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The Kitten Chronicles: Cute to Crazy in .2 Seconds
This is a story about the good, bad, and ugly of owning a new kitten: our trials, and our joy, and everything we have learned so far. Plus some cute kitty pictures to boot!
My boyfriend and I picked up Oliver from a friend in June of this year. The first night I spend with him, he gave us the impression of being a perfect cat. He curled up on my chest and slept soundly through the whole night and I thought I had scored the kitten jackpot. Well that didn't last long; since that blissful night he has grown in to quite the beast. Oh he is still adorable, however, as the title suggests, he can flip a switch from being a fuzzy bundle of love to a psycho bundle of crazy. So here is everything I have figured out on this adventure.
Everyone knows the biggest nightmare associated with male cats is urination. I have been extremely lucky in that respect because Oliver came to us strictly potty trained and has thus far remained that way. This is not to say that his waste products have never made their way out of the litter box (I'll talk about that in The Bad section..), just that he has never done his business anywhere else.
He is also a very friendly cat. Everyone has heard of the cat that runs and hides any time you have company, or the cat that will disappear for hours on end and only come around when it's time to eat. Well Oliver is not that cat. He is always waiting to greet me when I come home, and he curls around the legs of anyone that comes over. Plus he is just plain cute!
So with all that cuteness, how could you possible get mad at him? Well he makes it pretty easy at times. Some of his favorite tricks are chewing and a knack for getting into places he shouldn't. To date, he has chewed my favorite bra, a shirt, at least 2 pairs of my underwear and 1 of my boyfriends, a pair of shorts, my new jacket, a pair of tennis shoes, and my favorite sweater. And that is just the clothes. This is the most destructive behavior that he has exhibited, and one we haven't been able to break him of yet, however, after reading this article by alexadry I have some new techniques I'm going to try with him.
Probably the most disgusting trick he pulls is playing with his own poop. Yeah. Gross. He gets in his litter box, and digs up a buried nugget, and bats it around the floor. We were able to fix this problem with a combination of discouragement (rub his nose in it) and adding a lid to his litter box. Cleaning the box more regularly helps too, but I won't deny that at times laziness takes me and I'm not as prompt as I should be.
His curiosity for the great unknown has been mostly conquered by a $1 pack of squirt guns. It took a few times for him to figure out what was going on, but now he recognizes them on sight and immediately stops in his tracks.
Oliver is only about 8 months old, so we are only on the beginning of our journey. There are a few things I have picked up so far so here's some kitten tips:
- Buy squirt guns! They are very cheap, and (if they are similar to the one's we have) have excellent range and accuracy, allowing you to correct your little guys behavior from across the room. They have been by far the best training tool we have found.
- Play with him(her)! I find that nights are much more peaceful when I spend the day keeping the little guy entertained with a string or laser pointer. This can be challenging if you work all day, but this can be helped by giving them a window perch, or maybe investing in a auto-laser pointer toy (here). I haven't tried one of these but given how much he loves chasing a regular laser pointer, I bet he would enjoy it.
- Sour spray (like bitter lemon) can be helpful at dissuading scratching on the couch, plus it has a pleasant lemon scent. Oliver has proven to be more of a chewer than a scratch-er though so I can't promise that it will work on more serious cases.
That's all I can think of so far. Kittens are an experience though, so as I learn more, I will update you all with my 'wisdom'. And now for more cute kitty pictures!