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Kitten biting behavioral question

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, I realize Charm is just being a kitten with her biting our knees and toes while we're under the covers and she's on top of them. I knew to expect all this type of thing, but I'm wondering how I should be addressing the problem. Here's what I've been doing:

1) Said "no" in a firm, yet gentle voice

2) Said "ow"

3) Said "no" and then put her on the floor

4) Said "no" and got a toy to try to distract her with that

Now, some of these have worked (short-term). It seems if I do the putting her on the floor one, she'll get it after I've put her there a few times. Then, eventually, she'll come back up and lay down next to me and go to sleep.

I don't want to do something wrong that will cause her to think she can continue biting after she becomes an adult cat, you know? I'm sure some of this is due to teething, right? She's 11-12 weeks old now.

Thanks for any help.
post #2 of 12
it is important to always make sure to tell her no. You don't want to confuse her. She needs to know that biting is wrong. I normally hiss at the kittens when they bit. They seem to understand that better. Or I hiss and say no! My husband used to let our cat moemoe bite when they were playing and now when hubby plays with him he STILL bites (lightly) So it really is important to stick to what you want them to do when they grow up.
post #3 of 12
You are doing the right things! Keep it up and she will learn not to bite. What a great mom you are!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the compliment. I sure know I try to be a good mom to all our pets. It has been 17 years or more since I've had a new kitten, though. My other girls came into our lives when they were about 5 months old - so things were somewhat different.

I'll keep up the stuff I'm doing then.

Oh, with the hissing and saying "no" - doesn't that cause them to become aggresive at all? Or will Charm become afraid of me? I know she got a glimpse of Lucky - and, of course, Lucky hissed at her (from afar) and Charm turned sideways and her tail got all fluffy and she arched her back. I guess they do this to look bigger. It was so funny to see this little girl do that, but....yikes!
post #5 of 12
I hissed at moe and neo when they were little and they were okay. I hiss at the new kittens and they seem to be fine with it. they just look kinda sorry after I hiss at them. They just seem to understand it better. If no is working for you stick with that, my guys just don't seem to understand the meaning of no
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I know what you mean about your little ones not understanding the meaning of "no". Sometimes it seems that Charm "gets it" and other times she'll just look at me like I'm nuts and go back to the naughty thing she's doing. Ah....the joys of kittenhood. I wouldn't give it up for the world, though.
post #7 of 12
I keep looking at my guys and just shanking my head. I have 3 almost 7 week olds and two almost 9 week olds!! Let me tell you they are a handful! And they are all so different! Marble loves to snuggle and bit my feet...also climb up my leg! Granet is a big scaredy baby! Nimbus is alittle shy but playful. Blizzy who is the runt thinks she owns the place! And stormy is alittle princess! My two big cats just sit and watch all the babies! Granet goes for his second appointment on June 5th, and it will be the first appointment for the other four
post #8 of 12
When Sifto was very young he was an aggressive kitten. If you so much as looked at him the wrong way, or for too long he would lunge at your face claws out. My boyfriend would always play fight with him, and let him think that he was winning!!! I thought, this is going to make him worse! But it turned out that it helped him work out his aggressions, and also helped him learn his place while keeping his ego in tact. He is a very confident cat, and the most pleasant and loving I have ever had the pleasure of owning. We also used a water gun for when he was begging, which mostly worked. It got to the point where we could just point the gun at him and he'd get the idea. And as for biting my boyfriend would always put his finger in his mouth when he tried this. Not far enough to cause pain, or to gag him. But enough to make him think...:censor::censor::censor: is he doing? It makes the cat think only of pulling away. Every now and a rare again he will take a swipe at a visitor. Usually it's someone who admits to not liking cats. He can tell when someone is patronising him. LOL. Dog people are warned.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I tried hissing at her and it really didn't seem to phase her. Maybe I did it wrong, who knows? Anyhow...she didn't seem to do it quite as much last night (biting). When she really gets into it, she'll grab the lump under the covers (usually my foot) and grabs with her front claws, then takes a big chomp. If she does it to my hands above the covers, I don't feel any pain, she just touches her teeth to my hand (I still tell her no).

Is there a difference between play biting and just plain biting ?
post #10 of 12
In the cat's mind there is a big difference. You're doing the right thing, saying No and putting her on the floor. Keep up the positive reinforcement (that every time she does it, she gets the same effect), and she'll learn that biting YOU isn't acceptable for any reason. They are smart and if she hasn't yet (bet she has though), Charm will figure out that those bed mice are really Mom's feet.
post #11 of 12
Hi Sandi,

Paraphrased from the book Complete Kitten Care:

She sounds like a normal kitty. "When you hiss at her you do it quickly and go SSSSSSSST you can also clap your hands, or scream. Saying No, is pretty much useless, she is talking baby talk and her language if she were doing this with her mom or siblings, they would scream at her, and she would stop."

Picking her up? She loves to be picked up doesn't she? Right there you are reinforcing a negative behavior by giving her something she likes. Stop her by giving her something she doesn't. I have a poor beat up beanie baby that has gone the route with many a kitty biter. A substitute for their play is better than your feet or hands getting the brunt of them.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Picking her up? She loves to be picked up doesn't she? Right there you are reinforcing a negative behavior by giving her something she likes.
I guess I didn't mean picking her up and cuddling her - I was just grabbing her and putting her on the floor instead of kicking her off the bed or throwing her off.

Last night I tried everything and the first hiss worked, but after that, Charm just looked at me like I was nuts. Same with the screaming or the "ow". I asked at the Vet's office and they told me to let my foot go limp and try not to move it when she bites - she'll soon figure out that it's not any fun to attack something that's already dead. Also, they suggested the water bottle spraying, or the noise maker (pennies taped up in a soda can).

Anyhow...Thanks so much for all the suggestions - I'll keep trying and we'll get through this - no problem - it's just so funny how you forget about the "kitten antics" after your cats have grown up a bit.
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