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post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have a problem with one of the kittens. My 3 kittens are almost 11 months now. Stinker is being a real stinker. She loves to be petted but I can only pet her little before she starts biting me. And she bites hard!!!! Tonight it broke the skin on my finger. How can I stop her from doing this? There are times I cuddle with her with no problem. I want to break of this bad habit!!!

Please help!!!
post #2 of 3
You may want to check out this thread which discusses this matter. Specifically, here are a couple of highlights that I believe may address the issues that you are experiencing.

It sounds as if your little Stinker may be getting overstimulated. You're petting her and suddenly she grabs you with her 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 her 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, she usually calms down and releases you. If you would like to increase the time you can pet without being bitten, try the following technique:

First: Get a clock or watch with a second hand. Sit down and pet your cat watching to see how long you can pet without being bitten. Once you have done this a few times, you will have a good idea what her limit is.

While you are doing this, become familiar with your cat and his body language. 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. For most cats, the tail is the key: If your cat starts twitching his tail in a jerky fashion, time to call off the petting has arrived. Some cats have different signals. Pay close attention to find out how your cat signals that an attack is about to come.

Now that you know how long he can tolerate being petted and you know what his warning signals are, you are ready for the next step.

Second: Lets say he let you pet him for 2 minutes. What you do now is (using your watch to time things) pet him for only 1.5 minutes and then stop even though he is still purring and happy. Do this every time he gets in your lap for several days. (Of course, if he can tolerate 4 minutes, you would stop at 3.5 minutes of petting, etc). Just make sure that you keep an eye out for signals that he has become overstimulated. Always stop the instant you see the overstimulation signal!

Third: After a couple of days of successful petting, you can begin to GRADUALLY add time. Each day, add about 20 - 30 seconds to your petting until he can sit with you and not bite. If he ever does bite, go back to the previous length of successful petting and stay there for a couple more days before adding more time. Again, make sure that you always keep an eye out for signals of overstimulation. Always stop the instant you see the overstimulation signal.

This is a bit tedious (especially having to watch the clock), but it really does work!

Warning: 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.

Another possibility is that she is exhibiting play aggression. Consider increasing your play sessions with Stinker 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.

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.)

I hope this is helpful for you and Stinker!
post #3 of 3
That is absolutely great advice. I agree - it sounds like overstimulation.

Our Tuxedo started with only being able to tolerate 2 to 3 strokes. That was it. If he was lying down, he would rabbit kick and grab our hands and bite (not hard) - and we were just giving him a cheek rub. If kitty bites and doesn't let go, push your hand INTO the back of the mouth. He'll let go.

But the most important thing is to learn how to NOT get to the point where kitty bites! They don't know any other way to let you know they've had enough.

We used the sharp puff of air in the face combined with a stern "no" if he bit using teeth - we just stopped and walked away if he just put his mouth on our hand to gently let us know he'd had enough. The problem wasn't Tuxedo - it was our understanding what he was communicating.

Now he just puts his paw on our hands when he's had enough.
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