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Rufus Likes to Bite; How to Stop Him?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My 2 y/o Rufus is a biter, of people-not cats. We'd only had him a week when he followed me into the bathroom one morning, and I didn't know he was there. I closed the door on the tip of his tail (not hard, but enough to hurt)and he sank all 4 fangs into my calf. I ended up with a massive infection. Since then, he bites. Not hard, mind you. He puts his fangs on my leg or arm and uses enough pressure for me to know he's doing it. It's especially bad when I'm in the bathroom (the scene of the crime, as it were). I've tried telling him very firmly "NO", like that's actually going to work. I've also given him little 'pops' on his nose with my finger; doesn't bother him a bit.

I've had lots of cats, but I've never had a biter before. Usually, it's not bad, but sometimes he gets carried away & it hurts. Anyone have an idea as to how I can break him of this habit?
post #2 of 12
I'm probably going to hear about this and frankly, I don't know if it's the answer for Rufus. It's only what worked for Friday. Friday as a kitten was terribly bad about biting very, very hard. I tried it all. Fussing, clapping my hands, acting hurt. Friday didn't care. He still wouldn't. That sort of thing doesn't phase him in the slightest. Finally, in frustration I bit him back. Not hard but as you said, enough that he felt it. I bit him on the scruff of his neck as a mother cat would. It's all it took. It's like a light bulb went off and he realized that biting hurts! To this day he'll play bite but he no longer breaks the skin. (Biting cats is not arecommended training technique and will leave hair in your mouth!)
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
I'm probably going to hear about this and frankly, I don't know if it's the answer for Rufus. It's only what worked for Friday. Friday as a kitten was terribly bad about biting very, very hard. I tried it all. Fussing, clapping my hands, acting hurt. Friday didn't care. He still wouldn't. That sort of thing doesn't phase him in the slightest. Finally, in frustration I bit him back. Not hard but as you said, enough that he felt it. I bit him on the scruff of his neck as a mother cat would. It's all it took. It's like a light bulb went off and he realized that biting hurts! To this day he'll play bite but he no longer breaks the skin. (Biting cats is not arecommended training technique and will leave hair in your mouth!)
That's an interesting idea. I've heard a similar theory about "training" kids- that if they're biters you're to put the child's arm in their mouth and close their mouth over it hard enough so that they can feel it. That way they can immediately understand what their biting feels like to others (ie. unpleasant) and will stop. Don't know how effective it is, or if it's something I'd ever try, but it's an interesting option, especially if nothing else seems to work.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Biting cats is not arecommended training technique and will leave hair in your mouth!)
Interesting idea; I might just have to give it a shot. As I was typing this question last night, Rufus was on my lap and had all his fangs in my arm. Not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to leave marks.
post #5 of 12
Keep us posted. I'd be interested to hear if it worked. Sometimes I just need affirmation that Friday is actually a cat!
post #6 of 12
My stray declawed Cassy used to bite REAL HARD because she did not have claws to defend herself. For several months I used to say "NO BITE" especially when I picked her up. I would gently TAP her mouth and say again "NO BITE".

Well, after a while, it worked! She still likes to bite now and then especially when I pet her and I still have to say "NO BITE" and then she starts licking me.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
I'm probably going to hear about this and frankly, I don't know if it's the answer for Rufus. It's only what worked for Friday. Friday as a kitten was terribly bad about biting very, very hard. I tried it all. Fussing, clapping my hands, acting hurt. Friday didn't care. He still wouldn't. That sort of thing doesn't phase him in the slightest. Finally, in frustration I bit him back. Not hard but as you said, enough that he felt it. I bit him on the scruff of his neck as a mother cat would. It's all it took. It's like a light bulb went off and he realized that biting hurts! To this day he'll play bite but he no longer breaks the skin. (Biting cats is not arecommended training technique and will leave hair in your mouth!)
I've got a friend who does the same thing when his cat gets too frisky and bites him.

What we do with Poe is just put him in his carrier for a little bit, but only if it's an aggressive bite. (out of meanness or irritation). If he's just enjoying the rubs and reaches up and kinda puts his teeth on you but doesn't bite down, we let that go as him saying "please stop". :P
post #8 of 12
Radar has always been a 'play-biter', you know when they get excited playing and go for you as if you were a toy. He's never broken skin because he's not aggressively trying to kill us, but it's not pleasant, and while he's now calm with both myself and Nate he still does it to guests because he gets overstimulated very easily and has a high prey-drive.

The situation now is that he gets shut out of the room when we have guests and we see the first signs that he is getting overexcited. But he doesn't do it to either myself or Nate any more, and hasn't done for ages - we are just absolutely consistent with him, saying NO every time, blowing in his face if he ignores the No, and removing him from the room to calm down.

I think though that if your cat is reacting like this since having his tail shut in the door (even if there was no damage that had to be a bit painful!) then it is probably fear aggression, especially if it still happens mostly in the bathroom. My answer to that is that if an animal is acting up because it's afraid, even if it's just a distant memory, then don't allow them in a position where that memory comes to the fore... I wouldn't interact with him in the bathroom, and try to keep him from going in there with you if possible, and work on the issues consistently when it happens elsewhere.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
think though that if your cat is reacting like this since having his tail shut in the door (even if there was no damage that had to be a bit painful!) then it is probably fear aggression, especially if it still happens mostly in the bathroom. My answer to that is that if an animal is acting up because it's afraid, even if it's just a distant memory, then don't allow them in a position where that memory comes to the fore... I wouldn't interact with him in the bathroom, and try to keep him from going in there with you if possible, and work on the issues consistently when it happens elsewhere.
I've definitely wondered about that. Rufus doesn't bite when you play with him; he can be lying on my lap, peaceful as can be, when all of a sudden his fangs are in my arm. There have even been times that he's stood up between my knees, leaned forward, and bit my belly! I've tried keeping him out of the bathroom, but the biting takes place in every room of the house.

I've asked my hubby about this; he says Rufus doesn't actually bite him, it's more of a 'rubbing his top fangs on my arm and pushing his nose against it at the same time.' Almost sounds as if he's nursing.

I'm going to try biting him back the next time he's on my lap and bites me. I can't do it when he's biting my legs cause he weighs 18 lbs. and I can't pick him up!

Thanks for all the advice.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by libby74 View Post
I've definitely wondered about that. Rufus doesn't bite when you play with him; he can be lying on my lap, peaceful as can be, when all of a sudden his fangs are in my arm. There have even been times that he's stood up between my knees, leaned forward, and bit my belly! I've tried keeping him out of the bathroom, but the biting takes place in every room of the house.

I've asked my hubby about this; he says Rufus doesn't actually bite him, it's more of a 'rubbing his top fangs on my arm and pushing his nose against it at the same time.' Almost sounds as if he's nursing.

I'm going to try biting him back the next time he's on my lap and bites me. I can't do it when he's biting my legs cause he weighs 18 lbs. and I can't pick him up!

Thanks for all the advice.
That sounds to me as if Rufus is asserting his dominance over you. If he's biting your legs reach down and grab the back of his neck and push his head down to the ground and hold him there for several seconds. He will understand what it means as only his mother or a more dominate cat would do it to him. Be firm and if he tries to squirm free hold him until he settles down. In this way you are showing him where he is on the social ladder in your home.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
That sounds to me as if Rufus is asserting his dominance over you. If he's biting your legs reach down and grab the back of his neck and push his head down to the ground and hold him there for several seconds. He will understand what it means as only his mother or a more dominate cat would do it to him. Be firm and if he tries to squirm free hold him until he settles down. In this way you are showing him where he is on the social ladder in your home.
That sounds like a great idea. I tried biting Rufus on the back of the neck last night (he was lying on lap, next thing I knew he had my thumb in his fangs) and he looked at me like I was the odd one. It's funny in a way, cause he is such a lover, but also a huge coward. No one that's been to my house has ever seen him, as he hides as soon as he hears someone and refuses to come out.
Guess I'll have to try a little 'tough love' on him for awhile and see how it works.
post #12 of 12
My daughters 1 yr. old cat has always been a biter. She rescued him at 2 1/2 wks. and since them she is his mom. He will just run up to you and bite for no reason. He also scratches. The vet says he has no conscience. When he was about 5 wks. old he suddenly had a "spell" where he went blind, and flopped on the floor. We rushed him to the vet and he could barely walk. He bumped into the wall. He was put into an incubator and within a few hrs. he recovered. The vet said he had a brain attack of some sort. He has never had this happen since but he is now a biter and can be mean. The vet advised my daughter that this cat will never be normal and maybe she should think about all the other good cats that need homes. He was saying in a nice way that Chester should be put down. He will just run up to you and bite. You can be petting him and he will turn on you. He's been neutered and is a beautiful tuxedo cat. ABut I think he has evil eyes. He's also strong and its hard to fight him off when he's in an attack mode.He once ran up and bit my granddaughter on the butt. But the whole family loves him. Go figure. My daughter wants to get him medicated. She tried all the pushing him down, holding him to the floor etc. I don't know how she would feel about biting him back but I'll tell her.
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