First time cat owner. Need some help reading behavior.
My wife and I adopted a 9 month old cat December 26th, 2008. I'm a first time cat owner, but my wife had a few when she was younger. I've been scouring the web trying to learn cat behavior so I don't accidentally annoy or anger Jasper and so I can try to serve him as best as I can as his owner.
The first few weeks were great. He was very loving, preferring to be in our laps and always purring and he just absolutely loved to be held! I thought we got really lucky. I expected lots of bad kitty behavior like unwarranted biting and scratching.
He is still that sweet, loving cat that we adopted... for the first 15 minutes that we walk into the house from work. After that, he's **** on wheels. We'll walk past him and he'll lunge and bite our legs. He loves playing rough with our hands, which I don't really mind, but from what I've read it is a bad habit for cats to get into. He has even bitten my wifes face a few times. In his defense, I do not think he was meaning to attack or hurt, but it did leave a mark.
We've tried a few things to curtail this behavior. One, grabbing the scruff of the neck and redirecting him. I don't know if this pisses him off or if he considers this "rough play" but he only comes back more aggressive. Two, spray bottle. This works, for the most part. If he's getting too aggressive with us sometimes all we have to do is put our hands on the bottle and he'll calm down. He'll even squint his eyes like he's preparing to get sprayed in the face. It's kind of cute, actually. Three, lots and lots of play. We bought him many toys, including a laser which he absolutely loves. This does help drain his energy.
I'm really at my wits end. I'm stuck, too, because we already love him so much that we cannot return him to the adoption place. We know we're in it for the long haul. We just can't cope being ambushed and bitten in our own home. It was cute at first, but after countless bloody shins, faces, and forearms, enough is enough.
Example from this morning of his bad behavior. Maybe someone can analyze it.
Woke up this morning with Jasper waiting by our door. He slept with us for the most part, but we had to put him out because he wanted to play and climb in our covers and bite our thighs and ankles. He greeted me with a meow so I petted him and then picked him up and took a walk around the living room. He purred and was rubbing his face on my neck.
It was time for me to get ready for work, so I drew up the window blinds so he could look outside and put him down. As I walk away, he runs in front of me. He's actually just trying to rub up against my legs, but he's tripping me up. I have to just carefully walk around him. I get ready without further interference. I give him some morning treats for being so cute.
I go in the bedroom to give my wife a kiss and he sneaks in like always. I walk out and call his name and he eventually comes. I reward him with petting and more treats. I grab my stuff and walk out.
Once I get outside I realize it's too cold not to have grabbed my coat, so I go in for it. He's still finishing up his snacks. I grab the coat and walk out and out of nowhere he blind sides me with a swift bite to the shins. He really dug in, too. Luckily I was wearing jeans. I yelled "Jasper, NO! Ow!" etc, etc. It didn't even phase him. He lunged at me a few more times and finally I had to grab a couch pillow and shoo him far away so I could escape out the front door.