Hi everyone! I'm new here and new in cats too! Hope to get good advice from here about cats.
My husband and I just recently adopted two cats. The 2-year-old male is a perfect cat and a favorite in the house: always stick with you, have to check out everything you do, like to chat with all kinds of cute, amusing sounds, and very well behaved (NEVER BITE PEOPLE) - except for some occasional scratching on our furniture to get more attention. He is mature and kitten-like playful at the same time. He has very sensitive stomach though. We're now trying to find the best food for him - don't want him to be on Science Diet - but unfortunately high quality dry food seems to cause him severe diarrhea (we did a good transition from old to new). Anyway we are working on that and hope to get him the best food we can without upsetting his stomach.
The other cat, a 1.5-year-old female, however, has some behavior issues. She is such a mellow cutie when she's sleepy and we adore her. But when she's excited, she does A LOT OF love/play bites when we pet her and likes to bite whatever come in handy - carpet, box, cable, paper, etc. We don't think it's a medical issue since everything else (sleep, playing, eating) is fine. Most of time it's not due to stress/fear because she usually gives biting/licking combination, which shows she's enjoying petting, although getting a little overstimulated. She does other kinds of bites too, for example, when we pick her up from the dinner table or when she's sleeping (in inappropriate place). This I can see is a sign of upset/anger/stress. The biting issue revealed itself about one week when she came to our home. At the shelter and when she first arrived, she is super affectionate and couldn't get enough petting and didn't show a sign of aggression. Then she suddenly changed into a super energetic cat and cannot get enough play/chasing the other cat, and when not satisfied, lashed out in biting.
When the behavior first appeared, we did a lot of research online, and sticked to the procedure of shouting loudly -- slowly pulling back our hand -- walking out of the room and leaving her calm herself a bit -- coming back with toys. Didn't work. Then we talked to the people in the shelter and came to the conclusion that she just had too much energy and need to burn out with play sessions. Then we paid attention to when she gets excited, came with a wand toy and burned her out. It worked like a charm in the first two days - largely reduced bitings - then when we couldn't stick with 10 play sessions a day (she's energetic whenever she's awake but we really have work to do. Plus she's not very into toys, so it takes some time to get her interact with the toy and she will gain back energy very soon), she went back to it. It's really frustrated that we can't interact with her in a way that makes both sides happy and can't see a hope for improvement.
She also have other issues like not being able to cover poops appropriately (so it's easy for the poop to stick on her feet) and occasionally peed out of the box when there is at least one clean box available (we ruled out medical issue and think it may be due to bad parenting), etc. These are minor issues that we can stand. What really concerns us is the biting problem. Even if we get used to it, in a few years we'll have our own baby, we're afraid that she will treat the baby with aggression too.
We're struggling with whether we should return her to the shelter. On the one hand, she has been with us for two months and we really love her. The idea of giving her up make us feel really bad. On the other hand, if she persists in this habit and when she really shows aggression to the future baby and we have to give her away, by that time she will be very bonded to us and will suffer even larger trauma; also, she'll be older then and it'll be harder for her to be re-adopted if we have to give her to a shelter. So we're begging for advice: how to deal with her biting issue (maybe not the traditional ways since we've almost tried them all)? whether we should return her now when we're less bonded and when she has higher possibility of being re-adopted? Or whether we should wait and see what she'll do in a few years? Any input is appreciated!