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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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New cat-owner - some help please?

Hello
I'm a new cat-owner, just got my first kitten Bertie 2 weeks ago. He's now 12 weeks old and has grown loads even in the short time we've had him.

I just wanted to ask a few questions though, cos not having had a kitten since I was a child I'm not sure about some of his behaviour.
He started out really loving and snuggly, and would play with the toys we got him. He licks us a lot, but we don't mind. However, recently the licks have started turning into bites, especially on our clothes (which he likes to groom).

He's also started turning a bit crazy. We play with him with the toys (a buzzing bee on a string, bits of flax, bells etc) but where he used to confine the crazy to the toys, now he's started running all over the house, bouncing off the walls and furniture (literally), with claws out, will run up my legs and my partner's legs with his claws (he's got up to my back a few times). Recently I have noticed him stalking me, and he has leapt off furniture at me with his claws out on more than on occasion.

Usually we let him run around crazily as long as he's not on us, or aiming the crazy at us. If he does scratch or bite us, or stalk us, we respond with a loud "Bertie, NO", put him down if he's on us, and if it's bad we sometimes flick water at him (don't have a spray bottle tho).
We give him lots of cuddles when he's calm, and he likes to go to sleep on us on the couch. However, even when he is calm he sends mixed messages. He purrs while swishing his tail, and he sits on you calmly with flattened ears.

I just wanted to know how much of this is 'normal' kitten behaviour, and if I should be addressing anything differently? I'm home alone with him while my partner is at work, and to be honest he freaks me out sometimes, when he stalks me!
Are we right to respond like this? How do we calm him down?! My partner thinks we should get a spray bottle, but I heard that it can make him more aggressive.

Thanks in advance for the advice. Here's some pics of Bertie!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 01:43 AM
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Welcome!

Bertie is adorable!! He's also being a typical kitten - a lovable brat! Many people will recommend that you get another kitten to keep him company, and if that's in your budget, and you'd like another kitten, it really would help with a lot of his behavior. Kittens have so much endless energy, and a playmate would help them both run that off. Of all my cats, the only ones I adopted as kittens are the twins, and I can't even imagine only having one of them. They would have driven me nuts!

Cali was my biter. You have to say "No!" and put him down away from you. He'll eventually learn that this behavior is unwelcome. It does take a while, but it works. Cats of any age do not like being ignored.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 01:42 PM
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I agree with Marie. It sounds like you are doing the right things already (though you're right about not spraying the cat); you just have to continue until Bertie grows out of the behaviors. Remember that positive reinforcement and behavior substitutions (for example giving him a toy to bite on instead of your hand, or scratching post instead of scratching your furniture) does much better than punishment most of the time. Whatever you do, be consistent. Everyone has to reinforce the same rules for him to learn. Another kitten might help right now, but even if you don't get one Bertie won't always be this hyper LOL Neutering also helps to calm them down.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 01:45 PM
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I don't know anything about kittens, but may I just say ... WOW, how cute he is!!!


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 02:21 PM
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Yeah, kittens are crazy, LOL. The stalking is just normal cat behavior, he's not plotting your demise and even older cats do it. As long as they aren't biting or scratching hard while doing so, I wouldn't discourage it b/c it's just their instinct and how they play. Try getting a cat whip (that's what we call it), it's a fleecey rope on a wand that you can wave around for the cat to stalk and pounce. Some even have feathers on the end to bat at. Getting that cat energy out in a positive way may help. The flattened ears while on your lap is a mystery... cats can be ambivalent creatures. Even when you do what you think they want you to do, it still may not be right in their eyes, LOL.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 02:42 PM
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What a cute kitten.
Last time we had kitten it was 15 years ago. RIP Pusia was a quite character as a kitten. Very similar to your kitten. Kittens will be kittens, so don't worry, play with him just say no to bites.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2011, 07:19 PM
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I agree with the others. When he "stalks" you, he's just trying to play, so it's nothing to worry about. However, you're right to say No and put him down and ignore hime if he bites, since he needs to learns that's not acceptable behavior (although I too don't agree with using a squirt bottle). He just has a lot of energy right now and wants to play all the time. Another kitten would likely help him to use up his energy, but I agree with Marie...only adopt another if you want another and have the time and resources for a second kitten. Otherwise, just play with Bertie as often as you can, and he'll get calmer as he gets older.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-08-2011, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Hello

Thanks for the advice everyone!
We can't get another kitten because we won't be able to afford it - time or money-wise.
We've taken some steps this weekend to providing him with more entertainment - we bought a scratching post with bouncy toys dangling from it, which he loves, and we took him outside to play in the garden (supervised). Our house already has a cat-door, so we taught him to use it. It's lockable for when we're not there to supervise, though we intend to have him be an indoor-outdoor cat eventually. Not until he's had all his jabs though.

I'm glad to know he's just being normal - puts my mind at rest. It's what my boyfriend said all along, but I just wanted a second opinion.

And since all these new adventures this weekend, he's become a lot calmer with us. Fingers crossed it stays that way. He's sat beside me on the couch now. Was sat on me, but he moved off disgruntledly when I started to type!

Thanks again, and thanks for the comments of how cute he is!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:29 PM
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such a cutie.! We too are new cat owners (2 weeks ) but she is 2 years old!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:48 PM
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Kitties, especially from 12 weeks until they're 8 or 9 mos. are really rambunctious and wild in their play. Sounds normal to me, and you've already received good advice. He may be one of these kitties that gets easily stimulated from too much petting and then bites the hand that pets him. Ears flattened and tail thrashing are warning signs that he's irritated/angry/upset about something. Try and distract him when he's doing that by throwing a toy or a paper ball. He should calm down more after he's neutered----don't leave it too long, 4-5 mos. is ideal. Very cute kitty indeed!
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