Cat owners – I need your help

Hi all.

We recently got a kitten. He’s bloody adorable, called Ralph, purebreed Ragdoll. c. 24 weeks old now so becoming more cat than kitten. Lovely.

He’s also a total arsehole. Grabs your feet when you walk past, claws at you when you’re sat down, bites your hands and legs, and oddly Emma’s face quite a lot.

How much of this is normal kitten behaviour, and what should we be doing about it? We’ve been keeping him out of our bedroom at night as it became obvious straight away that wasn’t going to work when he was trying to bite Emma’s face. We’ve also just been shutting him out of the room when he’s naughty, which often ends up being most of the time. I assume he’s then playing up more because he’s stressed, but we don’t know how to deal with him. Read online that you’re supposed to just ignore them when they’re being a prick, but that really didn’t work either.

Emma’s mum’s cat’s a total dick – really violent, her nieces are both terrified of her (as am I), and we don’t want Ralph to end up the same. I’ve had cats before who were absolutely fine, really docile. Ragdolls are apparently supposed to be super docile, but I assume any sort of kitten is going to be a bit of a dick. Just worried he’s…too much of a dick?

Sorry for lengthy post. Questions are:

Is this normal and something he’ll grow out of?
Should we be doing something entirely different to deal with it?
Are we the arseholes?

Thanks.

Heard about single kitten syndrome before, happens if the kitten wasn’t properly socialised before being adopted. Google about a bit, but maybe the answer is more kittens.

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I don’t think more kittens is a possibility for us, but we picked him up at 16 weeks from a home with many siblings.

Sounds like fairly normal kitten stuff tbh, clawing at hands/feet is mostly a way of trying to get your attention when he fancies a play. Try and wear him out as much as possible for now with toys (when we had a kitten having him chase a bit of string up and down the stairs did the trick), he’ll grow out of it but it might take a while.

Shutting him away if he’s bad will give you some respite but cats don’t really respond to either positive or negative reinforcement so it won’t really do anything to solve the problem.

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The biting & clawing is normal kitten behavior up until around 18-20 weeks but at 24 weeks that’s a bit extreme but not unprecedented

The getting stressed at closed doors thing is entirely normal though

Seems like it’s understimulated and wants to play, also maybe not learnt any boundaries

What age was the kitten when it left the mother/pack?

The other thing is the food. Still on high energy kitten food or on junior/adult stuff? Make sure the feed is hormone-free, ideally cereal-free too

You should be able to improve things but some cats are just dicks I’m afraid

It isn’t behaviour we’ve encountered with kittens (we’ve had plenty), but our cats have always been rescue/mogs.

As above, taking cats in pairs is virtually always a good idea in terms of behaviour (and integration with other cats, which doesn’t apply here).

Probably worth finding a resource for ragdoll cats as it may be a thing?

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Some cats are sort of dicks, sadly. I think playing a lot will help, as mentioned. Maybe try some of those motorised toys that keep them occupied on their own.

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I saw something on instagram recently (so take with a pinch of salt) saying that if your kitten is biting/scratching, growling at it like a mother cat would will discourage it

I reckon shutting him out of the room in daytime for being a nuisance might end up being counterproductive, because any time he’s not around you is time that he’s not being socialised, but I don’t have much kitten knowledge to back that up

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image

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cotton (our first cat) was the biggest dickhead on earth until we got him a catflap. then he was chill as hell, so much so that we got a second cat and he was totally fine with it.

so my q is, is your cat able to get outside?

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the only way we ever trained our cats to not do anything was the old water spray bottle. Not sure if you have to wait until they’re a bit more grown up for that though

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On shutting him away - our girls is a well behaved almost two year old and she freaks out and gets destructive if shut in somewhere. Not as bad if being excluded from the room the people are in, but she definitely claws at the carpet outside the door. Dunno if it’s a general rule but it’d be a punishment for us if we did that much.

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oh and get a cat tower/scratching post if you don’t already

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Fig was utterly horrible as a kitten though was never a biter. He took a long time to chill out tbqh (as in a few months ago, he’s almost 3). Sounds like your cat is establishing the alpha maybe and is going for that role themselves. I got those feliway plug ins when he was a kitten to see if they calmed him down and i do think it helped a bit but ultimately i think he was missing other cats so once he was allowed outside to make pals that helped a lot.

If he’s bad i immediately put him on the floor as he loves being on my lap, or outside. But not sure what else to do. Although i do sometimes spray water on him which i dont think made his overall behaviour better but he knows I’m the alpha and is nice to me.

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Our cat is a real arsehole when it comes to doors

So many times when it was younger it would cry & scratch at a closed door, then you’d open the door & it would go into the other room, then push the door closed & then cry & scratch from the other side to come out

Turns out cats don’t want doors to be open or to be closed, they simply want doors not to exist

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Unfortunately not. It wouldn’t work with our house anyway, but apparently ragdolls have to be indoor cats. Not entirely sure if that’s a ‘they’re not prepared for the outside world’ or ‘someone will steal him’, but that’s what we’ve been told.

Yeah I need to stop closing doors. He’s always got plenty of space as he’s just shut out of a particular room (although always the study as we need to sort it out for wires, general danger), but I can see how being shut off from us probably just pisses him off.

It’s just super stressful when you’re taking 5 minutes to relax and some prick’s clawing at your feet. Probably doesn’t help that we got him at a time when we were both really down as a means to cheer us up, so we’ve not been in the best place to put up with kitten shit. Think we need to put more effort in.

i’d query this a bit i reckon. a lot in fact.

just read a thing saying they ‘don’t have great’ outdoor skills. I… don’t reckon either of my cats are bear grylls, and Candy is a purebreed Siberian so she’s extremely stealable.

i think the idea that a cat cannot go outdoors is possibly a bit hilarious even. surely. surely

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cats don’t really respond to negative reinforcement that well in my experience. how long do you spend playing with him every day? have you got a selection of different sorts of toys to try out - laser pointers and those bird wands work for Bones. is he going outdoors at all? try to completely ignore the bad behavior as much as possible - when you do respond, do it by either shutting him away from what you’re doing, leaving the room, and also I’ve found…hissing works.

if he looks relaxed and is exhibiting this sort of behavior, big chances are he’s just playing and needs redirecting to the appropriate play things. if he’s visibly aggressive, (tail down between his legs, hissing etc) then that’s different and I’d probably get him checked over by a vet.

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I dont know but i think all cats need to go outside and the only reason for not letting them is down to humans (theft, bringing in too many kills). Absolutely not an expert and its ultimately your choice but I’d look into the reasons why more as no matter how we’ve bred them and domesticated them its still a very strong instinct and desire to experience the outdoors. You could put them on a lead if you didnt want to send them out alone.

You’re definitely advised not to let them just go out roaming AFAIK but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get some outdoor time also.

TBH how @Mistersteve’s cat is behaving vs what is said of ragdolls makes me first wonder if this is actually a ragdoll? I assume the breeder was all above board?