The Terrible Twos (Biting Problem) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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The Terrible Twos (Biting Problem)

Alright, I'm convinced Jacob has turned two due to the stereotypical terrible twos toddlers go through.

As people probably know, we adopted him at around 1 1/2 (don't know exact age as birthdate was unknown) and it's been a few months since adoption and the little devil has taken off.

He'll switch from being an absolute crazy pants to this:



His favourite spot to snooze while I'm up late doing homework.

He is just an all around great, wacky cat and we're so happy we adopted him. We just have on problem though. He's a bit of a biter, with some huge canines.

No joke, he has the biggest teeth I've ever seen on a cat, with a fairly strong bite to boot.

He basically does some love nips while falling asleep and you're petting him, which don't hurt, he basically just opens his mouth and puts some pressure on your hand and then stops. He also does what I call some drive by nips, where if he wants to play and you're just sitting there, he'll run by and nip at your legs. This are a little harder, but still not so bad.

The biggest issue is, when you're sitting on the floor, and your arm is covered with a sweater or glove, he just attacks (like playfighting, no signs of aggression YET) where his bites are a harder, and tend to hurt, though he doesn't use his claws at all, which we can be thankful for.

I'm convinced he developed this bad habit of play fighting from his previous home and the shelter, because he was in one of those pet stores that give our shelter more room to take in cats, and the pet store worker mentioned something about rough housing with him.

I was hoping for some tips on how to get him out of this bad habit of play fighting and biting. I mean, we don't mind it at all right now, and he hasn't done any of this to guests who visit, but we want it to stay that way, as most people we know aren't even cat people to begin with. We don't want this lovely boy to be a reason for people to hate cats even more.

So any tips on how you got your cat out of biting would be great!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 04:18 PM
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This is a bad habit that can be broken. When he clamps down on you, gently (but FIRMLY) grab his scruff and shout NO! then put him down and ignore him for a while - get up and leave or turn your back. No playing further - you need to signal to him that biting is NOT tolerated. This will need to be repeated frequently but eventually he will get the message. I have even grabbed, shouted NO! and hissed. Literally hissed. Cats recognize that sound as displeasure so why not use it! The important thing is the simplicity of the command and actions. No long diatribes about what a bad boy he is, no lectures, just a firm grab and a loud NO then put down! Some get it right away, some take longer.

I was bitten by a cat and ended up in the hospital for a week. There was even talk of amputation because they could not get the infection under control. I am super sensitive to biting and don't tolerate it. I've had good success with this approach. Remember - quick firm correction is what works.

Good luck!!

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 08:23 PM
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I never knew an adult cat can be corrected until I did it with ET. It took me at least more than 6mths or rather 8mths to correct him, initially I thought I was stuck with a scratching and biting cat for the rest of his life. I don't grab or scruff and I never knew I can try 'hissing', I like that, lol. But I do lecture when he is into very bad and intentional biting. For playful biting and scratching, its just a loud "NO".

Ya, ET does get it, surprisingly. When he is bad, I ignore, lecture, confine him in his room for at least 1 full day, afterwhich he will certainly get better. He hardly bite real hard so much like before though I believe cats, like human, do forget and become complacent and start again. He hates grooming, it was always during grooming that he gave such hard bite and scratching, other times when I was slow in feeding and he was real hungry.

ET likes playing with and grabbing my leg, and he used to do that with extended claw. After months of correction, he now grab me with retracted claw. Gets my attention by pawing at me with retracted claw too. They do get it, some take a longer time, like ET.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have to try that scruffing technique, he'll need something like that to understand that it's bad .

I mean, sometimes he'll listen when he wants, like today he went to scratch the couch, I told him no, he looked at me then ran to his scratching post to scratch What a little brat.

Happy to hear of people's success with cats who are a bit older, it's encouraging! I tried the whole locking him out of the room when he starts biting at me in my room. He doesn't like that, so he'll usually stop if I lock him out a few times.

I do know cats tend to have pretty short attention spans, so it may take a bit.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 09:13 PM
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I also did the scruff, a firm no, tried making a hurt sound, hissing, and just picking him up and confining him. Eventually he seemed to get it.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 02:55 AM
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The Terrible Twos (Biting Problem)

If you scruff him don't lift him. Adult cats aren't like kittens in that they can handle being toted about by momma. Just scruff on the floor or pick him up in both hands while scruffing. A lot of damage can be done to adult cats who are lifted while scruffed with no support.

I also don't suggest yelling. A good firm NO in a parent voice will do the trick and then ignore him for a few minutes. Eventually he will understand.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumof7kitties View Post
If you scruff him don't lift him. Adult cats aren't like kittens in that they can handle being toted about by momma. Just scruff on the floor or pick him up in both hands while scruffing. A lot of damage can be done to adult cats who are lifted while scruffed with no support.

I also don't suggest yelling. A good firm NO in a parent voice will do the trick and then ignore him for a few minutes. Eventually he will understand.


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I agree - I never pick them up by the scruff!! Just a grab, a NO! and then put them down just like you normally would. Honestly, mine are normally rattled by my reaction so they usually will jump away but will come back within a short time to make up - sometimes not until after a "think it over" nap, though.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 11:51 AM
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The Terrible Twos (Biting Problem)

A catnap is ALWAYS a good idea! Lol.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 01:56 PM
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The Terrible Twos (Biting Problem)

Occasionally Yuki will "play bite". Nothing serious but I don't encourage or tolerate it. I agree, a hiss gets her attention then a firm NO and I ignore her for a short while. Often she looks up sheepishly and licks me as if to say sorry.
If he bites and doesn't let go, push what ever part is being bitten further into his mouth rather than pulling back. This should make him let go.


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