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Kitten playfully biting and scratching fingers

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm sure I read somewhere on this site that one shouldn't let a kitten use a hand as a plaything . My 13 week old kitty does just that, but I don't mind a bit, in fact it is quite cute. What would the reason be not to let him do this? Does it mean he will still be wanting to do it when he is older and bigger?
post #2 of 9
Exactly, you are just teaching him bad behaviors.
post #3 of 9
This was something my partner did with my first cat....Max (the cat) now thinks every man loves to play rough!!

He once ran up the leg of a male guest at my house and bit him on the hand - he thinks men are toys!

Cute in a kitten....bad in a grown cat!
post #4 of 9
Ours did so when small (correctly raised pedigree cats). They abandoned the habit when they grew up.

They can still do it sometimes when in joyous extase, especielly Vagis.

And if they are unhappy with our handling they can show with a verycautious snaping: here is my limit; please dont go longer!
In this way they are very convenient to do with.
post #5 of 9
IMO all of our companion animals need to learn in no uncertain terms that their teeth do not ever contact human skin.
That is a very firm rule around here.

Your future could include children visiting your home, or any number of other possible scenarios where a slight cat tooth mishap could cause you grief. Just don't do it.
post #6 of 9
While you might think its cute now, you won't when he's full grown and has sharp claws. Hands are not for hurting. You need to stop the behavior now. Don't pull back - it will cause the cat to attack more cause his "prey" is getting away.

What you should do is to play dead. Don't move your hand or pull back. Tell him "NO bite/scratch" and when he stops, take your hand away. You can also "hiss" at him the minute he starts that. Hissing is cat language to stop and back off.
post #7 of 9
I agree - it's important that you let your kitty know that your hands are not playthings. I have a bit of a problem with Mosi at the moment as he uses his claws in play (not aggression) a lot - he swipes at my hair a lot. I'm trying to deter this but it's difficult as blowing on him has no effect - he ignores it - and while hissing works I can't do it near Jaffa as he thinks I'm hissing at him and gets stressed out. I'm hoping Mosi will grow out of it. A few days ago he actually got me in the eye and I had to go to Accident and Emergency to get it checked out - that could have been really serious if it had been a child. So yes, you really do need to try to deter his behaviour and not just hope he'll grow out of it.
post #8 of 9
My husband was the same, whereby he didn't mind that our kitten bit and scratched him when playing with his hand. I told him it wasn't a good idea though (after being advised on these forums not to allow it to happen)... and so now whenever Libby does it, she gets hissed at which makes her stop.

The good thing is though, she's learning quickly. She still plays with our hands and feet but she knows that she is under no circumstances allowed to use her claws or teeth on us. And gradually she isn't. She doesn't extended her claws at all now when playing with our hands, she just paws and tries to cling without them. She's also taken to licking instead of biting, which is very cute. Occassionally she'll still try to bite during play time but she gets hissed at and she won't try it again for a while. We've also noticed with visitors that although she'll play with their feet, she won't bite or scratch (she's only allowed to play if the person doesn't mind we tell her to stop if they do).

I know we should not let her play with our hands and feet full stop, but I just can't do it. She loves to come up to us and roll on her back to let us know she wants to play... and it's so much more personal than sitting 3 feet away and moving some toy on a string/rod in front of her.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the replies everybody . I will definitely take heed and not allow Gollum to bite and scratch our fingers. I started to do it yesterday, and once or twice he switched from biting to licking, which I thought was a good sign. I have also told my daughter to tell him 'no' in a firm voice, and we will try the hissing at him today.

Great advice - thanks!
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