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Old June 3rd, 2012, 03:56 PM
CearaD CearaD is offline
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Kitten bites/scratches and attacks faces!

I recently adopted an orphaned kitten. He is about 4-5 weeks old and just started playing. He is doing really well but he likes to bite hands, feet, anything, and to stalk you and jump on you, mainly your face. I have tried scruffing him like a mother cat would, hissing at him when he does it, or meowing loudly like another kitten would. It helps in the moment but he is back at it the next time he wants to play. I know he is just playing but it hurts, and I have a 5 month old son who would not be very happy getting bitten or scratched. What can I do to break his habit?
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:31 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CearaD View Post
I recently adopted an orphaned kitten. He is about 4-5 weeks old and just started playing. He is doing really well but he likes to bite hands, feet, anything, and to stalk you and jump on you, mainly your face. I have tried scruffing him like a mother cat would, hissing at him when he does it, or meowing loudly like another kitten would. It helps in the moment but he is back at it the next time he wants to play. I know he is just playing but it hurts, and I have a 5 month old son who would not be very happy getting bitten or scratched. What can I do to break his habit?
I would be very careful about having the cat around your son , the cat might think your baby is a small animal and try to attack him. This almost happen to by sister's baby. Her cat just had kittens and I was watching my niece while she was sleeping on a bed and when I turned around I saw the mother cat was just about take a flying leap on my niece and attack her! You may have to give the kitten up, I don't think that easy to train a kitten to stop biting and it I would would not want a kitten near my baby when it attacking people in the face,.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 11:37 PM
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Having a kitten that young is definitely a challenge. However, with proper training there is no need to give him up.
If you are concerned with him around the baby then by all means do not allow him near the baby without your supervision. NO animal should be left alone with a baby IMO. Cat OR dog. There have been too many horrific stories out there of what can happen. And not just to the baby.
Now, a few options:
Do you know anyone who has a family of kittens around the same age? Is there any way that your kitten can be with that family until it reaches a more acceptable adoption age? Ideally 10 to 12 weeks of age. That way the other kittens and the mother cat can teach the kitten how to play properly. Being taken from mom that early the kitten has no idea of how it is supposed to play. A mother cat btw would not scruff the kitten if it was playing too hard. In fact you could cause internal bleeding to the kitten if you are too rough or scruff the wrong spot.
If finding an alternative home for the kitten during this time is not feasible then what you need to do is to get some of those wand type toys and some stuffed animals large enough for the kitten to "attack" but small enough that he is able to do so. A couple a little larger than him would work well. Every time the kitten goes to bite your hand, face, etc redirect him to one of the toys. You can use the wand type toy to get him away from your body and get him to the stuffed toy. If you move the toy around as if it were alive he will learn to use it to play with. But it is very important you are consistent. Just as with a puppy the kitten will learn with consistency, time and patience.
There are lots of other things for you to try as well. Just please don't give up on this kitten. There are far too many people around who already do that. If you need help feel free to pm me. I will do what I can to assist.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 09:22 AM
CearaD CearaD is offline
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Thank you for your responses!

I dont let the kitten near my baby, especially unsupervised. They love each other and usually he is gentle, but lately he has been more hyper (I assume because of his impressive recovery), and I am afraid the baby will be the perfect "prey" lol!

I dont know any families with kittens his age. When we first found him I called shelters, vets, rescues etc and most were full so they suggested I keep him or put him down. I want to keep him as he is still young so I think he can learn. But he doesnt seem interested in other toys. I will keep trying though.
Edit: i got him to attack a small toy lamb but he doesnt actively seek it out. Would bitter cherry spray on my hands and feet work?

Last edited by CearaD; June 4th, 2012 at 09:35 AM.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:54 PM
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One day does not consistency make. It is going to take a while to teach the kitten the proper way of playing. Just as with a child or a puppy, they don't learn right away. With time the kitten will learn that fingers and toes are a no no, toys are ok.

This whole "seeing baby as prey" I have to tell you bothers the crap out of me. That is very archaic thinking and should be banished from people's thoughts. Cats, even a tiny kitten, knows full well that the baby IS NOT PREY. For heaven sakes, the baby is bigger than the kitten. When I said to keep the baby and kitten separate I was actually more concerned about the kitten than the baby. Baby can hurt the kitten pretty easily. Kittens' bodies are pretty fragile and do not withstand a lot of punishment. Babies have a habit of wanting to squeeze the smallest part of the kitten/toy/whatever because it's easier to hold. In this case it would be the kitten's neck.

You can spray whatever you'd like on your hands and feet. Without an ongoing program of showing the kitten the proper way of playing it would not do much good. The kitten is a baby. It is only doing what is normal. If you watch kittens playing together they quite often go after each other's ears, tails, feet, whatever. It is normal play. It is up to you to teach the kitten gently and consistently the proper way to play. I can not emphasize the "gentle" part enough.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Also - when you spray that stuff on your hands, you taste it for days!
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Old June 4th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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14+ has given you some great advice. The best way, of course to train a kitten is by having at least 2.

In the absence of that, consistency, consistency, consistency of no playing with hands or feet rule, not even one time. If the kitten does bite/scratch a firm No and then the kitten should be re-directed towards a toy he can bite. If you are trying to pat the kitten and the kitten is playing, then I would follow the kitten's lead and get a toy to play with. You just can't reason with them .

Kittens also like to "rabbit kick" their larger toys. Puddles liked tennis balls that I would roll and bounce on the floor and she would chase it, put it against her tummy and kick at it. Snowball liked stuffies that were about his size when he was a kitten, that I would get down on the floor, hold out the stuffie, make the ears move, or wiggle it gently as if it was his prey, then as he pounced on it, I would let go and he would "rabbit kick" it. It's a great way for them to release some pent up energy.

Also, a tired kitty, is a good kitty. Toys as basic as a piece of cloth tied at the end or a long shoe lace or string that you drag behind you will entertain and exhaust him. If you have a long hallway, or a staircase, you can use a small toy mouse to throw for them to chase.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 06:27 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CearaD View Post
Thank you for your responses!

I dont let the kitten near my baby, especially unsupervised. They love each other and usually he is gentle, but lately he has been more hyper (I assume because of his impressive recovery), and I am afraid the baby will be the perfect "prey" lol!

I dont know any families with kittens his age. When we first found him I called shelters, vets, rescues etc and most were full so they suggested I keep him or put him down. I want to keep him as he is still young so I think he can learn. But he doesnt seem interested in other toys. I will keep trying though.
Edit: i got him to attack a small toy lamb but he doesnt actively seek it out. Would bitter cherry spray on my hands and feet work?
There is nothing funny about a baby getting attacked in a face by an animal. A kitten could do a lot harm to baby. My niece was very lucky I saw the cat about to attack her.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 06:04 PM
CearaD CearaD is offline
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Oh, I'm sorry, guys! I guess I should have explained myself better. I know the kitten doesn't actually see the baby as prey, I was just joking. And the kitten is very gentle with my son when I am watching them together. He hasn't been rough with him at all, but I always watch them just in case. The baby is actually the one who is more dangerous, he does grab for the kitten so I have to watch him closely. And also, he hasn't ever jumped on the babies face! Only mine. I guess I sounded irresponsible to you all and should have said what I meant a little clearer.

Anyways, I called my friend who is a vet tech and she told me to try the bitter cherry spray. I put some on my hands and after biting a couple times he stopped entirely. He is still working on it but he is much more gentle. I've also started putting him on the floor and walking away when he plays too rough and I think it is helping, it's too soon to tell. He still doesn't play with any toys so we will work on that. And my face is still under attack so I have to watch out for that lol! But thank you all for your advice. I'm sorry if I sounded like an irresponsible kitten owner, I should have read over what I typed!
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