6.17.2004

 

Kitten annoyance

Okay, I'm getting a little sick of the kitten. She seems to have been doing everything she can in the last few days to get on my nerves. She had two days of "let's pounce on Mom and bite her whenever she moves," which was rough enough and prompted me to ask Jack whether we could get a decaffeinated kitten next time. She'll have ten or fifteen minutes of adorable tranquility and then go right back to biting with teeth that are roughly the sharpness of a staple remover. She's been waking us up a lot in the night by pouncing on our feet in a not-nice way, biting Jack's chin to wake him up, meowing at us incessantly, etc. Again, this is rough, but not terrible. However, last night she went a bit too far. She actually swatted my eyelid with her claws while I was asleep. I was dreaming, so I can only assume that my eyes were moving (REM sleep) and she thought they were a toy, but it was a terrible way to wake up, and I have a small red wound on my eyelid. She bit my neck really hard the other day too, so I'm starting to get really nervous about what she'll do next, especially while I'm asleep and can't defend myself until after she's done whatever she's doing. I'm honestly scared to have a baby if she keeps this up, even though popular opinion would tell me that she'll grow out of this by the time we have a kid. I came home today between classes, and as I was making lunch in the kitchen, she climbed up on the coffee table and knocked one of our good glasses to the floor. Naturally, it shattered, so I locked her in the bathroom while I swept up the broken glass. If I missed some and she or Patti gets glass in her foot, I'll be really upset, but I can't blame Celia because she's a freakin' kitten. Right now, as I sit here typing, she's alternating fairly regularly between clawing my shoulders and trying to bite my fingers (again, not in a playful way, but in a "this isn't a game, this is war" kind of way). She's three months old. Somebody PLEASE tell me how long this is going to last. She's also become a fan in the last few days of climbing our new curtains; she gets about halfway up before we spray her and scold her, but I know that when she gets bigger, she'll destroy them because she'll be too heavy to climb without ripping them. I'm so mad at her, and I don't know what to do. (I'm not thinking of getting rid of her, but I need some ways to alter her behavior before she drives me to do something I'll regret.) We spray her with the water bottle, we consistently scold her and tell her "no" and "stop that" very forcefully, and we've started grabbing her by the scruff and pushing her to the floor, which is what several books and/or Jack's parents suggested (I forget where all the info is coming from at this point). She seems not to care. Help. I'll take emails if you don't want to post a comment, but I need comfort and constructive suggestions, or I'll scream.

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OUCH! A swat on the eyelid in the middle of the night, ouch! Hmm. Well, I don't really have any real helpful comments, since I've never had a kitten or a cat. (I've only had what I call a "vicarious cat," my ex-roommate Kosha's cat, Hemmingway, who was a TERROR. She would hiss if you tried to pick her up--even if she had just been rubbing on you, hide when she knew she was going to have to be locked in Kosha's room, and rub against my legs when I was trying to walk, only to get mad and try to bite me!) Anyway, I merely have a (hopefully) funny and integrative comment...it sounds like she needs to get her aggression out, and you had a mouse problem in your office. You could bring her to the office, allow her to prowl and hunt the mice, and maybe that would be cathartic for her. But not really, I'm totally kidding. That would be cruel to the mice (even more so than glue traps!) and might only encourage her! :-\ Good luck. Maybe one of our cat person friends (Amy? Tucker?) will have some words of wisdom?
 
Damn! I'd written this witty comment and then hit something and POOF, all gone! I hate when that happens! Okay, in brief... Cooper is doing pretty much the same thing, so I completely understand your frustration right now. Let's see... you can take a soda can, fill it with several coins, and tape the top shut. Then shake it whenever she does something bad. Depending on the personality, sometimes that works better than water sprays. You can look into declawing/claw covers (whichever you prefer), which would take the pain out of the attacks. And my final advice is that she will outgrow it, in several months. Until then, you can always pretend she's a real child and kitten-proof the house. Take down the curtains she's, make sure you never leave anything where she can get to it and destroy it (i.e. glasses on the coffee table when you're out of the room). Its a pain, but you'd have to make sacrifices with a baby too. Anyway, hopefully at least one of these ideas will be helpful.
 
Thanks Amy! Yes, I've already realized the many parallels between this and having a baby, and I'm grateful to have an experience like this that prepares me, at least in part, for the idea that my way of life will change when we have kids. =) The first thing I told Jack after it happened was that we couldn't leave glasses out anymore, and we're going to have to move our houseplants as well (especially the African violet upon whose flowers Celia is fond of munching). I thought about taking down the curtains, but honestly, the sun is so bright here that our house would be 90 degrees in the afternoon if we had no curtains. Yuck. I think we'll have to find a different solution.

As for the coins-in-a-can idea, I'll try it. She's very responsive to noises, so that might work. In the meantime, I'm learning to be more patient and less attached to keeping everything pristine, which isn't one of my stronger qualities. When I was little, we had a rabbit, and I used to scream to my mom that "Thumper's in my room!!!!!" I blogged the other day in a flurry of frustration, but it has passed, at least somewhat. Celia's been good during the last two nights as well, so that was a huge help. Thanks for your suggestions and commiseration. =)
 
Does she have some sort of hanging toy she can play with? Sometimes that will wear her out. As the other comments you got, she will outgrow it, especially the curtain climbing part. I think that' s just testing out what she really can do!!!
Where does Patti sleep? Maybe you can keep the door to your room closed at night til she gets out of this stage,
Barb
 
As for the attacks at night, is there a reason you just don't close your bedroom door? I have to do that with Zoe. She would constanly jump on the bed and up onto the window sill to sit and look out my bedroom window. She'd be up on my dresser knocking things over at odd hours of the night. I had to listen to her howl at the door for a few mins the first few times I did it, but she got over it quickly.
 
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