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Question about biting...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
After sifting through other biting entries, I haven't really found the sollution to my little problem. So, I thought I'd try to get some feedback from a new thread.

Duncan is about 17 months old, and has been living with me for about three weeks. He's very vocal and it doesn't surprise me at all when he 'talks' to me ... about everything, it seems. But, one time that I can't really figure out, is when he 'talks' to me in a sort of growl/meow. That's the only way I can explain it. Now, I mentioned biting in the sunject line. It's only during the growl/meows that he bites my wrist. Actually, it's not so much a bite, as a grab with his mouth. Only a cat owner will understand, I'm sure. Duncan will grab my wrist, then pull.

The first few times that he did this, I got right up and followed him through the house, asking, "What is it?" *Am I the only person who thinks that cats are intelligent enough to understand these kinds of questions?* Anyway, I have discovered a pattern to his grabbing. He only does this to me when I'm on the computer, and he only does it to me. I have a roommate. Tonight, when Duncan was growl/meowing and grabbing me, Mike tried to pet him, and Duncan let him...and wasn't vocal with him at all...even got up in his lap and let Mike stroke him. Then he got down in the floor and started being vocal with me again. How weird is that??

Anyway, any suggestions that anyone has would be great. It doesn't hurt (even though people are starting to ask what the dime size bruises are about), I'm just not understanding his behavior.

post #2 of 8
Hi Jim-

It doesn't hurt now, but unless you can stop the behavior, the bite will only get stronger. It could be a love bite, it could be that something triggers the cat to bite. It all depends on the body language when it happens, and what you are doing to have your wrist so near to the cat that the cat bites you? It could be pain induced, or it could be the cat wasn't with humans in the early part of being a kitten and doesn't know how to respond to you- there are many variables here. From what you are describing, I would say it was either a love bite, or you overstimulated the cat in petting it to bite you (which is quite common)

Clicker training is good, if you get a clicker and keep it with you, when Duncan bites you click the clicker and it will startle him out of the behavior.
post #3 of 8
Hi Jim, Rosie gives me those bites all the time. Hers are not hard, apart from the one she gave me last week!.

She kicks me with her back paws as well!!
post #4 of 8
I think Hissy is right, these little bites will probably get harder and sharper if you let it go on! If you can find out what triggers it (if anything) then maybe by just releasing Duncan from your wrist and saying NO and putting him on the floor might work if you dont want to use a clicker. Must admit I never thought of that and it could of saved me from years of 'little bites'. The NO thing works-most of the time- with my Tulip who can get VERY rough at times and her tail goes all big and fluffy and then she attacks and definately means it! Rabbit kicks and all. This started as little bites as well. Try to stop it now before it gets out of hand.
post #5 of 8
Hey Jim. Couple of questions. Does this happen when you're petting him - or is he trying to get your attention and you're doing something else?

Lazlo is somewhat vocal, though doesn't growl/meow. He also "bites" me on the wrist - but it is only when I pet him. He gets overstimulated easily, and that is his way of letting me know he doesn't want to be touched again for a few seconds or minutes. I didn't use the clicker method, I just used a stern "no" and removed my wrist. Now he basically just puts his mouth on my wrist (and I still say "no"), but no more bruises. He does that to let me know he doesn't want more pets, I and respond by letting him know it's not OK to bite.

But about the vocalizations... sometimes I can never figure out what it is he wants! When he sits in front of the bathroom door (which he's know learned how to open because the handle is loose) and meows, I know he wants in for brushes and attention. But when he sits on the bed and stares at the ceiling - the only thing I can figure is that he's communicating with the aliens.

And yes, we talk openly to our cats. I'm sure they understand and just choose to ignore us most of the time. I also think they're contrarians by nature, and whenever I want more attention from one of them, I ignore that kitty for a while. It works, LOL!

Anyway, back to your original question. If you can supply us with a little more info about what is occuring in terms of interaction bewteen you two when this happens, we might have a better idea. Also body posture. Tail straight up? Tail down? Standing? Sitting/lying? Ears back? etc. Knowing the body language involved will help a lot.


post #6 of 8
Two of my cats, Scooter and Mia, they bite if I don't pet them enough, like if I pet them and just stop, they will try to bite me to get me to start up again.

*No you are definately not the only one that thinks they understand, when Mia was recovering from panleukopenia she escaped and got pregnant, one morning I noticed she looked skinnier and I got scared and asked her where her babies were, she started walking and I followed her right to the garage and I opened the door. I heard a scraping noise and she had burried two of them under an empty box (she burries anything that is hers)!So yes I definately think they understand us!!!!*
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Okay, he's doing it right now. First he greows (growl/meows). His ears are forward (not back, like when he's ticked about somthing), he bats at my lower arm and hand, until I give him my attention. When I reach for him, he bites only above the hand. This could be important, as when we play, he bites my fingers, and the meaty part of my hand.

A friend of mine, who is also owned by her cat, told me that he's probably jealous of my computer.

Oh, wait, this is something new. He's now moved to the other side of the room under another desk, and is looking at me while doing the groew thing. He doesn't appear to be upset, in fact, he looks like a statue, sitting up tall with his tail wrapped around his feet.

I'll invest in a clicker. Just in case, he get's out of hand.

post #8 of 8
LOL! We know that "statue" well! Shelly does it - usually when he's miffed about wanting attention and not getting it. Sounds to me like that's a good diagnosis - he's jealous of the computer! Because it's clearly not overstimulation, I think it's likely literally an attention-grabber.

The biting seems harmless now - but I would discourage it.

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