Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have a male Bombay kitten that I’m crazy over. I spoil him rotten. I get worried when I’m not home, as I am always with him. He is 7 weeks old now. How can I assure he doesn’t freak out when I go to my doctor appointments and leave him alone? He already has a huge cat tower and toys.
Siouxsie: Well, Maria, it depends a lot on how long you’re away from home.
Thomas: If you’re away for a few hours at a time, or even most of the day, many cats will be all right because we do spend quite a bit of time sleeping.
Bella: That said, at 7 weeks old, he’s not even old enough to be fully weaned yet.
Siouxsie: If he was a bottle baby (orphaned by his mother or something like that), he’s always going to be very attached to people — and particularly you, if you’re the one who nursed him from infancy.
Thomas: Most of the time, we recommend that especially if you’re going to get a kitten, you get two of them so they can keep one another entertained. So if you’ve got room in your home and your budget, you may want to adopt another kitten about the same age so he has a playmate.
Bella: I love chasing my kitty roommates all around the house!
Siouxsie: I know you do, and I hate it when you chase me. *grumble*
Thomas: I tolerate it, but sometimes I wish you’d spend more time snuggling with me and less time ambushing me, Bella.
Bella: *sniffle* But I just want to have some fun!
Siouxsie: Anyway, Maria, we’re not sure how confident and outgoing your little guy is, but if he’s not freaked out by unexpected noises and the like, you could get him some toys that will move around on their own as he bats them.
Thomas: You can also get puzzle feeders and toys which release small amounts of food when operated correctly. Toys like this can challenge your cat’s intelligence and provide him something fun to play with when you’re away.
Siouxsie: And you can find some tips to build a DIY cat puzzle toys over at Hauspanther (they’ve got some really nice stuff for cats, including my favorite bed, too, so be sure to visit the shop while you’re over there).
Thomas: You can also rotate his toys by putting some away and leaving others out, and then in a week or so, put away the toys that are out and bring out some that are stored away. This provides some changes in routine that your cat might enjoy.
Bella: A window perch can be really nice, too. Mama put one of these in our window at our old apartment, and I spent a lot of time there.
Siouxsie: If you get a perch like the one in this photo, you can move it around to various windows and provide more environmental stimulation, too.
Thomas: So, there are lots of things you can do to keep your cat entertained while you’re away, even if you can’t get another kitty.
Bella: If you are going to get a new cat, be sure to do a proper introduction to make sure things go well between the two of them. When Mama brings new cats home, she uses this technique she learned from cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett. Works every time!
Siouxsie: What about you other readers? Do you have any tips for Maria on how to keep her kitten from getting lonely or bored, or developing separation anxiety? Please share them in the comments.