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He's purrrrfect minus the....

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
...damn biting, lol! We just got this 14 week old persian flamepoint kitty who's quite the lively one. He has loads of energy, plays all day, is always curious, eats and drinks just fine, house trained, and for the most part behaves during baths. The only thing my girlfriend and I are having a hard time with is his habit of biting our hands when we pet him. Sometimes it could be a quick petting and he just instinctively reacts with a bite, and other times he will let us pet him for about a good 3 minutes and will bring it to a hault.

The only thing I find interesting is the fact that when this little rascal is dozing off you can do ANYTHING to him as long as it doesn't involve changing his position. I have combed him, cleaned his eye and nose boogies, and I bet I could even clip his nails. During his dozing off, we can also pet him non stop and he will not react with any sort of biting. He actually purs while we do this so he is at least conscious of us.

Unlike my girlfriend who grew up with parents who are dog people, I have plenty of cat experience so I know the best way to initially REACT to a bite is to make your hand go limp and hold it there steady until he stops and say "NO!" in a low toned and firm voice. Truthfully, I have watched him learn that the word NO (when said in this way) is for him to stop what he is doing, but he insists on continuing this behavior with every petting that follows.

I don't want to resort to the water/vinegar spray bottle, but I will as a last option because I would love for him to learn that this behavior is not acceptable for us with mere petting.

Note: We DO NOT play with him using our hands! We discourage it. He has plenty of toys and a wonderful cat tree to keep him busy so it isn't that he's bored in any way.

Thanks
Manthis
post #2 of 15
It sounds like he may just be easily worked up, and maybe has a few bad kitty manners. Even being with his mother for 14 weeks, some kitties are just brats.

Don't give up on him, keep to what you're doing now and ignore him when he starts trying to bite. Don't give him any attention till he calms down. I prefer not to leave my hand in the kitten's teeth and claws, instead I calmly remove it with my other hand.
It seems to me that going still and letting the kitten/cat control you would be similar to agreeing that you're the submissive one. Watching my boys play sort of proves this, one pins the other and the pinned cat goes still, as if to say "I give up".

Some may not agree with me, but for really spoiled kittens I have bopped them over the nose, like their mother cat would do.. but probably not nearly as hard, and went pssst or hissed. This usually results in the kitten stopping and freezing for a moment, if they remember their mother's teaching they may even quiet down for a while and behave really well.

If anyone thinks that's cruel in anyway... remember mother cats have claws and teeth, and will use them on pushier kittens.

I'm going to guess at 14 weeks that he's not neutered yet? If you plan to do this it will help some.
post #3 of 15
Have you tried bitter apple spray?
post #4 of 15
This is weird, but I had a flamepoint Himalayan when I was in high school many moons ago and he was always BITING...He'd bite people in the head if they were laying on the floor, bite people in the ankles etc.
post #5 of 15
Is he your only cat? In my experience, the best cure for a kitten who bites is another kitten... someone else to dominate, so he doesn't think he needs to try to dominate his humans.

I agree with Strange about removing your hand slowly and speaking in a very firm, low tone... and then you want to walk away and give him no more attention for a few minutes. He'll learn that he earns your company by not biting.

But he's a kitten... so he may not learn it for MONTHS.

Please, though... don't do the spraybottle thing! And especially not with vinegar! Several reasons:

1. Water can get into the kitty's ears and cause infections.
2. It teaches the kitty to be even more jumpy about water, which can make bathing more difficult.
3. It's an act of aggression, however mild, that can compromise your relationship with your kitty.
4. Positive methods are much kinder, and they just plain work better.

Dylan was my parents's first indoor cat (they came from another time, when keeping cats outdoors was the norm), and my father started out using a spraybottle to try to teach him not to jump on the table. The first dozen times he was spritzed, Dylan jumped down and ran away in shock. But after awhile, he decided he'd had enough -- my father would squirt him repeatedly, and Dylan would just squinch up his eyes and stand there and take it, by golly!

Here's this little grey kitten, dripping wet, but so brave and proud that he simply will not accept that kind of treatment! My father had to respect that. He stopped using the spraybottle, and eventually, Dylan got old enough to understand that the table was offlimits. Mostly.

With all due respect to Strange, I also don't think nose-bopping is a good idea. I know it's what mama cats do... but I don't like the idea of hitting, ever, for any reason, no matter how lightly. I think it may even teach them that hitting is an appropriate behavior -- they're seeing you do it, so...

My kitties know that noses are for kissing, and I like it that way.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
With all due respect to Strange, I also don't think nose-bopping is a good idea. I know it's what mama cats do... but I don't like the idea of hitting, ever, for any reason, no matter how lightly. I think it may even teach them that hitting is an appropriate behavior -- they're seeing you do it, so...
I've had to take care of so many cats and it's never left a lasting negative impression. It's not something you use a lot of force with, more or less a tap over the nose. It's the firm NO, hiss, or pssst that matters.

If I tap Tomas on the nose without the noise *does so right now* and when he's not in trouble... he licks me.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ya, I would rather not use the spray bottle at all. That's why I said it's a last resort. He's definitely learning the word NO because he freezes in whatever he's doing and moves on to the next thing. Earlier today, he started playing with a surround sounds speaker on my computer and after he got a form "NO!" he moved onto playing with the cords to the window blinds and quickly got another "NO!" and I placed him on the ground and gave him one of his toys that he ended up enjoying for a good 30 mins or so. I hate to use the word as often, but sometimes it's just necessary with the lil' rascal. Plus he stops when I use it (even if it is back to back) so it is working.

I have started using the technique you all suggested with removing my hand right away, giving the NO!, and ignoring him. Just last night I got home from work and he was quick to greet me. He must've been so happy to see me that he responded to the initial petting with a bite only 10 seconds after I began petting him. I used this technique and even though I wanted to attack him with hugs and attention he was ignored and he followed me and tapped me on the ankle (not attacked) and meowed. It was adorable. As if he was saying OK OK I'm sorry, pay attention to me now.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manthis View Post
Ya, I would rather not use the spray bottle at all. That's why I said it's a last resort. He's definitely learning the word NO because he freezes in whatever he's doing and moves on to the next thing. Earlier today, he started playing with a surround sounds speaker on my computer and after he got a form "NO!" he moved onto playing with the cords to the window blinds and quickly got another "NO!" and I placed him on the ground and gave him one of his toys that he ended up enjoying for a good 30 mins or so. I hate to use the word as often, but sometimes it's just necessary with the lil' rascal. Plus he stops when I use it (even if it is back to back) so it is working.

I have started using the technique you all suggested with removing my hand right away, giving the NO!, and ignoring him. Just last night I got home from work and he was quick to greet me. He must've been so happy to see me that he responded to the initial petting with a bite only 10 seconds after I began petting him. I used this technique and even though I wanted to attack him with hugs and attention he was ignored and he followed me and tapped me on the ankle (not attacked) and meowed. It was adorable. As if he was saying OK OK I'm sorry, pay attention to me now.
That is great! I love it when that connection happens, there is perfect communication, you can't get any better then that!
post #9 of 15
Kittens like rewards (for good behavior). ... Someone correct me if I'm wrong but those are 3 helpful words I like to remind myself of. Pictures please!
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Pics?

Ask and you shall receive. Here's the lil' rascal:


This was day 1:




Day 2 (he's enjoying my computer a lil too much:
post #11 of 15
He's beautiful!

It sounds like you're doing the right thing. It took time for Chevy to get it when he was that age. They sure like to test you like human children though.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
If I tap Tomas on the nose without the noise *does so right now* and when he's not in trouble... he licks me.
Awww, what a great cat! They do seem to be able to tell whether they've done something bad... it's just that they generally don't give a hoot.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manthis View Post
Earlier today, he started playing with a surround sounds speaker on my computer and after he got a form "NO!" he moved onto playing with the cords to the window blinds and quickly got another "NO!" ...
That reminds me of when my nephew Grant was a little squirt of three or so. My mom had to tell him "No, sweetheart, that's a no-no" about first one thing and then another, several times in a row. Finally, Grant turned around with his little fists on his hips and said, "Grandma, everything's a big no-no!"
post #14 of 15
That is the cutest tumble weed! You can see the personality!
post #15 of 15


cute kitten!!!!!!!! thanks for posting those pics

i predict he'll make a beautiful friendship
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