Is this normal first day home behavior for my kitten, or should I be concerned?
My girlfriend and I received a kitten last night from a neighbor whose cat had a litter. It's my first cat (first interactive pet), but she's had experience in the past. According to our neighbor, our kitten is a little over a month old (approximately 6 weeks), and was starting to eat dry food and learning to use the litter box.
When we received her she was crying and cried when we got her home. We comforted her and she eventually fell asleep on me. She woke up a few times and cried a bit, but went back to sleep (we let her sleep in our bed). She seems to like our fluffy, furry blanket, and has been sleeping in it all day, and cries when you move her off of it.
I'm just a bit concerned because she's been asleep all day, except for a few minutes where she woke up and let out a couple of cries and snuggled back under the covers. I've read about cats, kittens especially, needing to eat and drink often and having voracious appetites. I do understand that it's only been a day, and pretty stressful for her having changed environments and all. I just want to make sure I'm not missing any early signs of sickness or anything.
My gut is telling me that she just needs to adjust, and is missing her mom and familiar environment, as the cries don't sound like an animal in pain, and she looks healthy, with no sign of injury or infection, but I want to see what the more experienced folks might think.
UPDATE Wow, I'm overwhelmed at the amount of views and replies I've received. Thank you all, this is definitely a learning experience. I wanted to give you all an update on our kitten's status. She's been eating wet food very consistently(she has quite a little appetite now), and is warming up to us. To assist in hydration, I mixed in a bit of water with her wet food for a few days, and today I caught her actually drinking a bit from her water bowl. She's getting a bit bolder and does some exploring on her own, and she follows us around the apartment sometimes. as well. She's been having bowel movements and urinating, but she doesn't seem to be litter trained, so we're working on that by providing positive reinforcement when she has accidents, and putting her in the litter box a few times per day and helping her to scratch the litter.
She still cries(we're getting a little better at knowing whether she wants something, or is just being cranky) and sleeps a lot, but she's definitely on the right track. We took her to the vet over the weekend, and he gave her a clean bill of health, minus some ear mites, which I've been administering medicine for. She cries a bit when given medicine(as would any baby, kitten or human), but she's been mostly cooperative, and is very tolerant of handling.
I definitely think 6 weeks is too early to separate a kitten from her mother, for future reference, I think 8-10 weeks should be adequate though. She has a fluffy blanket that's been her sort of "home base", and has been suckling on it, and kneading it. She seems to be revealing more of her personality every day, so we will continue to be patient, and loving, and nurture her development and socialization.
Think about getting a second kitten. Cats are very social animals. Escpecially if nobody is at home during the day a second cat to play and cuddle would be nice.
@Linaith - You should adjust your advice to "_Think about getting a **another** kitten_" - I can't think of any problems in life that another kitten wouldn't at least make a little bit better, and even if it doesn't solve the problem you can just keep adding _another_ kitten until it does. :)
I got my cat Pizo at 6 weeks, she also went through a mourning period and started to suck the end of her tail for comfort. She is now 12 years old and still does it.
I am very pleased to hear that your kitten is doing well in your update. I am glad we have all been of help and that a vet has given you a clean bill of health. As you have found young kittens can be a big commitment but you do get to see them develop. It sounds like she is well socialised to you too, which should help her be a friendly cat when she grows up. Good luck and all the best for 2019.
This seems pretty standard for a kitten that was separated from her mother and siblings maybe a bit too young. 6 weeks old used to be the standard age to send kittens to new homes, and it won't hurt your kitten long-term, but it can produce this sort of mourning period. These days, 8 weeks old is the recommended age for re-homing, after they are independently on solid food and independently using a litter box.
Obviously, there's nothing you can do about it now, and you didn't know beforehand, so there's no use in worrying about an early separation. Instead, watch the kitten closely and be as hands-on as possible. Snuggling and petting will help her adjust to you. You can put hot water in an old soda-pop bottle (or any other container) and wrap it in a towel for her to snuggle with.
Make sure that the food you're offering her is the same as the food that she was getting before, and make sure that it's very close by to the nest she has made with the blanket. You might also try hand feeding her a few bites to pique her interest.
See if you can get her to drink a little water. You might even dip your finger in water and then gently put it in her mouth a few times.
Make sure that she is using the litterbox. If you think she hasn't peed or pooped in the last 24 hours, you should stimulate her by gently rubbing a damp, warm washcloth over her abdomen. Her mother used to do this with her tongue when the kittens were younger, and although a 6-week-old should be able to do her business by herself, she might be having some difficulty.
If more than 48 hours pass without her eating, drinking, or passing waste, take her to the vet right away. But it will likely not get to that.
Best of luck!
*Offer her the same as the food that she was getting before.* That would be breast milk. I've never had a kitten but I'd say you need some **wet food**, stat.
Yes, wet cat food is best. And give her a lot of love. Even just calming words and she'll return it in spades as she gets older. Awww so cute, and I wish she didnt have to go through that mourning period so quickly.
Actually, the recommended age these days for separating kittens is 12 weeks. Recent experience has shown that some social behavior is still acquired from the mother after 8 weeks. Though it usually doesn't cause major issues, but might make some socialization with other cats a bit challenging at first.
"hot water" -> "warm water" -- you don't want a leak to scald the kitten (or you).
As below in my answers, I **strongly** support what @StigTore wrote. This kitten has been seperated from her mother too early, and there will be consequences. It's possible to raise a kitten, my stepmother did so with a kitten that lost its mother at about the same age of this one, but it requires a lot of time and dedication and is definitely not for someone who never had a cat before.
If she's not eating well, you don't have to take her to a vet - just bring her back to her mother, at the neighbour's down the street! Her mom should still recognize & help her, it's only been two days, and mother cats don't charge as much as a vet does
When my family got a cat around 25 years old, the recommended age was already ten weeks. Nowadays it's 12 to 14 weeks. Eight weeks is definitely not old enough, never mind six.