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Cats/Feline behaviour



I got a lovely Burmese boy kitten from a breeder, which at the time of my kitten growing up had another 17(!) kittens in the same household. In addition there were about 4 adult female cats. I went to visit the breeder whilst the kitten was approaching his 13 weeks before I could bring him home. I wasn't too keen on the fact that he grew up with so many other cats but at that point I had put down a deposit and, more importantly,  fallen in love with my kitten. The breeder did tell me that the kittens were looked after by not only their own mother but sometimes other feline mothers as well. Long after I picked my kitten up I also found out that the breeder had let the mother of my kitten go as she was getting bullied (unless she had a litter) by the other feline female adult cats. My question is whether my kitten's adult behaviour is influenced by the fact that he grew up in a busy multi cat household? My cat grew up to be extremely hyper active. He lived for the outside and would get very upset and stressed if he couldn't go outside to play. I wouldn't say he was a typical Burmese (of what I have read about the breed)...He was affectionate but not much more so than my moggie. I guess I'm curious to know whether male Burmese are, in general very hyperactive and /or how much of their future development and characteristics are influenced by their first early months.  Of what I have read about the breed they are suppose to be super affectionate and follow their people. He was friendly to everyone but he really just lived for the outside. I'm wondering if he may not have been socialised properly due to the multicat household he grew up in or if it was just his personality?  I'm wondering as im thinking of getting another Burmese boy but not sure if the breed suits me and the way we live. I really like the breed and my cat was adorable but he was very hyper and I just could not let him be an indoor cat only as that would make him very sad. I'm looking for an affectionate ("in your face cat") and thought Burmese was the perfect breed for me.

ANSWER: Helen,

It is difficult to take outside cats or cats that have allowed outside and make them into an indoors only cat.  However, with persistence and patience, it can be done.

Yes, he does not seem to exhibit typical Burmese behavior.  Also, I would bet with the number of cats to take care of the breeder probably did not have time to properly socialize the kitty.  

In time, especially after your boy is neutered, he should calm down, and become a better pet.

Best regards... Norm.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thanks for that. I was thinking perhaps you could shed a bit more light  about the (male) burmese, as a breed and how a multicat household can   influence the development of a kitten. I have heard from other experts that seeking companionship with other feline adults, is normally a good thing and part of the socialising and it's as much about cat to cat as it is cat to human! Im therefore a bit confused whether a multi cat household is a good or a bad influence on kittens development. Thanks


In a multi-cat household, if they have too many cats & kittens, the kittens are usually not getting the individual attention they need to get socialized.  Also, it is hard to know where they were in the pecking order amongst all these cats.  

Given that and the individual differences amongst kittens in the same litter, it is not hard to imagine that the normal Burmese breed traits could get overridden by circumstances in the household.

That being said, multi-cat households are fine if the number of cats is reasonable (i.e. no colonies larger than 3 or 4 cats).

We isolate our litters until they are about 13 weeks of age. During this time, they see only people. Also, they have had all their shots and their immune systems are just about developed. In addition, they and learn to play with cat teases of various types. Now, the litter is put into a colony of adults to learn how to get on with other cats. We do not sell our kittens until they are about 16 weeks of age.

So, although the experts you listened to are correct, as far as they have gone, the number of cats can be a problem.

In households with too many cats, contagious medical issues are problematic because all the cats must be treated (which can be very expensive). Also, the stress of very high numbers of cats does impact the immune systems of all the cats which creates more medical issues. I believe you get the drift.

I am sorry I was so long getting back to you and I hope this helps explain what may have happened to affect your cat.

Best regards... Norm.


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Norman Auspitz


I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.


I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.

Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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