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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our last cat lived to be 20 and passed away a few years ago. We weren't looking for another cat, but earlier this week a dog chased a small kitten into our garage. No mother ever showed up. We brought the kitten inside to our bathroom and gave it food, water, litter box, and a couple of places to hide. It was super scared of us. That was Tuesday. It didn't want anything to do with us until today, when it came out and smelled me very thoroughly all over. It also smelled my daughter. It also gave my elbow a small nip, as if to ask "Is this for biting?" or "Do you want to play with me?" I gently but firmly let the kitten know that biting people is not acceptable.

Anyways, we also got him caught and to the vet. The vet said he (it is a he) is 8-10 weeks old, slightly underweight, and has worms. We've got a plan for health care and vet visits now.

What I'm wondering is, I'm reading that kittens shouldn't be separated from their mothers until they are 10-12 weeks old or they can develop behavior problems. We didn't really have a choice in the matter, so here we are. What behavior problems might result from this, and how can we avoid them?
 

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Franny -- best cat ever! purring in my heart Porch cat THE DIVIT aka Divey seriously traumatized
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How wonderful! You've been chosen! They have learned a lot in 20 years about kittens and how to socialize them for people relationships.

Remember that this sweet wee one has only 8 - 10 weeks of life experience -- which means mistaking an elbow for a nipple could happen! Everything = a never been discovered new experience. Take a look at this for some basic stuff.
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With special attention to the play part.
I am a big fan of introducing a kitten to wipe downs with a warm wet paper towel followed by grooming with a soft tooth brush. It isn't quite a Mom but it is familiar. At the bottom of the web page are toggles to take you through the weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
actually -- the thanks goes to you! welcoming this adventure into your life is truly a gift to a wee one -- who if not for you and your garage -- well I shudder to think

How is it going?
It's going GREAT! He's become super friendly. He has a ton of energy, which I guess you would expect. He's learning that people are not for pouncing. He has learned that the fact that end of the cat wand toy is being held by a hand does not mean that it's OK to play with that hand.

Just yesterday, we finally got him to understand about laps and how they are Good Things and nice places to sleep on.

Everything he does, I just ask myself, Would this still be acceptable in an adult cat? And if the answer is no, then we don't let him do it. Mainly it's just pouncing on us. We do let him jump on our shoulders, and I think I would let him do that as an adult so that's fine.

He's learning his name, too.

My last cat, the only thing I expected of him was to come when called. Now I'm reading that cats are a lot more trainable than we thought back when we got him (over 20 years ago). We're planning on training him to a leash, and getting him used to going places (whether in a leash or in the cat carrier). We've already changed his sleep schedule so he's mostly awake when we are.

I will accept if he really doesn't want to do something, but in general my intention is to train him to be a very solid citizen. I have horses, and you HAVE to train them well or they could kill you (intentionally or not), and I think that mentality of training has rubbed off on my thoughts about this cat.

I wish we could find a cat treat that he liked, though. We've tried three so far and he isn't interested in any of them. We're teaching his name by calling him when we feed him his wet food, but that won't work for other things.
 

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Franny -- best cat ever! purring in my heart Porch cat THE DIVIT aka Divey seriously traumatized
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Oh dear heart! you've a ginger! Every ginger I've ever met was extraordinary. Look at this from amazon -- notice its a ginger modeling the leash but the carrier for front of back carry works well too.
Cat Felidae Carnivore Small to medium-sized cats Whiskers


Green Line Art Cat Font
These were our kittens treasures (notice also a ginger model!) We didn't offer ones with cat nip. There is a lot of mixed opinions on cat nip - we opted out. These "fish" crinkled and for such sharp hearing it really kept attention for self-playing. This eye - paw coordination is part of re-directing hunting toward what you and I would call play. Pounce -- is part of that hunter thing. Using your wand, put it under a piece of newspaper or wrapping paper and make small moves to crinkle the paper and catch visual attention. Pouncing your hand is Ginger sorting out the "cause" of the motion. Stop the hand and you stop the stick. Brilliant ehh?
J-Galaxy suggest using treats like a surprise! "Treats" are pricey -- so we just used a kibble - ish cat food that had no similarity to her wet can food. We fed minced kitten salmon. Why -- no resemblance to people food. We never ever ever gave her people food. And we never messed with her when she was eating. We didn't open a can first thing of a day either where getting someone to come feed her wasn't her priority.
When we left we'd pop a few in her cat tree bed
Cat Felidae Carnivore Pet supply Cat supply
and while she was busy discovering them -- we'd slip out. We also gave them as "bed time snacks".
We invented a consistent end of the day routine. And the last thing -- was getting her treat out of the same cabinet every night and putting it in her cat tree bed... and off to bed for us too.
The tree gives a kitten a domain. We never ever ever messed with Franny when she was in her cave or tray. A cat tree gives a way for a cat to call a time out. We used wand toys to help her discover it and to show that it was hers. But -- we did that until she got comfortable with it as her "spot".

Ahh a ginger! Tell me more!!!
 
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