Monday, May 19, 2008

Rebel Fredo

Fredo, orange tabby male kitten, is sitting on my lap. He's the biter I've written about before. To help him out of that, I spend more time with him apart from his brothers and sisters.

All of them have quit scratching me, and are substantially more relaxed when I pick them up than before. Fredo will often purr whenever I hold him. He will bite, but it isn't a fearful vicious bite like when he was a couple of weeks younger. It is a gentle holding bite instead. The kittens have quit playing rough with each other, too. They will tumble and wrestle, but the claws stay in and the bites aren't strong. All signs of well socialized kittens.

Having so many kittens caused Dennis and me to consider giving them away as soon as possible. I changed my mind when I kept reading how kittens become more secure and stable and ready to bond when they are at least 12 weeks old. The kits are now in their 12th week and I see the difference. They are ready now to be companions for humans because they've learned how to be friends with each other.

Fredo will stay with us a little longer, I think, to get over some of his insecurity and begin to trust.

We once had a kitten that turned out to be really insecure her whole life. She attacked our friends with bites and scratches. She never acted that way with us, but she really had a tough time bonding with us. We adopted her from the pound, she was my birthday present, but she turned out to be Dennis' cat more than mine. She was six weeks old at the time and full of fleas. This was before modern once a month flea treatments, so I had to flea dip her and give her a lot of baths. I thought her hysterics were common among felines until last year when during my visit, my sister and brother-in-law found a stray kitten, about 12 weeks old and gave him a bath. He was fine with it, didn't cry or carry on like he was about to drown. He trusted that we weren't out to kill him.

It's the same with my litter of kittens and clipping their claws. Three of them had their first clip at the vet office, but the other three didn't have their clipped. It showed a few weeks later when Dennis and I attempted to do it on all six. The three who had it done to them before had no problems, even Crema who carried on like she was dying at the vet office. She was ready for a manicure again, and went through the procedure like she was at a nail salon. This was unimaginable behavior for our first cat who could never relax no matter how many times she had her claws clipped.

Fredo might turn out a little like her, but I'm hoping not. When they were a few weeks old, I watched their mother carry them one by one from one room to another. When she went to grab Fredo by the scruff, he cried and fought back at her, clawing at her face. She pushed him down and carried him almost all the way and accidentally dropped him. Maybe she dropped him once too many before. But then, if he'd just relax, less dropping would occur.

But now he's playing on my lap, trying to type on the keyboard, purring loudly. I think Fredo will be alright.

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