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Any tips to stop the biting??

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi guys and happy new year!

I need advice or tips, if such tips exist... My almost 3-month old kitten, Kiddie, is a real biter! He's adorable and never scratches but he bites non-stop! I know he's playing and giving quite a workout to his teeth but the little daggers are sharp and he does hurt us quite a bit... I drew blood from my husband's mom and I felt quite bad. We put him in his room when he gets too hyper and we'll encourage him to play with his own toys (we've tought him to play catch with a sock so we can spend hours at a time throwing a sock and he brings it back to us) but that's not enough - he's constantly running at our feet and biting them, which causes us to step on him now and then...

Anyone know what we could do??

Thank you!
post #2 of 10
My friend had a real problem biter as a kitten. He was separated from his mom too young so we assume it was somewhat of an oral fixation problem. She used a lot of techniques: a hiss at him when he bit, a quick puff of breath in his face, quit playing immediately when he bit, a slight scruff (as their mom would do), and when he bit a hand, simply hold your hand still - they tend to bite harder if you draw away. She actually started to massage the inside of his mouth with her finger when he bit - redirected his oral fixation to something pleasurable (he loved it and it has helped her now that he is older when she has to give medicine).

Basically you need to let this boy know in no uncertain terms that biting is not an appropriate behavior. It helps to understand what is triggering the biting reflex - some bite when overstimulated, some bite from an oral fixation, some bite out of fear or aggression. It sounds like yours simply responds to stimulation. My friend's cat quit entirely, but it took patience and persistence to get him to quit.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you Amy for your help!
I'll try that... I already puff in his face when he does it (my husband tends to give him a little swat on the behind) and I stop moving whatever part of the body he's biting but he'll move on to other parts; and when I stop moving completely sitting on the couch for example, he'll jump on my shoulder, then my head and bite the life out of my hair! Weird little guy... He was never fed by his momma since she passed when he was a day old but maybe he misses his bottle... I don't know.
I'll try to massage his mouth - anything can help at this point!

Thank you again!
post #4 of 10
At 3 months old, your kitten is beginning to sprout his adult incisors and canines. In short, he is teething. Like humans, kittens may experience discomfort and pain while they are in the early teething stages. Chewing on undesireable objects (including you!!) is oftentimes a symptom of teething at this age. Please continue to try to be patient with him during this stage, as he will grow out of it. You can provide him with plenty of soft rubber chew toys, be sure to also provide a high quality kitten food, and start him out early on with regular vet check-ups including an oral exam.
post #5 of 10
In addition to the other suggestions, is he the only pet in your home? It would help a great deal to adopt a buddy for him. Kittens who are deprived of interaction with other cats prior to 3 months of age end up with social deficits, and biting is a big one. By playing with other kittens, they learn how to bite "softly". Without this, they do not have any way to learn bite inhibition.
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by zabby27
He was never fed by his momma since she passed when he was a day old but maybe he misses his bottle... I don't know.
I'll try to massage his mouth - anything can help at this point!
Yup - you have an orally fixated cat. Orphaned cats and those separated too young often do this. Part of the issue is that their mom didn't teach them proper kitten manners - she would correct them if they bit too hard. You now need to be the mom and teach them proper etiquette. Not always easy for orphans but man they are wonderful cats!
post #7 of 10
Bottle fed kittens tend to do that.. Shadow my cat was bottle fed from 3 weeks old... she is a very sweet cat .. however she still has a tendancy to get bity at times.. not often but mostly when she is mad or if she is associating with a human she doesn't know and they are demanding things from her ( like being held) or they are being to zelious.

I started her out young that when she would get to rough blowing gently in her face to get her to stop biting REALLY hard.. and scruffing her gently but firmly to hold her down and talk gently to her and tell her she needs to calm down and be a good kitty.. then after a few seconds like 15 or so .. let her up if she would automatically start getting mad again and bite i would hold her down again for 15 more seconds .. then eventaully she would get to the point where she would finally be angry but she would walk off not keep biting.. now after a while of doing this i only had to do it once for her to get the point .. how i hardly ever have to do that.

The Scruffing is like the kitty version of time out *lol* If you watch a cat with a kitten if they get out of control they will hold them down for a few seconds by biting their neck.

Also do not play with your hands with the cat..wearing them out seems to help too .. try to teach him how to fetch .. or get a feather wand those seem to be a BIG hit with cats.. also play stations to keep them involved with something .. paper bags from a grocery store or a box with holes cut into it.. amazingly cats seem to like free things *lol* .. i buy toys but our cats would rather have boxes and newspapers *lol* go figure..

You might also try some cat milk.. i know Shadow even now at 2 years she wants her kitten formula at times when she is stressed. I no longer give her her bottle.. i just give her a little bit. That gives her an oral sensation, other then biting .. which when she is stressed she will come to me and bite me for no reason. Then if i give her a little special milk then she calms down.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the advice. Since Xmas, we've had two boxes (empty) in the livingroom that have become Kiddie's favorite toys so in addition to the fetching exercise we do with the sock, I think we may be able to keep him busy enough to not have him spent all his leisure time biting us.

Semiferal, Kiddie isn't the only pet. We have a 4 year old, Babs (his biological grandmother). She hates him (growls when he's around) but Kiddie takes it as a game and follows her around, attacks, jumps on her, all and all while purring. So he has a sort of companion... and it'll have to do as I refuse to have 3 cats in our house. Two cats and 3 birds are well sufficient!! Lately, we've let Kiddie out of his room during the day while we're at work so Babs and him have to co-exist and she (Babs) seem to "tolerate" him a little more than before. She probably just finds him very hyper but he will be spayed in 2-3 months before we start letting him go outside in the spring so I know he will calm down a little...

Gayef, I've never taken any of my cats (I've had about 20 in my life) for an oral exam... what do they check??
post #9 of 10
zabby, they just open the mouth and check the palate and tongue and then check the gums and teeth. It's usually done as part of a routine check-up unless an owner has noticed something going on with the cat's mouth.

Now, as for the biting, it's present in almost all young kittens, not just bottle babies. We unthinkingly let them stalk and play with our hands when they're little and then wonder why they're wanting to play with and bite our hands when they're a bit older. The thing that I've found works the best is to redirect the play onto a soft toy. Play biting and rabbit-kicks are fun and an important part of learning, so instead of stopping the kitten from doing them completely, as soon as there is any biting on your hand, redirect the biting onto a soft toy that you can wiggle and move. You may even find that, after a while, the kitten brings you the soft toy to let you know he wants to play!
post #10 of 10
I don't know about yall, but Magi liked small stuffed animals when she was little.. she would pounce and attack them.. and i would make them dance around and play attack her back .. AKA no hand fights stuffed animal fights. Sort of like a little play mate and they can kick and bite and "hug" the stuffed animal.. I did stuffed animals about equal size to the kitten or a little smaller.

I had a kitten once OMG it seemed to have a lot of pent up frustrations and would take them all out on the stuffed animal.

Of course watch for any small parts and check them after play for any damage that might threaten the kitten... like loose eyes or strings that might choke the kitten. Or any stuffing hanging out that they might lick and swallow.
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