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Hello, this is my first post on this board and it's not about peeing, biting and other serious problems. What's perplexing me with my six-or-so-week-old kitten is lap naps. Whenever we're around, which is all day as one of works from home, the cat only wants to sleep on our laps.

Is this a problem? Don't get me wrong, I want to have a cat that is comfortable and cuddly with us - one that wants to sleep on laps is good. But not all the time or exclusively. We try moving her when she's asleep to other seemingly cozy places, but she usually wakes up in transit and comes right back. We've tried setting up other places just for her, like a box with her bed, comfy pillows on the couch, etc.

At night she sleeps in a box for now as we don't have a small room to close her off in, and that's fine, she only meows a bit then settles in for a quiet night where she can sleep on her own. Mind you we put a warm water bottle in there with her. Could that be the problem? Maybe she only wants to sleep on something warm. But if that's the case, we've tried putting her warm water bottle in her daytime bed to not much success. Maybe we're just the better option - I don't blame her.

So how to wean her off always being on our laps and getting her to discover her own places to sleep, while not turning her off our laps completely in the process?

One thought is maybe when we stop closing her in her box at night and let her roam free, then she'll find her own places to sleep and go to them during the day to. But I'm not sure she's ready for that. At what age should we give a kitten unfettered nightime access to the house? Now she and us are sleeping well at night through the current arrangement. Don't want to upset that. As I say, we don't have a separate room for her - it's just a small one-bedroom apartment.

By the way, as background, she's a stray kitten that we found in a city alley. Vet's best estimate was she was about four weeks old and that was almost three weeks ago. She's generally well adjusted - eats wet and dry food out of her bowl, uses the litter box with no problems, sleeps through the night (or at least is quiet) in her box. Other than the lap nap issue is she's a biter, which we're trying to fix too. Not too much of a meower.

Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks and glad to have found this forum.
 

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Hi Jeff...Welcome to the forum.

As I was reading you post, my first question was why is this little kitten away from it's mother at such a young age...because that is what the problem is. But you answered it at the end of you post. Kittens that age are used to sleeping with mom & littermates. She's probably cold and also looking for comfort. Using the hot water bottle during the day would probably help get her to sleep somewhere else. They also sell these plastic, gel type disks that you can put in the microwave and put under a blanket...they're supposed to stay warm for 12 hours...no idea if they work, but it's probably worth checking out.

Part of the reason she bites is because she is teething. Her baby teeth have just come in. She should calm down with it for a bit...but her adult teeth will start coming in at 3 months or so and she'll start up again. Also, cats bite their toys as if they were prey, so if you are playing with her with your hands she will bite them. Then they become a toy and you can just be walking across the room...and that fun toy is dangling there waiting to be played with. Use interactive toys to play with..fishing pole toys and laser pointers. Throw a ball for her. If she does bite a loud NO and stop playing or withdraw attention from her, you can hiss at her, and another method that surprises them is instead of pulling your hand away...push it back at her. They don't know what to make of this.

Hope this helps....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks doodlebug for your suggestions on both issues.

Regarding the wanting to sleep on us or something warm, is that something she should just grow out of at some point, at least the need to always have it? If so, at what age?

Any thoughts on how long she should be closed in at night? I think it's definitely a good thing now, as she gets very hyperactive and doesn't really wind down unless we help her wind down. So far she responds well to the box, settling in for the night.

However, at some point she's going to outgrow this box. I'm wondering at what age we ought to start giving her free rein of the house. Wish we had a small room to eventually ease her into that, but only options would be the bathroom or kitchen, neither of which is very appealing, as they are cold with stuff to get into trouble with.
 

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Hi Jeff and welcome :)

Your kitten sounds adorable! Poor baby is just missing her mum, and those warm laps are very comforting for your little orphan.

When kittens are separated too young from their mothers, they often develop some kind of comfort behaviors. Some kittens like to suckle or knead excessively, too. Sometimes they grow out of them, sometimes not.

I had some success with settling my cats into regular sleeping spots by purchasing cozy cat beds lined with fleece. You could put something in that smells like you, such as a t-shirt you've worn. Or try letting the cat lay on your lap on a fuzzy blanket, then when she's used to it transfer it to the bed.

However, since she's so little, I wouldn't push the issue too much unless it's really necessary. She's a baby looking for comfort and is still new to your home. It sounds like she's settling in nicely :)
 

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You never can tell if a cat will grow up to be a lap cat or not. Usually when they're kittens they like to be held and snuggled, but at some point they may begin to wean away...but then again, maybe not. Every cat is different. I had one that didn't lay on my lap, but had to be right next to me on the couch with her body up against my leg. Another that was in my lap the minute I sat down. 3rd one won't lay in my lap, but lays across my legs when the recliner is up. 4th one likes to lay between my legs on the recliner. And number 5 still likes to lay on my chest. Of course this all isn't happening at the same time, numbers 1 & 2 are gone now, and 3, 4, & 5 will stay with me for a while and then go lay on their throw blankets on the couch. Can't really predict what age she'll figure it out, but you should know by 6 months.

I'd probably keep her pretty well confined for a few more weeks. You're going to have to kitten proof the house though....

http://cats.about.com/library/howto/htkittenproof.htm
 

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Awwwww.....that's sweet. I wouldn't discourage that behavior. You'll be glad of having a lap cat well-adapted and socialized to human contact. And as far as providing an alternative warm spot, you can buy heated cat beds or make one of your own with a small heating pad set on low. But do monitor your kitty for cord-chewing behavior as some do like to do that and cord protectors are needed.
 

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Thanks for the replies.

I don't think I'll worry about it much at this stage. Between not having a lap cat and having one, I'd rather have the lap naps. We'll just keep gently suggesting alternative spots she might like too and see how she does. Suspect that once she's able to roam more freely, either at night or when we're not home, that she'll discover places she likes to sleep.
 

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I was just thinking how it's interesting that cats adopt places to sleep for a while, will sleep only there for a few weeks, and then eventually move onto a new spot, sleep only there, then move to a new spot, ect...

For Squeakers, this has been the windowsill, the back of the closet, the recliner, behind the computer printer, etc... These are places she tends to sleep when we're not home or sleeping ourselves.

As for laps, if I'm all that's available, she'll take mine, but as soon as my husband comes a long, she switches to his. This is particularly insulting you consider that I'm the one who feeds her, cleans her litter box, etc...
 

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My newest baby is like that . she was completly motherless , being a bottlefed baby.
 
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