Curious about hand-raised cats. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Curious about hand-raised cats.

I posted a couple weeks ago about a newborn kitten left on my porch and how he choked on some milk and got a little in his lungs. He turned out to be fine. Getting fat and healthy just like I like 'em. (kittens, of course).

Anyway, he's almost 3 weeks old now and I was just wondering how hand-raised cats turn out to be. Their personality.
Are they more affectionate?
Do they really believe you are "mommy"?
Are they more needy/clingy to the owner?
Or will he be cold and distant?

I've heard that bottle fed kittens turn out to be, not-so-nice cats later on. Any experience in this area?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 01:01 AM
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Marmalade was my first bottle-baby and he was a complete love-kitty. I've foster-raised several orphaned litters, two of which I had to bottle-feed and they turned out to be amazing kittens and young cats by the time they went to the adoption center. Everyone was adopted.
IMO, cats are various degrees of cat-purrsonality and how-they-were-raised. Raise your kitten and treat him how you plan to treat and care for him all his life. If you want an affectionate cat, be affectionate with him ... granted, this doesn't hold 'true' all the time, but in general I believe it is accurate.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 01:05 AM
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I've always heard that bottle-fed kittens are the most lovable, but I have no experience in that area.

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 01:17 AM
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i have 2 cats that i found as newborns, who were bottle-fed. they definitely have personalities! they are loving when they want to be (which is often, but on their own terms). they can also be a little distant, like when they don't like something/someone. i have noticed they are more comfortable with me than with other people... even the people i live with. i was in the hospital a lot a a few months after i brought them home. my mom and a close friend spent time with them and fed them. they are still affectionate even after me being away so much. i am not sure they think i am their "mommy." my other cat, who is a male, seems to think he's the mommy/daddy of the two girls, myself and my big dog. he was bottle fed some, but not as much as the other two.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, believe me, he gets a lot of affection and love! He's too cute to resist. Thanks for the answers... I'm confident he will be my little cuddle buddy.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 09:06 AM
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Most of my crew were bottle babies. They have turned out being snuggle bugs, one of the reasons I ended up adding them as permanent members of the crew. I've been very lucky in that the older cats have taught the basics of the litter box & claw sharpening is done on the scratching pads. I do have to put up with soggy shirts since the bottle babies smergle & knead on me (the non-bottle raised ones don't). I haven't broken the bottle raised ones of this & since a couple are in their teens; I don't have a prayer of changing that behaviour now.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 09:38 AM
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Dale was left on the street without his mom. He was found with his eyes still closed, just born. He is all the way hand raised.

He seems to have more temper tantrums than Major, BUT, when he is loving, which he is quite often, oh man, we get tons! Another thing we noticed is that he is more persistent about getting attention, if he wants love, he will force himself on you.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 10:39 PM
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Most bottle babies I have known ended up being not-so-nice as adults....BUT, my current bottle baby Ninja is a year old now and completely delightful and loving. He's mischievious and destructive, but very easy to handle and loving. So all this to say that I don't think you can really fortell one way or another.

My personal theory is that the reason more bottle babies are hard to handle is genetic. If you think about it, you are typically going to get orphaned babies from outside/feral moms. The more "feral" a cat is, the more likely to survive (TNR efforts) and reproduce thus passing off the skittish genes to their young.

But like I said, nothing in life is a guarantee. Ninja is a total babe. As I was typing this though he bit my ankle, as if to say, I'm still a Ninja, and don't you forget it!

Rachael with Thurston, Sully and Ninja. Moxie, watching from Heaven

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 11:25 PM
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My hand-raised boy is VERY temperamental. He'll be on my lap, purring, and loving the love. The next minute, I'll see his tail start going. Then he'll do this little cackle like, "STOP PETTING ME!" But overall, I'm the first one he runs to when he wants a lap.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2011, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kobster View Post
My personal theory is that the reason more bottle babies are hard to handle is genetic.
I actually think it is the environment they are raised in and how the person raises them.
If they are raised as little sweetums-who-can-do-no-wrong-and-are-never-denied-or-reprimanded ... they will have 'issues with authority' as adult cats. I think the cats that turn out this way probably weren't properly guided as to what was/wasn't acceptable behavior with their humans. I've also noticed when I integrate the kittens into the adult cat household ... the adult cats interaction with them will also shape their behavior. Older kittens are generally reprimanded by all the adult cats when the kitts get too rambunctious. Younger kitts are generally allowed to get-away-with-murder for a period of time before they transition into being reprimanded for obstreperous behavior.
Notable exception appears to be our deaf/neuro Jingle Belle. Because she cannot pick up on the audible clues of the adult cats, and with her obvious neuro-issues, I've noticed our adult cats are treating her with the most generous amount of patience that I've ever seen out of them. The result ... is they have cultivated their own submission to this kitten. They have groomed her to be their boss-cat ... I already notice her calling-the-shots with them ... and she's only 8mo old.
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