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Cat Care: How Caring For Kittens Is Just Like Caring For Babies

Updated on January 18, 2016

KITTENS & BABIES

Cats are wonderful friends and companions, if you're "animally-inclined". I have three kittens and they bring me countless smiles everyday. One thing I've realized about taking care of Jiggy, Motmot, and Layla (my three kittens) and my previous kitten, BamBam, is that it's much like taking care of a human baby.

Stage 1: Infancy

An infant human baby is completely dependent upon it's mother for food and other needs. An infant kitten is exactly the same. When BamBam got separated from her mother (she had shown up in our backyard one day), I took her in and raised her. She wasn't afraid of me at all. In fact, she walked right up to me when I called out to her the first time. I quickly found out that she would look to me for all her basic and even "emotional" needs. I had unwittingly become a mommy.

Just as human infants need to be fed and diaper-changed every so often, I had to feed and take BamBam to the potty at regular intervals during the day... and night. I don't have children, but at that time, I felt as though I had. Getting up at midnight, then again at 2 a.m., and yet again at 4 a.m. to BamBam's "crying" became my regular routine. Yet strangely, I never felt tired. I guess the joy of taking care of my "baby" surpassed the inconveniences I suffered.

My kitten, BamBam, sitting on her favorite spot in the backyard.
My kitten, BamBam, sitting on her favorite spot in the backyard.

Stage 2: Terrible Twos

Ahh... the dreaded terrible twos. A lot of parents who've lived to tell the tale speak of the tantrums and bouts of confusion as their child reaches age 2. BamBam had her terrible twos soon after I adopted her. (The vet said BamBam was approximately almost 2 months old when she wandered into our backyard.)

Chewing on electrical wires, hanging on curtains, demanding play time, separation anxiety, getting into trouble - BamBam's terrible twos left indelible marks on me as well as my room.

BamBam's chewing on electrical wires was one of my major problems. (The human toddler equivalent to this, I guess, would be sticking a finger inside electrical sockets.) A fried kitty was something that I did not want to have. I tried the "shaking a can of coins" method whenever she chewed on cords, but it only worked during the first few times. Then she got used to the sound of the jingling coins. Finally, I resorted to time out. I would gently pull her off the computer wires and put her down outside my room. And I shut my ears to the sound of her wailing to come back inside.

My sister often told me about not getting enough sleep when my nieces were younger because they woke her up in the middle of the night to play. Demanding play time during odd hours was also another major concern of mine since BamBam would playfully bite and scratch me in the middle of the night when I was sleeping and of course I had some scratch marks on me. I learned that it was best not to give in though. I would gently pick her up from my bed and put her down on the floor until she didn't jump back up anymore. And in the morning when I woke up, I would play with her on a specific time schedule which I, not she, determined.

And then there was the separation anxiety. Every morning when I had to go to work, BamBam would try to follow me out. After I succeeded in "escaping", she would wail piteously for me to come back. It was a lot like how some preschoolers cry when their mommies leave, actually.

My former cat, Scraggy, lazing in the sun.
My former cat, Scraggy, lazing in the sun.

Stage 3: Adolescence

This is the stage that most parents fear. It's when their children start dating and going out with the opposite sex. Letting go is often an issue. Fortunately, in the case of our kittens, we don't have to "let go" of them.

I plan to have my kittens spayed or neutered when they reach 4-6 months old. It not only prevents the problem of unwanted pregnancies for females and spraying problems for males, it also healthier for the cat.

Stage 4: Happily Ever After

Okay, so I'll probably still encounter some issues as my cats get older. But like raising children, the hard part is just at the beginning.

A NOTE ABOUT STRAY KITTENS

Sometimes you won't be as lucky as I was when I first took in BamBam. Most stray kittens, or what they call feral kittens, aren't used to human handling, so they may be hostile at first. If you're thinking of adopting those stray kittens in your backyard, you might find help in this three-part video on how to tame feral kittens by Mike Phillips, President and co-founder of Urban Cat League, Inc., NYC and a former President of Neighborhood Cats, NYC.

Tough Love: Socializing Feral Kittens (Part 1 of 3)

Tough Love: Socializing Feral Kittens (Part 2 of 3)

Tough Love: Socializing Feral Kittens (Part 3 of 3)

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    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Kittens rock! We have a 6-week-old solid black kitten we adopted a week ago. He's into EVERYTHING but so precious. Thanks for the great hub!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      7 years ago from Wales

      What a great hub and beautiful photos.

      Thanks for sharing and take care

      Eiddwen.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      9 years ago

      Thanks, LRobbins. :) Yea, it was devastating. It plunged me right into depression at that time. :( But wounds heal, luckily. :)

    • LRobbins profile image

      Laurel 

      9 years ago from Germany

      Great hub, I could definitely relate to the different stages having 2 cats myself. I'm so sorry to hear about BamBam, that must have been devastating.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      9 years ago

      Yes, we checked everywhere when BamBam got lost, Grace. She was a very vocal kitten and would answer with a loud meow whenever I called her. That day and the days and weeks that followed I didn't hear a peep. :(

    • ezguides profile image

      ezguides 

      9 years ago from Boston

      That's sad :( I saw in the news a kitten got stuck inside the sofa once so did you check the unlikely places ? And secure window where BamBam could have possibly escape :)

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      9 years ago

      Sadly, Scraggy passed away and I couldn't find BamBam when I came home from work one day. :-( 

      I wish products like Bitter Yuck were available here in the Philippines.  None of the pet stores I've visited carry cat stuff; they're all dog stuff.  Even vets here don't have much experience with cats because they say people seldom bring cats to them. :-(

    • profile image

      Grace 

      9 years ago

      So what happened to BamBam and Scraggy? Luckily my kitty is not so interested in wires but spraying feline "Bitter Yuck" spray did fend her off from scratching the new furniture.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 

      9 years ago

      sweet hub nice picture lot of good info

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Cats really are great companions despite their reputation for being cold and aloof.  One of my cats, Jiggy, seems to sense when I'm feeling down and curls up against me.

      Group I'm involved in?  You mean the one in the video?  I would love to be involved with the Urban Cat League, but sadly I don't live in the USA. :-(

      And tell your friends cats are people, too. ;-p  Hehe.

    • solarcaptain profile image

      mike king 

      10 years ago from california

      well there's one hub comment got away without me editing it. I see the group you are involved with, do you get any support from them? I join your fan club.

    • solarcaptain profile image

      mike king 

      10 years ago from california

      hello and thanks for your hub. I really had no idea that my kittle would grow and i would feel guilty for leaving her alone. She's a CAT! My friends woulde say. I know.

      I can tell if someone has been mean to her or if the neighbor cats have ganged up on her.She has given me much stength and courage after an accident that put me down for the last four years. My ex certainly took off at the first opportunity, and I don't hear too much from my friends and I suppose that is to be expected. But she is always here, always loving, and great company when I talk to myself.

      Thanks. I appreciate the work you do with those poor feral cats. I hope you are getting some help feeding them.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Thanks, Sally. Those videos actually made me cry the first time I saw them. :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 

      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Susan, kitties can be like real human babies. They need attention, love, and understanding. They will progress from little babies to adolescents to teenagers to mature adults. Shucks, we all do that, cat or human.

      Thanks so much for a gorgeous hub of love and understanding, and the excellent videos about socializing feral kittens.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Sweetie Pie and rmr, the terrible twos can be quite trying. My kittens still nibble on my fingers and toes in the middle of the night. I keep hoping I'll turn into Catwoman with superpowers. Haha! :D

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Thank you, Health Conscious. I do treat my kittens like real children. In some ways, cats endear me more than human babies actually. (I can hear some people reacting. Hehe. ;P)

    • Health Conscious profile image

      Health Conscious 

      10 years ago from South Florida - USA

      Your level of caring, patience and understanding for your cats is amazing.

    • rmr profile image

      rmr 

      10 years ago from Livonia, MI

      I love cat hubs! I remember the terrible twos quite well. Our cat used to pounce on anything that moved, including toes hidden under the blanket of her sleeping parents!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I love this hub because I love cats! My cat went through the terrible twos! I can very much relate.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Thanks, Amy. I love taking pictures of them, too. They're so adorable. :)

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Sweet hub! I loved the pictures too :)

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      There's a Pet Parent's Day?!? :) Oh, yey! Thanks, TwoCansMom. Happy Pet Parent's Day to you, too! :)

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      You're right about the spaying and neutering, Ruthie. But I think I'd much rather let my cats keep their claws even if they do tend to shred stuff. :) They're indoor - outdoor (supervised) and they like to climb the small trees in our backyard. :)

    • profile image

      TwoCansMom 

      10 years ago

      Susan, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Pet Parent's Day (April 27). Your kittens are very photogenic!

    • profile image

      RUTHIE17 

      10 years ago

      Nice Hub! Love kitties too! Spaying and neutering is a must in today's world unless you're planning on breeding. I know many, many people feel declawing is wrong but when you're planning on having kitty only in the house and you don't want your things shredded, it is an option to think about. There is a new lazar surgery that is much less painful and heals really quickly. This should be a personal choice with each owner to decide on their own.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Hi, topstuff. Can you please clarify your comment? I don't exactly know what you mean. :O

    • topstuff profile image

      topstuff 

      10 years ago

      All very well but donot spay or neueter your pets.Its care of your pets on my part.ok

    • topstuff profile image

      topstuff 

      10 years ago

      No interference in their lives.

    • Susan Ng profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Very true, Eileen. My kittens ARE my children. Hehe. :)

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Yes our pets become as close as our children like part of the family. And they get stressed the same as humans from being left behind on their own.

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