid of Willy.

My cat Boaz as a kitten had a serious problem with attacking the ankles of the humans in the house anytime we'd get up and walk around. He'd also play attack our hands with his teeth and claws. We tried startling him with a shake can, imitating a cat hiss or growl, yelling "NO", nothing worked. If we had small children in the house at the time, he and the children would have been in danger. (i.e. The biting kitten would harm the child, or trip the child and the child may fall on him.)

There are some lessons that a cat can only learn from being around other cats, and learning proper play behavior is one of them. Once my Dad and my brother brought their kittens home 2 months after Boaz came home, the change in Boaz was IMMEDIATE. No longer was he relentlessly play attacking the humans in the house; now that he had the company of other kittens, he could chase and play with them and they could teach him in the way that only a cat can when enough is enough.

That's weird that Loki, still so young, was so hostile towards Jupiter. Did you follow all the steps for a slow, gradual introduction, which can take generally 2 weeks or more?

Yes, maybe adopting a single adult cat would work good, although here are a couple ideas you might try so you don't feel like you have to give Loki up:

Jupiter and Loki are both males. Maybe try a female this time, one that's been living with other kittens her whole life? Or, maybe bring home a pair of kittens, two females, or a male and a female, in hopes that Loki will watch and learn from the pair how to be a cat. Cats of the same gender don't always get along as great as a pair of opposing genders would.

This YouTube channel has helped me greatly in learning about how to help cats live together peaceably: https://www.youtube.com/c/TravelersGarden/playlists

Keep us posted!
 
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Lokisdad

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My cat Boaz as a kitten had a serious problem with attacking the ankles of the humans in the house anytime we'd get up and walk around. He'd also play attack our hands with his teeth and claws. We tried startling him with a shake can, imitating a cat hiss or growl, yelling "NO", nothing worked. If we had small children in the house at the time, he and the children would have been in danger. (i.e. The biting kitten would harm the child, or trip the child and the child may fall on him.)
Oh gosh I'm so sorry to hear about Boaz and I'm happy his issues have been resolved! Loki tries to bite our hands and my feet, but we ignore him and grab a toy to play with him instead. Not sure if his biting behavior is getting better, but he doesn't leap out and attack our ankles. In general he has been pretty trainable. He used to wake me up at night, but I have a habit of playing with him before bed and then I ignore his asks to play at night. He sleeps next to me on my bed and doesn't wake me up until morning. Sometimes he even lets me sleep in. IMO he's a good kitty, he just wants to play all the time. Makes sense, he's a kitten!

Jupiter and Loki are both males. Maybe try a female this time, one that's been living with other kittens her whole life? Or, maybe bring home a pair of kittens, two females, or a male and a female, in hopes that Loki will watch and learn from the pair how to be a cat. Cats of the same gender don't always get along as great as a pair of opposing genders would.
I thought about that, too. Maybe a smaller, younger female kitty wouldn't be as intimidating. Jupiter was actually older/bigger than Loki. And I think Jupiter would grow to be a much larger cat in adulthood. Loki is a little guy--his mother was just four pounds and he's definitely on the small/sleek side. Jupiter was a big fluffy orange boy.

Thing is my son really fell in love with Jupiter. Jupiter was immediately cuddly and sweet with my son. Loki isn't really cuddly unless you run him around the house, feed him, and then pick him when he's exhausted. He's just a normal cat that way and my son doesn't have the experience with cats or the patience to build a relationship with a more "typical" cat like Loki. He wants a super easygoing chill boy like Jupiter. When we got Loki we didn't have a chance to observe and pick the most relaxed kitty in the litter. We just got Loki because he was the last one to be adopted. And admittedly he's adorable!

I'm going to try to talk to Jupiter's foster parents today. And I'm going to talk to my son about what it means to raise a kitten.

Thank you for all your help and advice, I truly appreciate it.

:heartshape:
 
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Lokisdad

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Well, the rescue isn't comfortable giving me another shot with Jupiter, which I understand. They will definitely be able to find him a good home.

Also I don't think I have what it takes to spend two weeks introducing a new kitten into the home on my own while working full time and managing my teenager. I have two options: Stick it out with Loki as a single cat, or find him a new home. If I stick it out, I'll need to take Loki out on a leash, introduce him to a dog or two, maybe even another cat somewhere. But I won't be able to teach him how to play nice because I'm not a cat. So perhaps the best thing for him is to find him a home with another kitten or cats to learn from. I love the little guy, but I don't know if I can give him everything he needs. Also I'm not even sure how long I'll be in this house, this city, or this state.
 
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Lokisdad

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Thank you all again for reading through my conundrum, your sympathy, and your advice. I truly appreciate your support!

I am keeping Loki. I love the little monster. And he is growing into a truly gorgeous kitty!

Now I just need to work on stopping his biting. He wants to bit for everything: Wants to pay? He bites. Wants to cuddle? Bites. Wants to bite? Bites.
 

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Furballsmom

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I think he's a little early for teething (three months?) but you will want to look into toys, both for kittens and for puppies, for chewers and biters. Find something he really like to grab onto, bite and bunnykick because you don't want him biting you.
 
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