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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Training help for new kitten mom

Hi I'm a new fur mom from PA. My Marceline is a 3 month old purebred Russian blue (Scandinavian type- not the American type that has Siamese blood lines) I sighted her parents and their papers but the breeder did not register the litter as she breeds kittens for people with allergies and not show cats. She has all the features of the breed and their loyalty but her temperament is the opposite of her breed and is just nasty in general. She bites hisses scratches and I have tried everything to discourage her behavior - timeouts, tapping her with a dominance item, squirting her with a spray bottle- and nothing works. She's so smart that she do it more when I'm trying to train her and will resort to doing it slowly and showing no reaction to any discipline. Any training help or advice would be much appreciated! I love my meany but my legs and forearms can't take much more.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 10:01 PM
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Stop the punishment, it doesn't work with cats and just stresses them out more. Cats aren't dogs, they don't have a pack mentality and don't respond to dominance. It sounds like the breeder didn't socialize her much.
What is going on when she hisses? What, exactly, are you doing at those times?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 10:17 PM
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She is a baby still and hopefully you JUST got her as she should technically be with her mommy and siblings until 12-14 weeks.

As a baby she needs you to be the sibling or mommy. Mommy cats do not swat, spray, etc their kittens. When a kitten misbehaves or is too rough, momma walks away. Baby doesn't like it and soon learns not to do whatever caused mama to leave. If baby is playing rough with your shouldn't be playing with her with your hands....use a wand toy. If baby is rough with your legs or feet, will learn.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 12:25 AM
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Oh man...all those things you were doing to 'discipline' her are the reason she's 'hissing and growling' etc.

At her age she's a baby, like the other posters said. And she's new to your home. That biting and clawing probably started as play invitations - the only way she knew to initiate play. Now she's hissing and growling because she doesn't understand the way you're reacting to her trying to get you to play.

Completely stop the spraying, scruffing, etc and offer her a toy when she pounces you. A trade - don't bite me, bite THIS.

I have no idea what a 'dominance item' might be, and I guarantee you neither does she. For starters, even in species where social hierarchies matter (which solitary cars are not one of, to be clear) babies are exempt from the structure until sexual maturity. So she has absolutely no idea what you're doing, other than scaring her, by tapping her with.. whatever the thing is.

The good news is that if you switch to more positive methods she's young enough to move on quickly. Good luck!

Welcome to the CF!

Becky and the cats: Jitzu (11), Torri (9), Doran (8 ), and Muffin (8 )
The boys at 8 - not lol
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 04:53 PM
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IME, It's been my observation over many years with my Manx and now with my Devons, that kittens do respond to dominance for bad behavior. Many times I've seen a bold kitten pounce on mamacat's feet, for example, and bite them only to get a hard swat with her paw on kitty's head. If kitty continues his biting and boldness, he gets pinned down with a neck bite, which is then followed by licking on the head, as if to say, "There, there, now go and be a good boy". After a while kitty does respect mamacat. Even older siblings will use their paws and bite to discipline a younger cat. I'm not suggesting that you hit the kitten on the head, because it is difficult to know how much force an adult female uses to smack a bitey kitten, but I have used a piece of folded newspaper to swat a bottom, and the noise of it they don't like, and it doesn't hurt them, but they do come to respect you that you won't tolerate certain behavior, eg biting. My cats have never withheld their affection because they got swatted for something, because usually they will come and get in my lap and be very affectionate shortly afterwards. Then they get lots of loving from me. Incidentally, I don't get hissed or growled at ever.

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Last edited by catloverami; 10-03-2016 at 04:58 PM.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 10:01 PM
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-04-2016, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by catloverami View Post
IME, It's been my observation over many years with my Manx and now with my Devons, that kittens do respond to dominance for bad behavior.
None of that is dominance.

The example you used, of a feisty kitten pouncing mum or an older sibling, is a baby trying to play. The baby doesn't yet know about personal space, but it's not trying to dominate the other cat in any sense of the word I've ever seen or heard used.

Dominance is either used, incorrectly, to describe an animal attempting to take over the world by any and all of its actions (peeing in fear is asserting dominance, not using the litter box is dominancd, cowering is domince, stealing food is dominance, etc.) or it's used correctly to describe social interactions regarding access to resources such as food, mates, and high value items.

There is a lot of allowance given to young animals of all species when they are learning the rules. Consider your own example - what would that queen do if a strange (or maybe even a well known) adult cat suddenly pounced her and chomped her neck? Unless there is context of play she'd likely respond as though it was an attack. Given that, a hiss and a no-claws swat is nothing.

Becky and the cats: Jitzu (11), Torri (9), Doran (8 ), and Muffin (8 )
The boys at 8 - not lol

Last edited by marie73; 10-04-2016 at 02:01 AM.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 03:57 PM
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You need to be the other kitten since she does not have a playmate now. I always encourage kittens to be adopted in pairs for this very reason. When she bites you need to screech very loudly "OWWW!" and withdraw your hand/arm. Clip her nails or take her to a groomer that will do it for a few dollars. I find the yelling "OWWW!!!" works really well. Just this AM I was being savagely attacked by a 10 week old and I yelled it and she backed off and licked it better - just as she would if it were another kitten. Of course that lasted about 3 seconds and she was attacking my hand again but it does work. PLEASE consider a second kitten. ANY kitten. That is going to be the BEST way to teach this baby the proper kitten social graces!

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 04:45 PM
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Luna came home with us when she was pretty young (8 weeks) and she hadn't learnt by then that biting hard HURTS. She was playing really aggressively with us. My kids would have welts on their arms and legs. So human Mamacat (me) stepped in and anytime she got being really rough I'd grab her by her scruff and hold her down gently and say loudly 'No Biting'. She quickly learnt what that meant and she stops now when we just tell her No Biting, no need to hold her by the scruff anymore.

Also helping is that once a week when we visit my Mom, we bring her over to play with my mom's 3 yr old British Shorthair who's doesn't put up with her nonsense 😅

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 06:54 PM
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I never recommend scruffing a kitten. There are many reasons, but the top two is that mother cats don't scruff their kittens - they might hold the neck, but they don't grab the loose skin and shake, hold, or push. They just hold them still for a second. The other reason is that the neck is a very sensitive area, and while that skin is loose it's also sensitive. It would be very easy to bruise a kitten that way, and then you're more likely to end up with an aggressive response, instead of the play behavior you probably had to begin with.

The fact that it 'worked' for you, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Becky and the cats: Jitzu (11), Torri (9), Doran (8 ), and Muffin (8 )
The boys at 8 - not lol
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