or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Random Biting
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Random Biting

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello All. This is a bit of a rambling post, so please bare with me...

As some of you may know I have a kitten (7 1/2 months) named Scout who I adore.

We was a stray kitten, probably found at about 6 weeks and was in a foster home for 3 weeks while I got my place ready for him.

The foster parents played with him using their fingers/hands a lot, which is why he used to bite and scratch so much and was be a bit aggressive when I played with him, however I learned how to correct this with interactive toys (thanks to advice from you great TCS-ers) - however there is still one issue I am trying to overcome.

When I try to pick up Scout he gets very fistey and tries to scratch and/or bite me! When he does this I usually try to scruff him and say "Scout No!" (and I feel sssoo guilty doing ) but he doesn't react to it at all.

When I pat him under his chin or behind his ears, he is usually OK but if I try to give him full body pats when he is hoping up on the couch, etc. he'll sometimes latch onto my arm, or try to bite. Again, I do a firm "Scout, No!" and try to release his grasp with my other hand but he then latches onto that one, and again ignores my corrective voice and actions.

However when he has decided that he wants to rest/relax on me, I can usually pat him for a couple minutes - a while as he falls asleep on me.

Is it possible he just isn't an overly affectionate cat? Lately he spends a lot of time in his kitten hut (which is a soft fabric-like cat crawl/sleep space, with a circualr cut out in the front and a crinkle tunnel attached on the side ) and not with me.

Have I done something wrong? Have I been too forceful with trying to correct him?

I love him so much and just want to give him a lot of love and affection, but don't want to be bitten in return... sigh

Any ideas? Should I just let him be a more independant cat and when he is ready to give me "kitty loves" let him do so on his terms?
post #2 of 4
It sounds like two things are going on:

He doesn't like to be picked up. My Ophelia is the same way. Daddy can pick her up *sometimes*, but I can't ever. She likes to have her feet firmly on the ground, and if she's picked up when she doesn't want to be she will do about anything necessary to get back on that firm ground.

It also sounds like he gets overstimulated very easily. That is when the petting stimulates the nerves in his skin so much that what starts out as pleasurable becomes painful. That seems to happen with kitties with feral beginnings for some reason, moreso than those raised underfoot all of their lives. Pay attention to him when you stroke him for warning signs. He's giving them, I would bet. He thinks he's telling you loud and clear. Some signs to watch for are dilating pupils, twitching tail, "crawling" skin. When you figure out what his signal is, stop petting immediately when you see it. Give him a minute or two to calm down, and then continue. If you stop before it gets to that point, his tolerance of petting prior to overstimulation will gradually increase.
post #3 of 4
You have gotten some sound advice and insight from Heidi.
Its not that he doesn't like you.
Every cat has their own individual personalities.

Some don't like to be picked up ever..And this sounds like Scout.
I know some that do, some that don't, some that will flop like babies in their owner's arms...

I can pick Lovey up from any positition but I CANNOT hold him cradle style (on his back) or he will fidget and freak out..He is the little lord of the manor here
I hold him upright again and he is content for skritches (or I put him over my shoulder and give him a tour of the house from that vantage point..he loves that excursion!)

You get to know what your own cats likes and dislike are and just go from there.
I have also mastered Lovey's overstimulation signals..He starts to whip his tail and sits up a bit, becoming more alert..
I immediately stop petting. He relaxes..Then I might continue to pet or not and he eventually gets down by himself..
In the early stages or if I am doing something else and don't realize and he latches on (though he knows to do it gently for some reason now), I immediately put him down and ignore him.

Its a physiological reaction and doesn't have anything to do with you..

As for the "scruffing", some might advocate it, but I don't for a case like this.
A mother cat knows how to do this properly. We, as humans, don't.

And I think it might further aggressive behaviour sometimes, if its not done right.

My BF did it once to Lovey and Lovey did go absolutely still and mimic that kitten inside. But I am opposed to it. And I went ballistic on BF for it and he hasn't done it again ...
(BF that is
post #4 of 4
I think there is a tendency with cats separated from their moms at too young age to bite like you describe. Their moms teach them manners and don't tolerate that behavior from her young once they get a little older. At 6 weeks, he wouldn't have learned that lesson fully from his mom.

I agree with Heidi's observation about overstimulation biting. If he bites immediately upon being picked up, it's probably more of a under-trained kitten habit than overstimulation. I've fostered kittens like that and use the "puff in the face" method to stop them. Blow a small puff of air in their face - they don't like it and will usually stop. If that doesn't work, I will apply a gentle scruff and if that fails they get a timeout.

And some cats just don't like to be picked up. My Koko lets out a loud MEOWL every time I pick her up. It's not that she doesn't want to be in my arms (she cries up at me to pick her up then tells me she doesn't want to be there, go figure), she just takes a few seconds to settle in.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Random Biting