Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Albert, AB, Canada
Ok, I'm gonna jump in here and be unpopular.
Firstoff, the OP's talking about a 14 week old KITTEN. She does NOT know what she's doing is either hurting you, or 'bad'. It's what her instincts tell her to do. This goes as a general until your kitten hits around 6 months, then switches to them doing it because there's something about it thats rewarding.
Cats don't do things on purpose to annoy/hurt us. They just don't. They aren't people in little fuzzy suits, they are a different species.
To fix the issue you need to be aware that she isn't doing it on purpose. I find that really helps with increasing your patience, because that's what you're going to need lots of!
When she pounces you she is trying to get you to play. Stand up and walk away from her, close yourself in another room if necissary, but DON'T react to her at all!
You mentioned that when you do this she gets worse, that's because she's frustrated with you. She wants to play, so she asks the only way she knows how and you ignore her! How rude! lol.
Wait until she calms down/leaves you alone and then go get a toy. I suggest something either very large, or something like a laser pointer or wand toy. Basically something she can't misinterpret to be you.
A better option would be to pay attention to her lots when she's being nice. When she's a sweet nice kitty that's when the toys come out and when you show her the most attention. This way she learns thats the behavior that gets her the things she likes.
Basically you give her lots of fun things when she's good, and no fun things when she's naughty.
Along with this I suggest getting her used to a kennel or 'naughty room', and a harness. Use lots of yummy goodies to introduce both to her.
Once she's catching on to behaving a little better then you can start using a word to tell her what it is you don't want. I say 'Uh uh'. To my kitties that means "You are doing something mummy doesn't like, consequences will come if you don't stop."
(Don't pick "No", we say it waaaay too often when it has nothing to do with our pets, this can confuse them and make it less effective.)
The way I started was very gently. They have to learn what the sound means.
Baby Doran (6-8 weeks) is playing too rough with me. He tries to get me to play by biting my hand. I would say "Doran, Uh uh." Then grab a big toy to wrestle him with.
So, you say the correction, then replace the 'bad' behavior with a 'good' one.
(Keep in mind that just because you don't like what they are doing it might still be something their instincts tell them to do. So it's not really 'bad' just undesirable.)
Have her wear the harness all the time, my boys wore harnesses until they were over 6 months. It gives you a place to grab them by safely if they are about to do something dangerous, or if you need to hold them firmly without getting scratched/bit.
Once she's understanding the idea and you can see her thinking when you say your correction word then you can add a consequence.
When Doran was a little older (12-14 weeks) and he tried to get me to play by biting I would say "Doran, uh uh." And wait. If he did it again I would calmly pick him up and place him in a kennel for a short time. Less than 1 minute. When I brought him out again I was ready with another toy and we would play with that instead.
If he again tried to bite same deal, back in the kennel for a short time out.
The key to a time out is that you must be calm. All you're trying to teach her is that if she's naughty the fun stuff goes away. Timeouts should never be longer than 5 minutes, and that only to clean up a mess without tripping over a kitty!
She is a baby. You have to be very patient to teach her the rules. Even if you say "No!" She doesn't come speaking english, she has no idea what that means. You have to teach her what the correction word means, and teach her another way to play and get your attention.
Now when my boys want to play with me they come up and paw me very gently. They are allowed to mouth me (holding their teeth on my skin with no pressure), but if I say "Uh uh." They must remove their teeth right away.
They don't get nearly as many timeouts now, but it really helped when they were babies.
(...I think I'm going to make up a comprehensive "How to raise a kitten" thread...*ponders)