Another novice cat owner here. Getting new kitten on Sunday. Advice please!

(286 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Fri 19-Apr-13 14:20:31

I have been looking at old threads here and it's been really helpful, but still have a couple of questions. Firstly, am I meant to put newspaper down under the cat litter or just sprinkle the cat litter straight into the litter tray? Am not sure what newspaper will achieve, but have this odd feeling I should! confused

The other thing I'm troubled about is that we are bringing the kitten back in the car with us and it will be a four-hour journey. I have borrowed a cat carrier and bought some Feliway to spray in it. Am just looking out old fleeces and towels to make it snuggly. What I'm worried about is what to do about food, water and the kitten's need to wee/poo. It is toilet trained already (it's 14 weeks' old), but will it just do that in the carrier if it needs to? Could I bring the litter tray and offer that or is that a mad idea? I do have an absorbant disposable mat to place under the towels in case of sickness or anything else.

And I don't know what to do about food because some advice says don't feed your cat before a journey in case it makes it travel sick. But surely it's cruel not to offer the kitten some food on the journey? I will obviously be offering water anyway.

Also, a friend told me to bring ear plugs for the journey because the cat might be noisy. It's a Balinese (like a Siamese). I have visions of a four-hour journey from hell, with yowling travel-sick kitten and two wailing, travel-sick children.

cozietoesie Fri 10-May-13 11:18:06

I think he's probably still in recovery (and yes - the eating and drinking well is a good sign) but you have a point about his temperament. He's not only adjusting to the household but he's growing up very quickly at this stage. Remember that Siamese (Balinese) are great people cats - mine have always been much more inclined to cuddle and seek love than to play. (Forbye they have madcap moments.)

smile

ToffeeWhirl Fri 10-May-13 10:59:02

No, definitely not bouncy. It's lovely that we are able to give him endless cuddles without him wriggling off, but I do worry that he should be showing more energy. Maybe this is simply the sort of cat that he is or maybe he's still in recovery. I have no complaints, if so, I just want to be sure that he's ok.

Am sure, however, that he would not be eating so well if he wasn't on the mend.

cozietoesie Fri 10-May-13 10:27:28

Is he more bouncy?

smile

ToffeeWhirl Fri 10-May-13 10:18:13

Thanks for your advice and concern, Zebra. We are seeing DS's psychiatrist on Monday, but have been advised to go back to the GP if we're not happy with her actions. A letter from an NHS consultant is also in the post to her to urge her to take urgent action. Private treatment is not an option, for various reasons.

I hope you get the treatment you need as quickly as possible so that you can continue dancing. I'm glad your cats bring you so much happiness and are so comforting when you're sad.

Kitten Strachey is very hungry this morning. He's eaten two tins of Applaws chicken and lapped up some kitten milk. That must be a good sign.

smile

ZebraOwl Fri 10-May-13 00:26:23

Caught again by the Asterisks Of Doom. Gah.

ZebraOwl Fri 10-May-13 00:25:40

headdesk Yes, someone who's got experience treating people - indeed, not just people generally, children (& adolescents) specifically, because of their different needs. Is your GP any good at advocating for you[r DS1]? I am lucky to have The Best GP In The World Ever who has me on The Best Possible Treatments not The Cheapest (happily they sometimes coincide!) & will refer me as required & then chase referrals etc. (Which reminds me, I rather need to ask her to contact the RNOH because they're ignoring me. And if that's cos they can't do a cartilage graft to repair my knee I'd quite like to know that. Because that means having to start thinking about replacement joints. Which means thinking about stopping dancing. And possibly giving in to The Wheelchair. Bleurgh.)

Anyway, my ramble aside, a good GP can make a HUGE amount of difference when it comes to accessing care pathways. Do you have anyone who could help chivvy them along - I know DS1's home-schooled, but if he was previously educated outside the home is there someone there who could provide you with a supporting statement? Sorry if you are already Doing All The Things, am just wishing v hard I could help. Have you got anyone near you who offers cost-reduced treatment while you wait for the NHS stuff to fall into place? (Assuming you can't afford to go private. Not in a horrid way, just I know - having psychologist friends - that it is expensive. Not in terms of what you get, obviously, but in terms of absolute amount of expenditure, if that makes sense?)

Purr Therapy is wonderful. My cats are very attentive when I am More Ill Than Usual, too: if I've got to be stuck in bed I'd rather be stuck there with the cats for company. I've not needed to use my crutches since I've had the cats (well, I've not used them, anyway, hem) & they've never seen me use my wheelchair (not that I ever use it in the house, would be a nightmare, much easier to bum-shuffle!) & am not sure how they'd react. Well, am pretty sure with the wheelchair they'd be delighted to be able to snuggle with me all the time, bit worried they'd twine about the crutches & blond!cat would jump up to try to grab my hands. Ech. Think that (assuming it's not done as an emergency, which, y'know, I'd really rather not!) before my next knee surgery (or hips/ankles/other-thing-requiring-crutches) I'll have to use my crutches round the house to get the cats used to them while it won't be quite such a hazard to me! The cats are such darlings when I am upset, too: they snuggle extra-close & are super-purry & stroke me & blink-kiss & nose-boop. They have both wiped away my tears with their paws, too. Am so glad that Kitten Strachey's a happifying presence in your home & hope he brings you all much joy smile

ToffeeWhirl Thu 09-May-13 14:19:37

That's good to know, cozie. It is not exaggerating to say that the kitten feels like a healing presence in the house.

smile

cozietoesie Thu 09-May-13 13:49:27

The kitten time (and eventually cat time) will soak up any stress from DS1 - experienced it myself. It will really be good for him.

smile

ToffeeWhirl Thu 09-May-13 13:45:34

DS1 has had CBT twice, but we are pushing for a third time and hopefully with someone experienced with OCD sufferers this time. Am fed up with letter writing, phoning and arguing, but we will get somewhere in the end. DS1 really needs CBT with ERP for his OCD! (Very acronym heavy and hilarious when I'm trying to explain to concerned family).

Kitten Strachey is the most wonderful therapy for us all. DS1 fell asleep on his bed with him this morning, whilst I was nattering with a friend, and it was sweet to see them curled up together.

He still doesn't have his voice back (DH says he will be the perfect cat if it never comes back hmm), and he is still not very playful, but he is eating well and seems happy enough in himself.

ZebraOwl Wed 08-May-13 23:58:17

There may possibly have been some actual flailing over The Cute. Tricky to do that while (admittedly quite half-heartedly) stretching. Hem.

CBT is (as am sure you know!) the best treatment for OCD, so I really hope that your DS1 is able to start CBT ASAP (this all seems a bit acronym heavy, suddenly) & that it works well for him. OCD can be so hard to deal with for both the sufferer & their family: especially the question of habit vs compulsion. Don't be afraid to advocate for your needs as well as DS1's either - nor to make sure you feel engaged with his treatment too. Not in the sense of demanding to know everything he says, just in the sense of feeling you are able to support him through the process as much & as well as possible. Yes. Am very glad that Kitten Strachey is helping him deal with bedtimes in a better way - or rather, the way in which anxiety & compulsions will manifest at that time. Hopefully he will sleep better if he's less troubled by intrusive thoughts at bedtime & thus just feel better in himself generally.

Suspect you're prolly right that DS2 & kitten's relationship will be predicated on the former's bounciness levels - as KS gets more used to him he'll prolly cope a bit better too. Hopefully DS2 will warm to KS a bit more once he realises that there is definitely no usurping going on there, too wink

Am very glad Kitten Strachey's doing so much better - you must be so relieved!

ToffeeWhirl Wed 08-May-13 19:58:15

Yes, it's so good to see his improvement. He still doesn't play for long, but he's definitely feeling more inclined and couldn't resist the new toy.

And yes, there is as much mutual adoration between eldest son and Kitten as there is distrust between youngest and Kitten. I don't think the latter will change until the youngest settles down a little and becomes quieter and less boisterous.

cozietoesie Wed 08-May-13 19:42:11

That's the great thing about love from a cat - it's uncomplicated. Just right for DS.

smile

Corygal Wed 08-May-13 19:39:47

Terribly beautiful pix. Mr Strachey obviously loves your DS to bits. grin

cozietoesie Wed 08-May-13 19:35:30

Now just love that new photo - what a great turnaround!

smile

ToffeeWhirl Wed 08-May-13 19:29:56

Thanks, Zebra. DS says that it really helps him to have kitty to cuddle at bedtime. We are pushing for CBT intervention for him, so we are hoping that Purr Therapy combined with CBT will do the trick.

Kitten Strachey is improving every day smile. I bought him a new cat toy today [besotted owner emoticon] and he loved it. Pictures downloaded!

ZebraOwl Tue 07-May-13 22:55:39

Glad kittentime has been helping your DS1 - hope that he's able to sleep well tonight & has a better day tomorrow. OCD is a hellish thing (which is why I get VERY cross when people do that ridiculous "oh, I'm so OCD!" thing because they alphabetise their CDs <stabs, stabbily>) so I really do hope your DS1 is able to beat it.

Well it's certainly never dull! Mine've used their claws in the same way since always so you might well be okay. Mostly they are all softy-softy paddy-paws, but every now & then it's The Claws. Ech.

Am sure Kitten Strachey will forgive you the tablets if there's a cat biscuit to be had. Mine'll take a worming tablet if it's in with treats.

ToffeeWhirl Tue 07-May-13 22:34:08

I think kittentime has helped, zebra smile.

Your cats sound quite a handful! I hope kitty's soft paws don't also turn into ferocious talons as he grows up <frets>.

Kitten Strachey has been sleeping in pools of sunlight for most of the day. Once DS2 arrived back home and reclaimed his room, in his usual noisy fashion, kitty slinked downstairs and, apart from a few cuddles with me, has been mostly sleeping in his box. He may also be a little annoyed with me for giving him another pill this evening, even though I always give him a cat biscuit afterwards.

ZebraOwl Tue 07-May-13 16:44:59

Hope that a quiet day & plenty of kittentime helps your DS1 recover from stresses of weekend.

Oooh, yes, need to be careful namewise, esp with your DS2 not being such a fan of The Kitten.

I go to the same class Mon-Fri unless I'm stuck at the hospital instead (boo) or not going to manage afternoon class & then company class + rehearsal on Wednesday nights, so I suppose the cats see it as part of the household routine. The cats absolutely hate my rucksack as they think it takes me away from my proper (ie snuggling with them) place. They both try to clobber it when they think I'm not watching & blond!cat likes to sit on it when I come in, presumably to show it who's boss while I head up to my room. Am sure he is waving graciously back there as I carrying the ruckie upstairs. It is very cute when he curls his tail round my neck though!

Better let blond!cat back into my room again: he was evicted for Ungentlemanly Conduct. He didn't mean to hurt me when he dug his claws into my back & shoulder & neck to keep his balance, but my ridiculously fragile skin stands no chance against his claws. Blood on my clothes. Again. <sigh>

ToffeeWhirl Tue 07-May-13 12:17:15

Yes, DS1 has been thrown by recent events, you're right, Zebra. He had a meeting with a friend which went horribly wrong the other day, plus it has been a Bank Holiday weekend and we have had my friend staying, so all his normal routines were changed. He finds that all very stressful. I have given him the day off home ed today and prescribed kitten cuddles instead.

We rather like the Kitten Strachey name too. I think it might stick, although we will have to be tactful about DS2's chosen name.

It's amazing that your cats recognise the signs of when you are going to class. I think you are right and they would much rather you stayed in bed with them always. Which sounds quite appealing in many ways.

smile

ZebraOwl Tue 07-May-13 11:50:17

Oh yes, they wait til they're alone in the house to Wreak Havoc. And have an excellent look of studied innocence for when I get home: "The bathroom bin has been pulled over? How can THAT have happened?! Maybe we have a goblin problem..." (etc)

WRT The Tray Must Be In The Correct Place I wonder if that's because mine learned to use an area rather than a tray, really: it was like a smallish baking tray for 6 kittens & MummyCat & prolly not changed often enough (due to guy working 3 jobs & thus not being in to do so, he wasn't being deliberately rubbish!) so I think they're more focused on Toilet Location than Toilet Itself. Ho-hum.

Glad to hear Kitten Strachey (please PLEASE call him this, it is so very splendid) is going so much better - hope his pride wasn't too badly dented by being mistaken for a duck at the vet's!

TBH if paws stay healed & doesn't turn into recurring problem I think you don't need to worry your head over how it happened - just keep on top of minimising potential hazards eg no bits of Lego left lying about.

Sorry DS1's struggling today - was he thrown off by the Bank Holiday and/or weather change? I know people with OCD can be made very anxious by change & the feelings of uncertainty it brings. I'm glad that The Kitten is helping, though: hopefully DS1 will quite quickly reach the point of knowing to use kittentime as a coping strategy & learn to find Strachey/Snowy when he begins to be troubled by thoughts/behaviours to prevent an escalation.

My cats are sad&cross because they know I am off to class presently. You'd think with them having chewed many hospital letters and with them being Ballet Cats they would understand the importance of my going to (week)daily class, but apparently not. Oh dear. Really they would like me to stay at home ALWAYS. At home and mostly on my bed, in fact. Prefer that to them being all spurny-standoffish though!

ToffeeWhirl Tue 07-May-13 11:35:13

It's smart of them that they will walk on kitchen surfaces if you're not there, Zebra. I suspect our kitten will do the same. Interesting too that they won't use the litter tray if it's in the wrong place as that was exactly what happened when I tried putting the covered litter tray upstairs in DS1's bedroom one night, so kitty could sleep there. He refused to use it, but then looked desperately for it downstairs in the kitchen and kept patting at the floor to see if it was litter.

I'm glad to report that our kitten is definitely on the mend. He has eaten the last tin of chicken and DH has been instructed to buy more supplies on his way back from work. Kitty (Strachey?) is actually quite skittish this morning and has been running up and down the stairs and playing with paper and cat toys. His voice is coming back too, very gradually. Mostly, it's still a whisper, but now and again a proper bird-like chirrup pops out. When we took him to the vet, he was so upset he managed to make more noise than usual and everyone thought we had a duck in the carrier blush.

His paws seem to have healed up completely too. I don't think I will ever find out how they happened. It's a puzzle. He does prefer the new litter though, which is much finer and softer than the previous one, so I will swap to that.

DS1's OCD is very bad today, but the kitten is providing a welcome distraction, plus unconditional love and cuddles.

smile

ZebraOwl Tue 07-May-13 02:13:17

Non-conformist cats: another thing to blame Cromwell for...? wink

They just don't seem to understand at all. Ditto, when they accidentally claw (they don't do it in a Meaning To Hurt way) they don't understand it's cause&effect with us obviously being in pain & ceasing to interact with them. Again, have been consistent with them from start & they have stopped any deliberate swiping & chomping (which was only ever really directed at my brother, who thus spent a while referring to blond!cat as Mr Chompy) as a result of that. It's almost as though they think it can't hurt because they don't MEAN it to hurt. Ech. There are some things they know not to do but will do if we're not there: walking on kitchen surfaces being a prime example. We tried to work out if we could keep them out of the kitchen but it's the only sensible place for their bowls & tray to be & they won't use the tray if it's moved, either, as we discovered the night we'd to keep kitchen shut & put bowls & tray in hall. They were both frantic first thing wanting to use the tray but not feeling they could because it wasn't in The Right Place. They keep their back legs crossed when the kitchen floor gets washed (& is drying) too.

My black!cat doesn't get huffy with me, just worries he's upset me. Blond!cat does an excellent stroppy face but never really gets in a hufty with me, but will sulk quite epically at my brother. They do also both spurn my brother as soon as I appear, which I feel a little bad about even though they are my cats. Ahem.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 06-May-13 23:40:48

They really do get the huff then? How funny. I wasn't sure if I was reading too much into it, but it has happened to me twice now.

Your rules sound good.

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 23:25:07

PS - I know you had a pill to give him tonight which complicates matters but don't worry normally if you get the cold shoulder. Just act normally once the door is open and they'll get fed up with their huff.

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 23:21:18

No biting, no scratching in unauthorized places. That's about it.

smile

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