Not love bites, but hunger bites - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Not love bites, but hunger bites

Daryl only does this in the morning when he's hungry. On the weekends when I sleep in a little, he'll be cuddling with me in bed and rub his face on my hands, then his mouth opens a little and I feel his teeth on my hands, then he bites me. Just little nips, but they do hurt sometimes. In the kitchen, he'll be rubbing against my legs impatiently waiting for me to get his breakfast ready. Then I'll feel his teeth and a little nip on my leg.

When he does it, I pull my hand away and stop petting him. If it's on my leg I move my leg away. He seems to understand. He will try nuzzling again without the teeth, but I can tell he reealllly wants to, like it's compulsive.

He never does this any other time of the day. In the evenings when I'm getting his dinner ready, he just stands in the way and meows like he's starving to death.

Not a huge deal - he's such a lovebug most of the time. Just wondering if others have cats who do this?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 09:53 AM
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MowMow is a biter.

If i'm on the computer and he feels it's enough then he comes and sits next to me and rubs against my calf... after a few moments he'll press his nose against it.... next comes the teeth. It's rarely really painful but it always makes me jump.

He also does it when we're cuddling. Not like others describe their cat's love bites. His are always mildly painful. He bites down hard if it's a fleshy spot and if it's not he pinches the skin and PUUUULLLLSSSS. He stops when I tell him to but he still does it a daily basis.

It's just part of our cuddling now. He bites and I say, "Mommy says 'biter no biting!' and you bite me anyway. No biting!" (think Dora "Sniper, no sniping!") The he drools all over the spot and licks the drool off. Gross but... it's MowMow.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 12:36 PM
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Quite a number of cats will feel aggressive if they are really hungry, and may bite or act out to the owner or another cat friend or dog. It's just the way they are. Not always, but it could be because a cat grew up as a feral or had to scramble to eat its food fast because of competition of a lot of kitties with one plate of food.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 01:10 PM
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Oh yes... My Stoli bites when he's hungry and wants fed. Of course over the years, I've become very well trained and have learned to respond quickly with the canned food. I keep dry out all the time for my kids.... I also get bit if the dry food bowl has reached an unacceptable level... like only half full, because clearly I'm attempting to starve him.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 01:12 PM
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My Odd will nip when he is getting petted and he has been licking my skin. He seems to do it when he is really enjoying the attention he is getting. I don't like to be bit, so when he does it I stop petting and move away. He also stalks me when I am walking around the apartment, and has on occassion jumped up on furniture and nipped the back of my foot or my ankle. Again, I move away. He has never broken skin.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 05:03 PM
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Bodhi does the bite and pull on my forearm when he wants to play. He also bites the septum of my nose in the morning if I'm not waking up fast enough to feed him. That actually kind of hurts and makes me sneeze sometimes..which he seems to find Most of the time he seems to treat me like I'm another cat. He gets pretty crazy when he's playing...jumps on me and bites my shoulder or a leg, but never breaks the skin so I've never reprimanded him for doing seems like the typical play hunting that most cats seem to enjoy...... Sometimes he will also sit on my chest and purr really loud and sort of chew on my chin and rub his face against it.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by stevescott213 View Post
Sometimes he will also sit on my chest and purr really loud and sort of chew on my chin and rub his face against it.
Artemisia doesn't do the chin-biting, but she absolutely does the "sit on Daddy's chest and purr like a maniac" bit.

And then if I still don't wake up, she starts poking me in the face with a paw. I wish I had a video of that--it must look hilarious.

And yes, she also does the bitey routine when hungry. She especially likes to nip at my legs in the morning if she feels like I'm not preparing her breakfast speedily enough. I tell her I'm doing the best I can, but she remains skeptical.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2015, 01:51 AM
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Yup mine bites when she is hungry also. If I'm late feeding her she lets me know.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 09:54 AM
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Those playful 'love bites' need to be put to a halt as soon as you can. Hubby infuriates me because he is part of the problem. He doesn't mind when she does it to him - thick skinned! I have come to saying "Chel-seeee NO. Be nice (calmly)!" She stops and starts licking lol! Didn't take long for her to understand. Just have to say the exact same thing every time.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 12:08 PM
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A cat who is biting when hungry isn't 'hunger biting' (which would be more along the lines of actually eating you, lol), but rather biting out of frustration and lack of impulse control.

The boys used to do this when they were very little, but IMO it's very rude and does NOT get rewarded with food! Ditto for any other inappropriate behaviors around dinner - I taught the boys to sit for their dinner instead. It took a bit of work, but once they knew what was expected (and that being naughty meant waiting for dinner) they caught on pretty quickly.

The basic steps are to teach 'sit' (look up a youtube video, works the same for cats as it does for dogs. Easy peasy.), stop rewarding the behavior you don't want to see, and ask for the behavior you do want to see - rewarding that.

To stop rewarding the biting behavior you have to not react to it as though it hurts (even if it does). Use a marker word, so they can figure out what you're reacting to (I use 'Uh uh') and then remove yourself from the room. So, if you were preparing their food and kitty bites you you'd say "Uh uh!" and then walk off, taking the half-prepared food with you. You may need to go into the bathroom or something to avoid further frustration behaviors. Go back in about 3-5 seconds (so...walk to the bathroom, shut the door, then immediately come back out and go about preparing the food again), and give the kitty another chance right away. Repeating your sound and moving away if you receive another chomp. It's crucial to remain calm! If you get upset or yell or anything else it could become a game and you could end up with a much bigger issue.

Most cats will respond with confusion the first few times this happens, giving you a break of good behavior (or at least not unacceptable behavior) to allow you time to finish preparing the food, then you can set it down before they have a chance to be naughty again.

Some cats will become MORE frustrated, since they don't understand why you're going away and they still WANT the dinner. Those cats need to be given another task to do while you're working on the food. I'd suggest teaching them to sit on a stool nearby, but out of biting range.

To teach this get a stool, how high doesn't matter, a lot of very tiny high value treats (I use dehydrated chicken crumbled into cat-bite sized pieces), and patience. lol

Lure the kitty up onto the stool with a bite of chicken treat. When they're on the stool put another treat right between their paws, then turn away and start to prepare the food. You'll need to reward every 5 seconds or so when you start out, to get them to the point where they figure out what's going on. If your cat keeps jumping down you're not rewarding often enough. If they do jump down, lure them back to the stool and reward.

If you find that as soon as they've eaten the first treat they're immediately jumping down you need to up the rate of reinforcement - aka MORE COOKIES
With young kittens (impatient) or older cats with no impulse control the first step might literally be getting them onto the stool, then giving them 5-10 treats one after the other on the stool. Just waiting long enough between presentations to let them swallow the previous treat. Once they've gotten the idea that them being on the stool means goodies start spacing the treats out a little more, 1-2 seconds in between, then work up until you can progress. The key is to take VERY small steps to the goal so the cat always is interested and willing to 'play' with you. It has to be fun, or they'll go back to chomping!

Once you're at 5 second intervals work on 'doing something' in between rewards. pick up a spoon, then set it down. Get the can of cat food, then put it on the counter, etc. Keep your steps tiny and reinforce the cat for staying on the stool. If they jump down simply guide them back to the stool (don't just pick them up and set them on the stool, they'll never figure it out on their own if you do it for them.). Again, if they're constantly jumping down reduce the time in between treats, and maybe move the stool a bit closer to your workspace, it should be about one big step away.

Continue practicing daily until they'll sit nicely on the stool while you prepare their dinner with one or two treats as motivation. The key is that, once they've got a solid handle on the process, you need to vary the length of time between treats. They can't know when it's coming or they'll get lazy and bored of the game. Like if you always knew when your favorite sports team would score - if they only ever scored in the third period would you keep watching the whole game after a full year of that? Boring. Predictable. The fun is in the NOT knowing.

I'm teaching Muffin a more advanced version of this, so we can teach him to 'go to his place' when he's being a brat and can then reward him for making a good choice, rather than having to fight with him about chasing his sisters....Maybe I'll make a 'how to' video of 'go to your place' for kitties....
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