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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel like I have completely failed in fixing my cats behavior. I have a female cat that I have had for a little over a year now. I think she might be lonely because I'm gone on average of 12 to 13 hours a day. She won't really play with any toys and she much prefers scratching my furniture to any scratching post I have tried. When I pet her she will often bite me (she purrs while she does this), the problem is that she's doing it harder and harder to the point that she's drawn blood a couple of times now. I've tried ignoring her and not petting when she does this but it doesn't help. She also loves to chew on power cords. I've tried covering them in bitter stuff, she just does it anyway, I've got cord protectors and she chews through them. I've went to the vet to find out if there was a deficiency in her diet maybe that was causing this but he wasn't any help.

Even though she is frustrating me I hate the thought of abandoning
her to a shelter but I can't keep her if she keeps acting like this.
I'm finding it harder and harder to keep my patience.
 

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So was your girl a kitty when you got her, and how old was she? Or did she come from a shelter or rescue. What do you know of her background? How old was she when she left mamacat and any littermates? I'm asking all these questions as it could determine why she is biting. If she was taken away from momacat and her littermates too early (before 10 weeks or so) she may really never have learned to control her bite from the roughhousing with her littermates, or discipline from mamacat. If she was not brought up in a house and was feral, she may not have learned to play with or had the experience with toys, and it's possible she was not well socialized with people from an early age as well.
Some cats are very sensitive to petting and get overstimulated easily and quickly and will bite or lash out as you've experienced. Most cats usually like their petting or scratching on their cheeks and chin, so I would start there, and as first sign of annoyance (tail flicking, or ears back) stop the petting.
As far as scratching the furniture, you could over it with sheets while you're at work. (pin them if you need too so she doesn't get up underneath).
I agree with you that she is likely lonely as well, and another cat would help to fill in the hours when you're at work. If you go that route, I suggest a kitten (say 12 weeks old with a calm laid-back temperament). Female cats are usually more accepting of a kitten than they are of another adult cat. The kitty would certainly keep her amused with its antics, and forget about chewing on wires.
I would close the door to the room where the power cords are, if you can do that. I do hope you can try some of these things and see if there is improvement in her behavior before giving up on her. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
 

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sounds like a very lonely bored cat. Scream bloody murder when she bites you.

another cat might be just the thing for her.
I can't help you with your furniture, sounds like it is already too far gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply. She was about 2 years old when I got her from the shelter. I honestly have no idea what her background is like. When I'm petting her she doesn't lay her ears back or twitch or anything, she just attacks. Most of the time she purrs while she does this, even when she does it really hard. A couple of times though she has bit, then laid her ears back and hissed at me.

I keep her away from most of the important stuff while I'm away, it's when I get home and try to pay attention to her that she starts chewing so it makes it difficult. Getting another cat really isn't an option right now.
 

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A couple of times though she has bit, then laid her ears back and hissed at me.
.
to me this part sounds like she was in an environment where a bite = a hit...

If she had been in a home without kitty diversions such as toys, climbing trees, scratching posts.. some of it may be habit by now, especially if it was coupled with physical punishment. But I am guessing here.

Squeek was a bit over sensitive to petting, but found it tolerable to lay in someone lap with their hand resting on her but not petting.. If this is even the issue with this part of it.
 

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sounds like you have a cat that is really bored. Some cats like to sit and watch all day long on top of window sills and some are very active. Perhaps yours is one that wants to be more active and absent anything movable to play with all day long, when you come home then you are the play thing. Have you thought about getting another kitty? could be the best solution. Also she is bottled up with energy so you need to find a way for her to get it out of her system and when I had a solo kitty, I would play strings with her and let her chase it around the house...yes, it was exercise for me too... then she rests and slept... the second kitty now plays with her, but even that took time for them to adapt to each other. Good luck.
 

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Cats are supposed to sleep about 16 hours a day. i'm gone 11 hours a day and my cats sleep all that time. Then they sleep the balance 5 hours at night (11 pm to 4 am) and they wake me up at 6 am. 12 or 13 hours is a bit much, hopefully you can find a way to arrive a bit earlier...
 

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Have you thought about a second cat? It might keep kitty busy when you work such long hours and provide someone to help teach manners....?
 

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What kinds of toys do you have for her? We had similar boredom problems when I started going to work after we got Bertie. Getting another cat wasn't an option for us.
2 things I found that really worked to alleviate his boredom:
1. a BIG variety of toys, left out all the time. We have things tied on string where they dangle (shoelace doesn't fray), boxes all over the place and randomly scattered toys including actual cat toys, balled up tinfoil, q-tips, etc. I don't know if he does play much during the day, but we don't find so many chewed things. If you have things on a string that you can dangle for her and let her stalk that might get her interested. Particularly if they make a noise!
2. this is a contraversial one here, and maybe you can't do it - but letting him go out was the biggest thing to really make a difference. He's fully indoor/outdoor (the cat door is never locked), and his behaviour when he's home has really mellowed. There are of course other considerations, like the neighbourhood etc, but that's your choice. Side effects have been an unwanted visitor, and unwanted 'presents' on the carpet, but he's much happier.

As far as the biting goes, does she do it while lying on her back and sort of hold onto your hand with her front claws while biting? Bertie does it sometimes too, and like others have said it's usually cos he's overstimulated or a bit scared (like when he slips into the small space between me and my b/f on the couch and doesn't like being penned in).
I usually let my hand go limp and then extract it from his grasp, then stop petting or interacting with him for a while. If he's sat on me I usually put him on the floor away from me too. On a couple of occasions he's randomly grabbed at my face while I've been holding him (no warning, except his pupils totally dilate as soon as he does it). For that I shout NO (shouting usually from shock...), put him down and ignore him for a bit.

I hope some of that helped, maybe if you offer her more distractions she will calm down a bit for you when you're home.
 

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Boredom could be one of the problems but I also remember reading that if a kitten didn't have access to sufficient food as a kitten, i.e., the female did not lactate sufficiently due to malnutrition, it can create this issue with cats. I live with three biters but fortunately it is within a reasonable range. Having the three does help because they will discipline each other when the bite is too hard. They also keep each other occupied when I am not home.

I too have tried the bitter apple products to discourage chewing and was unsuccessful. I've also tried orange esscence for the skin of an orange and that also was unsuccessful. But I got angry one day and laced the wires with tobasco sauce and the problem was resolved. I realize that many would be against this but the sting of tobasco sauce is by far less of an issue for a cat than being electrocuted.

Today I blow on their face when they bite me and that seems to be detering some of the nipping tendancies. I also don't pet but message around the neck and head area and that seems to reduce their 'excess stimuli nip' as I call it. We all need to find what works for the individual cat!

BTW, someone recommended dangling toys from a string. I'd be careful of this. My friend has a cat that was named Twister because it got twisted in the window blinds cord and almost strangled itself. I almost lost one of my kittens to the same issue so I removed the blinds in their room and tied the strings up on the rest. I would (and I have) buy a toy from the pet store that is suspended from a wire. Offers the same play option with significantly reduced risk.
 

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Hmmm I should have included this with my post but since I didn't, am going to try and post a picture of my clan to see if this works....

 

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They're actually posing for the photo, how beautiful!

*turns green with envy*
 

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it looks like a Beautiful Homes kind of magazine photo with the earth, grey and green color combination. Speaking of green *turns green with envy again* And the cats are saying "Just another happy day at the BoBears home..."

The cats at the front are even crouching a tiny bit so the cat at the back can be seen well.
 

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Great photo! beautiful cats with wonderful expressions.
 

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That's a magazine quality photo you have here BoBear. Great pose, great color, great photographic skill, and, of course, great cats :D
 
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