Chances of your cat/kitten having biting/scratching habits - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Chances of your cat/kitten having biting/scratching habits

against their owner or just humans in general?

my friend wants to adopt one kitten (roughly 10-12 weeks) from a litter and was told that it's best to adopt a pair or else the kitten might adopt biting and scratching habits since they have nothing better to do...

is this true? i mean i think my friend will supply the kitty with lots of toys and care, but she also works full time and the kitten might be lonely during the day time.

if this is true, can you guys give me advice on how to suppress these habits or stop them from ever starting? thanks!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 02:43 AM
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I think what they are trying to say is that cats have a play aggression that they need to release. If you ever watch 2 cats play they wrestle and bite each other and take out that play aggression. My cat gets in the mood about once a day where he wants to play with my hand and latch onto my arm and bite. That type of play is just in a cat's nature.

You've heard the old saying "You can take the cat out of the jungle but..."
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richo
I think what they are trying to say is that cats have a play aggression that they need to release. If you ever watch 2 cats play they wrestle and bite each other and take out that play aggression. My cat gets in the mood about once a day where he wants to play with my hand and latch onto my arm and bite. That type of play is just in a cat's nature.

You've heard the old saying "You can take the cat out of the jungle but..."
does it hurt when they bite? like does it break your skin? my kittens have yet to bite me.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 03:28 AM
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Mine doesn't bite hard. I think it all depends on the cat and how aggressive it is.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 04:05 AM
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Biting and clawing is not related to having nothing better to do or being adopted in pairs. Those are whole other issues, but I'd like to encourage your friend to adopt a pair to have a playmate and for company. End of my 2 cents on that.

It's very natural for kittens to bite and claw when they're playing, whether with you (human) or others (cats). Some kittens do it more than others. My Kayla and Ginza never bit or clawed us when playing, but Mozart and Pixie were big biters when they were play-excited. For kittens like them, it's important to never use hands or feet when playing, so they won't see those as acceptable biting objects. Redirect their attention to an acceptable toy so they learn what can get bitten and "killed". If you teach them early, this is a behavior that can be stopped; otherwise, like anything else, the longer the behavior stays, the longer it takes to retrain.

Like Richo wrote, whether a play-bite hurts or breaks skin depends on the cat and how aggressive. When my Mozart forgets and nips me now, it's a very gentle one. But you can't really count on cats to be that considerate about it all the time. My friend's cat is out to draw blood when she nips.

You can find many good tips on this forum if you do a search, it's a common topic. Tell your friend good luck, and looking forward to hearing of her 2 kitties (hint, hint).
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 09:14 AM
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Sabby gets extremely aggressive when he plays. My hands are covered in scars. This was caused because I played with him with my bare hands all his life. Yes it hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot. There's usually blood involved. This is dangerous because cat bites and scratches can cause very severe infections (known as cat scratch fever, yes it's real). The way to avoid this is to not play with cats with your bare hands. Use toys on strings or poles to play interactively with your cat.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 09:56 AM
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< Agrees with Annissa.

Stephen can play very rough if she gets going, but it is our fault for allowing it and playing with our bare hands.

My boyfriends is never a day without some kind of mark on him from wrestling with her, but he asks for it -- and he never complains. He's the one full of scars. She knows she's not allowed to hurt Mom! LOL
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 12:02 PM
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I think all kittens like to bite in play. The problem is that when they are little it's easy to take...once they grow up and are used to playing like this it's not so cute.

It's very important to be consistent. Don't let the kitten bite or scratch you in some cases and think it's cute and expect it to understand that it's not ok in other cases. I think it's best to never let the kitten continue to bite or scratch skin. If they start to do either one just hiss and/or say no firmly and stop playing or petting or whatever and leave. If you do this consistently they will learn. Try to buy toys that they can bite and scratch without your hands being so close.

I also recommend two kittens HIGHLY! I think it does help with the more difficult behaviors when they are a kitten. They are less likely to do the playful stuff with furniture or people and instead wrestle their pal. I think two kittens are easier in a lot of ways.

~Heather
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