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I know there are probably dozens & dozens of threads about biting already, but we've tried a lot of the standard suggestions and they just don't seem to be helping much!

My husband & I just adopted our 5 month old female tabby, Whiskey, about 3 weeks ago. She has quickly become our little child / 3rd member of the household but she is also a MESS!

I was expecting her to be hyper (she's still young, after all) and to scratch & bite, but the biting is really out of control! She will come up to us while we're sitting on the couch, jump up in one of our laps and BITE! It's usually an arm, but she's also bitten our sides and occasionally our faces (which is very concerning, of course). If we react, she will latch on and get serious about the "attack." This doesn't only happen on the couch; she also goes for our legs when we're standing. She doesn't break the skin with her teeth (only her claws) and I know that if she really wanted to, she would. Most of the time I think she's being playful, but other times she seems genuinely pissed, especially after she's already attacked once and we've told her to stop.

We've tried "Hey!" and "Ow!", gently pushing into her attack (I read that this is supposed to cause her to release her grip since prey usually don't push back, but it hasn't worked) and even a little bitty spray bottle. These methods either do nothing or get her even more agitated. I've also attempted giving her no reaction (difficult to do when she bites hard!) but then she just keeps gnawing on me until I react.

We definitely need to give her more play time, that's clear. However, I don't think that alone will stop the biting. After play time, she seems even more likely to attack because she is riled up.

The only thing that seems to work at all is spraying a can of condensed air, and that's only about 50% effective. It's also a pain remembering to carry the can everywhere you go!

I know biting is unfortunately a problem that takes time to correct... we just aren't sure how to go about correcting it, at this point!
 

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PS - We are also working on clicker training. Whiskey knows "up" (stand on two back legs) and "sit." I just started teaching her "lie down" today. We are also training her to come when called and she is doing well. She is very intelligent & responsive, she has a big dose of kitty stubbornness when it comes to getting her to STOP doing things.

I have considered Feliway plug-ins to help curb the aggression, but unfortunately the refills are just too expensive if we needed it long-term. Does anyone think Rescue Remedy might help?
 

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You can try playing with her, as much as your schedule allows for it, until she is utterly exhausted. Usually biting is an aggressive display of energy, since a cat rationally knows you aren't a prey item - she isn't trying to "kill" you ;}

So, continue play time until she's panting and doesn't go after the toys any more - don't let the play session end while she still has energy. As you said, that will just keep her riled up.

If she has no energy left, then she probably won't find it worth the effort to bite!

There's another suggestion I can make - and I'm sure I'm going to get criticized for this, but here goes:

My cat was a bit of a spastic, unprovoked biter for a while after my dog died (they were best friends, and the dog's death drastically affected the cat's behavior). She would suddenly decide to bite after calmly sitting near you for a while, or she would bite after being petted for a few seconds. She was never provoked or "over-petted", she simply decided to bite randomly.

The spray bottle didn't work, nor did any of the other "common" methods of light punishment. She began to bite other people as well, and that became unacceptable.

Whenever she would bite, I would try my best to scare the living daylights out of her. I shouted "NO" repeatedly in my deepest voice, pounded the carpet near her with my palms, stomped my feet, and made several threatening gestures. A few times, if the biting was particularly egregious, I would grab her scruff firmly for a few seconds while shouting "NO". Basically, I was trying to scare her as much as possible without actually hurting her or getting too physical.

She would generally then retreat to hide behind the nearest piece of furniture, act huffy for a while, and then come back out and be completely calm again.

She was not turned into a chronically-scared cat by this, and the biting behavior stopped after just a few days of this.

A cat isn't a stupid animal, and will learn "aversion" quickly, especially if the terror only occurs when it's doing something it isn't supposed to.

EDIT: Rescue Remedy is one of those homeopathic things, which means it has about one molecule of useful ingredients in it, and 99.9999999% water otherwise. I really don't believe in the effectiveness of any homeopathic "remedies", myself.

I do think Feliway would work - since the diffuser lasts ~4 weeks, maybe you could try just once, and see if it helps? You don't have to keep buying refills, just give it a try once :}
 

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I know there are probably dozens & dozens of threads about biting already, but we've tried a lot of the standard suggestions and they just don't seem to be helping much!

My husband & I just adopted our 5 month old female tabby, Whiskey, about 3 weeks ago. She has quickly become our little child / 3rd member of the household but she is also a MESS!

I was expecting her to be hyper (she's still young, after all) and to scratch & bite, but the biting is really out of control! She will come up to us while we're sitting on the couch, jump up in one of our laps and BITE! It's usually an arm, but she's also bitten our sides and occasionally our faces (which is very concerning, of course). If we react, she will latch on and get serious about the "attack." This doesn't only happen on the couch; she also goes for our legs when we're standing. She doesn't break the skin with her teeth (only her claws) and I know that if she really wanted to, she would. Most of the time I think she's being playful, but other times she seems genuinely pissed, especially after she's already attacked once and we've told her to stop.

We've tried "Hey!" and "Ow!", gently pushing into her attack (I read that this is supposed to cause her to release her grip since prey usually don't push back, but it hasn't worked) and even a little bitty spray bottle. These methods either do nothing or get her even more agitated. I've also attempted giving her no reaction (difficult to do when she bites hard!) but then she just keeps gnawing on me until I react.

We definitely need to give her more play time, that's clear. However, I don't think that alone will stop the biting. After play time, she seems even more likely to attack because she is riled up.

The only thing that seems to work at all is spraying a can of condensed air, and that's only about 50% effective. It's also a pain remembering to carry the can everywhere you go!

I know biting is unfortunately a problem that takes time to correct... we just aren't sure how to go about correcting it, at this point!
As Lakota mentioned if you're not playing with her until SHE is tired (not until you get bored/run out of time/ect) then all you're doing is getting her excited and actually making your problem worse.

Play with her until she's panting and so tired that she won't play anymore. If you do that a few times a day it should help.

PS - We are also working on clicker training. Whiskey knows "up" (stand on two back legs) and "sit." I just started teaching her "lie down" today. We are also training her to come when called and she is doing well. She is very intelligent & responsive, she has a big dose of kitty stubbornness when it comes to getting her to STOP doing things.

I have considered Feliway plug-ins to help curb the aggression, but unfortunately the refills are just too expensive if we needed it long-term. Does anyone think Rescue Remedy might help?
Clicker training is a great idea! See if you can catch her before she bites and gets too wound up. She's doing that because she's bored, so she comes to you, gives you a chomp and then YAY! WE PLAY THE CHASE GAME! So now, she's biting to get attention. She needs to learn to ask for attention in nice ways, which means YOU need to give her attention when she's being good.

When she walks over to you ask her to 'sit' or 'up' or 'lie down'. When she does it grab a toy and play for a bit. She'll eventually learn that doing something good will result in play time, and you won't get bit anymore!

IMO feliway won't help. Feliway diffusers help cats who have anxieties...your girl is just bored and has kitten energy. If you don't find positive ways to get that energy out she'll find her own ways, and you won't like them at all.

...I'd think about another kitten for her to play with. I'm not suggesting this lightly because you would need to be able to afford another kitten, and deal with the times when one is playful and the other isn't, but from experience it's generally easier having two kittens. As a happy bonus the other kitten will teach her how much bite pressure is too much, and they can wrestle and play together so you won't always have to amuse her. At 5 months an intro is most likely going to be easy, but there is a chance that it won't go well and you need to be prepared for it.
If you do go this route my preference would be to get another kitten that's about her age, not too much younger or older. After all, you want them to be play buddies!

A note on 'stubbornness'...you always listened to your parents when you were a kid, right? If you were anything like me, of course you didn't! How much of the time you didn't listen was it because you forgot, or got distracted, or didn't hear them the first time? I did a TON of that, WAAAAY more that I was 'willfully disobedient'. Your kitten isn't even a child and she has much less self control than even a toddler. Keep that in mind when you interact with her.

She isn't being stubborn when she doesn't listen to you, she's doing something fun and you're telling her to do something boring. It's just that simple. You have to give her a reason to make the right choices.

Try to always give her a 'good' choice when you want her to change her behavior. As an example: "Whiskey, don't chew my shoes! Here, have a toy you can chew on!", or "Hey! No climbing the curtains! Here's your scratch post that's just right for climbing." Or "Ouch! Don't bite me! Here's a nice big toy you can wrestle and bite all you want!"

If you don't show her what the right choices are she'll never make them in the future and you'll have a much harder time changing her behavior.

There's another suggestion I can make - and I'm sure I'm going to get criticized for this, but here goes:

My cat was a bit of a spastic, unprovoked biter for a while after my dog died (they were best friends, and the dog's death drastically affected the cat's behavior). She would suddenly decide to bite after calmly sitting near you for a while, or she would bite after being petted for a few seconds. She was never provoked or "over-petted", she simply decided to bite randomly.

The spray bottle didn't work, nor did any of the other "common" methods of light punishment. She began to bite other people as well, and that became unacceptable.

Whenever she would bite, I would try my best to scare the living daylights out of her. I shouted "NO" repeatedly in my deepest voice, pounded the carpet near her with my palms, stomped my feet, and made several threatening gestures. A few times, if the biting was particularly egregious, I would grab her scruff firmly for a few seconds while shouting "NO". Basically, I was trying to scare her as much as possible without actually hurting her or getting too physical.

She would generally then retreat to hide behind the nearest piece of furniture, act huffy for a while, and then come back out and be completely calm again.

She was not turned into a chronically-scared cat by this, and the biting behavior stopped after just a few days of this.

A cat isn't a stupid animal, and will learn "aversion" quickly, especially if the terror only occurs when it's doing something it isn't supposed to.
I agree with the first bit of your post, but you're right you're gonna get flack for the bit I quoted!

Your cat was already upset and shaken up by losing it's buddy, so you decided that scaring the wits out of it was the solution!? I'm sorry, but that's not at all ok. Not to mention that you're not suggesting someone do that to an adult cat that they've had for years, this is a KITTEN who is still growing and developing.

Speaking from the POV who has a cat that someone tried to 'train' in the manner you're suggesting this is about the worst idea the OP could use. Jitzu is 8 and is still overcoming her fear of strangers because of methods like you described.

Using fear (with or without pain) is never the right way to train or teach anything or anyone. It might be effective, but what damage could it cause in the long run? You can't know until you try, and by then it might be too late.

OP, PLEASE don't try to scare your kitten into submission.

You have a very rambunctious kitten who just doesn't know all the rules yet. She's still a baby and she's still learning, you're an adult and it's your responsibility to react to her in a positive and understanding way. If you use fear to 'train' her you risk creating a cat who is fearful of all people and cannot be medicated, touched, or interacted with without a great deal of work.
 

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Thank you both! The Mr & I will make a point to wear her out more often. My husband already plays with her a lot, including chasing her around (which I'm not sure helps the whole overly-excited thing, but they both love it). It is so hard to wear her down!

Librarychick, I have been trying to take the approach you talked about -- I know that I am the adult human, so I am the one who has the responsibility to figure out how to communicate to Whiskey what is & isn't appropriate behavior. I haven't gotten too horribly overwhelmed with her, but I think my husband does sometimes. I've explained this way of approaching the situation to him, and he agrees, but he gets frustrated since he's had less experience with cats. It's difficult not to see her as 'stubborn,' especially when it seems like she is hesitant about doing something we've made clear is 'bad.' For instance, it's a rule that she can't come up to us & try to eat or sniff at our food when we're on the couch. I know she knows we don't like her to do it, because she tries to come up all sneakily, sometimes from over our shoulders, haha! But I also know that the smell of food is probably overwhelming for her and it just takes time and repetition for her to learn.

When she does bite or latch on, what should be our response to get her to stop in the moment? Making noise works (eg the canned air) but only for a second. Even when she doesn't break the skin, her attacks are pretty painful and all I can think about is how to get her off me!

Also -- I'm worried that if we play with her right after she bites/attacks, she might get the idea that it is okay to ask for attention that way. So should we wait until she is being good and reward her with play only then, like you said?

And no worries about us scaring her. We've found that very little alarms her, so we know it wouldn't be effective, anyway! :p
 

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OH! And as for getting another kitten -- the idea has come up, but we just can't afford it. In addition, the house we're renting is pretty tiny, and I have no idea where we'd put a second litter box, or where the kitties would go to have separate alone time :/

Maybe someday, though... ;)
 

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Since another kitten is out of the question, can you provide play items that the kitten can have fun with even when you aren't around?

Librarychick's post was outstanding!
 

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I'll likely be in trouble, too....but I have a biter. He's definitely not being aggressive....he simply loves to lick and mouth people, and this behaviour slowly becomes biting, which will get hard if he is left alone.

I simply tap his nose with one finger and say "no biting" very firmly. I also withdraw from play for a moment. He then usually licks me and looks contrite.

It took many repetitions of this for him to really get it....and he will still work himself up into biting mode when he is being very affectionate...but one warning will de-escalate him very quickly.

He has never reacted fearfully to the discipline or to me. His mum would have given him a good cuffing if he'd tried it with her!

The next thing up I would try if this doesn't work would be to find a time out spot...where the cat can be contained without interaction briefly, and place your kitten there without any reaction or interaction at all as you do it.....just for a couple of minutes.

Another thing to try is to take the kitten by the scruff of the neck.....it will relax...and firmly place it away from you when it bites.

I use the scruff hold to relax my hyper cat sometimes, not as punishment, too. He almost swoons and looks ecstatic, and it will help him if he going too nuts. This reaction might be peculiar to him, though!
 

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Our cat was absolutely vicious when he was a kitten, around 4-5 months old. He was just as you describe yours. I tried everything you've tried, and I even tried pulling him away by the scruff of his neck, as I'd heard that when they are kittens their mother does that if they're being too rough. That didn't work, either, though.

I'm sorry to say, I had to ride it out. By about a year old, he'd slowed right down on the biting, and I don't think he's bitten me since then (and that was two years ago). You may end up having to do the same. It's only a kitten phase. Some kittens get it worse than others, and you and I got the short straws.

The only thing I ever found that worked was something I actually learnt from a dog behaviourist, who suggested letting out a high pitched squeal when a dog was getting too rough, as that's how other dogs would let them know they were hurt. For a laugh, I tried it on my cat; the next time he bit me I let out a very high pitched squeak - it frightened him to death and he ran away! (I wouldn't recommend that as a long-term solution though...)
 

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Arianwen, we have one of those little balls in a circle track, as well as other little toys she can bat around. Unfortunately she just doesn't seem interested unless we're there to make the toys move! I'm thinking about looking into some puzzle treat toys.

dlowen, that's actually exactly what my mom suggested we do -- lightly tap her on the nose and say 'NO!' I know it can work with puppies, but to be honest I'm a bit nervous trying it with Whiskey. I think she'd see it as a counterattack & would respond with more biting / scratching!

fizzletto, I'm really hoping this is just a stage, as you said!
 

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I'd grab her by the scruff if she attacked you when disciplining. As I said, it normally calms them and you should be able to remove her. You really can't be scared of your kitten!
 

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I'd grab her by the scruff if she attacked you when disciplining. As I said, it normally calms them and you should be able to remove her. You really can't be scared of your kitten!
Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have the same problem. My kitty would come up to us while we're sitting around and she'd bite my arm. Not drawing blood but it's getting annoying because I can't even find peace in my own house when she's all riled up! I tried grabbing her by the scruff BUT she manages to bite my wrist everytime. She knows I'm about to grab her. I've tried staying put but she bites even harder, and a twitch of a muscle will make her even more aggressive. :catsm

She also hates anything that moves under a blanket or covering. Every morning I have to be very careful when she's around while I'm covered up. She would sit ON ME, suffocating me, and if I move I get scratched. The scars on my face prove that. :cry:

What do I do? Other than these she's an angel.
 

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I really don't know how else to say it and I hope you won't think me rude....but this is just a little ***** cat! You are fifty times her size....you really can't start off your relationship by being scared of her!

Sure, she can bite and scratch, but if you hold her properly she can't do a lot of damage.

I think you need to get some wand toys.....Da Bird is da best as far as I am concerned...and play really vigorously with her, so she really gets tired.

I don't think she's being aggressive....I think she is just inviting you to play as she would another kitten...they pounce on each other and often bite to initiate play. One of mine does this to my knee sometimes....it's very funny, as she does it through covers.

Your kitten is doing what she thinks is right....it is your job as the human to help her learn that this form of invitation is not acceptable.

Either you let this keep happening, in which case it may get worse, as she may decide she is the dominant cat. It may stop, too...but I'd not count on it.

I have moved into a situation where my partner was scared of his cat and never stopped her from doing anything. The result was pitiful. I, after discussing it with him, took matters in hand. Our first and major battle was brief but nasty. The cat jumped up to take some food as I was preparing it. I told her no firmly and placed her on the ground. She jumped back up....I told her no more firmly and picked her up to place her on the ground again. At this point she went for me...I got a couple of scratches, but calmly picked her up by the scruff of the neck and put her through the cat door. She fought me tooth and claw and I certainly wasn't unmarked, but the cat was successfully evicted.

I let her in a few minutes later and she tried again. Again I had to get to the point of taking her by the scruff of her neck, this time with less resistance, and popping her outside. I was cursed and insulted through the door, but she never laid a tooth or claw on me again and was obedient about limits....when I could see her! her owner remained cowed and got no response when he tried to modify her behaviour. The cat and I were friends.

As I said I think your kitten needs lots of interactive play. Mine adore Da Bird, and their crinkly tunnel, and various bits and pieces that they can skitter across the floor....also they fetch, which is super cool. I can wrestle them when they are in the tunnel, which they adore.

But you just have to adopt the attitude that you are dominant when it comes to your little girl hurting you.
 

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Oh...she doesn't hate anything moving under covers...she adores it! It is a trigger for almost every cat to play hunt whatever is under there!
 

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For goodness sake! I go away for a weekend and there's all this scruffing nonsense!

*sigh* ok, one post at a time.

...this is long, but I tried to answer everyone's questions. :)

Thank you both! The Mr & I will make a point to wear her out more often. My husband already plays with her a lot, including chasing her around (which I'm not sure helps the whole overly-excited thing, but they both love it). It is so hard to wear her down!

Librarychick, I have been trying to take the approach you talked about -- I know that I am the adult human, so I am the one who has the responsibility to figure out how to communicate to Whiskey what is & isn't appropriate behavior. I haven't gotten too horribly overwhelmed with her, but I think my husband does sometimes. I've explained this way of approaching the situation to him, and he agrees, but he gets frustrated since he's had less experience with cats. It's difficult not to see her as 'stubborn,' especially when it seems like she is hesitant about doing something we've made clear is 'bad.' For instance, it's a rule that she can't come up to us & try to eat or sniff at our food when we're on the couch. I know she knows we don't like her to do it, because she tries to come up all sneakily, sometimes from over our shoulders, haha! But I also know that the smell of food is probably overwhelming for her and it just takes time and repetition for her to learn.
You've got the right idea. She's a baby and babies make mistakes. Heck, adult humans (who obviously always know better, right? *eye roll*) sometimes make mistakes! So why isn't a baby animal allowed to make some!

What I did (and still do) when my cats were naughty was take a few deep breaths, and tell myself "I AM more stubborn than my cats!" For me I was holding onto my patience with my last nail and I could tell myself this and I would remember that I can be more patient than they can be naughty....but MAN they taught me a lot of patience! lol

When she does bite or latch on, what should be our response to get her to stop in the moment? Making noise works (eg the canned air) but only for a second. Even when she doesn't break the skin, her attacks are pretty painful and all I can think about is how to get her off me!
Another poster actually mentioned it in another post, but I'll repeat it. Make a high pitched noise like 'Ouch!' This translates pretty well into any laguage, feline, human, canine, ect. The reason it works is two things. The first is that a loud and sharp high pitched noise is always frightening, the second is that it's similar enough to the 'ouch' noise that the kitten's siblings would have used if the kitten had chomped one of them too hard. It is a noise that interrupts and also communicates pain. So, you use that noise and then if she releases your hand you immediately stuff something she CAN bite into her face, like a pillow or a stuffed animal.

Also -- I'm worried that if we play with her right after she bites/attacks, she might get the idea that it is okay to ask for attention that way. So should we wait until she is being good and reward her with play only then, like you said?

And no worries about us scaring her. We've found that very little alarms her, so we know it wouldn't be effective, anyway! :p
It depends on how you do it. Animals don't have the same train of thought as we do, so it's all in the timing. If you can get her to release her death-grip, even for a second, and replace your skin with something appropriate then it'll work. But you're right, you don't want to connect those dots too often, it's far better for you to be paying attention and intercept her attacking with a toy BEFORE she gets to the chomping bit.

The fact of the matter is you want her to make good decisions about what to bite, and you'll never do that if the message is only 'NO!', it has to be 'NO! Bite THIS instead.'

OH! And as for getting another kitten -- the idea has come up, but we just can't afford it. In addition, the house we're renting is pretty tiny, and I have no idea where we'd put a second litter box, or where the kitties would go to have separate alone time :/

Maybe someday, though... ;)
If you get another kitten they'll likely end up bonded...and they won't want to be too far apart. I'm not advocating another kitten if you can't afford it, but if your only hesitation is 'alone time' don't worry about it.

As for the litter boxes...you would be amazed where you can hide them :) Closets work well for hiding an extra box, so you could have one in the coat closet (or bedroom closet) and another in the bathroom, or under a living room table, ect.

Librarychick's post was outstanding!
Aw, thanks :) Positive reinforcement works on everyone...me included! lol

*sigh*...ok, this scruffing business. This bit will get a little more into behavior theory than my other posts because I try to keep things understandable for everyone...so if I get a little overboard and you're not understanding something (everyone who reads this) please feel free to ask me to clarify, or to PM me if you'd rather.

I'll likely be in trouble, too....but I have a biter. He's definitely not being aggressive....he simply loves to lick and mouth people, and this behaviour slowly becomes biting, which will get hard if he is left alone.

I simply tap his nose with one finger and say "no biting" very firmly. I also withdraw from play for a moment. He then usually licks me and looks contrite.

It took many repetitions of this for him to really get it....and he will still work himself up into biting mode when he is being very affectionate...but one warning will de-escalate him very quickly.

He has never reacted fearfully to the discipline or to me. His mum would have given him a good cuffing if he'd tried it with her!
...if you KNOW he's building up to giving you a chomp then WHY ON EARTH didn't you interrupt the behavior and give him something he's allowed to chomp rather than waiting for him to get it wrong?! That's the same as if you were to start a new job and they told you to just start doing things without any further instruction and then got mad when you guessed wrong. It just isn't fair!

What I did with my boys was watched them very closely. I allowed them to lick me, and even nibble a bit (your tolerance level is up to you, I am comfortable with training animals and controlling my reactions and since there are no kids in my house my tolerance for love bites is fairly high), but if they started whipping their tails about and putting their ears into the 'play' position I whipped out a stuffy and gave them that to really chomp. Tada! No biting on my arm.

Secondly, the nose tapping advice. I, again, disagree. Cats have a LOT more nerve endings in their noses than we do. This means tapping their nose, even lightly, hurts them more than it would hurt you. Besides that, how would you feel if the next time you did something to offend someone they reached out and whapped YOUR nose? Probably pretty mad.

In any case there are much better ways to deal with it, such as I mentioned above or as I'll go into further down. Actually the 'withdrawing from play' bit is perfect, if you take out the nose bopping.

The justification of 'his mum would have done it' isn't always true. With a kitten...yeah maybe. But animal mums vary in their tolerance levels just as people do, and SHE'S A CAT! This argument always makes me laugh and be irritated in equal parts. Yep, his mum might have done it, but even kittens aren't dumb enough to actually think that you're another cat. Seriously!

Even if you did have a particularly unobservant kitty, what's to say that you'd be using the right body language, or tone when you hissed or scruffed them? People who learn a second language as an adult rarely learn to speak the new language without an accent, sometimes one that's hard to understand and causes problems...now imagine you have an accent and you go around China pretending to be a born Chinese person....they will KNOW you're lying simply from your differences in body language, inflections, and instinctive reactions. And that's another HUMAN culture.

Now imagine the myriad misunderstandings that could happen with another species.

Get it? You aren't a cat. Trying to justify that sort of action by saying 'His mother would do it' is like trying that same excuse on another human, "Yeah, I know I shouldn't spank my friend Karen. But her MOM would do it!"

The next thing up I would try if this doesn't work would be to find a time out spot...where the cat can be contained without interaction briefly, and place your kitten there without any reaction or interaction at all as you do it.....just for a couple of minutes.

Another thing to try is to take the kitten by the scruff of the neck.....it will relax...and firmly place it away from you when it bites.

I use the scruff hold to relax my hyper cat sometimes, not as punishment, too. He almost swoons and looks ecstatic, and it will help him if he going too nuts. This reaction might be peculiar to him, though!
Yet again, I agree with part of this post, and completely disagree with the rest. Giving your kitten a time out can definitely help, but don't picture time outs as a punishment. Think of them as putting your kitten in a quiet calm space where there are fewer distractions so that they can calm down...and then when you let them out have a toy ready to burn off the energy they obviously have too much of! A tired kitten is a good kitten!

Arianwen, we have one of those little balls in a circle track, as well as other little toys she can bat around. Unfortunately she just doesn't seem interested unless we're there to make the toys move! I'm thinking about looking into some puzzle treat toys.

dlowen, that's actually exactly what my mom suggested we do -- lightly tap her on the nose and say 'NO!' I know it can work with puppies, but to be honest I'm a bit nervous trying it with Whiskey. I think she'd see it as a counterattack & would respond with more biting / scratching!

fizzletto, I'm really hoping this is just a stage, as you said!
...how often do you play monopoly by yourself? I'm guessing never. Those toys are kind of the same. They aren't really all that great unless there's someone there to play with you. Unfortunately there's a serious lack of any toys that cats (or dogs TBH) can play with by themselves. Until someone comes up with a few of them you're stuck playing with the kitty the old fashioned way.

I'd grab her by the scruff if she attacked you when disciplining. As I said, it normally calms them and you should be able to remove her. You really can't be scared of your kitten!
Well, I agree that being afraid of your kitten isn't a good start, but rather than suggesting scruffing (for the above reasons) I'd suggest a thick sweater and gloves. That way you feel safe enough not to have to resort to punishment on a being so much smaller than you (which isn't safe, btw).

Rather than sruffing her remove her to another rooma nd shut the door. Get your toys ready, then let her out.

Time outs should NEVER be longer than 10 minutes, and I suggest more like 3 minutes for any cat under 1 year and ideally no more than 5 for any cat...ever.

I used a 10 minute time out one time when Torri and Jitzu got in a fight so I could carefully check each cat over for wounds...that's pretty much the only time I'd use that long of a time span.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have the same problem. My kitty would come up to us while we're sitting around and she'd bite my arm. Not drawing blood but it's getting annoying because I can't even find peace in my own house when she's all riled up! I tried grabbing her by the scruff BUT she manages to bite my wrist everytime. She knows I'm about to grab her. I've tried staying put but she bites even harder, and a twitch of a muscle will make her even more aggressive. :catsm

She also hates anything that moves under a blanket or covering. Every morning I have to be very careful when she's around while I'm covered up. She would sit ON ME, suffocating me, and if I move I get scratched. The scars on my face prove that. :cry:

What do I do? Other than these she's an angel.
This is EXACTLY why I don't like scruffing. Because it teaches them that reacting violently is ok. And then you get mad when they escalate, so you escalate, so they escalate, ect ect...until you have a cat chasing you throughout your home biting you causing deep wounds and you're kicking the cat with all your strength. Obviously that's not working. (BTW this isn't a random example. Jitzu was this cat when I first got her.)

Pepper, rather than scruffing her instead do something she'll think is much worse. Immediately stand up, leave the room and go shut yourself in another room. Your lack of attention IS a punishment, but you're not going to risk damaging her or losing her trust at all.

Give it 30 seconds, grab a toy and come back into the room. Give her something to take her frustration out on (because that's where this behavior is coming from) and let her play until she's tired.

She's telling you she's bored, she's not able to get the energy out on her own, and you're the one she likes the best so you get the brunt..so it's kind of a compliment in a way. (I know it sucks though... :) )

With the covers thing. Make sure you NEVER play with her around the bed. Use your covers as a shield and simply shove her off the bed the second she starts getting to excited. Don't make it fun by shoving her off over and over and over. Shove her off once, roll over and cover your head, and ignore her until she settles back down. You could also calmly pick her up and remove her from the room, shutting her out and ignoring her upset howls when you do.

The bottom line is she's got loads of extra energy, and if you don't find ways to channel it then she'll find ways to channel it...which, as you're discovering, are no fun at all for us.

I really don't know how else to say it and I hope you won't think me rude....but this is just a little ***** cat! You are fifty times her size....you really can't start off your relationship by being scared of her!

Sure, she can bite and scratch, but if you hold her properly she can't do a lot of damage.
I disagree that she can't cause damage. I have had bites become infected, as have many other people on this forum. Someone (don't remember who) nearly had to have a finger amputated because of a bite. That is a concern.

Also, the implication here is that you believe the best way to start off is with her being afraid of you...forgive me if I'm wrong (the internet doesn't convey tone all that well), but if that is the case then I would ask why fear has to come into it at all?

I think you need to get some wand toys.....Da Bird is da best as far as I am concerned...and play really vigorously with her, so she really gets tired.

I don't think she's being aggressive....I think she is just inviting you to play as she would another kitten...they pounce on each other and often bite to initiate play. One of mine does this to my knee sometimes....it's very funny, as she does it through covers.

Your kitten is doing what she thinks is right....it is your job as the human to help her learn that this form of invitation is not acceptable.

Either you let this keep happening, in which case it may get worse, as she may decide she is the dominant cat. It may stop, too...but I'd not count on it.

I have moved into a situation where my partner was scared of his cat and never stopped her from doing anything. The result was pitiful. I, after discussing it with him, took matters in hand. Our first and major battle was brief but nasty. The cat jumped up to take some food as I was preparing it. I told her no firmly and placed her on the ground. She jumped back up....I told her no more firmly and picked her up to place her on the ground again. At this point she went for me...I got a couple of scratches, but calmly picked her up by the scruff of the neck and put her through the cat door. She fought me tooth and claw and I certainly wasn't unmarked, but the cat was successfully evicted.

I let her in a few minutes later and she tried again. Again I had to get to the point of taking her by the scruff of her neck, this time with less resistance, and popping her outside. I was cursed and insulted through the door, but she never laid a tooth or claw on me again and was obedient about limits....when I could see her! her owner remained cowed and got no response when he tried to modify her behaviour. The cat and I were friends.

As I said I think your kitten needs lots of interactive play. Mine adore Da Bird, and their crinkly tunnel, and various bits and pieces that they can skitter across the floor....also they fetch, which is super cool. I can wrestle them when they are in the tunnel, which they adore.

But you just have to adopt the attitude that you are dominant when it comes to your little girl hurting you.
And there it is, the word that your posts were all leading up to and that I hate.

Dominance.

*sigh* Ok...here's the thing. I really don't feel like getting into this whole 'dominance' BS right now...so here's some links that will make my argument for me:

Patricia McConnell's Blog (She has PhD in animal psychology, and has been training for 24 years)
https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/the-concept-formerly-described-as-dominance
dominance-based training TheOtherEndoftheLeash

Dr. Ian Dunbar (Vet, animal behaviorist, dog trainer, trainer since 1982...the ORIGINAL Dog Whisperer)
Misconceptions of the Mythical Alpha Dog | Dog Star Daily

Hey look, a whole anti-cesar/dominance website!
BEYOND CESAR MILLAN - Home

Association on Pet Behavior Councillors
Why Won't Dominance Die? | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

David Mech (lead researcher into wolf behavior)
http://www.4pawsu.com/alphawolf.pdf

The American Veterinary Association
http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position_statements/dominance_statement.pdf

This article was originally published in Science Daily
Using ‘Dominance’ To Explain Dog Behavior Is Old Hat

...hopefully that'll do it. All those articles are from people who really know their stuff who say dominance is faulty logic and unfounded science. These are actual scientists, not just dog trainers.

Suffice it to say I think dominance is not the way to train ANY animal...but especially cats!

Why 'especially cats'? Because if you follow this theory to it's root the idea is that because these animals have a complex social structure that we should place ourselves at the top of it in order to effectively lead and teach them. Which sounds great until you think about it.

With wolves, or dogs...yeah I guess it might seem logical (until you read about all the science debunking it, that is)...but cat's AREN'T social in the wild. Sure, Lions are...but your cats aren't mini lions. Everyone knows that part.

Our cats are descended from small savannah cats from africa, mainly. Guess what...there are NO other social cats other than lions in the wild. NONE.

Sooo since cats DON'T have a natural and complex social structure why would dominance work on them? The fact is that it really won't. They won't think of you as 'dominant' they'll think of you as maybe a little odd if you're lucky, or as a very dangerous predator if you aren't.

Alright, I got a little worked up there at the end, but seriously...no. Dominance is a bad idea, and certainly NOT something to use to justify physical 'punishment' on a kitten.

.../rant. Sorry for the little hijack, OP! For anyone who made it this far thanks for reading my novel! *blush*
 

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Your assumptions are ridiculous. My cats are NOT afraid of me and don't hurt me...except occasionally by accident. They don't act from aggression so there are no warning signs of aggression. I do make it clear who is boss when it comes to the important stuff. They know they rule the roost when it comes to their wellbeing.

I think you are ignorant re scruffing....I have owned cats for 51 years and I use scruffing when I need to....eg in emergency situations when I have to remove a panicked cat from danger and when they need control for serious reasons. Learning not to bite is serious if it is going to affect the happy life of a home.

I have never had a cat who was aggressive or timid.

Your beliefs about social structure in cats are, by the way, not at all what has come up in long studies of cat societies done amongst barn cats in England and the Coliseum cats in Rome. All the evidence points to clear hierarchies....I see it in my cats at home, even. You might try reading the studies....they are fascinating....especially re the female bonds between related cats and the assistance they give each other in rearing kittens.

As for the tapping....we agree to disagree. But your lecturing tone is unnecessary. I have brilliant results. I don't get patronizing because you choose not to tap.



I have never
 

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I wasn't trying to be patronizing at all and I'm sorry if my tone came off that way. I'm used to teaching, so if my tone tends to sound 'lecturing' it's from habit, and the hope to inform.

I wasn't assuming, I've seen people use exactly the techniques you suggested and end up with even bigger problems...a lot. I'm not saying you are heavy handed, since I've never met you or your cats I can't say.

Also there's a difference between grabbing the scruff to stop a cat from doing something that's honestly life threatening, and scruffing them because they did something you didn't like. In my experience, and opinion, scruffing akitten is usually unnecessary and is often used instead of training. Just scruff the kitten and the problem magically goes away...when in fact I've met lots of cats where the reverse is true.

I have scuffed my cats; at the vet to restrain them for shots, to stop a fight, to prevent my cats from escaping onto a road. That's it. IMO scruffing is unnecessary and if it isn't used for purposes where nothing else will do it's not fair to the cat.

I agree it's important for kittens not to bite, but why skip straight to scruffing?
hy not stop the kitten and give them a toy before they bite? Why not teach them what they CAN do, rather than only what they cant?

As far as social structure goes, I haven't read those studies could you link them? Even if it is true you're still assuming your cats include you in their hierarchy and think you're a cat...which is silly, IMO. sorry.

Did you read my links? I'd like to hear your thoughts.
 

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Thank you, I realize she bites when we're not paying any attention to her. She just bit me just now while I was typing a text, and after a good scolding she settled for a nap now.
 

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I know this is an unpopular sentiment here, but ...

I let my cat bite me. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I've become opposed to *not* letting a cat bite you (though the context is important). Most cats biting an owner are "love bites" of some kind - that's one way cats show affection. Telling your cat not to bite you is like telling your wife or husband not to kiss you. Why would you want to do that? It would be a rejection of affection.

Now, if the cat is biting you while angry, that's another story. But while playing or doing some affectionate action, I do not feel trying to stop the cat from biting is a good idea. Personally I don't find that a bite hurts all that much, maybe a little bit sometimes. And it rarely breaks the skin.
I don't disagree with you to a point. I do allow love bites on myself and my SO, but not on guests. I also made a point of teaching my boys what sort of pressure was ok, and what was not, when they were babies. Jitzu has learned as I gained her trust, and Torri...well, we're working on it, lol.

That being said if the bite is unpleasant or painful then it's not ok, IMO. That's why I don't let my cats give guests love bites, you never know how it'll come across or if they'll nibble the wrong person. Licks are allowed, bites are not.

When it's a kitten people are talking about then its usually true that the kitten hasn't been taught how much pressure is too much, or that the kitten just doesn't have enough control of their pressure yet. I don't think its fair to say this isn't a problem at all, because it DOES hurt...but I agree that biting under the right conditions isn't always bad.

Pepper, that means she's doing it when she gets bored, not necessarily for attention. I worked on this with my boys by practicing being distracted. I'd fake reading, or being on the phone, and if the boys got rowdy I would interrupt what I was 'doing' to give them something that would keep them busy. I did also do this when I was actually busy too, I'd give them minimal attention, and a toy that would be interesting without me to move it.

For Muffin I'd give him a milk ring, or a foam ball that he loved to push around. Doran got bottle caps, or the same foam ball. Now when they're bored they start by looking around for a toy, rather than coming to me every time for play or pets.
 

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My cat doesn't give 'love' bites .. she's not very lovey at the moment. She does more play biting. She was a year old when I got her, but I will say that she has great inhibition. She will occasionally do the strike like a snake tecnique at me but on the rare instances when she connects she just touches or scrapes. In fact, this week she got up on the couch beside me (shocking!) and laid down to wash. I touched her paw and she mouthed the back of my hand (she doesn't care for petting .. very frustrating as she is sooo .. fluffy!). I said in a disappointed voice, "Sienna! Don't bite me." She then proceeded to lick the back of my hand several times. I almost had a coronary. She is not affectionate but I have hopes for the future.

When I've had kittens in the past, time outs worked really well for a worked up cat. Many times it only took a minute for them to calm down and come to their senses (what little that kittens have!).
 
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