I really love cats but this is too much

I really love cats but this is too much

Picture added by Michael (Admin) to illustrate article. Photo by Merlijn Hoek (Flickr - link at base of page)

Picture added by Michael (Admin) to illustrate article. Photo by Merlijn Hoek (Flickr - link at base of page)

In May of 2009 our little Benji died. He was 13 and very ill. Our home felt empty so we tried to replace him with a new kitten that we found on Craigslist.

We reached into a laundry basket full of black and white kittens. We picked one up and began to think of names for our new little angel.

Let me say this cat is loved. But we have scars all over our hands and legs from being attacked by him. We have bought him countless toys and played with him.

He is destroying my drapes, blinds, carpet and furniture. He poops right on the floor! He has started lately waking us up at 2:00 am 3:00 am 4:30 am this morning tearing up my drapes in the bedroom waking us up and literally driving us crazy!

We plan on putting this cat out when spring comes. It will tear our hearts out, but we just can't take it anymore. I will feed him outside. I will never own another cat again after this experience.

If anyone has any more ideas than this or has had an experience like this and what did you do!


Hi Anonymous... Thanks very much, by the way, for visiting and asking. But this is a really sad story.

A well socialised domestic cat will behave very acceptably provided that the environment in which it finds itself is also acceptable.

So, there are two sides to this it seems to me. Firstly, it appears that Benji is not that well socialised by which I mean used to being around people. But it may just be that his behavior is just classic kitten behavior and that you are not dealing with it properly. As you have made a submission on the feral cat page of this site, it may be that you have adopted a feral cat without being aware of it. Is that the case? This is a page on taming feral cats and kittens.

I will proceed on the basis that Benji is not a feral cat.

And without wishing to be critical I feel that the responsibility falls on you to sort this out. Cats are reactive. They respond to what happens around them. If things are right the cat is right. The cat is calm.

A cat scratching people is nearly always the person's fault - sorry. Perhaps you are handling the kitten incorrectly, for example. Benji might be frightened or he is just playing. Cats use claws and mouth to play as it simulates hunting prey. It may be that you are becoming irritated by his kitten behavior (naturally destructive) and as a consequence handling Benji too roughly so he reacts by using his claws. This is normal.

As for litter training, that is your responsibility too, I am afraid. Make sure the litter is well sited and super clean etc. Here is an article on litter training.

I would strongly advise re-addressing the "problem". Look at what you are doing and the environment that you have created. As your previous cat was OK I presume that the environment is good but your other cat died young by my standards. That is not to criticize you but there may be an issue surrounding what you are doing.

The answer is in your hands and it is absolutely not to abandon Benji.

A cat is for life and when we adopt we do so on that basis come what may.

Michael Avatar

I really love cats but this is too much to Feral cats

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I really love cats but this is too much

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Jun 12, 2010 Please rethink it
by: Sarah

PLease do not put him outside. Yes he may be a little trouble maker. he must have alot of energy that he needs to get out try using interactive toys with him . And as far as the scratching goes you could try using Kitty nail caps on him they arent permananant and they wont hurt him. that way he cant scratch you. But DONT put them on him if your going to make him live outside. (also I hope he is neutered since your considering having him outside.)

Jun 12, 2010 Please rethink it
by: Sarah

PLease do not put him outside. Yes he may be a little trouble maker. he must have alot of energy that he needs to get out try using interactive toys with him . And as far as the scratching goes you could try using Kitty nail caps on him they arent permananant and they wont hurt him. that way he cant scratch you. But DONT put them on him if your going to make him live outside. (also I hope he is neutered since your considering having him outside.)

Feb 20, 2010 Unprepared!
by: Julie,Alhambra,Il.USA

Don't put this kitten out. It would be cruel because it is unprepared for the world outside. If it were feral and outdoors for years and it was reacting to captivity I would says by all means return it to the world it knows! But this is heart breaking!Please try and finds it a new home.

You should stick with an older domestic breed.The draw back is ;you won't have the cat as long. People use to tell me that they would consider getting a cat if they could have one like Cao,my siamese of ninteen years. She was bought at a mall which translates to kitten mill and she was taken from her mother too soon.Just one look and I couldn't have left her there. She was sick with a respitory infection and her eyes were matted shut.She required night and day care,antibiotic and medicated eye gel. She went through the terrible two's.I had to replace the drapes and some door frames. She was domestic and never clawed me but she was a little whirlwind of destruction her first few years. It's all part of it and yes, it is all worth it in the long run!

Feb 19, 2010 He might need a playmate?
by: Phil

I can see that having lost a mellow, older cat (very sorry to hear about that, by the way) to be replaced with a boisterous little kitten must be a bit of a shock! I can't answer all your problems, but my personal recommendation, first off, is to try and get a companion for him, perhaps there are some kittens left from the litter he came from?

The two sets of cats that I have had, two farmhouse moggies and now two Egyptian Maus, were siblings; I feel it makes for a less stressful introduction to a new household, and each has a friend with a similar body clock and so will play with each other at night, rather than wanting you to play!. The inappropriate soiling is something that has been well advised on below; as for climbing curtains, etc, I'm afraid that's just what kittens do. On several occasions after bringing my kittens home I would wake in the middle of the night to find one or both in a spread-eagle position, half way up the curtains in my bedroom...

I suspect that your kitten is a slightly extreme example of how kittens behave generally; part of their charm (
for me, anyway) is their almost psychotic and manic behaviour; some kittens have to vent their energy on passive objects, or on the other animate objects - your hands and feet! It is natural for a kitten to play fight with their siblings, and I strongly suspect that another kitten, ideally a sibling, would help to address much of the unwanted behaviour you're experiencing. It might well be that he has already spent part of his early life playing and fighting with his brothers and sisters, something he now feels deprived of, and you're a substitute.

Please don't allow him out until he's at least six months old, but also do not leave it too late; kittens need to explore the outside slowly, when still small and a bit fearful, but if they grow up indoors until adulthood, there is a danger that they will explore the outside with too much confidence and a lack of respect for other dangers (this is from personal experience with a neighbour's cat who has just been allowed out for the first time at over 2 years old; he doesn't seem to respect territorial rules and is often getting into fights...).

Good luck!

Feb 19, 2010 Purple Cat
by: Anonymous

Hello, I'm That Purple Cat! Welcome to my website, it's all about me and how I am now a less stressed cat thanks to Feliway®; the secret to happy cats. My feline mission is to help educate you about your furry friends, to understand us better, so you don't think we are just being naughty or that's 'just what cats do'. Modern living means us cats can get stressed too and feline stress can cause some nasty health problems or make us act strangely.


Feb 19, 2010 Great advice
by: Ruth

Great advice Babz, Michael, Gail and Lisa.

This is why it is so important that as many people as possible try to help someone with a problem like this. Because with the best will in the world, someone answering can't cover every single aspect of why it's happening and what to do.

We've found with answering other questions that something someone says and others don't, is just the right and most helpful thing !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 18, 2010 Too Much
by: Lisa James

You also didn't say how old this kitten was when you picked it up out of the laundry basket. The optimum time for kittens to leave their mother & siblings is 12-16 weeks. This way they have been thoroughly instructed by their mother in what constitutes acceptable forms of play & what does not. Kittens younger than this have not been with their fur families long enough to have learned that a bite or scratch results in being cuffed etc by their mother. Consequently, if this is just a LITTLE guy, he quite honestly has no clue what is or is not acceptable to you because he didn't LEARN it because he was taken away from his mother too young. They also learn proper litter box habits from their mother, & if he was very young, then he didn't have the time he needed to learn that either. Try Cat Attract litter, which has a pheromone in it that draws cats to use it. This is something I did not see addressed in the other response posts, so I thought I would chime in as well to give you a perspective on the little guy's state of mind.

I will agree with everyone else. YOU brought this child into your home & into your life. If this were a HUMAN child that acted out after you adopted it, would you simply drop him off at the fire station/hospital, etc & tell him you don't want him any more? No, you would not. This is NO different.

Feb 18, 2010 Crazy Kitty
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

I concur with the other ladies here, but one thought comes to mind. Did you toss out Benji's stuff? It not, your kitten may be acting out because Benji's scent and finds that threatening.

PLEASE do not let him loose outside; that's signing his death warrant. He's much too young to fend for himself and it's not fair. Like a bratty child, this little one needs guidance. Is there an area of your home (spare room, extra bath, enclosed porch area) that can be set up just for kitty? Let me tell you my personal experience.

When my Sadie came to me, she was an active 5/year old who had been shuffled to 3 prior homes, through no fault of her own. Initially, she was somewhat of a wild-child. Fortunately, the apartment had an enclosed porch off of the kitchen. The porch had a long table, filled with closed boxes of different sizes and next to a stand-up freezer. I had an old footrest under the table doing nothing, so I pulled it out for the cat to jump on - from there she jumped onto the table - then to the various level boxes, making her way up higher and higher until she jumped on top of the freezer. Once there, she could almost touch the porch ceiling with her little paw; however, from that vantage point, she could see everything outside through the screened-in windows that ran along the opposite wall.

When I was home, if busy, I'd just open the kitchen door and let her "do her thing" which most of the time meant zooming like a maniac to/from the house to the porch and back again. Periodically, she'd stop short and just look at me expectantly. When she did, I'd softly say: "BOO!" which startled her and hurled her on her way like a maniac again. The point being, after racing around like that for a time, she'd finally just run out of steam and plop down for a nap. The trick, you see, is to keep her active during the waking hours (without stressing her out of course), so that when night fell, she'd be way too tired to care about running around anyplace. Snoozeville was a welcome respite.

There were times, too, that she had to be relegated to the bath because she couldn't be trusted not to tear the place apart when I wasn't home. When that happened, she had her litter box in there on one end and dry food/fresh water on the other, a favorite soft toy, a catnip-filled soft ball, tall scratching post in the bathtub (I decided to make her work for it, LOL!) and a bed made up of very soft terry towel that was hers alone. Over a few months, she decided her new "forever" home really was a pretty neat place and she even lost the desire to sneak outside, since all of her favorite stuff was inside.

During this time, I also imitated the sounds of a momma cat, growling like an agitated cat when she scratched me and mewing softly when she wanted lovin' - it really works! Please give it some time, but please never yell, scold or hit a cat. They will never understand and will do the opposite. Good luck!

Feb 18, 2010 Thanks
by: Michael

My thanks to Babz and Ruth for great advice and concern. Thank you very much for helping.

Feb 18, 2010 He's still a baby
by: Babz

Have you any children? If so you'll know all about the "terrible twos" when kids of that age drive you mad, but you still love them to bits. Well this unnamed kitten is at a similar stage of his life and I think he is running wild through lack of guidance. Before anything, is he neutered? If not then that should be a priority. next a bit of socialising, don't play with him with your bare hands, always play with toys and give him lots of energetic play, throw things for him to chase and attack, run dragging a string behind you, anything like this will give him a good work out and tire him out so he will sleep. Make sure he has a scratching post high enough for him to stretch right up to and when he goes to claw anywhere but there say NO firmly but kindly and carry him to the scratching post and hold his paws and show him what to do and where! There is no need to shout or punish him, keep things calm and don't startle him. Is his litter tray clean? If you've had it a while a new one might be a good idea, it doesn't matter how often you clean them eventually they will start to smell from prolonged use. Try different cat litter too, he might prefer it. Also pick up the poo and put it in the tray so his scent is there for him to associate with.

Put him to bed in another, warm, room at night with food, water, litter tray, safe toys and scratching post, give him a fuss and then say goodnight and leave him there till morning, if you get your sleep you may feel more able to cope.

Please give him a chance, he will grow up and calm down but you do need to establish a few ground rules. Putting him outside is the same as abandoning him, I'm sure he would love some time outside and if where you live is safe I'd suggest gradually letting him have some freedom (if neutered) but not all the time, and in at night is best. If you can't settle him then please rehome him in a proper responsible way and don't just dump him outdoors

Feb 18, 2010 Give him a chance
by: Ruth

You can't replace a much loved cat you have lost as each cat is unique and deserves to be loved for their own personality.

You don't say your new cat's name or how old he is,it seems to me as if you are still grieving for Benji and that is only natural.But you can't expect this new one to know how to behave as you want him to.

If he isn't neutered have him done, that will help. If he poops on the floor there must be a reason for it, probably he is stressed. Maybe you've yelled at him ? You should never yell at or punish cats in any way, they don't understand punishment and just become nervous around you, which makes the problem worse.

Has he got a tall strong scratching post ? Make it attractive to him by sprinking catnip around it.You say he has toys, well make him an extra one, a kickable sized one, you only need some soft towel and dried catnip. If he goes to bite you, throw this for him to chase, he can give it a good kick and use lots of energy.If he goes to scratch you, lift him to his scratching post!

Some young cats are hyperactive,one of our was, so we got another kitten as a companion for him and they grew up having fun together.Your cat sounds bored so maybe you could do the same ?

To get some sleep at night, shut him in another room with food,water, scratching post, toys and litter tray.He will soon get used to it.

PLEASE don't put him outside, yes let him go out and enjoy some time outdoors but not outside permanently. You'd be better rehoming him than doing that.

Give him a chance, teach him by kindness, gentleness and love and he will repay you by growing into a loving cat.

You won't get over losing your dear Benji, you will get used to being without him in time,but don't blame this different little character for not being him !He relies on you so please don't let him down.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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