Cat Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My kitten, Lucky who we rescued as a feral kitten was the biggest little sweetheart until this week. He's suddenly started biting and scratching and really hard. I'm actually feeling a little afraid of him!

He was the biggest sweetheart up until now. Always gentle and very accepting and trusting. He did a little play biting and scratching before, but very gentle.

He's around 4-5 months old. Not sure exactly as he is a rescue. A factor may be that he's having much more exposure to our resident cat, so there is tension there. He was more sequestered from our cat until recently. He tries to chase Agate and I've scolded him and picked him up to take him to another room. This was the first time he started being aggressive towards me.

When he tries to bite me, I take him by the scruff and set him down. Is this OK? I thought I read that somewhere. I am getting afraid to pet him as he'll suddenly start biting and scratching.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
Sounds like you're picking him up when he is already in play mode, he can't play with Agate so go for you! I assume Agate is scared of him and that's why you won't let him play? What I'd do instead of scolding and removing is interrupting (make a noise) and then redirecting him to appropriate toys that he can get his energy and playfulness out on.

I would not hold him by the scruff but if you need to scruff him to detach him from you (since scruffing will usually cause them to freeze up so you can get the claws out of your skin and clothes) that's fine, but I wouldn't then hold him by the scruff to put him on the ground, I'd be afraid that might hurt with no support under his body. But yes, taking away any attention when he chooses to play with you like that is a good idea.

I think redirection to appropriate toys is extremely important for the cat to learn what is appropriate to play with. Just telling him what not to play with may not work as he still has the intense urge to play, letting him know that he can release that energy on certain things makes the process go much faster.


Other things I found helpful were a puff of air in the face (but don't put your face too close) to startle them off of you or when they cling onto an arm gently push the arm towards them, never pull away. This will make it much less fun for them and will reduce damage as pulling against those claws rips your skin. I remember when Willie would have his mouth on me if I pushed towards him just a little he'd let go and pop right up.


Keeping him nails trimmed will help YOU keep a cool head when he plays with you so you can react appropriately (not try and rip your arm away or hit the cat) and installing regular play sessions in your daily routine can help control how often he has crazy kitty fits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,149 Posts
It sounds as if Lucky may not have had a chance to learn sociable skills about biting and scratching. These he would have learned had he been with his momacat and litter mates until he was at least 11 weeks old. If you got him before that, and if he has not been with other cats, he has not learned those skills. I would not scold him for chasing Agate or keep him away from Agate. Let them intereact, and see if Agate can teach him some manners.....it's a lot easier for another cat to teach a kitten when to control their bite and claws by reciprocating with a harder bite and hissing. When he bites, a loud Oww! is good and then walk away. Ignore him for while. If he gets bitey again and goes after your hand or finger, give him a toy to bite on instead. Be consistent, so that he knows biting or scratching means no fun and he gets ignored, and that biting on a toy or cardboard box (he's into "teething" now as well) is good behavior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Neko and Gato got REALLY rambunctious at that age, it could just be his age, we usually just yelped when they bit us and they'd instantly stop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Lucky was a rescue feral kitten. I don't know how old he was. my guess is around 6 weeks old. He was the sweetest, little kitty, but he's getting aggressive. He is constantly biting me - hard. I think he's around 5 months old now and I wonder if he's becoming a Tom cat? He's getting neutered as soon as I can!

So, walking away is fine - but what if I'm in bed or I'm at my computer and he's on my lap? I can't really walk away and don't always have something to hand to play with him.

He's getting really rough with the dogs as well. I can't believe how much they are putting up with him, but they will eventually get tired of it and tell him what for.

He goes after Agate as well. He is constantly chasing her - they've had a few spitting fights and he will wait by the cat door for her to come in and chase her. Poor Agate walks around craning her neck afraid of him jumping her.

I really want this to work out, but he's terrorizing everyone in the house! What happened to my little sweetheart?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,980 Posts
He's not getting aggressive, he's getting playful. There's a huge difference.

He's not TRYING to hurt you, just trying to play with you and not understanding that he hurts you.

When he gets to rough and hurts you tell him "OUCH!" then stand up and walk away from him. If he's climbing on you and clawing you then say "OUCH!", set him down and walk away from him. He'll learn that anything too rough and the fun is over.

He was removed from mom and siblings WAY to early to learn proper behavior and how to be gentle and now it's up to you to teach him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,149 Posts
Another reason for getting rough and bitey, besides what I've already mentioned----didn't learn bite control, teething---- is that he's entered the bratty wild play of his teenage months when the hormones are starting to flow and this will only increase his aggressiveness as you're already observing with Agate and your dogs. If he starts biting when you're busy on the computer, on your lap or in bed, say a stern "No" to his biting and immediately pick him up, put him out of the room and shut the door, or put him in another room for a 20 min. time-out cool-down period. If you have not had him neutered, he is at a good age to be neutered at 4-5 mos. and this should curb his growing aggressiveness. Let us know how he progresses. When he is behaving well and not biting tell him so and make a fuss over him. You don't want to be always saying "No", but should be saying more "Good boy" --- always award his good behavior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
614 Posts
He was removed from mom and siblings WAY to early to learn proper behavior and how to be gentle and now it's up to you to teach him.
This may have been outside your control. It bugs me no end when co-workers/friends/relatives have the option to wait but are too impatient to wait until the kitten is 12 weeks old and insist on getting them at 8-10 weeks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
This may have been outside your control. It bugs me no end when co-workers/friends/relatives have the option to wait but are too impatient to wait until the kitten is 12 weeks old and insist on getting them at 8-10 weeks
Totally outside my control. We found him in our backyard. Starving and an abscess on face. His ears were bald and dry. The vet said it was probably from malnourishment. We know who his mother is - we see her behind our backyard - a feral cat with other kittens. If I hadn't adopted him, his life would have been very rough if he had survived at all.

I know that he is going through adolescence, and playing hard but it's also more than that. He's challenging me. Before, if I would pick him up, he was extremely accepting. Now, if he's not happy with me picking him up, he will try to bite me. If I say no to him for something, he tries to bite me and attack me.

I know more about dogs - when a dog goes through adolescence, you do the same things as far as yipping in an exaggerated way and turning away from attention and play - but you also start giving them firm but gentle obedience drills so they are reminded that they are not the bosses. I don't know how to do that with a cat!

I'll make an appointment with the vet about the neutering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,149 Posts
After a month after neutering, your boy shouldn't be quite as aggressive as he is now.

Cats are trainable, some more so than others, but they do respond to commands and rewards for performing. Some respond better to clicker training than voice commands because the "click" is always the same sound and a person's voice can vary in tone. So I suggest you read up on "clicker training for cats", lots of videos on YouTube and informatiion on websites, and see if you can teach your boy some simple obedience, such as "sit" and "stay". Keep the sessions short, no long than about 10 mins. each time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
We're having the same problems with Sophie, who's now about 7 months old and still bites. She's very, very rough with her mouth, and I have a wound on my thumb that is just now healed up from her last very hard bite. We found her outside, starving, so we also suspect she was taken from Mom too soon. We have a neutered tomcat that has sort of taken the role of teacher/surrogate. It's funny to see him body slam her to the floor, but she isn't really taking him seriously, perhaps because he's so gentle with her. I know, body slamming sounds rough, but he just pins her down and holds her there for a few moments, then lets her up. When he walks away, she leaps onto his back. She adores him and follows him everywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
OK, this is really getting bad. My kitten is now biting me all the time and honestly, it doesn't feel like he's playing anymore - he is attacking me. All the time. I try to come up to him gently, saying soft things and he will sometimes let me pet him a little and then he bites me. If I say NO, he attacks me. He's a little better with my husband.

What happened to the sweet kitten I had that would lay on my lap for hours? I can only think that because when he bites me hard, I will pick him up by his scruff and set him down. Maybe he now thinks of me as someone to fight?

I don't know what else to do though when he attacks me. Shouldn't I let him know at least by voice that I'm displeased? I spent so much time with him when he was little giving him love and attention, so I find it hard to believe that he has turned against me so much.

He also pees on my bed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,514 Posts
Don't think of it as 'turning against you'. Usually with cats, it's nothing personal. he's just growing up and finding his place in the world as well as the hiearchy in your house. Honestly, it's nothing to get all hung up about. He's just being a cat. It's not like he's going through a human, complicated thought process of plotting revenge or designing evil schemes to intentionally cause you pain and hurt.

Actually, it could be stress from dealing with a new cat, Agate. Sometimes a cat becomes frustrated if it's unable to directly deal with a new stress. (He could be upset that you didn't allow him to play with Agate). In some cases, it will re-direct the aggression/anger at what it CAN get to...in this case, you since you're the closest.

How does Agate interact with him or did you even allow that interaction to happen before separating them? Perhaps you should read up on the cat introduction articles in this forum as a first step.

It also really depends on what you mean by 'all the time' now. That isn't specific enough. Does he bite when you're in the middle of petting him? Does he bite when you're playing with him? Does he just walk by and sudden attack you? Does he have a clean bill of health from the vet? Is there anything else that changed in the house from before like new furniture, stray cat appearing outside, new family members, new home, change of litter box location?

I highly agree that he should be neutered which will scale back some of the aggression and peeing (marking behavior).
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top