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kitten keeps biting

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by clownfrog, Jan 27, 2021.


  1. clownfrog

    clownfrog PetForums Newbie

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    my kitting keeps on biting me and my family, sometimes its because she wants to play, sometimes we will be stroking her and she will be purring and then she will just bite us, most of the time its because we have stopped her from doing something, i.e. chewing cables that she got out the drawer, or trying to eat our food.

    im not sure what im suppose to do, ive tried distracting her with toys but she now things that's how to get me to play with her.

    i have read about squirting them with water but it feels a bit cruel?

    what should i do to stop her biting
     
  2. HazzaGrazza

    HazzaGrazza PetForums Junior

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    My kitten is 6 months, she was the same up until a month ago, but has got alot better.

    The main thing we've changed is playing with her more, mainly with a fishing rod type toy at least 4 times a day, as well as buy her some stuffed "kicker" toys. Anytime she diverts her attention to my arm or hand, I give her the kicker toy to bite instead. It's worked very well.

    She still bites occasionally, but never hard. Sometimes it's just her way of saying "I'm not in the mood to be petted"

    I'd wouldnt recommend a spray bottle or shouting. I do tell her "no" in a firm voice though".
     
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  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Definitely don't squirt her with water, it is a very bad idea! It will either make her frightened of you and damage your relationship with her, or she will think you're playing a game with her. Either way she will make no connection at all between her biting you, or biting cables, and her being sprayed with water.

    Starting with the biting --- when you or other family members are stroking her. Two things - firstly you're probably causing her to get a small shock of static electricity when you stroke her and it will frighten and hurt her, so she hurts you back.

    Second thing is kittens can easily get over stimulated and over excited by being stroked too much and so to stop the feeling they may bite the person who is stroking them, to give them a signal to stop immediately.

    My advice is to stop stroking her anywhere on her body. IME some kittens do not like it. Instead, BUT only if she comes to you for a stroke, gently stroke the top of her head and perhaps her neck a couple of times and leave it at that. Just one person at a time to do this, otherwise you will be overdoing it and making her over stimulated. So be sparing with the strokes.

    Chewing cables - protect the cables from her so she can't chew them. Wrap them in kitchen foil, or protecting zip-up covers. If she can get cables out of the drawer then they are evidently not safe from her, so put them somewhere else e.g. top shelf in a cupboard where they will be safe from her. Or put them in a thick zipped bag she can't open.

    Stealing your food - serve a nice wet tasty meal to her just before you sit down to eat your meal. If you can, feed her in a separate room to where you eat and close the door.

    As for biting because she wants to play, she is telling she needs more play time so you will need to increase the amount of play until she is tired and wants to sleep or rest. Use the fishing rod toys to get her leaping around and using up energy. Also get her chasing toys such as ping pong balls. Buy her a couple of play tunnels and fix them together to make a long tunnel. Then throw toy mice and ping pong balls in to the tunnel for her.

    If you have stairs in your home play with her on the stairs, with you at the bottom and throwing balls up the stairs for her to chase. All my cats have loved this game when they were kittens and 2 of them as adult cats still love it. It is very good exercise for them, but not too onerous for you.

    If she is an only kitten, be prepared to allocate 4 hours of play a day to keep her entertained. It may sound a lot, but she won't be this age for long, so I would make the most of it. :)
     
    #3 chillminx, Jan 27, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
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  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    p..s when she bites you can give a quick high pitched squeal to show she has hurt you. This is what her litter mates would have done, and this is how kittens learn 'bite inhibition' from their litter mates.

    If your kitten was her mum's only kitten, or she was taken from her mum too young (i.e. younger than 10 weeks minimum) then she has missed out on an essential part of her socialisation and that is why she bites you.
     
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  5. loraonya

    loraonya PetForums Junior

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    is he teething maybe?
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Most kittens have all their adult teeth by the age of 6 months...
     
  7. Alimo

    Alimo PetForums Newbie

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    What would you recommend for a cat who gets plenty of playtime but would still rather bite and attack you than the toy your holding? He is 18weeks, has tunnels, boxes, ping pong balls you name it. He is played with first thing in the morning, lunchtime, after work and before bed. Firm no's, high pitched squeals, redirection make no difference. He will just go for you again.
     
  8. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Unfortunately I think the biting has become a habit -- a way of the kitten expressing his frustration, or need for more attention. Kittens acquire these kind of habits when they find something that actually works for them, when they want your attention.. It is going to take time and a lot of patience to retrain him. and it's very possible he will grow out of most of it as he gets to the age of 8 or 9 months say.

    As squealing doesn't have any effect , then the best thing of all to stop the biting would be to ignore it. If kitty finds it doesn't work, he will stop doing it. But I understand this is hard to do if he is hurting you.

    I recommend that for the moment when you play with him, put on a pair of thorn-proof gardening gloves, the type with the long cuff. They are cheap to buy in Wilko or on Amazon. I had to do this when I was fostering some very bitey kittens whose mother had abandoned them.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gardening-Gloves-Women-Men-Protection/dp/B07QNWFZRN/ref=sr_1_8?crid=2L8YZOIUBVHCH&dchild=1&keywords=thorn+proof+gardening+gloves+women&qid=1612031755&sprefix=thorn+proof+gardening+gloves+,aps,152&sr=8-8

    Do not go barefoot in the house, wear thick socks and slippers so he can't hurt your feet. Then you will find it easier to ignore him if he tries to bites you. By "ignore" I mean just get up and walk away for a few minutes. With your skin protected you will find it easier not to react.

    If he bites you when you're holding one of his toys, you're holding the toy too long. Quickly throw the toy towards him. You can learn to recognise from his body language, when he is getting ready to jump at you and bite you.

    You mention he is played with 4 times a day --- how long for each time? An hour a time would be a reasonable time. Any less than 40 minutes a time is not long enough and he is likely to feel frustrated. Play with him every time until he is tired and wants to stop.

    Probably best to avoid wand toys for now as they will bring him too near to your hands. Instead use the fishing rod teaser toys such as this one:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/FYNIGO-Feather-Interactive-Retractable-Refills/dp/B07F44YH6T/ref=sr_1_8?crid=3NNH5QGQYA8PT&dchild=1&keywords=fishing+rod+toys+for+cats&qid=1612031361&sprefix=fishing+rod+toys+,aps,148&sr=8-8

    Tunnels are fun! Do you always play with him using the tunnels? Kittens are not great at entertaining themselves. That is why having 2 kittens from the same litter (or of the same age) works well.
     
  9. Alimo

    Alimo PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for responding. On weekdays we play with him from 7-8.30am, an hour at lunch, then after work whilst making dinner and then after dinner until he settles down around 7.30pm and then i always wake him at least an hour before we go to bed, he plays by himself in between these times. Weekends are different as he goes nonstop from 8.30amish to 2pm then just potters around for the rest of the day window watching.

    We have a wand toy, we have the one below but he will play with it properly for a few mins and then drop it and go for our hands.
    https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/pets-at-home-marabou-cat-teaser-green

    I think you may be right about the habit thing as im allergic to his nails so everytime he bites/scratches I react pretty quickly rather than being able to ignore him. Attention is attention i guess.. although most of the time im already giving him attention waving a wand around or throwing a ball so i dont quite get it.

    I hope he grows out of it as he's such a friendly boy when not in play mode! Another kitten isnt feasible atm.
     
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  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Alimo - the stick on your Teaser toy is too short, and it's bringing the kitten too close to your hands. Instead use one of the fishing rod toys, like the one I linked above. He will be kept well away from your hands then.

    Popping on the long cuffed gardening gloves when you play with him will protect your hands from scratches as well as bites. So much is about taking evasive action when they are at this age.
     
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