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Nipping and Biting

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I need to know some tips to keep my 2.5 year old cat from nipping and biting. It was somewhat cute when he was a kitten, but now that he is full grown, it hurts.
post #2 of 15
Since you only provided general information and not things like when it happens (examples) here is some basic information that might help. If this dosen't cover please provide details:

* Overstimulation. You're petting your cat and suddenly he grabs you with his claws and teeth. Not a full-powered attack, but you've still got those sharp tips around your hand. What to do? In the short run, freeze. Don't fight your cat or you may trigger a real bite. Sometimes smacking your other hand hard against a hard surface - a table top, for example - may startle your cat into breaking off. If you stay still, however, he usually calms down and releases you.

That's the solution if you've gotten to the attack
stage. The better option is to be familiar with your cat and his body language and stop petting before he becomes overstimulated. Cat lovers often think such attacks come without warning, but the fact is that they missed the warning signs of a cat who has simply had enough. The tail is the key: If your cat starts twitching his tail in a jerky fashion, time to call off the petting has arrived. Build slowly.

Often these "I've had enough" attacks come if you've been petting your cat's belly. This is a very sensitive area for cats, and even if yours offers it to you, you're better off petting somewhere else. One reason is sexual in nature: Your male cat becomes aroused when his belly is rubbed, and reacts with a bite because that's what feline mating behavior involves.

* Play aggression. Sure, it hurts all the same, but the cat who pounces on your feet/hands and then careens off the wall isn't trying to hurt you - he's playing. You need to increase your play sessions with your cat with an appropriate toy, such as a cat fishing pole or toy on a string - not one of your body parts - to help your cat
burn off his excess energy before you try for a quiet pet session. Let him know that attacks on you are not permitted by letting him have it with a blast from an air horn or a spray bottle. A little Bitter Apple on your hand can help, too.

Good luck
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Normally, he does this when I am watching TV or sitting on the couch with my laptop. He will be sleeping on the couch or floor, and then, out of the blue, he lunges at my feet.

If I am able to watch him before it happens, there is usually only very subtle tells, slight twitch of the tail, eyes dialating. It just happens so out of the blue, with no stimulus from me (as I am sitting there minding my business while he sleeps...)
post #4 of 15
Originally posted by Hell603
the cat who pounces on your feet/hands and then careens off the wall isn't trying to hurt you-he's playing. You need to increase your play sessions with your cat with an appropriate toy
I am not an expert and I might be wrong, but to me the problem you have with your cat sounds like playful aggression. I have noticed this behavior most often in cats who are young, redirecting him with appropriate play should help.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I give it a try.
post #6 of 15
My very smart/dominate cat had a biting problem when playing. I'd pressed my index finger on her tongue for a moment & she stopped biting instantly! If she'd start again, I'd point my finger at her nose & say NO! She'd turn her head and settle down. Although it wasn't likely CORRECT owner etiquite, it worked for me. By the way, she was a "one person" cat w/a protective personality. Good luck !
post #7 of 15
I have a bit of biting problem with Sophie as well; she rarely mews, and sometimes bites/nips as communication (any advice on this? is this normal?) Other times I know it's because I give her a toy and I don't stay long enough playing with her. My feet are a favourite target. It's an ongoing process of her testing my patience/pushing my boundaries :LOL: and I've already resigned myself to the fact that this is HER house
post #8 of 15
Never reinforce her for biting....if she bites, immediately stop paying attention to her. Blow a strong puff of air in her face or clap your hands real loud and shout "NO"! Don't try to pull your hands or feet away from her when she is biting because she will think you are playing with her. Just hold still, do the puff or clap and then pry her paws off. It shouldn't take too long for your little one to learn that this is a no-no. (Never play with your kitten with your hands or feet...only play with toys so she never learns that it is okay to attack people.)
post #9 of 15
Thanks for the advice lotsocats I think she's finally getting message the message that biting mommy (or anyone else for that matter) is just not on

Funny thing is she's finally starting to mew more after almost two months of complete silence. Anyone else here adopted a kitty from a shelter found the same thing?
post #10 of 15
My former cat Midnight (now my little kitty angel), was adopted from a shelter 13 1/2 years ago. Normally, she never meowed, she made squeaking noises instead, and sometimes we saw her doing silent meows. About the only time she ever meowed was when she was extremely stressed or excited. Also, she used to get over excited when she was petted, mostly in the beginning, and would nip very lightly.
post #11 of 15
I have a new kitten 8 1/2 weeks old. Never had a cat before, just fell in love. I am having similar problems with palyful aggression. I play with her several times a day using fishing pole type toys and mice, etc. I don't use my hands, but she is determined to attack my hands and bite (not hard-just a kitten bite), but I don't want her to do this as an adult cat. She will climb in my lap to sleep, but will also attack my hands if I try to pet her or will meow at my feet to pick her up, but then try to bite my hand after I pick her up and hold her. I got her at 7 weeks and I thinking maybe she didn't stay with her mother long enough? She is a precious little fluffy Persian and really is adorable, I would just like to work this problems out now. I would appreciate any advice. Thanks
post #12 of 15
She is still very young. Yes, that's a little too early to be away from mom. A good age is 12 weeks and 8 weeks is pushing it. Kittens, especially rambunctious ones will bite by nature. They do this with siblings. You just need to keep up what you are doing. When she goes to bite you, tell her no and stop touching her. If she continues, you put her down and walk away. If she is REALLY stubborn, you can give a quick puff of air into her face and tell her know. They usually will get the idea. The one thing that has worked for me is to say Ouch is a real high pitched voice (like a little mouse) they usually let go because it's similar to when they are playing with a sibling and when they get hurt, they give out a little cry. Cats can be trained and taught, it just takes some patients and repetition.
post #13 of 15
Fitz is the same way when he wants me to play with him--I realized that this is his way of screaming in my face after I've ignored his other signs. After watching him, he'll usually sit at my feet and make a little whine and he goes away--then he'll run across my lap and THEN he'll jump up and bite my hands or feet.
I started to train him to ask nicely instead of the biting. I put a treat on my chest and called him. When he came and ate it, I would go play with him (with toys on strings--not hands). After a few minutes I would go back on the couch and start reading again. He would show up and get his treat and we would play again. We did this for about a half hour and I'm eventually making the treats smaller and smaller so the playing will be the only reward and he'll be a gentleman instead of demanding playtime so violently. Seems to be working so far, I'll let you know how it goes.
post #14 of 15
That's a great idea - thanks. It's amazing what works. I guess you just have to be smarter than the kitten! I'm working on that!
post #15 of 15
Thanks for your input too Sandi. She stops biting and looks at me when I say Owch in a high pitched voice. This may do the trick, but it will still take a little while. She also does the biting when she feels like I've held her too long so I'm doing the same Owch then and putting her down. I guess I will get the hang of this. It's just a little hard to know when it's enough for her. Sometimes she's receptive and sometimes not! Can cats have PMS? Thanks for all your help.
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