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Is she showing us love or being mean?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My husband and I brought home our first cat in December. She is now almost 7 months and everything seems to be going great except one thing.

When we are giving her attention she will sometimes jump up pretty quick (she is usually laying on her side) and will give up a quick nip/bite. She has NEVER drawn blood, but is this normal? She also likes to bat at our hand and then will do the same thing after playing for a minute or so. She will be purring when she jumps up from getting attention, and after she had tried to nip/bite her ears will go flat(for a very short time) and she will lay back down and start purring again.

We have never owned and cat --- only dogs and reptiles. So, we aren't sure if this is a 'playful' way of her showing us love or if it is something we need to start correcting her for.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 15
Congratulations on your first cat!
First question - what type of cat is this? In my experience, calicos usually have a biting fetish.

Biting is pretty normal in play fighting with cat owners, at least in my experience, but since your cat is a kitten still, you may want to try and discourage this behavior while she is trainable. Try swatting her with a newspaper or squirting her with with water from a water bottle when she bites at you.

Another cause of this could be that she is irritated. My cats often play bite me when they are irritated, so it may be that she has had "enough" of whatever attention she is currently receiving. For example, Penelope will nip at my hand if I touch her tail (she hates tail touching). She also will nip at my hand if I have rubbed her belly "too long" by her standards.

As for when she bats at your hand - that is play biting/fighting and I would guess that is just her way of continiung the play. Good luck and I hope this helps!!
post #3 of 15
Don't ever do anything to hurt her or frighten her while training her - you will only get a kitten that is afraid of you and misbehaves when you aren't there. If she brings out claws and teeth, then stop what you are doing and if necessary put her in another room for ten minutes to calm her down. But watch for the signs of over-stimulation and stop before it goes too far if you can, and it may not be necessary. She is playing and when kittens play they are learning to hunt and fight, so they will try and use their weapons. But they can be gently trained not to. Don't use your hand to playfight with her - try a wand toy or something on a string. And trim her nails!
post #4 of 15
When Villy is having her belly rubbed she lets us know she's had enough by kicking and or a gentle bite too. Sometimes I think she wants to play, sometimes I think she just wants to be left alone!
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nellers View Post
Congratulations on your first cat!
First question - what type of cat is this? In my experience, calicos usually have a biting fetish.

Biting is pretty normal in play fighting with cat owners, at least in my experience, but since your cat is a kitten still, you may want to try and discourage this behavior while she is trainable. Try swatting her with a newspaper or squirting her with with water from a water bottle when she bites at you.

Another cause of this could be that she is irritated. My cats often play bite me when they are irritated, so it may be that she has had "enough" of whatever attention she is currently receiving. For example, Penelope will nip at my hand if I touch her tail (she hates tail touching). She also will nip at my hand if I have rubbed her belly "too long" by her standards.

As for when she bats at your hand - that is play biting/fighting and I would guess that is just her way of continiung the play. Good luck and I hope this helps!!
Let me say that owning/training a cat is totally different than training a dog. We still have to remind ourselves from time to time that ZhaZha is not one of the dogs. She is a Bengal --- I'll post some pics of her as the proud owner I am.

I had a feeling it wasn't anything harmful, but I wanted to check and make sure. I don't see why she would continue to purr if she was being mean/serious. I think like it was mentioned she is simply telling us she has had enough attention and to go away. Anytime she bats at our hand it usually always end up in a nip/bite ---- is that her first warning?

As far as training her...what is the best method? I've heard/read that spraying them with water is bad. We have been clapping loudly with a firm "NO" when she is doing something she shouldn't and she generally will leave it alone or jump down. Is this okay?

Also, one last question that you guys can probably answer. As we all know cats are climbers and get wherever they want. I don't mind her being on the tables/counters, etc. But anytime we have food out she will try to put her head in our cups and even try to get the food off of the plates. She is also walking across the stove while it is turned on and I'm cooking. (Tonight I had chili simmering on the stove top and I caught her standing on it twice --- I don't want to her to burn or harm herself) What can I do? It would be ideal if I could break her of jumping on the kitchen counters, but is it possible?

Thanks again everyone!
post #6 of 15
Sounds like play/prey playing. Maia is a big mouth player! I can just move a finger toward her mouth and she opens it, so I pretend shes talking, ventriloquist style!
post #7 of 15
Quote:
It would be ideal if I could break her of jumping on the kitchen counters, but is it possible?
Absolutely. I trained mine off in kittenhood. Train them off the table you eat from while you're at it, and you might want to consider the coffeetable as well.
post #8 of 15
You mentioned she is usally laying on her side when she does this. I believe this is a "fighting position" for cats (where they are able to use all four paws and teeth to attack). Soooo.... make sure when she is laying like that your hand is not coming at her face -- pet her from behind. I believe your description sounds like over-stimulation, not playing or fighting.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by luxum View Post
Absolutely. I trained mine off in kittenhood. Train them off the table you eat from while you're at it, and you might want to consider the coffeetable as well.
Totally agree! I never had a problem with any of my kitties jumping on counters, I think the table association really helps, tables are off limits
post #10 of 15
Another agreement here! But just to be thorough, try to notice whether she's reacting when you touch a certain area. If so, check for lumps or injuries, or even matted fur -- even small mats can be very painful when touched.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I guess I should correct myself --- it's kinda half laying on her side/half laying on her stomach. I think part of the problem was that I didn't realize I was more "scratching" her then petting her and since I've stopped using my nails at all she hasn't done it. We always pet her from the back, so our hand is coming at her face. She does like her chin rubbed --- but she lets us know when she is wanting that. It seems like it occurs more if we get low...like down towards her stomach. She was fixed about 4 weeks ago. We aren't getting anywhere near her scar, but I think she may think we are going to hurt her because she knows it used to hurt? She shouldn't still be that sensitive in that area, should she? We have looked at her belly and see no sign of problems (lumps, redness, swelling, etc).
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by luxum View Post
Absolutely. I trained mine off in kittenhood. Train them off the table you eat from while you're at it, and you might want to consider the coffeetable as well.
How did you go about training them to stay off of the tables/counters? I'm still looking for the best way to 'punish' her. (Not really punish, but a way of letting her know what she is doing is something we don't want.

I've read so many things --- Hissing, clapping, snapping, a firm 'NO', water bottles, etc....

She was VERY VERY scared when we brought her home and she had made SOOOOOOOOOO much improvement and I don't want to lose that ground.

Also, she urinated on the comforter yesterday (was at the vet last week for shots/checkup). Does a cat do this if you punish them or if they are mad at you about something? Our dogs were on the bed and I don't think she was happy about that, so she was marking her territory?

Thanks guys for all the help!
post #13 of 15
That sounds normal for Trout
post #14 of 15
Sounds like pretty normal kitten behaviour, but you need to set a few rules. Disciplining cats doesn't really work, so if she's in 'play mode' you need to distract her with toys, so she's biting them rather than you. If she bites or scratches you, don't pull your hand away because the quick movement triggers the hunting instinct and could exacerbate the situation - instead just freeze, say NO firmly, put her on the floor, and distract her with a toy.

Ideally, you need to learn her body language so you can distract her with a toy before it gets to the point where she pounces on/play-bites/scratches you.

Our mad nearly 9 month old kitten is just the same - overexciteable and a bit rough. Distraction and tiring them out (as much as possible, I swear Radar sleeps for 30 minutes max per day!) with toys is the key.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
How did you go about training them to stay off of the tables/counters? I'm still looking for the best way to 'punish' her. (Not really punish, but a way of letting her know what she is doing is something we don't want.

I've read so many things --- Hissing, clapping, snapping, a firm 'NO', water bottles, etc....
Well, you have to pick a method and be consistent and patient, don't try lots of different things, it's confusing. We used NO and BAD KITTY! when they were misbehaving, then show them the behavior you prefer - we would point towards the ground to show them what we wanted, to give them the opportunity to jump down. (If they jump down, then tell them they are good, if they won't, then put them on the floor yourself.) It's important that there are no exceptions, like sometimes you just give up and let them stay up there - it's a mixed signal. They have to know that they are not allowed on the counter, period. I think when they were kittens we actually trained them out of the kitchen entirely because of countertops, spaces they could get into under the counters and stove, and spaces they could get into on top of the countertops. Now they are allowed in the kitchen because they are good and stay on the floor. Of course they don't magically stop going where they aren't allowed at first, but if you are consistent they will stop. Our rule is that they can get up on anything a human will sit on (couch, chairs, bed, etc) but they are not allowed where we set objects. So no table tops, no on top of the entertainment center, no on top of the chest of drawers, etc. Of course they are allowed on their own furniture.
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