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Hi everyone,

I adopted a 7 year old male from a shelter about a month ago, and so far it's been great. He's getting more comfortable and affectionate, and is very curious and wanting to be around me no matter what (for example, he's "helping" me write this message by stepping on my ipad keyboard and somehow just made my music start up!) He lived in an animal hoarder's NYC apartment until he was rescued, and was at the shelter about 6 weeks before I found him. I haven't had cats before, only dogs, so there's some behavior I'm a little curious about.

First, he play-nips and scratches sometimes. When he gets excited and I'm petting him, he'll whip around and give me a tiny bite. It doesn't break the skin, but I don't want to encourage it. I've taken to saying "NO" in a deep voice and walking away. Same with scratching - he hates belly rubs and if someone gets too close to his belly or he's just feeling naughty he'll grab hands with his paws, claws out. I do the same "NO" and ignore routine but he seems determined to play like this, and while I don't mind the scratches, I don't want friends or family to be nervous around him. Anything else training-wise I can do?

Also, he meows. He meows a lot. All the time. He "talks" during the day if he walks into a room and I'm there, and he will come over to me and just do one little meow. It's very cute and I talked to his vet about whether it means something's wrong, and she seems to feel he just likes to talk (like me!). But the night-time meowing is rough. Probably 2-5 times a night, he'll walk right up to the bed and meow until I'm awake. I try to ignore it to discourage it, but sometimes it wakes me and I jump, so he knows I'm up! He also knows my weekday schedule (up at 5), so on weekends he "helps" by being an alarm clock at 5am. Anyone else have ways to deal with this?

TLDR - awesome new older cat that nips/scratches and meows at night, new clueless owner needing advice.
 

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Hey New CatMom Congratulations on your new arrival. I also was a first time cat mom 2 years ago so I'm no expert but here's some bits I've picked up on the way.

Kitties sometimes as you described in your cat get over excited from petting. They will nip or scratch as a result. They key is to you learning when to quit before it gets to that point. Ears twitching, laying flat or flicking tail are often signs. Saying no and walking away is about the most I do too if it happens. Educate your visitors too.

Most Kitties do not like their bellies rubbed. It's their most vulnerable spot. Best to just not go there and leave it be. Let visitors know and encourage them to pet back, head, chin area.

As for the night time/early morning meowing If you haven't guessed already, you are now owned by a kitty. They will let you know the schedule you are expected to follow. Big play time just before bed, then big feed and not feeding first thing in the morning are all I can suggest other than leaving kitty out of tge bedroom.

Good luck

Btw what's your kitty's name? What type/colour?
 

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Awww! THANK YOU for adopting an older kitty!! They are often overlooked because most first time cat owners gravitate to the cute kittens. I love the older cats for many reasons so that is where my heart is at. You are definitely on the right track with the corrections to the nipping and the clawing. I totally second what annegirl says. Some cats never like to have their bellies rubbed or touched period. Some get used to it in time. A good rule of thumb is to tell visitors to NOT touch kitty's belly. Period. Even if he tolerates you doing it, he may lash out at anyone else trying that. Bellies are off limits to any visitors at my house.

Our Zipper used to do the midnight visits. Now she will come up - nuzzle my hair, I will scratch her chin and we both will settle in to sleep with her by my head. I find it relaxing to hear a kitty purring so I don't mind. Try feeding a late meal - maybe kitty is hungry? Kitty is still learning the routine and one month is not long for a 7 year old to get accustomed to things. Again, congratulations on your new friend!!! Now we need name and pics!!
We cross posted, but ALL cats are kitties, not just the kittens! Most of us think of our cats as kids, so kitty seems to fit when we don't have a name.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi annegirl,
Thanks for the reply!

My cat is actually not a kitty, he's 6 or 7 (estimated) and I think some of his little quirks comes from the fact that he didn't have much human attention, coming from an animal hoarder.

His name is Humbert - it was the name he was given at the shelter and it was too adorable to change... perfect for a little old man. He's black on top and white on bottom, very symmetrical coloring.
 

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Humbert is too cute. (both ths name and the pic) Love the lil black nose on the white face. My first Cat was 10 years old and a black and white too. Mr Magoo. Gone over rainbow bridge too soon. Have two 14 month old tabby ladies now.
 

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It sounds like you have a handle on things. I agree with the suggestions above. I might also add that when you are petting him, keep a toy nearby. If he starts to get frisky or nips or scratches, just grab a toy that he CAN bite to get him distracted from your fingers.
 

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Cats have their schedules and routines. Our Emily likes to eat wet food at four in the morning. She is very quite and wakes us by getting on the bed and walking on us. Actually four in the morning is convenient since that is when I usually need to get up to go to the bathroom. Once fed Emily will then return to our bed and snuggle between us. She loves to have her belly rubbed when she is between us.

She was a stray and about eight months old when we brough her in. Found out later she had been spayed, but no micro chip. Can't figure out who would abandon such a good natured kitten.
 

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His black nose is soooo cute! He's handsome for sure.

He's probably just a little overstimulated when he's petted (he probably didn't get much, if any, attention since he was in a hoarding situation). I would definitely get some toys, and continue with what you're doing, it sounds like you're on the right track. Behavior modification takes time (especially if he's 6 or 7).

Try to keep him on a regular feeding and sleeping schedule too (again, with hoarding, there was probably not much consistency, and it will take him time to adjust). You could try leaving some dry kibble out at night if he still seems to wake up in the middle of the night.
 

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1 month is still too soon for kitty to adapt and learn not to bite and scratch. I took ET in, a stray, at age 2. Everywhere I read, is, its hard to train an adult. It took me 8months or so to get ET to stop all the blood drawing biting, scratching and play biting. Not that he doesn't bite now, he still does, but only occasionally, esp when he is VERY hungry.

Whenever he needed my attention, he used to tap me with extended claw, but not anymore, he used to grab my leg each time i walked past him, with extended claw too, but not anymore too. It really took me so long to get him to understand "pain pain" and "NO". He has also stop scratching the furniture, meowing at 3am. I don't know if he really understand me, but I kept talking to him to stop the meowing just in case he disturbs the neighbours downstairs and if they were to complain to the authority, he will have to go. My neighbours on the same floor and above my unit were ok with me having a cat.

Time, give kitty time to adapt and to know our rules. You are on the right track to stop the nipping. Even now, after 1yr 3/4 months, I still need to retrain ET on eating manners. I'm glad its working, cos he already understands "sit", "NO".
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the answers and advice! Glad to hear I'm at least on the right track!

One last question (probably won't actually be my last) about a little Humbert quirk: since he's come home, he's been really disinterested in the furniture. It's great in terms of not scratching but he really won't even get on a couch or bed to engage with people. He'll look at someone on the couch, or me in my bed, and meow until we get down to "his level" on the ground, then he's very happy to hang out with people. It might be a function of his previous home but I was just wondering if this was familiar. He loves jumping on counters, dressers and radiators but not the soft comfy couch or bed!
 

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We had the same problem when we first brought Jacob home. He would not jump up on the couch for the longest time, he would instead lay on the floor at our feet. We figured in his previous home they didn't allow him on the furniture and that might have had something to do with it. He'll get over soon and then you'll never get a seat on the couch again :D
 

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lol...ya, my kitty loved leather and is always sitting on my hubby's favourite reclining and massage chair. Hubby minded and had to place something on the chair just so kitty doesn't claim it. So, ET went on mine, oh well, I didn't mind, let him have it. I guess, in no time, Humbert will get on your couch cos he sees you on it so often and it has your smell, lol.
 

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Well, you guys were right! Humbert has slowly been testing out furniture. He slept on the edge of my bed for a few hours the past few nights and today I'm working from home and he's been a great little assistant.

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