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Need help training the cat and the boyfriend...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
We've had Genever for almost 2 months now and we love her to bits. She is sooo playful and cute and sweet and silly, and yes, still spending way too much time digging in the litterbox (i started calling her the Little Prospector).

The only real 'problem' we have with her is that she really likes biting things, including hands. She's 1.5 years old, so still really kittenish when playing, and the biting is usually during play, other times when she's not in the mood for petting. She doesn't bite hard and often licks right afterwards, but I want to break her of this habit! I've read the behavior articles on here, and when she bites I ignore her immediately for a bit, and usually yell NO. My boyfriend, however, does not. He'll keep letting her play with his hand. I told him last night we have to raise our baby properly! It's no different than teaching a child to not draw on the wall or play with matches. It's a behavior that is not allowed! I know consistency is key with cats. So how can i convince him to go along with this? Also, any advice to help the kitty training go easier would be appreciated as well.
post #2 of 19
It's a little early, but she may actually be teething. That usually happens around four months, so it may "just" be her kitten-ey thing.

You are SO right. You cannot let your BF play with hands and feet! This is behavior that will become SO HARD to undo!

I don't know how to discipline him.

But you can make it easier for both him and kitty to have proper things to play with. Even if she's not teething yet, these are great toys for kittens that like to bite, and they'll be great straight through when she's done teething. Bendy straws. Buy several boxes of them. Scatter an entire box around your apartment or home. This way they are EVERYWHERE, so when there's something SO EASY to pick up that IS ok for kitty to play with - what could possibly be his excuse?

Before disciplining her, try redirecting her. When she goes to play with the hands or feet, do say NO firmly (I don't know the yelling is necessary) - and like her kitty mom would do - give a short, shart puff of air in her face. OK, her mom would probably shover her paw on her head or hiss at her, but for people, the most effective "cat language" no is that short, sharp, puff of air in the face. Then instead of ignoring her, give her a straw to chomp on. If she THEN wants to continue going for your hands/feet, whatever, THEN blow in her face, say NO and walk away.

But cats are all about "me," and redirection is usually very effective. Again - you're so right, it's just like children in that sense. But they also need the positive reinforcement! So she gets the "no" for what she shouldn't do, but she's then provided with an alternative that IS ok! But if that doesn't get the desired result, then they learn that they get ignored. But it is as important to have that "what IS good" as it is to have the what isn't OK.

As to the BF? Tell him if he doesn't join the program, he can play with the bendy straws instead of you! Sorry - I really don't know what to suggest. I've got my DH well trained.

Laurie
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response.

She's 1.5 YEARS old though, so she's beyond the teething stage (unless they get new teeth like people do?), but the way she loves biting/chewing on stuff does seem like a teething behavior.

We have a feathery boa-like thing on a stick that she LOVES, won't stop playing with it until we get tired or waving it around, and other toys for her to bite, so it's not like she bites hands because there's nothing else around.

With the BF, it's usually if she's been playing, so in that mode already, but now lying still, and he pets her and she turns and bites him and he doesn't stop right away, just lets her attack him a while til I yell at him. He is so good with her in every other aspect though, it's so sweet, but I think he thinks you can play with cats like you play with dogs. But even with puppies you've gotta teach them the rules.

I just don't want it to turn into actual agressive biting. As much as I hate her litterbox obsession, I don't want to give up calling her Prospector for the new nickname of Chomper.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkMavis View Post
...I just don't want it to turn into actual agressive biting. As much as I hate her litterbox obsession, I don't want to give up calling her Prospector for the new nickname of Chomper.
No, you're right.


Oh sorry! I misunderstood - I thought she was somewhere a little over 2 months old.

Personally, I'd still try the bendy straws, because she likes to chew. Once they get bent, they're often self-entertaining cat toys because they're easy to flip around and play with. As to her biting BF when he's petting her after play, it's either because she's overstimulated or because she's still in "play mode," and you're right - he needs to stop it. Sorry I can't help you there.

Laurie
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Nope we just adopted her almost 2 months ago. Poor girl did spend about 1/3 of her life in the shelter, so it's not surprising she needs some training still.

I will try a straw or 2 to see what she thinks of it.. The other day at Petco I saw these http://www.petco.com/product/8729/N-...ew-Treats.aspx and bought them, thinking they'd be perfect for Genever, but she isn't showing much interest. She licks the stick more than anything else...

I'll just keep trying what I've been doing plus what you suggested and hope the man catches on too..
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
As to the BF? Tell him if he doesn't join the program, he can play with the bendy straws instead of you! Sorry - I really don't know what to suggest. I've got my DH well trained.
Good one Laurie!

It takes a while to train the DH's sometimes. You'll find that you will have her conditioned not to bite you but she will continue to bite your boyfriend. Make sure you are absolutely clear with him that whatever he gets he deserves, and remind him that if he doesn't help to curb her behavior, she could act like that with company. You don't want to be responsible for a cat bite to another person, even if done in play.

Maybe get a squirt bottle and squirt your boyfriend when he misbehaves? I would never squirt a cat, but a human? (just kidding)
post #7 of 19
And, positive reinforcement can work with humans too! Whenever you see the boyfriend helping with doing the right things with kitty, make sure he gets a lot of positive reinforcement as well - who knows, may end up being fun for all of you.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
And, positive reinforcement can work with humans too! Whenever you see the boyfriend helping with doing the right things with kitty, make sure he gets a lot of positive reinforcement as well - who knows, may end up being fun for all of you.
Ooooooooo, good point!

Laurie
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post

Maybe get a squirt bottle and squirt your boyfriend when he misbehaves? I would never squirt a cat, but a human? (just kidding)
thats really good, Amy, I might try that here LOLOL
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well since I told BF I resorted to complaining to the crazy cat lady site (JOKE!) he actually has been making a conscious effort to not let G-cat keep biting him. He left this morning for Miami til Thursday, so hopefully I can get more consistent training in with my little girl, and then when he gets back, positive reinforcement for everyone!

It's just hard to train myself to have something in my other hand every time i want to pet her. But we've been praising her a whole lot more when we're petting her and she doesn't bite. It feels silly to be saying Good Girl! everytime we go up to her to pet her or if she comes to us. But I'm trying!
post #11 of 19
I know, it can feel really silly - when my boy had litter box issues, every time he went in the box I praised him like crazy...I still tell him he's a good boy. But give all of you some time and pats on the back for trying - you all deserve positive reinforcement!
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
I had a thought last night about the biting/chewig business- I threw one of those cardboard beer coasters to Genever last night and she went to town on it, just CHEWING (and spitting the bits all over of course). So, my new question is, should I maybe buy her a dog chew toy? Haha... seriously though, rubber squeaky thing? Knotted rope thing? Something else?
post #13 of 19
Have you "given" her a cardboard box? Cats tend to LOVE boxes to begin with - maybe she'll enjoy chewing hers apart as well as sitting in it?

Laurie
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yes, she's got a box, lays in it sometimes but i've never seen her chew it to shreds. My cat Polly who's in PA with my mom used to love boxes and chewed them up. Genever, not so much. Or maybe she just doesn't like this particular box... ya never know with cats.
post #15 of 19
OK, I asked someone knowledgeable about the rawhide chews for dogs and if they're OK for cats. This was her response:

Quote:
If they are made in the united states from a reputable source, yes they are as long as you don't allow the kitten or cat to chew them down to choking size pieces.

Rawhides from foreign countries are not safe because the hides are generally treated with arsenic and other harsh poisons
Laurie
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well 'dad' (bf) disapproved of the rawhide idea because he's had dogs choke on the little bits, and he doesn't trust it even if we only let G have a bone while we're watching her. So... rubber chew toy or rope I think.. I can't wait to go shopping, there's so much more cool stuff for dogs! Do you know if any other edible chewy dog things are ok for cats, like Milk Bone type things or anything? She ate a whole cheeto yesterday, I threw one on the floor to get her off my laptop and i thought she might lick off the orange, but i looked over not even a minute later and it was GONE.
post #17 of 19
How about the Kong toys they have for dogs - and maybe cats. I've bought them as gifts for people with dogs, and understood that they're very well made?
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
How about the Kong toys they have for dogs - and maybe cats. I've bought them as gifts for people with dogs, and understood that they're very well made?
They look pretty fun, they website says if your dog doesn't like it they'll buy it back. I might email them to see if it applies to cats... hehe.

I should mention to all of you who gave me advice that over the past week Genever's been getting better, but still needs continuing reminders. If she feels the need to grab and bite my hand while petting or playing, she more often than not has been licking instead, almost like a "Psych!" thing. BF came back from his trip yesterday evening and she went nuts, and playing/biting ensued and he actually remembered that biting hands is a no-no, so I think you've helped me to train both of them!
post #19 of 19
I would be so reluctant to give any of my pets a plastic chew toy, even more so to a cat. I've seen dogs chew them to pieces and if those pieces are swallowed, it has no chance of being digested. The pieces better be small enough to poop them out. Rope pulls remind me too much of threads and if swallowed, can also create a mess of their digestive system.

My Stumpy used to like rawhides. He would sneak them from the dogs and chew on them. They were taken away when they got to small to choke on. I no longer feed rawhides (I have a new dog that will eat a large one in 5 minutes), but now give them the real bones. Stumpy will sit and lick on those bones and there is no way that he could break off a piece and choke on it.
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