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  1. #1
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    Question about kitties in the home

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    Hi all.
    Perhaps you've been reading my on-going exploits with Paris and Zoe, our new little kittens, in another thread (who, BTW, have roundworm, in addition to tapeworm...oh joy. Gotta love feral mommas. A source of who-knows-what out there! ).
    Well, to get them used to the house and us, we've been keeping them in the dining room, which me modified into a little kitty kindergarten. We've set off the room with louver doors and assorted pressure gates and an unfolded kennel. It's worked great - for the first week we've had them! Now, as they get older, bigger, stronger, and more confident that we aren't going to kill them, their leaping ability is growing - well...by leaps and bounds.
    And we've been letting them out of the dining room to explore other areas of the house (the kitchen and the living room so far), and returning them to the dining room at night and when we're at work.
    But today (DH is home), they've sort of taken it upon themselves to leap the kennel fence and go exploring on their own...when they normally were napping or playing in the dining room. This means, of course, then when DH is NOT at home, and I'm at work, we can't rely on them to stay securely in the dining room (and, therefore, out of trouble).
    So...question....
    We figure this is their normal evolution in the house and their days of easy confinement are over...right?
    How DO you keep kittens off the places you don't want them? They climb like monkeys and have to go EVERYwhere and see EVERYthing. I'm most worried about my grandmother's antique lamp on a side table in the living room and plants on the bow window (which Zoe already tried nibbling.).
    Do we just give up for good now, and open up the upstairs to them 24/7, or should we still try to maintain them in the diningroom in the evening when we're asleep?
    Any recommendation would be welcome. Thanks!
    Oh...vet just told me, as I had no idea - that clumping litter was a no-no for kittens under 6 mos. old. So, DH is off to the pet store for new litter, and drat it! he just did a full cleaning of the litter boxes this morning!
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  2. #2
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    Sep 2006
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    Central Indiana
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    We kept our last new kitten (she's almost one now) in a spare bedroom devoid of anything of real interest other than cat toys until she was about 3 1/2 months old. Her segration had more to do with our adult cat's relunctance to accept her and less to do with her being a kitten, however. She was SO ready to get out of there by the time we decided it was time. From there, we limited her access to our unfinished basement where the cat boxes normally are because she was just too little to really navigate the stairs. In time, she was given access to the basement and the first floor of the house. The cats are normally restricted from going upstairs to the bedrooms, per my DH's strong preference to sleep cat-free. Fortunately for him, there's a door to the upstairs.

    "Their" part of the house is pretty well kitten- and cat-proofed. I've had some success using a spray bottle of water to keep them away from, off and out of certain things, but if something is really important to us or could injure or make them sick, we have moved it from their territory or out of their reach. It's just not worth the risk. Thankfully, our adult cat has never been one to really get into much of anything. My now-deceased cat and our current kitten, however, couldn't/can't be trusted, especially with plants. Perhaps because I've had cats for a while, I sort of have an eye for what they might get into so I can better anticipate it, but if were in your shoes, I'd pay close attention to anything they could eat or chew. Beyond that, anything you just don't want them to get into, e.g., a trash can, make sure to put away or close off.

    Be careful when you're getting into drawers or closets. I've locked all of the cats into things at one time or another. One of my cats spent a long day in a drawer full of cycling gear once. Bless her heart; all she did was make a bed for herself and fall asleep. Another of my cats spent a day in a linen closet. Somehow or another, he managed to climb to one of the higher shelves and knocked all our meds down.

    So, my basic advice is this: Let them free once you feel like the house is largely "secure." IME, kittens survive a lot more in the way of mishaps than you think they would. Given them plenty of cat-friendly diversions and hope for the best! Remember that they sleep a good part of the day anyway so make sure they have blankets and towels to lay on if you'd like to keep some of your furniture relatively hair free.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Ohio
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    167
    I had great success in using a water pistol to help train my kittens when I was home with them. All the family members had one at their disposal. The kittens would get a quick squirt if they went up on the counters, made motions to scratch the furniture or did some other undesirable behavior. Also used an old fashioned bike horn to honk at them when they were naughty. The sudden noise would scare them.
    Setting the standard for what is not acceptable is so important to do at this early stage. Being consistent and vigilant when you are home will reinforce this wonderfully. When I could not be home, I had spread bubble wrap on the counters I wanted them to stay off of. Placed several sisal rope towers in rooms, hung them on door knobs and basically put other sisal rope scratchers everywhere. They had ample places they were encouraged to claw. I also frequently trimed their nails and handled their paws. We had tons of cat toys and played with the kittens with the toys readily. It was said that this would make the toys more desirable to the kittens to play with when they were on their own. I put one pressure gate above another on an open doorway that was a no-no. If you have double sided tape, you can put it down around the plants. Cats usually don't like a sticky surface. At one point I used those somewhat sticky nonskid pads where I didn't want them to be. I can't remember if it was paprika or some other spice I would shake on the dirt of the plants to deter them.
    I would definitely pack or move your grandmother's antique lamp until you train them to stay off that table. I had people tell me that they put mouse traps under butcher paper on the counters to startle the cats and deter them off. I didn't do that one though. Cats are incredible explorers as you are finding out!

  4. #4
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    In my experience, trying to keep kittens confined in one area of the house is like trying to hold back the sea with your hands. Not helpful, I know... They just have soooo much energy and tend to be intensely curious and mobile.

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  5. #5
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    Apr 2008
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    Buffalo, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauraelmore1033 View Post
    In my experience, trying to keep kittens confined in one area of the house is like trying to hold back the sea with your hands. Not helpful, I know... They just have soooo much energy and tend to be intensely curious and mobile.
    I have had cats all my life so I completely agree with this sentiment. On that note however, I also haven't had one cat destroy my house or anything of value while I was away. Sure, I do have to accept that there might be cat hair in my house - all over my house. But, I wipe counters before preparing food and vacuum a lot. It's all part of being a kitty parent. I do give my cats "warm beds" where they spend most of their time and their own "kitty" house they can scratch up to their hearts content. This seems to keep them happy. They also have their own places they like which I had no say in approving or disapproving of. In reality, once you become a cat owner - the cats own you - not the other way around. Trying to live otherwise will only drive you nuts and probably make your cat hate you.

  6. #6
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    My cats really haven't destroyed much of anything either. Even the kitten largely left the Christmas tree alone this year. They're so easily amused; it's not really all that hard to keep their attention on other, harmless things.

    One or both of my cats love the following: looking out a window, especially if there are birds or other critters; newspapers (one likes to lay one them, the other, God help me, likes to lick them); empty boxes; tissue paper, foil balls, the kitchen and bathroom sink, milk rings or caps; celery stalks or the bags that the celery comes in (this confounds me); empty yogurt or pudding containders (the kitten will retrieve them from our recycling bin), laundry baskets; bugs of any kind and, of course, cat toys.

    You get the point. For all the things you can give cats that they can safely play or amuse themselves with, it's really not all that hard to keep them out of the other stuff. Our cats our mostly active when we're around; otherwise they just sleep a lot anyway.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
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    Thanks.
    I'm hoping the "sleeping around a lot during the day" is just what these little rascals do!
    They have loads of toys - from jingle balls and store-bought things, to paper bags and foil balls. Since I washed the fleece bed I got them, after they thought it was a litter box, and the pillow puffed up to twice it's size, they've largely ignored it. I wish they'd go back to it.....
    We don't mind cats on our lap or cats on the couch beside us, but want to keep them off the bow window sill where the plants are (I have a shelf to put put up under another window specifically for them...we didn't install it yet, as we felt they couldn't reach it...but I think they're just about there) and the kitchen counters.
    We'll try the double sided tape. I'm sure we have some bubble wrap in the basement somewhere (I tend to save that kind of stuff when I get sent boxed things). I'll try that, too.
    I had an empty t.p. roll that Zoe was having fun with, but DH took it away - said she was chewing it up. My bunny used to love to toss and chew them (and paper towel rolls). I view them as "safe" toys. What's your take on them?
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  8. #8
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    it's just like having kids. at first you babyproof everything, then their range extends and you baby proof more. As they get a little older, you start to relax.
    cats are not particularly destructive especially if you start them out right away with good places for them to scratch and climb and train them to use them using positive reinforcement. I buy stuff for kittens until i find a scratching post or box or board that they like (use).
    i have 4 cats and an undamaged house. I also don't have sheer curtains on my windows...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    it's just like having kids. at first you babyproof everything, then their range extends and you baby proof more. As they get a little older, you start to relax.
    I also don't have sheer curtains on my windows...
    I told DH we'll be two steps behind them for a while.
    All of our curtains (sheers, btw) are now tied up into a knot above sill level! I suppose its only a matter of time before we have just valances!
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  10. #10
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    If the kitten is just nibbling a bit on the TP roll (or anything else), I'd say it's probably okay. If she starts eating it or leaving bits of it around that the other kitten starts eating, I'd take it away. My cats aren't chewers; they mostly just lick and chase things around. The kitten loves edaname pods so much that we call them her "Eddies." She also likes lettuce. She's a strange one, that kitten.

    I'm actually jealous of you right now. Kittens (and cats) are just so much fun. To have two would be a blast!
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7rider View Post
    Thanks.
    I'm hoping the "sleeping around a lot during the day" is just what these little rascals do!
    Oh, no you don't. You want them to be tired so they'll let you sleep at night. Wear them out as much as you can as soon as you get home. Have chase time, ball time, fetch, etc. Keep them running around as much as possible. Then you might have a chance. My cats love hide and seek. That they sometimes look for me under the bed cracks me up. Like, when have I ever gone under there?

    We let ours go everywhere. We tried a bit to keep them from some places at first, but it never worked. They eventually got us trained to where now we hardly care. They always get their way.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrhodie View Post
    Oh, no you don't. You want them to be tired so they'll let you sleep at night. Wear them out as much as you can as soon as you get home. Have chase time, ball time, fetch, etc. Keep them running around as much as possible. Then you might have a chance..
    We do that when we get home. We've hardly had the t.v. on or done anything other than sat around playing with them - rolling balls, keeping them running. I'm used to rabbits, who don't like to be held, but are curious of you if you sit of the floor - at their level - and interact with them there. So DH and I still sit on the floor and play with these guys.

    Believe me - between keeping themselves entertained with their own wrestling matches and playing with us - we keep them running.
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  13. #13
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    I'm on the floor with them, or they're chasing me around the house. They love it if I do yoga, any posture where they can go under me is fun. When I come home from work, the first thing I do is kneel down on the floor, and I get head butts and kisses. They are worth all the trouble they cause.

    One thing I did when Eddy was a kitten, was put all his toys in an old Kleenex box, so he'd have to spend time getting them out. I needed some way of slowing him down, so I could take a break (he was CRAZY). I've never had 2 kittens at once, so maybe they'll keep each other busy. Actually, it did get easier with Eddy when we got Twiggy.
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  14. #14
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    Our kitties rarely get on the counter. I think it's because when we got them we had to give them eye drops, which they HATED. And we placed them on the counter to do it.

    Cassie eats plants and cut flowers, so I just don't have them around much. She's also kind of afraid of them if I place them high above her - like on the mantle, especially if it's a large bouqet.

    Tucker likes to lick plastic and will try to sneak out the door. He's fast and sneaky! He particularly likes to lick plastic at 3:30 AM just before the alarm goes off.

    I love having my cats sleep with me. I actually sleep better if they are there. But I can totally understand the other side.

    Our kitties are very packy. Generally when we are home, they are in the room we're in. Now I want to leave work early and go home and play with them.

    Kitties are just so much fun.

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  15. #15
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    I desperately miss sleeping with the cats. Henry is the best cuddler ever. When I got married, it was a contentious point with DH. I do, however, see his side, especially since Henry likes to lick paper and books of any kind to wake you up. So, I compromised. It was a hard transition. I "volunteered" to sleep with the kitten for about a month. I both loved and hated it, as she has a loud purr. Thankfully, DH otherwise adores the cats as much as I do. We are definitely crazy cat people.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

 

 

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