If this is your first time – Billy’s story starts here: Billy’s Blog
Today, at last, the waiting was over, and we brought our new 8 week old kitten Billy, home to live with us.
I woke up early, as excited as a five year old on Christmas Day, and we collected Billy mid-morning.
He still seemed so very small!
Being put into a pet carrier and taken for a car ride by a complete stranger, is a pretty scary experience for any cat, never mind an eight week old kitten.
But it was only a short drive and Billy took it in his stride. And didn’t make a sound.
When we arrived home, we placed Billy’s carrier on my office floor and opened the door.
He looked a little worried, and sat in the entrance of the crate for a while, watching us with a serious expression on his face.
Getting our kitten to leave the travel crate
After ten minutes or so, I opened a tin of kitten food and dipped my finger into it.
Billy happily licked the food from my finger, purring loudly, and soon followed my hand out of the crate and into his new world.
Carefully, very carefully, the little ginger kitten made his way around the edges of my small office sniffing and examining as he went.
He looked at each of the toys we had bought for him in turn, and investigated the fern in the fireplace, patting the leaves gently with his paws.
Lucy and I watched enchanted for a while, then I went to fetch us a cup of coffee.
Billy makes himself at home
I returned a few minutes later to the sounds of much scampering. Billy had decided that this was a safe place and was bounding backwards and forwards across the room, playing with toys and computer cables with equal enthusiasm!
I picked him up and cuddled him for a moment and his ‘engine’ immediately kicked in.
This kitten has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard from such a tiny scrap! He has clearly been well socialised, is unafraid of people, and is used to being carried and stroked.
So much for my worries about ‘feral behavior’ and kitten taming!
The kitten ignores loud noises
One thing that was beginning to worry us though, even in this first hour or so, was Billy’s apparent lack of reaction to any of the noises going on around him.
He didn’t jump when doors were open or closed, and didn’t seem to notice any of the sounds that we made.
I fetched a dish with a teaspoon of kitten food in it and made some ‘kissy noises’ to attract his attention.
My intention is to teach Billy to associate food with my whistle so I was aiming to whistle gently as soon as he noticed the food.
But while it was easy to get Billy’s attention visually, we couldn’t seem to get any reaction to any of the noises we made. So we started trying a bit harder.
Can our kitten hear?
We rattled some keys when he wasn’t looking. Scrumpled and tore some paper behind him. Nothing.
We found a metal dog bowl, put some coins in it, and shook it. Nothing.
Beginning to worry, I clapped my hands. Nothing. I clapped them again, much louder. Not the tiniest twitch of an ear.
Could Billy be deaf?
Worn out with all the fun and oblivious to the concerns that were building around him, Billy fell sound asleep on Lucy’s lap.
It’s a long time since I had had a kitten, and I wasn’t sure if the lack of reaction we were seeing to sounds, were abnormal or just Billy being Billy.
We concluded that it is entirely possible at this stage, that Billy is just a very chilled and un-reactive cat. Perhaps he is used to a great deal of background noise and doesn’t see any of the sounds we have made around him as relevant.
But we do need to recognise that so far, Billy is showing no signs of being able to hear.
Later that morning, my husband called in to say hello and welcome to Billy. He too noticed a lack of response to sound in our new kitten.
A confident kitten
We took Billy into the kitchen with us while we had lunch, then back to the office afterwards. This time we left the door open, and Billy slipped through the baby gate to explore the hall and the first few steps of the stair case.
Everywhere he went, his tail was held high and Billy spent much of the afternoon chasing small balls up and down the hallway.
He took a short nap in a basket, then it was off for a quick visit to the litter tray, and more ball chasing.
He is certainly a confident little kitten
When my son came home that evening, he thought he could see signs of Billy responding to sound, which was heartening.
Cable chewing kitten!
Billy seems very keen on chewing the cables in my office and I was concerned about leaving him loose in there overnight unsupervised.
So we decided that it would be safest for him to sleep in the travel crate.
I’d expect a puppy to chew cables, but I hadn’t really considered this to be a kitten thing.
Tomorrow we are going to get some ‘trunking’ to run the cables through.
Billy the kitten’s first meals
We managed to fit three tiny meals in before 7pm and I decided not to feed Billy again until morning to give him the best chance of being clean and dry in the crate overnight.
Each meal has been very tiny in order not to upset Billy’s tummy.
Baby animals are often stressed at being removed from their birth home and stress can lead to tummy upsets. Adding loads of new food into the equation makes things worse, so it’s usually better to start off gently and increase gradually
I reckon he won’t starve by being on short rations for a day or two.
What are we feeding our 8 week old kitten?
I am giving Billy a complete wet kitten food called ‘Thrive’. It comes in tiny 75gram cans.
By the end of the day he had only had part of a single can. I imagine that once we are on full rations, he’ll get through two or three cans a day.
On top of the wet food I sprinkled a few pieces (5 or 6) of Royal Canin kitten food – this is a complete food too, only dry.
I’d like Billy to be happy to eat either dry or wet food, and as both are ‘complete’ it’s okay to mix them.
Billy’s first evening
Billy climbed up next to me while I ate my supper and fell fast asleep on the kitchen bench on a small rug I had put there for the purpose.
After supper, I scooped up the rug with the kitten inside, and took him with me to the living room. He slept most of the evening on the couch, while we watched TV .
We are all so smitten by this tiny little ball of fur. Such a big day for him, and everything taken in his stride.
Tomorrow there will be dogs to meet and much more. But for now, the day was coming to an end.
I popped Billy into his crate at 10pm and shut the door, turned out the light in my office. Would Billy cry? Would he be upset in the crate. I really hoped he would just relax and sleep
We went up to bed, thinking about him, and wondering what the small hours would bring.
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