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Kitten biting

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello, we have a 3.5 month old female Bengal kitten. She loves to play! Recently, my wife and I went on a week's vacation and left the kitten at my in-law's house. Needless to say, their apartment is much bigger then hours. Kitten had much more room to run and play.

When we took her back, we noticed changes in her behavior. Most noticeably, she bites hands most of the time when we try to pet her. If the hands are in front of her face, there is a good chance she will bite. That never happened before, she was biting toys, not humans. I suspect that my in-laws just let her do whatever she wanted and didn't discipline her.

Now, my question. How do we stop her from biting, this is getting annoying and if kitten bites are harmless, cat bites are not.

Thanks.
post #2 of 15
Teething could play a part because of the age. When mine were kittens I took the advice of forum member LDG and used those plastic bendable straws. Keep them everywhere and stick one in her mouth if she goes for the fingers. Blowing a short puff of air in her face, saying "no" firmly, and give her a straw then praise her with the straw. You are replacing inappropriate behavior with appropriate behavior.

It does take being consistent. I'm sure the grandparents had fun spoiling her.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimble View Post
Teething could play a part because of the age. When mine were kittens I took the advice of forum member LDG and used those plastic bendable straws. Keep them everywhere and stick one in her mouth if she goes for the fingers. Blowing a short puff of air in her face, saying "no" firmly, and give her a straw then praise her with the straw. You are replacing inappropriate behavior with appropriate behavior.

It does take being consistent. I'm sure the grandparents had fun spoiling her.
Great idea.... I was going to post about Kizzy becoming bitey (he's almost 11mos) as of late... I usually say NO and petting him when he gets bitey but it's not "sticking in his head" and he'll do it if I go to pet him later.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Good advice with straws , we will try.

Do you think biting is just part of kitten stage and will go away later?
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dengt View Post
Good advice with straws , we will try.

Do you think biting is just part of kitten stage and will go away later?
No, not necessarily - he needs to be taught proper "etiquette". Bijou was a terrible little biter when he was a kitten. I also used the straws for when he was teething. I actually found one of his little baby teeth that he lost.

Never, ever play with your cat with your hands, use a toy or wand. As the above poster said, blow a puff of air at their face and say 'no' loudly. You can also hiss at them if they exhibit inappropiate behaviour. It will take consistency but it will work.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dengt View Post
Good advice with straws , we will try.

Do you think biting is just part of kitten stage and will go away later?
Yes, I think so. I had many kitten who bit, but not all do. In my current litter there is just one (Frisbee) who bites. Today he is 14 weeks old. It does not really hurt, as you said.
I take his little mandible with my hand and joggle it very carefully. Shortly after he is ready with playing.
All the other grown up kittens stopped biting as sudden as they started before.

But the method with the strow sounds very good. I would try if I had not so many cats.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siamkitten View Post
Yes, I think so. I had many kitten who bit, but not all do. In my current litter there is just one (Frisbee) who bites. Today he is 14 weeks old. It does not really hurt, as you said.
I take his little mandible with my hand and joggle it very carefully. Shortly after he is ready with playing.
All the other grown up kittens stopped biting as sudden as they started before.

But the method with the strow sounds very good. I would try if I had not so many cats.
hmmm.... maybe not such a good idea with the jaw - you don't want to dislocate it. Sometimes I tap on the top of the head or the nose, as another cat with do with its paw. And say no.. and use the puff of air.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
hmmm.... maybe not such a good idea with the jaw - you don't want to dislocate it. Sometimes I tap on the top of the head or the nose, as another cat with do with its paw. And say no.. and use the puff of air.
I thought the same thing when I read that. Cats jaws don't go side to side, only up and down so even gently grabbing and moving the jaw could do some damage.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
hmmm.... maybe not such a good idea with the jaw - you don't want to dislocate it. Sometimes I tap on the top of the head or the nose, as another cat with do with its paw. And say no.. and use the puff of air.
No, I wrote "very carfully" - I don't want to dislocate his jaw - of course not.
And I never did. Maybe "joggle" is not the word which fits to what I mean. - Just hold the jaw and move it carefully.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siamkitten View Post
Yes, I think so. I had many kitten who bit, but not all do. In my current litter there is just one (Frisbee) who bites. Today he is 14 weeks old. It does not really hurt, as you said.
I take his little mandible with my hand and joggle it very carefully. Shortly after he is ready with playing.
All the other grown up kittens stopped biting as sudden as they started before.

But the method with the strow sounds very good. I would try if I had not so many cats.
Why does having a lot of cats preclude using bendy straws? Our now grown-up kitties still use them as toys.

Also, the straws are just for the redirection, to let them know what is OK to bite/chew on. The "no" is the short, sharp puff of air in the face - the human equivalent of a hiss. It works for everything you want to teach a kitty "no" ! Of course, with cats, positive reinforcement is the best method of education, so praising them for all they do right is also very important.

Laurie
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Why does having a lot of cats preclude using bendy straws? Our now grown-up kitties still use them as toys.

...
Laurie
It's important to have them readily available (or "handy" - don't know which word fits better) to use them for education. Our grown ups also would use them as toys. So I would have problems to find one unbroken just in the moment I need one.
post #12 of 15
I wish id heard of the straw trick before! My Holly is kind of a bitter, not hard, but when she gets excited she likes to hold your hand with her teeth.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the answers. I also want to add that the kitten started attacking the feet recently. Any idea how to deal with that. She has plenty of toys and we play wither her..
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dengt View Post
Thanks for all the answers. I also want to add that the kitten started attacking the feet recently. Any idea how to deal with that. She has plenty of toys and we play wither her..
Bijou was very much like that. He would chase my feet when I walked anywhere in the house. I would have to stop immediately, say no loudly and I also hissed at him. If there was a straw handy I would pick it up and redirect his attention. For awhile our floor was littered with straws but they made life easier. With patience, redirection, straws, hissing and blowing in his face, he will learn manners but you need to be consistent just as you would with a child. It will work - our Bijou is a model "child" now. Quite the gentleman.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Bijou was very much like that. He would chase my feet when I walked anywhere in the house. I would have to stop immediately, say no loudly and I also hissed at him. If there was a straw handy I would pick it up and redirect his attention. For awhile our floor was littered with straws but they made life easier. With patience, redirection, straws, hissing and blowing in his face, he will learn manners but you need to be consistent just as you would with a child. It will work - our Bijou is a model "child" now. Quite the gentleman.
This is pretty much how you "discipline" a kitty for everything. Use positive reinforcement a lot for when they're doing things correctly (so they learn what IS appropriate behavior), and use the firm "no" with a short, sharp puff of air directly in the face, then redirect the kitty to what is correct to do if they're exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Just like human children, they need to learn, from you, what is OK and what isn't. !!

If they continue with the bad behavior (biting feet, jumping on a counter, etc.), pick them up, put them in the bathroom for a five minute time out, and open the bathroom door without looking at them or saying anything and walking away. Again, just like with a little child, they quickly learn that inappropriate behavior gets them ignored - it doesn't get them attention, which helps stop it over time.

Laurie
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