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My kitten has taken to biting

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 09:47 AM
Hi everyone. I hope I have this in the right section. I need some help with my kitty. I have a 2 month old kitten named Vlad. I think I cursed myself giving him that name because lately all he wants to do is bite and play fight.

He's an indoor kitty and at this time doesn't have a playmate. I am bringing in another kitty in the next couple of weeks and hope that will curtail his newfound habit.

Lately, when I go to bet him, he tries to grab at my hand with his paws and tries to bite. I know that some cats only let you pet them when "they" are in the mood and that's fine. But I hate to think he's going to bite me now every time my hand goes near him. I feel a bit betrayed because I'm incredibly allergic to cats. I take pills and I do everything I can to keep the allergy problem down. I'm not getting rid of him, but it makes me feel bad that I'm doing all this and all he seems to want to do is bite me.

I know he's just a baby, and I tend to think maybe the biting is part of several factors. 1. he's teething, 2. he's bored being home all day alone, and 3. this might be a way kittens learn to play with each other and not having another one around he thinks I'm it.

When he tries to bite and scratch I just take my hand away and ignore him.

He's also quite the beggar. I can't eat anything without him wanting to crawl up my leg or on my lap. I made the mistake of giving him a few pieces of chicken a few times and I think I've created a monster!

Help!

RolandsMom
May 6th, 2007, 10:01 AM
congrats on your kitten and good on you for having him despite your allergies!!!
kittens do bite. this is part of their learning curve adn he is also probably teething. i would make sure there is enough stuff for him to play with and also when he bites, say no firmly and give hm something else to bite instead. its the whole thing about them seeing your hand as a toy. he needs to learn that its not. im sure that its not, at his age, anything to do with arrogance and wanting cuddles on his terms. not just yet, that will come later :D
as for the begging. well you may have created a monster. i dont really know what you can do about that but im sure someone on here will have some advice!

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 10:44 AM
Thank you for your advice. I'll make sure to have a toy nearby when he decides to bite me and divert his attention with that.

He really is such a sweet kitty, I just adore him.

jbr4gg
May 6th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Unfortunately with my now 9mos old Odin I made the unfortunate habit of not doing anything about this and now that he's that old, it is far more painful and far less cute.

I think that you're on the right track with teaching him that when he bites you, the attention stops. However, I think you need to also learn (as I needed to do) what type of behavior on YOUR part provokes this kind of response (namely the biting when you're not playing with him). What was recommended to me has so far worked very well, figuring out exactly what type of petting or where specifically you touch him when he is just laying there elicits the response of him biting.

I think your task is doubled though, especially if you are getting another one (which I think is a good idea) that is as young/younger than him, because even at 2mos. old, if Vlad was still with his mother, I believe she'd still be teachign him bite inhibition/play inhibition and when the two play I believe (anyone feel free to correct me on this) that you'll probably have to fill this role to make sure they don't get too rough with each other.

Another thing I would recommend if you're not doing this already is to get one of those "wand" or fishing-pole type toys (or any kind of toys that he responds well to) and trying to institute blocks of regular "playing" or "excercise" time for something like 10-15 minutes, three times a day. I know you mentioned that he is home all day alone, and I know with Odin, when I was gone for class all day, playing with him once before I left, once when I got home, and once right before I got to bed seemed to burn a lot of his excess energy and curb a lot of the biting/stalking/attacking behavior. I'm sure you already play with him a lot, but oddly enough I found that, at least for me, making sure to at least get two or three fifteen minute very deliberate, play times was a great way to keep that energy down that is turned into things like biting, as well as more time for you to have fun with and bond with your kitty!

Anyone, please, feel free to jump in and correct me on any of this. I am just going off my limited personal experience as well as everything I've read trying to "fix" this in my own kitty :)

Good luck!

dtbmnec
May 6th, 2007, 10:54 AM
I'm not sure about the biting but...

As for the begging. What happened with my cats was that they'd sit there and climb up my leg at feeding time. So I trained them to sit first. I did it with treats. Made sure that they knew they would only get food/treats if they sat.

Before I gave them a treat I'd make them sit (had to show them what I meant a few times) and then give it to them. Then I started with the food. I wouldn't put the food dish down until they sat (still working on the quiet part LOL). They eventually learned that if they wanted food/treats they had to sit. So now when they beg they give me "kitty cat eyes" and sit quietly at my feet and DON'T climb up my legs :)

Megan

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 11:00 AM
Thanks for your response. He has been "stalking" and I've been wondering what the heck that's all about, but it makes sense. He was very young when I got him and it makes sense that it would be his mother that would make sure he's learning all of this.

I know I'll have to watch him around the new kitty. They'll only be a couple of weeks apart in age really, so hopefully the new little one won't let him walk all over her.

I'm pretty new to this. I had a cat when I was in high school, but she got killed by a dog within months of my having her. I really don't know much about their behavior and this site is very helpful.

I have a long stick with a felt type material hanging from it. It makes a chirping sound when he grabs for it. I use that and a laser pointer to play with him in the evenings. So I'm glad you mentioned the whole schedule some play time thing because I've been doing that, so at least I know I'm doing something right.

RolandsMom
May 6th, 2007, 11:07 AM
cats are a lot like kids. they learn through play. the stalking is a very natural cat instinct. I use this as play time too. i hide behind walls making sure he sees me peeking out at him every 30 seconds or so and then when he comes stalking almost to the pl;ace im hiding i jump out and chase him. fun for both of you and encourages natural behaviour. I think once you get the new kitten they will sort out between themselves when its far enough as far as biting each other is concerned. they are so young that i think they will probably just play and it wont be fighting.
do you have any pics for us or did i miss them?

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 11:16 AM
Oh, yes he hides from me then ambushes me. I'd thought about doing the same to him, but wasn't sure if that would be the right thing to do, but since you do it and your cat seems to enjoy it I think I'll try it.

That's Vlad on my avatar. Here are a couple of other pictures of him:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/ancientgirl/Other%20stuff/IMG_0200-1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/ancientgirl/Other%20stuff/IMG_0201.jpg

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 11:20 AM
I'm not sure about the biting but...

As for the begging. What happened with my cats was that they'd sit there and climb up my leg at feeding time. So I trained them to sit first. I did it with treats. Made sure that they knew they would only get food/treats if they sat.

Before I gave them a treat I'd make them sit (had to show them what I meant a few times) and then give it to them. Then I started with the food. I wouldn't put the food dish down until they sat (still working on the quiet part LOL). They eventually learned that if they wanted food/treats they had to sit. So now when they beg they give me "kitty cat eyes" and sit quietly at my feet and DON'T climb up my legs :)

Megan

I'll try that. When I'm standing he tries to climb my leg, which wouldn't hurt so much if I had jeans on all the time, but usually I've got my jammies on and those nails are sharp!

It's those kitty cat eyes that get to me though.

RolandsMom
May 6th, 2007, 11:22 AM
:lovestruck: :lovestruck: oh hes so cute! yes Roland loves this game and you will laugh when Vlad starts coming at you sideways! its great fun and good for them i think. it sets roland off running around the house in a frenzy tehn he comes back for more.:D they will let you know if they dont like it. like if he cowers away and is scared then obviously he doesnt like that game so much. just see how he reacts and go on that. its such a fun time!

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 11:27 AM
I love him. I got very lucky. I went to visit my dad a few weeks ago, and asked his wife if she knew of anyone who might have a cat or bred cats. She happened to say that her neighbor mentioned seeing some kittens at the vet the week before and she called her for me. I wanted a little black male kitty and he was the only one they had. I immediately picked him up then had to go to the pet store to get everything I needed. I honestly didn't think I'd be getting a cat that day. Then when I took him to the vet near my place for his first shot his vet told me they had some kittens there too! So I asked them to hold one for me and hopefully next week I'll be picking her up. She's also black, so I'll have matching kitty's.

I'm very excited.

dtbmnec
May 6th, 2007, 12:11 PM
He looks like my little boy did....He's soooo cute :) :lovestruck: :lovestruck:

Having two black kitties....oh its fun telling them apart when you can't see their faces! LOL Quite often I've yelled out the wrong name :)

But its ok now because Pawz ALWAYS ALWAYS has his tail curled. :)

Megan

rainbow
May 6th, 2007, 12:29 PM
Nothing to add here as everyone has given you great advice. I just wanted to say thanks for rescuing Vlad and your soon-to-be new addition. :angel:

Vlad is adorable :lovestruck: and I bet he will be thrilled to have a new playmate. :D

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 12:50 PM
He looks like my little boy did....He's soooo cute :) :lovestruck: :lovestruck:

Having two black kitties....oh its fun telling them apart when you can't see their faces! LOL Quite often I've yelled out the wrong name :)

But its ok now because Pawz ALWAYS ALWAYS has his tail curled. :)

Megan

If that's your little guy on your avatar, he's a doll. I still haven't had a good look at the new kitty, but Vlad has 4 white spots on his tummy. Unless he grows out of them that and his collar will be a good way of telling the two apart.

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 12:53 PM
Nothing to add here as everyone has given you great advice. I just wanted to say thanks for rescuing Vlad and your soon-to-be new addition. :angel:

Vlad is adorable :lovestruck: and I bet he will be thrilled to have a new playmate. :D

I knew when I began looking for a cat, I wanted to rescue one. I realized after looking for a certain breed, that you can find wonderful cats at the shelter and even at a local vet's office. Those are the ones who really need homes and love.

I'm really looking forward to bringing home the new kitty. I know Vlad will be very happy to have a new playmate. LOL, he likes to stand in front of the mirror and play with the reflection, so I think he and the new one will get along just fine.

dtbmnec
May 6th, 2007, 12:58 PM
If that's your little guy on your avatar, he's a doll. I still haven't had a good look at the new kitty, but Vlad has 4 white spots on his tummy. Unless he grows out of them that and his collar will be a good way of telling the two apart.

Chances are he won't grow out of him. Leo didn't :)

Oh and yes that was one of the first pictures of Leo that I ever took (with a cruddy webcam at that! LOL) He was soooo tiny. Loved to sleep behind my keyboard on my desk :)

He's such a fat kitty now...LOL He's not taking to his "diet" real well though LOL


Teaching them to sit is really fun and its a thing you can show off to your friends too! :goodvibes:

Megan

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 01:01 PM
I've taken a good amount of pictures of Vlad. I'd like to look back once he's a big boy to see how cute he was. Not that I don't expect him to be a handsome cat.

I'd love to teach him to sit. Heck, I'd love to get him to come when I call him too. I need to practice a lot of patience.

dtbmnec
May 6th, 2007, 01:15 PM
I've taken a good amount of pictures of Vlad. I'd like to look back once he's a big boy to see how cute he was. Not that I don't expect him to be a handsome cat.

I'd love to teach him to sit. Heck, I'd love to get him to come when I call him too. I need to practice a lot of patience.

LOL I've tried getting mine to come....it works...when they want to! LOL

Just spend a few minutes everyday giving him treats and saying "come" and hopefully that'll work....

The other option is to just shake the treat bag ROFL

Megan

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 01:28 PM
LOL, oh yeah. I've got no problem getting him to come to me when I've got food in my hand or something that's jingling. He's a character that's for sure.

Shamrock
May 6th, 2007, 02:23 PM
Cant add to the great advice already offered here.

As mentioned, this is very common and natural young kitten behaviour.. but most definitely becomes a pressing and painful problem if left unchecked.
I've known of people who were amused and even encouraged this type of rough play who later on decided their cat was "mean"...and might have to go.:evil:

Your kitten is so sweet!:cloud9: Good luck with him, and with the new arrival coming!
:highfive:

ancientgirl
May 6th, 2007, 03:04 PM
Thanks for your comment. I agree with you. I've heard of many people who think its cute when they begin to behave this way, and really it is. But its also true that it won't be cute when they get bigger and those kitten teeth turn into big cat teeth.

adriean
May 7th, 2007, 12:17 AM
I have four cats and they went thru the biting and they got over it, just snap them on the nose and say not and eventually they will stop and also give them lots of toys, kittens and cats love to play and this will keep them busy.
adriean:

ancientgirl
May 7th, 2007, 08:57 AM
I have noticed that if I say a firm NO he'll hesitate and look at me, then try again. I eventually just take my hand away and ignore him. Hopefully he'll learn at some point not to bite mommy.

CyberKitten
May 7th, 2007, 12:05 PM
He is adorable - I love black kitties!! I think you would be wise to listen to the advice already given. All kittens like to bite at first but do not encourage it - find a toy as someone suggested or even a toy handled by you and let him chew that. Diversion is the best policy. Make playtime fun and do yell NO!! when he wants to bite. Stop playing immediately when he bites so he knows he will not be rewarded for that behaviour. Cats do not respond well to behaviour mod but they know when they are doing something wrong and if you stop when he bites, he will soon stop that behaviour!

Good luck!

ancientgirl
May 7th, 2007, 12:19 PM
Thanks for the advice. I basically keep telling myself he's still just a baby, so he's going to test. I'd been trying to keep him from messing with the blinds, mainly because if he messes with them at night, its easier for him to be seen. And I've also been trying to keep him from the power cords. I read in several books that a squirt bottle helps. I hate using that, but it diverts his attention from where's he's going and I think not being hit with the water keeps him from wandering towards those things. I've noticed he's not as apt to go near the blinds or the power cords as much.

I keep the blinds up during the day, because my sliding glass doors have a film that allows for privacy during the day. He can't be seen and that leaves me to worry less about the neighbors.

onster
May 7th, 2007, 05:16 PM
hi ancient girl :) ure kitten is beautiful

Our cat Onnie ( big half manx black cat) has a bit of a biting problem too. Ive found that blowing in his face when he bites (it startles him) helps - I read that somewhere..could have been this forum actuallY!

Really though with him, since he's an adult, I guess its already engrained in him and he'l always nip...but it is MUCH better since we got him. I think with time you get to know the warning signs - a flick of a tail etc.

I think though with ure kitten since he's still learning if ure vigilant about the no biting rule he'll get the message. Good luck!

onster
May 7th, 2007, 05:17 PM
i might have missed something...but im curious, y cant ure neighbours see Vlad?

ancientgirl
May 7th, 2007, 07:51 PM
I'll look for the signs. I do sometimes see him flicking his tail a bit when he's ready to bite, so that's apparently a warning sign, LOL. And I'll try the blowing too.

Well, I live in a no pets allowed building. But I've been wanting a cat for a long time. I really can't fathom that I'm the only person in a condo complex of about 200 or so people who has a pet. But, still I try to keep it as inconspicuous as possible. I'd never get rid of him, he's completely taken over my heart, so if anyone ever found out and blabbed I'd have to start looking for a new place.

RolandsMom
May 7th, 2007, 07:55 PM
:D :D thats what i like to hear. :D

ancientgirl
May 7th, 2007, 08:01 PM
I hate moving, but I realized after I had him for 2 days that I couldn't imagine living anywhere without him, so getting rid of him is not an option. I'm not going through all of this with my allergies to just get rid of him because some building rule says I can't have a pet.

I can't even believe that's even a rule. I mean, I can understand them not wanting a large dog because maybe they make lots of noise or whatever, but why not allow small pets? Cat's don't even bother anybody. Pet's make your life so happy and you never feel alone. You always have someone who loves you to come home to. I can't wait to get home some days, just so that I can see him. So I decided that if I have to move then so be it.

Besides, why do I want to live around a bunch of people that hate animals? Heck, I know some animals that are far better than some of the people I know.

dtbmnec
May 7th, 2007, 11:43 PM
I think that quite a few people with cats leave the litter boxes a bit too long and it tends to stink up the apartment. There's been waaay too many people who've done this before and there really isn't much that you can do about it. The few have ruined it for the many...

*sigh*

On the plus side my place says no pets and in fact so does my parents' and there are enough dogs in this townhouse complex to make an army capable of taking over the world!

Megan

ancientgirl
May 8th, 2007, 07:54 AM
I' knew the first thing I'd do when I got Vlad was get a self cleaning litter box. The first one I got worked well enough, but it was too noisy and big, I just got the smallest Litter Maid and hopefully it will work better. I didn't want to have any odors coming from my apartment.

I'd like to think that most people really don't care about others having pets, as long as they don't hear or smell them. I don't think there will be any of that with Vlad and his new friend once I pick her up. But, there's always some a-hole waiting to ruin it for someone.

I also know it's a hard rule to keep. To not allow anyone pets, its just too strict, especially if you have people that live on their own. They want the company and enjoy having their pet around. It's like denying someone the right to be happy.