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Single Kitten Syndrome – yoo haz it?

Crazy Kitteh

Crazy Kitteh

Kittens are like hyper-wound balls of energy, and work off their energy best when having another animal to play with. Two kittens around the same age do well together because they are both at the same stage of development, and both want to POUNCE and TUSSLE and ROLL and RACE AROUND.

In the absence of a second kitten, one kitten will turn their attentions either to another animal in the house – and hopefully that animal will enjoy the activity – OR in the absence of a responsive animal, will turn their attentions to their people and surroundings.

When I was 8 I begged and begged my parents for this one fabulous kitten… they relented, and I had my first Maine Coon, wow! He was an awesome cat and lived for 24 years, BUT his kittenhood in a home with no other kittens to wrestle with and pounce on was a HOLY TERROR!

He would race down the hall, up one side of the living room drapes, tear across to the other side, then slide down with his claws SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEing through the drape material. Then it was off for a bounce and a flying squirrel leap onto the wall, with a slow slide through the wallpaper with the claws. Then three sideways leaps and a POUNCE and CHOMP on whatever ankle happened to be walking past. You get the idea.

We found out later from our vet that he was suffering from “single kitten syndrome” – he needed to work out his kitten energies on a member of his own species rather than on anyone stumbling to the bathroom at 2:00 a.m. Just something to consider, and maybe talk it over with your vet.

Can’t help it, you only get to have one kitten? You can help simulate a kitten buddy by putting a plush toy on the end of a sturdy stick, and using it to “wrestle” with your kitten. Another plush toy in kitty’s favorite sleeping spot can substitute for a cuddle buddy. Finally, playing with wand-style toys encourages your kitten to run and leap and work off some of that endless kitten energy.

One important tip: do NOT use a hand or foot to wrestle with your kitten. Sure, it’s adorable when your little 2-pound fluff-ball is ferociously attacking your fist – everyone laughs! Fast forward a couple of years, and you now have a beefy 16-pound kitty, who learned that attacking your body parts is both fun and acceptable. Not laughing now, are you? Ow.

Here is some additional information from PAWS Chicago; they feel more strongly about the issue than we at Forget Me Not do, and we trust you to decide what is best for you and your family.