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Do you punish your cat for biting ?

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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I need some advice when playing with my kitten bob he likes to claw and bite, although clawing isent a problem his biting is ...

I read some web pages and so far have two oppinions...

The first is to punish the cat via a light tap however in contradiction i have also read that this causes them to be agressive ...

The second is that you let the cat bite and dont move your hand by not flinching the cat wont think its a game and wont do it nemore ...

Ime stuck ...

So who will be so kind as to help me ?

:)

Richard
 

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I've read that if you say "No" firmly when the cat bites, and then ignore the cat for a few minutes (giving him the message that you won't play if he bites) then that works better than tapping them or ignoring the biting. From what I've read, cats want attention when they want it, and if you take that away because they did something bad, they'll learn not to do it again.
 

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It gets to be repetitive, but say no and pick up the cat and put him down on the floor, or move him away. Also, even when you feel like playing do NOT play with Bob with your hands. If you do, he'll think that your hands are acceptable for playing. He won't be able to distinguish when the right time for hand play is and isn't...so you can't do it at all. You can play with him, just make sure you have a toy or something else in your hand or between you that you are playing with...don't let your hand become the play object to him.

Does that make sense? Also, I know you are saying a light tap, so it wouldn't be hurting him...but you could make him afraid of your hands after a while or really confuse him by doing that. At most, you could put him in a room and give him a time out if he gets really fiesty, but I'm not sure how much they understand that either. Though it seems better than tapping.
 

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as most people on this board have told me, apparentl you really should never play with a cat using your bare hands.

however, when I pet my cat and they try to bite it, I just yell a firm "no!" and that usually stops them.
 

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Assumpta was rather a fear-biter when we got her (as an adult), and I'm pretty sure that someone had punished her by hitting or kicking, just based on her reaction to her own behaviour. She didn't seem to understand "No," so my vet suggested that I behave more like a cat when she bit, by yowling and turning my back on her. It seemed to work, and finally I managed to teach her "No bites!" in place of yowling (which has come in handy when I've had to do things that she doesn't like, because if I approach her gently saying "No bites," she's much less likely to snap...though if I actually punished her when I said "no bites," I doubt that she'd be as agreeable). The more I hear about other peoples' vets, the more I like mine.

For a kitten, I think the best initial approach is to never use your hands or feet to play, and to substitute an appropriate toy when kitten slips up.
 

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Like everyone else has said, it's important not to use your hands and feet as "toys." Your hands especially should be associated with nurturing, loving, and trust.
As far as punishing if my little one bites...we usually blow on his face or say "no" and push him away. If he does get aggressive, though, you are supposed to ignore him so he knows he'll lose his play-time if he acts like that. At night Skeeter likes to bite at our feet when he sees them move under the covers. In those instances, we give him his monkey (his bed-time toy) and he diverts his attention to the toy.
Whatever you do, don't hit...even tapping can be detrimental to your emotional bond with your cat. They will begin to have a fear of you and even the slightest fear comprimises the integrity of the bond of love and trust between you and your pet. First offer alternatives, then try non-physical punishment. He'll learn. Good luck!
 

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I guess it depends somewhat on the cat, but for most cats, *any* physical force (pushing, moving, tapping, or whacking!) will make them even more riled up, and can escalate to a serious aggression problem.

If you let your hand go totally limp when attacked, he may gnaw on it for a minute but will then lose interest and wander off to look for something more exciting. It's even better if you have a toy or laser mouse or some other item nearby to distract him with.

It took me 6 months of persistent work to undo the damage done to my kitten in just one week in a house where she was played with roughly. She is unpredicatable to this day (7 years later) and sometimes will still nail me if I'm not paying attention.

So don't expect results overnight, but consistent, firm refusal to allow rough play will pay off in the end.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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All good advice

My advice is basically what everyone else is telling you. Don't allow the cat to bite. Don't ever hit or whack. One thing that I've used that works and I know this will sound funny. As you know cats communicate with each other through noises they make. If when she bites you, you let ou with a very high pitched yelp, see if that stops her. Sometimes it works to let them know they've hurt you and they'll stop. If not, stop playing with her. Try playing some run and fetch games with her so she'll focus on the toys and not your hands.

Like Dr. Jean, I suffer the consequences for 15 years because someone played too rough with my Angel. She's what I call my "psycho" cat. She is very friendly with everyone, but after a couple of minutes, she turns into crazy cat, starts screaming like she's being hung by her claws, growls and basically scares the you know what out of you. She's not a biter, although at times she's threatened to bite. I never let it get that far. I call her the drama queen. I can actually make her scream on cue and not even touch her. She missed her calling as a movie star in horror pictures. HA! She hates the other cats, but likes the dogs. A real nut she is, but we love her anyway. I wish I could get my hands on the person who made her this way!! They'd be doing a little screaming of their own!! Good luck.
 

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I forgot about the yelping. Someone else mentioned that on the forum once and I tried it for the times that Addison would bite me in bed. She stop give me this confused look, wait a second and then bite again. Though after a few tries of this she began to jump off the bed and find something else to do. She doesn't like it when I do that and it's become very effective. Don't know why i don't do the same thing while I'm sitting on the couch! :oops:
 

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Assumpta would be so funny when I did the "yowl/ignore" treatment. She'd immediately get all quiet, sit for a few seconds then put her paw in the small of my back (I would physically turn my back on her to reinforce the ignoring) and give me a pitiful meow, then she'd just sit patiently and wait for me to notice her again. She still snaps at us occasionally, but it seems halfhearted, more like it's just for form's sake...kids, on the other hand, are fair game and she will be utterly ruthless with them.

My husband still insists on using bare hands to play with her (they have a game of "bed mice" every night), but she differentiates very well between the two of us (she never tries to play with my hands, only his, and only when invited) and also never uses claws or teeth when she plays with my husband.

I think it's pretty individual by cat, and so long as you don't end up curing the play-biter by creating a fear-biter, it'll come out okay. I'm just not big on physical punishment because I can see the effect it had on my cat.
 

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Hands

It's funny you said about her not biting your husband's hand when playing with him. I don't know your husband so I can't say for sure, but my cats never bite my husband's hands because they are so much bigger and tougher than my hands. He does manual labor for a living and his hands are much rougher and a lot harder to bite. Heck, the cats couldn't even get a good grip on him if they tried to bite one of his big hands. HA!
 

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Yes, my husband has huge, tough 19th-century farmer hands :) It's funny, because she can be really brutal when she feels like it, but as soon as she detects a hand or finger, she backs off but continues to play. She seems to treat him more like a human than she treats me...with me, she's constantly mirroring my facial expressions (winks, blinks, and eye position) and conversing with me in meows. I'm not complaining, mind you, but it's amusing that she feels totally comfortable sticking her paw into my food to sample it, but she'd never *dream* of doing that to my husband.

It's so nice feeling like you're almost your cat's equal.... :roll:
 

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There's biting, and then there's biting.

A month ago (at 3 months) my kitten still really tried to *bite* (trying hard to sink her teeth in), at play and even sometimes for no reason at all. I punished her by telling her "No. No biting!" and by ignoring her. That's it.

Now, at 4 months, she doesn't *bite* hard anymore (the punishment worked). Now she only "bites" (softly, delicately nipping, can't even really feel her teeth) when she's had enough of being petted, or when she simply doesn't want to be petted. She sometimes also uses her paws to get my hand away (which is cute). I don't punish her for this, as it is clearly a signal of "No, I don't want to be touched now."

Nishi
 

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Eating with paws

I have a little female who is always stealing food with her paw. She'll never stick her face in another cat's plate, but moves in with that paw and gets everything she wants. She's so precious. When I see cats do things like this with their paws and think of people who have cut off their little toes, I feel sick. Hopefully before I leave this world declawing will be illegal across the United States!!
 

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Stephen does play with hands, and it's something I can't break her of. She has learned, however, that with my bf (who got her started on it) it's okay, but with me when she tries to bite I say "Be nice" and she actually backs off and will just grab with her paws.

She couldn't care less if I tell her "No!" for something or ignore her. If I ignore her, she will sit behind me on the furniture and whack me in the head with her tail - something she loves to do.

What I did when she was younger was flick her lightly on the nose. I only had to do it a couple of times. Now if she's being aggressive or will not obey, I only show her the "flick finger position" and say "No" and she will settle down.

I'll admit that it's not the best method, but I didn't know what else to do when she was younger. I didn't have this forum full of people with suggestions. But, it does work with her, and it works with my Yorkie, although my Yorkie is much more affected by the ignoring. Her feelings really get hurt when you tell her she's bad and then you ignore her. She'll do anything for you at that point.
 

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I got my cat when he was 7 weeks old and he came from a hom with 2 boys who thought it was sooo cute to wrestle with these little furballs. At times I'd love those two to meet Cleveland now! He hardly every roughs me up now but at the beginning it was hard work. A firm no works but I find blowing gently in his face makes him release. Worked wonders to stop his early on. Just don't blow too close or too hard. I did and got a face full of cat snot cause I made him sneeze!
 
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