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kittens who bite - HARD

cherylann
December 5th, 2007, 03:54 AM
Hi! My name is Cheryl, my kitten's is Raymo. I grew up with a cat, and had a cat as an adult for 15 years. It's been awhile since I've been around a kitten. Raymo and his 3 brothers were found under a house at about 3 weeks. They were bottle fed, and I brought him home at about 6 weeks. He's been to the vet, is healthy, eats well and uses his litter box perfectly! However, he has always liked to suck on my neck (common behavior in "orphans", I know) .. that seems to be going away (he is a little over 8 weeks now) but now he is biting CONSTANTLY. He has many toys, and while my husband and I work during the day we give him a lot of attention in the morning, evening, and weekends. I get that he will bite while playing, and know that when kittens get over-excited, they bite. But this is far beyond what I've ever seen. I've tried yelling "ouch". I've tried just putting him down on the floor over and over and over. I've tried shutting him in the bathroom for a few minutes. He sometimes jumps away when I say "no!"m but then comes back instantly with harder bites. I've tried distracting him with toys...nothing seems to work. Any ideas? thank you!

Love4himies
December 5th, 2007, 07:39 AM
When I was training my foster kittens not to bite, I had to stop all play when they tried to play with hands. Consistency and patience is key when trying to train cats. You can never wiggle your fingers to get them to play and must immediately stop all play when they do try to play with them by putting your hands out of their reach and a firm "no" when they do try to bite. Then restart play with toys. Never punish them, it doesn't work, it only confuses them. "Time out" works for children, but not for kittens, they don't have the reasoning skills of a human. As for the biting, they do need toys they can chew on. Playing with a plastic straw works, they get play and can chew the ends. Kittens do have endless energy don't they, lol.

sugarcatmom
December 5th, 2007, 07:57 AM
Kittens, like puppies, learn bite inhibition from momma and their litter mates. Unfortunately, since Raymo has been separated from the rest of his family at such a young age, he probably skipped that lesson. Love4himies has good advice: persistence is key, and NO playing with your hands. As soon as his mouth comes into contact with you, stop playing immediately and walk away. Other than that, maybe you could adopt one of his siblings, or have them over for play-dates:D?

SARAH
December 5th, 2007, 07:58 AM
Somewhat excessive but : bite back! Your kitten hasn't had a mom to teach him what a hard bite feels like, he just doesn't know!

OK, anecdote: Nussi, our one female cat when I was growing up. She would hide behind the floor-to-ceiling heavy velvet curtains between the living room and dining room and literally jump anyone who walked by, biting as hard as she could.

My brother and I were ... I don't know, 5 and 7 or something close enough, so we were often on the floor playing with Lego and plastic animals and little cars. Out jumps the cat one more time and :evil: bites my brother! LOL, that was the last time she bit him :laughing: because he grabbed her and bit her over the back :thumbs up just hard enough to show her that this was no fun game!

She never, ever bit him again! The rest of us ... :frustrated: oh yeah! I never bit back because I didn't want my mouth full of fur :D and I wasn't quick enough either, wouldn't have caught her :sad:

It might work with your kitten, just don't actually hurt him of course, justlet him feel how uncomfortable it is to be bitten!

Prismom
December 5th, 2007, 08:08 AM
One of the two rescued cats we adopted was a biter for awhile. I have heard that that weren't socialized very early sometimes display these types of behavioral problems.

I have a bit of advice from having experienced this, but nothing magic.
1. Wear shoes and slippers, always. My cat used to single out individual toes and bite them hard, one by one. Given that I am diabetic, that was actually dangerous. Even if I hadn't been, it would have been hard to take. Biters often love feet. I think it might be because feet have more smell, and they are being territorial or marking you in an inappropriate way.
2. Biting in both cats and children sometimes indicates dental problems. Ask vet to check the teeth.
3. My biter eventually outgrew it once she was better socialized. Yours may, too.
4. You are right about the over-excitement. Kittens that were "wild" can be pretty easy to overload, too. For me, playing with my kitten through plushy toys helped socialize her better and was safer. Hand play with her at first led to unpredictable behavior and anything that jingled or bounced would frenzy her, because she had a strong hunting instinct. She wasn't sure where we were on the dominance scale, and her experiences had made her a bit paranoid, I think. It's very easy for your kitten to feel suddenly threatened, especially if your hand comes from a place they cannot see. I am hoping your cat doesn't intentionally approach you to bite/play like mine did.
5. Time out and other punishments only work if your cat can associate the punishment with the behavior. That is not always easy for them. Do the exact same thing every single time the cat bites you. It will only confuse him if you aren't consistent when he bites lightly. I recommend time out for a bit longer until he settles down, but if you can't get him to associate the biting with the time out, you're going to have to try something else more immediate. Have you tried hissing? I know it sounds weird, but when a cat is doing a possible dominance/aggression behavior, sometimes using a cat style warning gets the message across really fast. Don't hiss too long, because you don't want this to be a catfight invitation. A good sharp hiss while looking in the cat's eye sends a message in his own language that says you have annoyed me/gone too far and I am bigger. If the cat ever yowls at you catfight style, then you need to talk to your vet about his aggression. That would be danger of a more serious bite.
6. Really important. Many vets recommend neutering as early as 8 weeks now. If he's already displaying unusual aggression, you might want to ask your vet if he is old enough to neuter. Early neutering actually has some advantages in terms of healing better, and it would be heading off the possibility of an already aggressive male cat possibly becoming super aggressive when he hits puberty. Does he bite your husband, or just you?

It took several weeks for the cat to get the message and she was never entirely trustworthy with toes or shoes, but she did learn not to bite during play, and to keep her claws in. After she learned, she was very good about it. One of my friends swears by squirt bottles. I've never had to use them, but it might be an option for you.

Love4himies
December 5th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Other than that, maybe you could adopt one of his siblings, or have them over for play-dates:D?

I love that advice, it would keep your kitten occupied :laughing:.

The momma of my 7 foster kittens would walk away when the kittens were playing with her and she didn't want to play. She never bit them back or scratched at them. The kittens were NEVER allowed to play with hands and I have NEVER been bitten or scratched by them. They are 4 1/2 months old and I still have 4 of them.

SARAH
December 5th, 2007, 08:39 AM
. Many vets recommend neutering as early as 8 weeks now.


Excuse my question, but how in blazes do they locate the "peanuts" at that age!? They are barely the size of a pin-head! And sometimes an early neutering isn't complete, for that very reason.

:offtopic: when I called the SPCA yesterday to schedule the neutering for Spoutnik, the woman on the phone asked me if I wanted to have him declawed at the same time! As in ... an automatic question! :censored: no! She didn't even ask if he was living with dogs and might at some point need to defend himself, or if was an outdoors cat and would need his claws! It was like "we include the neutering in the price, so here's something that would bring in extra money!" :frustrated:

ancientgirl
December 5th, 2007, 09:03 AM
When my Vlad was a kitten he got to biting hard too. The vet technician where I take them told me when he bites, to firmly, but gently hold his mouth closed and look him in the eye and say NO, then let him go and stop playing with him.

That stopped the hard biting. The little nips I usually just take my hand away and say no and start doing something else.

Vlad is 10 months, and every now and then he will try to bite, but he's learned that NO means no more playing.

Prismom
December 5th, 2007, 09:33 AM
Yikes! The SPCA said that about declawing? Eek, go somewhere else if you can. I know people have different opinions about declawing, but I would never do it. Cats have claws for a reason. Very rarely it is medically necessary in cases of injury to declaw. Other than that, I can't see any reason I would ever want to. Claws also help them land safely when they jump and help prevent falls. Claws are the price of a cat, and it's just such a small price to pay to share your life with such a wonderful creature.

Still can't get over them asking you that automatically. What's next? A side of fries with that? Ugh.

CearaQC
December 5th, 2007, 09:57 AM
Declawing is for people too lazy to train their cat. Horrible that the SPCA offered that. Sounds like they are only interested in producing profit for the organization, but consider it as performing a "service." Their vet should be spending more time helping animals rather than disfiguring them.

Right on Prismom!! I love it... "would you like fries with that." :laughing:

My Linx has all his claws. I trim them of course, but would never think of putting that poor thing into surgery just for convenience sake.

Declawing is hurtful to the cat, a waste of money and a waste of time IMO.

If I was in your shoes, I would have given that person an earful!!

krdahmer
December 5th, 2007, 12:30 PM
I was eavesdropping on my vet councilling another patient about this exact thing.... and she said to hiss. Whenever play gets too rough or they are biting your hand too hard, you stop and hiss at them. I tried it out here and man it actually works, the first time I just got a very puzzled look, but the next time the biting stopped abruptly and after just a few times they got the idea that biting my skin that hard was not ok. I guess it's sort of speaking their language. It's their way of telling each other 'ouch', so why shouldn't it be ours too.;)

ancientgirl
December 5th, 2007, 12:35 PM
That's a great idea. I hear that from Oksana quite often when Vlad gets too rough, and he stops. LOL, of course that gives her time to run as fast as she can away from him.:laughing:

Jim Hall
December 5th, 2007, 12:47 PM
hiis and bite cat language for cut it out it works good

phoozles
December 5th, 2007, 01:14 PM
My little Alley is quite a biter too, and I found an easy solution is to lightly blow in her face. She hates it and stops immediately. I let her lick my fingers, but the moment it turns into a bite, I blow in her face and she goes back to licking.

Slowly but surely, it's working, but it definitely takes a while to do. I've tried the hissing thing, but it doesn't work - which should be obvious since Jake hisses a lot of the time when Alley jumps on him, and she goes right back at it. She's dedicated, that one!

krdahmer
December 5th, 2007, 06:29 PM
Oh and I forgot to mention, I also use the hiss on Palomine when he tries to steal food off my plate. Works there too, although he doesn't back off, just stops putting his paw in my food! :rolleyes: He still sits next to the plate and waits for scraps... and of course he knows I'm givin in! :laughing::o

zztopp
January 14th, 2008, 01:59 PM
Sorry for dragging up an old thread, but I wanted to say thanks! :D

.... and she said to hiss. Whenever play gets too rough or they are biting your hand too hard, you stop and hiss at them.

I tried that with our barn cat, DeeDee. She gives sharp bites that REALLY hurt! Dee froze and stared at me in udder horror ... I think she was appalled that I 'spoke' to her in that tone of meow ;) LOL

But the real test will be tonight at dinner time ... see if she tries to bite again!