I don't understand this! (biting) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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I don't understand this! (biting)

Voldie is an extremely well behaved kitten (he's on the 4-5 month old mark now, since he's a June baby) and besides begging for food at the table some times, and running around like a mad teenager (I assumed this is a kitten/cat thing), he does nothing wrong.

Well, this is, if you don't count the completely random biting.

Sometimes (like it just happened a few minutes ago) he will be purring, kneading, seemingly content at being stroked, and will -- out of nowhere -- grab and bite my hand HARD (not enough to draw blood, but enough to bruise). Since he still has kitten teeth, it hurts twice as much.

He won't even stop purring while he does it, and will simply look at me for a second and then resume sleeping/relaxing/whatever he was doing.

I thought it might be a warning sign for something he dislikes, but it really is completely random, and many other times (most of them) I can pet and stroke him without getting bitten. He also never scratches and is otherwise quite bonded to me (we butt heads and he licks me at times, will sleep on my lap, etc. Not to mention I'm the only one whom he will come to if called).

During the day, when I'm out, he has a whole room + corridor for him, with a big sunny (when the sun is out) window and all his toys, plus food and water available at all times (I feed him his actual meals a few times a day, but he has dry food always available in case hunger strikes).

So I really am wondering what is up? He is otherwise an extremely affectionate and awesome little guy.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 04:18 PM
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He may just be getting overstimulated with the petting.
Shepherd started that as well and I would just do what I always do when he's gotten too rough. Say a loud "OUCH!", get up and walk away. Lovey time/play time OVER.

MowMow gives love bites and I've never been able to completely break him of it, he did learn to control how HARD he bit by me using the above mentioned.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 04:19 PM
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Its like a frisky thing. I have a multiple cat household, so I can see parallels between cat/human and cat/cat interactions. Often times, when cats groom each other, it can escalate into a game, usually a wrestling match. Kittens often get such games going by walking up to the other kitten and licking their cheek. Soon enough they are biting and wrestling.

It is a good sign that the biting is a one time thing and then he resumes his cuddly behavior. Since you don't approve of the behavior, this is what you should do. When he bites you, in a high pitched voice say "ouch!" and then promptly put him down. This is just what another cat would do... meow in protest and 'quit' the game.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 04:36 PM
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I agree with what everyone has said. Ritz use to do that, but I said OUCH loudly, immediately quit petting her, and acted like my feelings were hurt. She largely grew out of that behavior.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 06:39 PM
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I also used the method everyone has described to teach my boys nice manners, with a slight twist.

I do allow 'love bites', but they MUST control the pressure or they are in trouble. This means they are allowed to place their teeth on my skin and apply minimal pressure. The second it becomes even mildly uncomfortable I respond as everyone else does. With a "Ouch!" and the end of the snuggle time.

I think it's important that they learn how much pressure is too much, this way when they are hurt or I'm trimming nails and accidentally get too close to the quick I don't even get a nip, just light tooth pressure on my hand. Since they know how hard is too hard they can give me that 'warning' without me feeling nervous about an actual bite. I've met pets (cats and dogs) who learned no teeth ever on skin, and when they felt the need to communicate a point (usually pain) they bit at the same strength they would use for a cat, which is painful for us since we don't have a thick coat. With my boys I wanted them to be able to tell me when it hurts, but without them biting so hard that it hurt.

I hope I explained that right...My method came in handy when Muffin hurt his hips (or whatever...even the xray wasn't conclusive). The vet was feeling his hips and when it hurt Muffin gently placed his teeth on my hand as I was restraining him, letting me know that THAT was the sore spot.
Doran does the same thing when I trim his nails. He doesn't scratch the posts enough so he gets claw sheaths built up on his nails. These split when I trim his nails and that can hurt sometimes. I also try to encourage the extra sheaths to come off. If one is hurting he'll yelp and gently put his teeth on me. Exactly like a little kid saying "Ow! Mommy that hurts!" It lets me know I need to be careful and gentle.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 07:14 PM
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Great advice! Timmy does this and I always wondered why, I just put it down to him being a bit crazy
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 07:29 PM
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Library, that's exactly what i do too. I don't mind teeth(or nails) as long as they know how much pressure is TOO much.

MowMow lets me know if there's a problem too, he doesn't use his teeth though. He places a front paw right on my forehead and pushes gently (nails in of course). He's so funny when he reprimands me. I always have to stop what I'm doing and kiss him.

It's another reason I'm so diligent with their nails. When they get too long it's easy for them to hurt me without meaning too and I hate correcting them when it's not really their fault.
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