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Kitten likes to bite&attack fingers/hands,etc...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I want to teach my kitten who is a male 5weeker NOT to attack fingers,toes,hands,feet. He not only preffers to play with fingers(and chew them),but when he is hungry,while i am preparing his food He bites my feet,and Im sure in a attemp to TELL me to hurry up,not just playing when doing so.
I raised a kitten from 2-3wks and taught her not to d othese things,from the start. But This kitten obvioulsy already learned it from the people he came from,or has a strong will. He was the most active in the litter, AND the loudest at feeding time(from what I've been told),and I knew this when I got him. I dont want to use physical punishment,as far as I know this does not work with cats,right...BUt telling him NO!" and pushing him away,or simply ignoring it is not working yet. When I was preparing his food,and he bit my foot(It seems he did this out of anger or to be pushy with me,) I thumped his side and said NO!! cus he kept doing it everytime he would cry for his food. i felt horrible for thumping/flicking him becasue he is SO sweet&precious. IS there anything else to do? He is bottlefed and very young,so He is a bit demanding,and but still affectionate. But this biting and pushy-ness has to stop! I should prepare his food beforehand,maybe that'l help. BUt what about the playful biting during his playtimes? he is more interested in my hands/feet than toys. I don't expect him to be a lap cat,but to at least be more gentle. I have kids and dont want him attacking my sons (playfuly) as he gets bigger. He was a better choice than a dog under our current circumstances,and me& my son loves cats more than dogs. I'm having a baby in a week also and I got him to grow up with the baby too.
post #2 of 16
First off, please don't hit-thump or flick your baby! He is just a baby and he does not know how to act. Physical punishment can really hurt him, because humans are so much stronger than a fragile kitten. Plus add in your frustration level which appears to be high and the thump could really do damage to him. He is 5 weeks old and he needs to be with his mother to learn how to be a kitten! Would you thump a 5 week old child?

Biting your ankles and fingers is a natural reaction for him. First off your feet is the only thing he sees down there, and they move, and if you are barefoot then that makes it all the more tempting for him to bite this new type of prey. Start wearing shoes and socks, get an old pair of shoelaces and spray them with bitter apple lace your shoes up in them, then give your shoes a good spritz. Do this everytime you put your shoes on, pretty soon he will leave your feet alone.

Your fingers, you are dealing with a bottle fed baby- (I assume either the mother is dead or owned by someone uneducated enough to not know that kittens should be with mom for at least 12 weeks) But back to biting, of course he is going to bite those fingers, those fingers bring him food! Therefore, those fingers sure taste good, especially right after you eat, or have handled food and not washed your hands. Plus he is after your scent to claim it as his own.

When he bites, relax your hand and hiss at him. Make it are really loud percussion type hiss, like a mom cat would do. Or blow one puff of air into his face and tell him no, then withdraw your hand from the situation.

Also if a 5 week old kitten is getting you so frustrated that you thump him, you might want to reconsider finding him a better home. With a new baby on the way, a really young kitten needing to be bottlefed is apt to take a backseat to the demands of a human newborn. I can appreciate that you love cats, but perhaps this is not the best time to have him in your life? You don't sound to me in your posts like you have the patience necessary to help this kitten learn how to get along in the world. If sounds to me like you want him to behave NOW- although he is not misbehaving, he is simply being what God intended him to be...a kitten.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I did it ONCE and I said I felt horrible for doing it. It hurt like hell when he did it,and I didnt do it out of anger/frustration,but because it HURT and HAD to get him off me,he wouldn't get off my foot. He bites my toes when hes hungry,not because hes trying to play. When he wants to play he goes for the fingers. I agree,he should be with his mother,but his mother was a stray,and his litter was born in a tractor and the person who bought the tractor at the tractor company found the kittens inside. The mother was never found. So he was then given to someone who bottlefed&took care of them(at 2-3wks). Than I came along and saw the add in the paper,and came and got him from the lady. I know its more responsability to care for him as he is so young,I've done it before. Just never had this problem with biting,especialy at such a young age. i realized(and after talking with a vet yesterday)he wants to still nurse,but hes gongi to have to get used to eating regular food. He went crazy when he smelled the milk from my cereal bowl this morning. I was thinking of maybe buying kitten milk and using that to moisten his hard food instead of water,to make him feel happier,unlesss that is not a good idea. I feel bad for the little uy that he cant nurse. The hissing and bitter apple idea sounds good. Right now,I am just preparing his food beforehand,so he doesn't have to waite for it. And we started playing with some toys. Everyone makes mistakes and telling someone they shouldn't have something is awfuly rude,especialy oif you dont know the person or how they really are.
post #4 of 16
Please do not take it too personally.. Hissy has good intentions and I'm sure she didn't mean to imply that you couldn't take care of the kitty.

It will take time and a lot of patience working with this kitten as you know from previous experiences.

I adopted 2 brothers who were about 3 weeks old and the vet I got them from had already started feeding them kitten canned food so she told me to feed them kitten canned food but I felt it was important to feed them milk longer so I switched back to milk then start slowly mixing with kitten food after 7 weeks old.

As I did this, the 2 brothers (named Buddy and Spike) at first would attack my legs whenever I got milk/food ready for them. Let me tell u, I look like I went through a war because my legs were COVERED with bloody scratches!! I tried everything but found the best thing was to remove the kitten who was currently doing the "damage" and place with the other kitten an often they'd go off playing/wrestling.

Maybe u can distract him with other toys if he tries to bite u again? Just an idea..

Keep us posted and hang in there!
post #5 of 16
Cookies&creme, I'm sorry that you seemed to take offense at hissy's post, however, please bear in mind that this is a site dedicated to cat welfare and education. Anger and frustration came through in your post, and you're right - there's no way to know anything about your background, age, experience, etc. So we address issues such as this as tactfully as possible. But thumping or flicking a kitty does nothing to help change his behavior and that's what needed to be communicated.'

We brought home a 5-week old kitten that needed fostering before she could be adopted out. She, like every kitten, liked to bite our feet and hands. This kitty is now about 10 - 11 weeks old, and we used hissy's advice. She still forgets herself at times, but making your hand go limp, sternly saying "No" and puffing a little air in her face makes her stop. She now knows she's not supposed to bite feet and hands... but she's still just a baby, and they're so tempting!!!! Now all we have to do is say "no" when she starts, and she'll stop. But like I said - she forgets herself. She is also like any toddler - she likes to see what and how much she can get away with. I'm sharing this with you simply to let you know that training your kitten not to bite feet and hands can take some time. This is not going to happen overnight.

I've brought to the attention of several people who know about raising kittens your question about feeding him. My understanding is that he should not yet be eating dry food. When they make the switch from milk to food, my understanding is that the kitten should be eating wet food. We switched MaeMae from milk to wet food, but continued to feed her KRM for some time even while making the switch. When we introduced dry food, we made the dry food wet at first. I think making the switch directly from milk to dry food is very, very harsh on their digestive systems. But like I said, I've asked others who know this information to address this question.
post #6 of 16

I also looked to see if I could send u a private message but couldn't so if you don't mind, u can send me a msg via pm (look under my msg and u should see my "PM" icon) ur email address and I can expand more regarding this.
post #7 of 16
At 5 weeks old this kitten would still be nursing. He would be sampling wet food that his mother was eating, but he wouldn't be able to handle dry food only. He needs canned food at the very least and some supplemental bottle feeding as well. You cannot just decide to make him eat something because it is easier on you. You have to let his body grow and develop on it's own by providing the proper nutrition. You are not allowing him time for his teeth to develop and you are frustrating this baby as well.

I am sorry if you think I am harsh but your posts are very upsetting to me. You want this kitten to respond in a manner in which you deem appropriate, and with kittens that doesn't work. They learn from the mom, and if mom is not around, then we as their surrogate have to teach them. I deal with orphaned kittens all the time, I have three here now that I wish they would respond how I want them to, but they are babies and they are learning. You learn with them, you adapt to them. But please give this little one canned food, and KRM (kitty milk replacement)you don't just dump dry food in front of him and expect his tiny teeth to be able to handle the diet you want him to eat!
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
As for the biting issue I resolved that by preparing his food BEFORE ofering it to him,and before he gets hungry.

As for the food issues..I was not entirely sure if he should be still drinking kitten milk or not,that was why I also called the vet. And the receptionist was the one who told me I am feeding him the corerect way(only softend food,gradualy giving it harder within the next 1-2wks). I helped raise kittens once before,but they were with their mother,so I didn't need to bottlefeed or anything. I remember the mother nursing them untill they were ENTIRELY weaned...which wsa past the point of them being able to eat solid food. I first gave them canned,then graduated them to softend hard food,then hard food. I felt this kitten should be fed the bottle in addition to offering him the canned&/or softened hard food. Right now he is eating softend (with water/but squeezed out)hard food,mixed with canned food. He loves it. He eats often enough(and quite a bit) that he may after all need to still take a bottle in between "regular" meals maybe a few times a day,and then be weaned off the bottle gradualy,....

As for the playbiting when he wants to play I get out toys. Plastic balls is his favorate right now. He likes the teeny(teenyWEENY)stuffed dog toys too. Once in a great while he'l jump at a body part,and I'l redirect him to the toy by distracting him with the toy,or picking him up saying "NO" and turning him twards the toy. He has not attacked my fingers in a whole day(big imrpovement)..ccept when he climbs behind the kepbourd of course..but in that case I know I need to get off the computer and play with him...

Oh by the way I NEVER "dumped dry food on him" Or gave him dry food because thats I "wanted' to give him,that is what his former owner told me he was eating(she said he was weaned,and obviously he is not),and what a vet receptionsit told me to give him(the softend dry food). He has been eating SOFTENED dry food (dry food softend with water,so its really super soft)mixed with canned food.
post #9 of 16
Make him a ball bin- he will love it. Get an sturdy cardboard box, cut the flaps off of one end of it. Make some holes off the floor level big enough he can jump in and out of, and throw some ping pong balls inside (2 is good) This is his activity chamber, and you can put his plastic balls inside as well, but the ping pong balls are lighter and make a wonderful noise when swatted by active paws.

But please start giving him canned food as well, he needs the nutrients and the moisture more than anything.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
When I was at petsmart looking for canned food,the employee said canned was bad for them,and they should only be eating dry. I did shrug it off a little cus she didn't know how young my baby is,and these teens that work at places like that don't always know everything(even if they mean well)...but I sort of beleived her in a way. Then lastnight I read online somewhere that canned food is BETTER than dry,so everyone has something to say different. i also read online that neutering the cat at a younger age was better than waiting till its 6months. I had a cat in 95 and that vet neutered him at the same time as he got his amputation and he was only 10 or so wks. I found him in the road,his leg was dead from being hit by a car andi worked at the vets then too. Anyway I will buy more canned food,but will also talk with the vet at our appt. about everything that has gone on as well. Besides needing his shots,etc...(hes 6wks now)..He needs to see the dr,cus hes not doing so hot. He got bloated(I think worms) stopped eating as much,and threw up today. He went outside his litterbox,and i think its because hes associating it with the painful diareah/bm's hes been having. That's to be expected I geuss,he was a FTGH kitten with unknown background other than what the lady told me. I'l update after his dr's visit.
post #11 of 16
Hello! I"m sorry to hear that ur kitty isn't feeling too good right now but I'm sure with ur love, care and taking to vet will help him feel better soon! When is ur vet appt? I'd recommend taking him in ASAP to be safe because kittens are very frail..

I think what the salesperson meant regarding canned food being bad is that it's not a good idea to feed a cat canned food ONLY. For kittens, it's necessary for them to adjust to eating from drinking (same concept as with babies- u start feeding babies by nursing/bottlefeeding then slowly start switching to babyfood (mush) then to soft food then to "normal" food.

As I understand, the canned food isn't good as the only source of food because cats need tartar control and dry catfood help with that and with various nutrients.

I might be wrong about why the canned food isn't good so if I am, cat sages, pls correct me! Grin. It also depends on what brand of canned and nutrients involved. With my cats, I give them each one small can of fancy feast per day and leave dry catfood out all day. some people feed cats dry food ONLY and at certain times during the day. U need to figure out which way of feeding (leaving dry out all day after the kitten can eat dry or feeding at certain times, etc) works the best for u and ur kitten.

Pls keep us posted regarding ur kitten and hang in there!
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
That morning that he started to get REAL sick was the same morning I had given him a tiny drop or two of liquid wormer for roundworms. I figured it would help aleiveate any discomfort untill his vet appt on Wed. He seemed a bit bloated and some diareah. Well,he only trew up that day,and his diareah got worse,but it all got better. He smells better,and his poops are firmer. He no longer is bloated. I think it did the trick(with roundworms),but I must had O.D.eed with it. Stupid I KNOW...He will be going to get his first shots& of course be properly wormed too especialy for any of the other kinds of worms. He really has not done too well with the hard food(softened with water)...and since he has been eating only canned, his tummy seems to be doing a LOT better.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
We have had "PAtrick" for a week now. And its been rocky,but we have finaly started making progress ..yayyy!!! I never knew how much attention he would need/demand. (but thats ok)I dont remember if I mentioned that I raised kittens before..well I did so with the help of their mother so I geuss SHE really did all the work
I still wonder sometimes if this little bottlefed baby acts the way he does because his previous owner(lady who bottlefed him)might have OVER spoiled him. And what I mean by this is maybe she gave in to him everytime he demanded anything(agressively),etc..not just his regular needs I mean....
When He first came into our home he had already started eating moistend hard food(hard food softend by water)...Well,he refused and only eccepted canned. He would literaly hollar(still does that,but I'm teaching him he'l get attention when hes a littler quieter)and mewwow whenever he was hunry,but also bite my toes to get me to hurry up if He didn't get it. I started preparing his food before he started demanding it,to prevent him from getting deeper into the habit of biting my toes(this was NOT playful biting)and calling HIM to get it instead of him callnig ME to feed him. He has stopped the biting mostly. He'l almost do it,then turn away as if he remembers he should not.
He also had diareah and would not go in the litterbox everytime. He insisted on peeping on the carpet in the diningroom. I underestimated his intelligence at first. For some reason decided to try puttin him in his litterbox ,and after he would jump out(when I knew he had to go)I would put him BACK in it 3-4x,THEn he would GO !! Amazing!!
We took him to the vet yesterday for his first check up & worming. Vet says he's not quite 6wks yet,but he can eat solid food FINE> HE said offer him hard food,and if he refuses,let him refuse. HE said he WILL eat his food eventualy when hungry(that he wont starve himself) and when he sees I wont "give in" to his demands. HE is very agressive&VERY verbal the Vet said it seems cute now,but wont be cute when he's 8lbs,and to calm that temper down. (patrcik was yowling&thrashing his paws around through the carrier trying to get out angrily)He even said keep him in a crate(with litterbox)to confine him till he HAS to use the box,and not the rug. He HATES being in the carrier. Patrick sleeps in a roomy wire dog crate durnig his naptimes,and I keep him in it with a litterbox on one side when i am not home,or can't watch him. Well,today a new day,and puttin the litterbox(that was formerly in the back room)in my bathroom thats closer to the diningroom...he has been going in his box,yaayyy!!!!! The more he goes in his box(without being told/shown)the more freedom he gets. When he starts acting up(pottywise),I put him in the crate with his litterbox,and he is LEARNING from that. He is also nibbling the hard food. I am softening it a LITTLE to get him to eat it(couldn't help it),but won't make it mushy(like he preffers) anymore. He is a healthy 5-6wk old(10ounce),and Doc says bring him back in 2-3wks for his first shots. He is a feisty little kitty for being so small,but I love him and he has improved So much!!
post #14 of 16
That's GREAT that Patrick is doing much better!

I know what u mean about kittens demanding so much attention! When I adopted Spike and Buddy at 3 wks old (they were separated from their mom by a little boy who couldn't remember whehe he found them in the park) and it was my first time having kittens. I just couldn't believe how much work and time it took to feed, train and love them! The first 2-3 months were very challenging for me but now I just can't imagine life without any of my cats!

Keep us posted about Patrick! I'd love to see some pics! Wink
post #15 of 16
I can appreciate your frustration, but please understand that Patrick is a baby. Without him being taught how to use the litterbox (by his mom) and how to act around humans, you cannot realistically expect him to act like a programmed adult cat. He just does not know any better. Your posts contain a lot of frustration and stress and if he is in tune with you, when you get stressed, he will become more so. Biting your toes is unacceptable, so wear shoes and put something unpleasant on the those shoes (Bitter Apple is good)

Also do not worm such a tiny kitten with over-the-counter wormers, the vet has the proper medication for him and it is done by wieght vs dosage.

I disagree with your vet, and giving Patrick soft food and dry may very well quell his hunger pains and stop his food attacks on your toes.

I have bottlefed many an orphaned kitten, and none of them have grown up spoiled, and all of them have had a bonding with the person who bottle fed them, as well as accepting of strangers that show up.

You need to keep his litterbox fairly close in the room where you are feeding him right at first, so that he knows where it is at all times and get there quickly. Once he has learned, then start moving it in very small degrees to where you want it permanently located, but don't just up and move it to another room and expect him to find it, because he won't.

Again, he really shouldn't be on all solid food until he is at least 8 weeks old. He needs not only the nutrients in the canned food, but also the water and moisture it contains.

Good luck with him- kittens are fun and challenging but you have to allow them to make kitten mistakes.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry but I strongly diasagree. He is eating fine,and gonig potty fine,which is GREAT. He has improved greatly and is learning.
It didn't hurt to move the litterbox from the back bathroom to the bathroom closer to the dining room,bcause he wasn't wanting to go in it in the first place. Now that it is closer and he is learning from me to use it properly *he is using it*.
He was wormed by the vet yesterday. I never said anything about an over the counter wormer in my last post. His stools are not diareah anymore. And frustration??? How strange to think that when I jsut posted a happy update to state how everything has gone,and how he has improved so well. He no longer tries to pee on the carpet. And I geuss it seems awfuly surprizing to know that he is not biting my toes anymore. Its nto because hes not hungry,but because I prepare his food befroehand and dont allow him to get TOO hungry before feeding him. Infact he just ate,and very well I might add
It must also be surprizing to learn that he wa just being demnding to what HE wanted,and with a little patience and persistance, he has learned that he must go in his litterobx,and eat the food a little harder than it was before. he will only continue to get better,so I will not need to post on here(nor do I want to anymore,since the vet dr. knows what he is talknig about,and his advice and worked
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