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Why is he doing this?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So we have had Jack since Halloween (estimated age of 12 weeks). He was found as a stray but at that time didnt' appear to have any behavioral issues. Now that it is 10-11 weeks later some behaviors are worrying me. Number one Jack is a biter--I don't believe he is trying to hurt us he just never learned what is acceptable. The other thing is that he goes into the "scaredy cat" pose a lot (the whole arched back stiff thing) when we walk towards him or walk in his direction. We do not yell at him, or hit him (we do use a stern voice when he bites but we never raise our voice). I just want him to be happy. Is it possible he was mistreated by someone before we got him? (We assume he was dropped in the alley he came from, by someone who no longer wanted him) I want him to be at ease?

Also I didn't add this but he is very loving and plays like a normal kitten we wouldn't know how to live without him.

post #2 of 12
my eldist 'Yama' used to bite alot when she was younger but she has grown out of it. She now only bites when she is being anoyed by my partner. Whenever she does bite we just stop patting her and give her no attention until she decides that she won't bite. Good luck
post #3 of 12
If he was 12 weeks when he came home in October, he would have started teething around December (probably). So my bet is he's teething.

Buy a box of bendy straws and scatter them around the house. Most cats love this when they're teething. Make sure you don't use hands or arms as toys at all. If he goes for hands, an arm, or ankles or anything, blow a short, sharp, puff of air straight in his face and say "NO" firmly. Grab a straw off the floor, give it to him, and walk away. This way he learns what is appropriate to chew on, he learns what "no" means, and he learns that biting doesn't get him attention. It's all good!

I'd also call the vet - some won't neuter him before 6 months, but our vet uses the rule of spay/neuter when their first tooth falls out.

As to the fear thing - there's just no way to know what happened in his past. But, you can help him out by getting a t-shirt really good and sweaty, and putting it under his food dish. Get another one good and sweaty, and put treats down on it for him. Do this for a month or so. It'll help him associate you with things he loves.

Also, you may want to consider purchasing Rescue Remedy flower essences and Feliway spray or plug-ins. Feliway is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "friendly" marker in cats' cheeks, and it helps reduce fear/stress. Both can be purchased here:

Thanks for rescuing this baby boy!

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yea I assumed at this point the biting was teething so we try and ignore it as much as we can. He was neutered at 16 weeks.

My biggest issue is the fear. I hate for him to be scared. It breaks my heart to think that someone would mistreat him. He was so pitiful when we got him, covered in fleas, a belly full of worms, a weepy eye and a stinky ear.

Thanks for the suggestions for the fear issue.

As for rescuing him--we wouldn't have gotten a cat any other way. I couldn't let him become a statistic.

post #5 of 12
oh... I'm sure kitty will be fine in time, just keep giving him lots of love and those behaviours will be diminished or disappear over time.

It's typical for former strays to be "scaredy cats"
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
That makes me feel much better.

I would assume his sleeping on our pillows at night and grooming our hair is a big step in the right direction!

post #7 of 12

btw cats, like people, can just be naturally skittish.
My sister is 27 years old and she gets "spooked" ridiculously easy.

just as an afterthought... have kitty's ears been checked? she may not hear you coming until you're close enough to startle her, just a thought
post #8 of 12
Our 15 month old male, Milo, was a rescued feral.

He was extremely skittish when we first got him (8 months ago). If you walked too loud/fast, he would jump/hiss. He was always ready to defend himself. He's gotten more used to most regular household noises, but he definitely still jumps and is easily startled.

I think just trying to keep things quiet for kitty and slowly introduce more noises is a good way to go.

As for the biting, our 3.5 year old female used to be a pretty bad biter when she was between 1 & 2 yrs. She would nip if she'd had enough affection. We would either yelp or hiss or say "HEY" in a firm manner then walk away to "lick our wounds." She caught on pretty fast that she would prefer to get up and run away instead of nipping.

Also, the addition of Milo actually diminish her biting even further. Plus, she's gotten older so she's a little calmer.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.

I assume he hears well, I can shake a ball with a bell in it and he comes (even if he cannot see me). Although we have had trouble with one of his ears (yeast infection and just generally yucky). After the yeast infection cleared up his ear was still so dirty inside, so we went back to the vet and he basically said that it appears it may be a lifelong battle of keeping the ear clean on a twice weekly basis (has a lot of wax buildup). So perhaps his hearing in that ear has been affected?

I'm sure age will change him a little no matter what we love him just the same.

post #10 of 12
Awww.... sleeping on your pillows and grooming your hair sounds so sweet!

I don't think wax build up - at least in the amounts you're talking about now - affect his hearing. I think he's just skittish. Flowerbelle is deaf, and she's not skittish. She has one ear that is REALLY waxy, btw. We clean it every day (she loves it!). Lazlo's hearing is just fine - and he is skittish. He's 5 1/2 years old and living with us since he was 10 weeks old - and a good cough or sneeze can send him fleeing.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, thats good to know it wouldnt affect his hearing. I dont blame him for being skittish, he did have to live on the street as a kitten...

The sleeping on our pillows, or chest and grooming us makes all the litter box cleaning and biting worth it!

Thanks again guys for the help.

post #12 of 12
He'll grow out of the biting. Just give him the straws, and be consistent about not letting him get away with it and giving him no attention when he does it.

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