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I still need help with Milo!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
If any of you remember, when I got Milo I was having some trouble with his behavior. He tends to switch from playing/petting to biting in a second with no warning. He also will be perfectly content and resting one second, and the next will jump up and go attack Marlee with no provocation. I wouldn't worry about them fighting except when he does this he will go for neck occasionally, and I guess it scares/hurts her b/c she will let out a yelp.

I found out this behavior stems from his previous owner, who let him do whatever he wanted without being punished.

He has gotten slightly better about biting, but still does it fairly often. (So far not enough to break the skin, but it really hurts and he has brought blood by scratching often enough). What do I do? I have tried spraying water in his direction, which works rarely. I have tried sayin no firmly, which he ignores. If I clap or stomp loudly, I can get him to stop a fight with Marlee, but this is often impossible when its a person he is biting/scratching. Has anyone had any good results with a "time out" sort of punishment? Like putting him in a bedroom/bathroom by himself with his food, water, and litter. I love the booger to death, and him and Marlee get along well most of the time, but I've gotta stop his aggressive behavior!

They are both going for checkups today, and I will be asking for help there as well.
post #2 of 8
When Smeagol was younger, we used time outs because no matter how much attention he got, the second you stopped focusing on him, he would start acting out (chewing wires, scratching furniture, etc). We would put him in a room alone for about 5 minutes. When we let him out he would rub against whoever put him in there, as if to say sorry. He is pretty well behaved now, though he occassionally acts out still. We haven't had to give him a time out in a long time now. It may help, but some cats are just more aggressive than others, IMO. My Trixter (10 years old) will still bite if he's in that kind of mood. He doesn't do it wildly, he just bites nonchalantly, as if it's just a game. lol
post #3 of 8
Chip does this with me, but mostly when i'm petting his hind end. he's getting much better tho - i think he must've been mistreated at some point. poor thing doesn't have his front claws, so teeth are his only weapon. of course, he also gives me love bites, but those are soft & gentle, while he's purring, & usually along my jaw line he's such a sweetie!
his punitive bites haven't broked the skin on me yet, either, & i'm trying to teach him not to bite me. he knows the word 'no' & responds to it, but i'm thinking it's just going to take more time for him to trust me.
good luck with Milo!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks to you both! I talked to the vet tech, and she said just being consistent with any method should eventually work. Like Laureen said, even with the words I need to be consistent. Like always just saying "No" instead of "stop that" or "don't bite". So I'm going to continue with the verbal warnings and ignoring him after he bites/scratches and hope it works. If I do not see any improvement in the next few weeks, I may move on to trying time outs. Thanks again!
post #5 of 8
Hmm, it does seem to me like you're focused on 'punishment', and cats do not react well (or intelligently!) to the concept. He needs distraction, for you to hiss at him when he's acting out, and for you to literally (but gently) push his head downward for a couple of seconds when he's doing what you don't want. All the things you're doing are just more challenges, fascinating new 'people' behaviors, etc. for him to react to, and aren't perceived as deterrents to biting, because he doesn't see biting as bad.
post #6 of 8
Comands such as "no" or "down" I think are very effective with cats. Some don't give them the credit of out smarting us when it is needed! Cats do what they want, but over all they want us to be happy, this is how they are most satisfied......................... we just need to learn to express that. Punishment has nothing to do with this, a simple command of "no", "down" is really looking out for thier best interest, we just have to learn how to express this to them. A banter of words or direction we can not expect them to understand, we don't understand thier "meows", we can only relate the similar vocals after time to something they are asking for. The same conditions can only be expected from us to them.
post #7 of 8
I didn't see it mentioned, but would Bitter Apple Spray work? I mean, it obviously won't work for scratching, but for biting you it may work?

There's a cat at the shelter who does something similar. I simply keep a stuffed animal toy(& so do the other volunteers) in my back pocket. Whenever she tried to bite, I put the stuffed animal between her mouth & where she plans to bite. We are going to try spraying bitter apple spray on it today. She has also tried to attack other cats, so we toss the stuffed animal toy towards her & she attacks the toy instead. (The other cats she tried to attack are in cages, so they aren't in any danger.)

Hopefully you can get some training figured out for Milo! The only experince I have is with that one shelter cat, so I might not be that helpful. Sorry.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your advice! And I don't want anyone to think I'm looking for a way to "hurt" Milo, I think punishment was probably a harsh word to use. I do often try to redirect his attention with a toy, etc. when possible, but there isn't always something close enough by. I am working on always saying "No" in a stern voice when he is doing something wrong and hope to see some improvement. The bitter apple spray is something I may try in the future if I need to. Thanks again, from me, Milo, and Marlee!
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