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I swear if he was human...

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I doubt anyone remembers me, but a couple of months ago I was on here talking about my new kitten. Well the new kitten is now about 7 months old and just everything I wanted....aside from a few key things.
Now these are things that would cause us to get rid of the little kitty, but with him being so young, I was hoping there was something I could do to nip the problem in the bud, so to speak. There are three major problems.

1. when I'm relaxing at home I like to wear a long skirt, and little MaiSai (the kitten) just loves this, he loves to crawl under it and attack from the INSIDE (by this I mean he attacks the skirt cloth, trying to attack as high up as he can jump). I swear if he was human I would have to slap him lol. I know he is just a baby and playing, but if he started doing it to a visiting friend, there could be problems. Is there anything I can do about this?

2. He has decided that since my hair goes past my shoulders it MUST be hundreds of little strings meant for his pleasure. I love that he sleeps next to me and likes to cuddle, I do not love being woken up at 3:30 in the morning because he decided it was time to get up and attack the "strings". when he "catches" it he goes on to bite and chew on it....I'm not one to worry to much about my hair, but having it eaten is a bit to far for even me...

3. He loves to attack my feet under the covers. He's very good at not attacking bare skin but he does pounce and attack with claws the moving blanket. At first this was very cute and it still is, but last night he attacked hard enough to draw blood in a long stash. and of course then I had to get up and walk all over campus on it, not fun. This one is probably my fault I admit. I have been playing with him with my hand under my blankets. I thought it was safe that way since it wasn't bare skin, but I guess I was wrong. Is there a way to fix this?

Thanks for any help. like I said, nothing huge, but if I can help now, it will probably be best in the long run....
post #2 of 4
Hi. Hope we can help again (if we did the first time ).

First of all, if you're not clipping his claws, this will help it not hurt or draw blood. If you're not, we've got tips on how to manage him getting used to it, but I'll wait for the answer.

As to the moving feet under the blanket, unfortunately you've probably "trained" him that this is a game (because it is cute when they're little). It can take a while to break them of this habit. Basically, while you're awake and they're in the room, you have to try to not make the moving under blanket "enticing." Next, keep an air can next to the bed. When he goes to attack (or does attack), make the air can hiss. DO NOT POINT IT AT HIM as it can hurt him very badly. It's the noise you want. And say "no." And make sure you don't move your feet for a few minutes. The noise will freak him out, and it should stop the attack - though he may get ready for more, which is why it's important the blankets not move around to be enticing for another attack. It's about retraining him.

Because it's a game he's used to playing, it's going to be confusing at first, and it will take a while to get him to figure out it's not OK anymore.

But positive reinforcement is important here. Perhaps keep a wand toy handy too, so you can redirect that play behavior. Praise him when he goes for the wand toy and not your feet.

The problem with this is that you may be training him to let you know he wants to play with the toy by attacking your feet. It depends upon the cat, so it's up to you whether or not to add the redirection part.

As to your hair - I have very long hair too. Shelly doesn't eat it, but likes to dig a nest in it when it gets splayed out. So I braid it (one braid behind my head) before I go to sleep.

The jumping up the skirt issue. Again - it's about not letting him get away with it, redirecting the behavior, and providing positive reinforcement for not doing it. When you're wearing a long skirt, if he comes up to your feet, lean down and blow a short, sharp puff of air into his face and say "No" sternly. Gather your skirt around your legs as much as you can but so you can still walk away, but so it's not so "inviting" as a play area.

Walk to a toy, and redirect the behavior.

But for the next month or so, any time you're wearing a long skirt and he comes near but not trying to get up under it, praise him to high heck and grab a wand toy or something to help use up that kitten energy.

I'd also recommend a solid 10 - 20 minutes of dedicated interactive (wand toy or laser) play time with him each morning and evening. It'll help use up some of that kitten energy in properly directed ways.

I'd also praise him any time you see him playing with toys, or while you're playing interactively. It'll help reinforce what is appropriate play.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
thats a huge help, thank you. I guess I should start braiding my hair at night.

As far as the hissing, does making "cat sounds" like a sharp meowing work with this to? I read on this site that if I do that he won't play to rough and it's worked great when he attacked my hands or feet, but for some reason not so much with the cloth...I guess thats because he's not attacking a "playmate"?

As far as the playing goes. Does fetching count? he loves to play fetch with his little mouse toys, but to honest all we do is throw them for him, so I dont know if that would count or not...and he has started playing fetch on his own. I do have a wand toy if that would be better?
post #4 of 4
Whatever type of play he's into! Fetch is GREAT! The idea is to help him - just like you would with a 2 or 3 year old child - learn what is acceptable (positive reinforcement), and what isn't (negative reinforcement).

You can try hissing at him, it may work. Our Flowerbelle is deaf - but that can of air at night freaks her out somehow (because we don't point it at her, so it's not like she feels the air movement). But because she's deaf, she communicates with her paws a lot - which at night means shoving her paws in my face for play or a treat. I have to "renew" the lesson about every six months, and it takes about a week to get her stop (because I want to go to sleep, not play with her or give her treats).

But for a cat that can hear, making a hissing noise could well work. If it doesn't, do the sharp puff of air in the face and see if that works better.

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