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Em5
New Contributor

Biting kitten

[ Edited ]

Help! My kitten loves to bite, sometimes very hard. She was taken from her litter mates when she was 4 weeks old so she doesn’t understand how hard is too hard. She is about 9 weeks old now. I know that yelling only agitates her, and that pulling away or making a noise just makes it seem like a game. Holding still and waiting for her to stop and re-directing her towards a toy isn’t working. She just seems to love to sit there and gnaw on my hands and forearms. I’m trying to make toys more fun by giving her treats while she plays with them, but no progress. She purrs while she is biting me.

6 REPLIES
New Contributor

Re: Biting kitten

They have sprays that have bitter taste to them. Its made to be sprayed onto furniture & etc. But you can spray onto your hands to train her. She won't like the taste so therefore will be deterred to bite.
New Member

Re: Biting kitten

Try feeding her wet food with a fork. It will startle her when she tries do bite down hard, and will teach her to be more gentle. Worked for my little beast Smiley Happy
VIP

Re: Biting kitten

[ Edited ]
I commend you for seeking help with your kitten's biting "problem" and not doing what some easily-frustrated and inconsiderate people do --resort to physical abuse or tossing the kitten outside to fend for itself.

It sounds like your kitten really loves you and gets over-stimulated. Cats of all ages and from all backgrounds might (often) bite and gnaw on hands when over-stimulated. A young cat, such as yours, may not have received enough corrective action by its mother or experienced the feel of the bite from its littermates so could very well need a longer period of time to be corrected.

BUT your question is precisely HOW to correct your kitten, asserting that the typical recommended techniques have not been effective (at least not YET). If you can be patient and persistent, your kitten should eventually get a better idea of what intensity of bite hurts you, but I think there will indefinitely be a risk of occasional biting when over-stimulated.

You should be able to get a sense of when your kitten (and in a couple years, "cat") is becoming over-stimulated. You need to try to prevent the biting by stopping the stimulation before your kitten reaches the point of OVER stimulation (when the biting wI'll otherwise start).

The best way to stop unwanted behavior is to prevent it. This means you need to become well tuned to your kitten's nonverbal signs or behavior leading to the undesirable and use an effective sound IMMEDIATELY BEFORE this occurs.

This may sound a little strange, but using a sound similar to that used by a mother cat should provoke an instinctual reaction by the kitten (even one as young as yours). Have you ever tried giving your kitten a soft "growl"? It doesn't have to be loud, just enough for the kitten to hear. This may be enough to get your kitten to "back off".

You only need to use one particular sound to let your kitten know to stop certain behavior. Instead of a growl, a snake-like HISS might work. Many animals apparently instinctively know to be fearful of snakes.

If you play the surrogate mom, your kitten should get a better understanding of the meaning of your human sounds -- when they are imitating a mother cat's sounds/warnings to back off.

How about an update to let everyone know if my grrrr or sssss suggestion works?

Good luck! Smiley Happy
Em5
New Contributor

Re: Biting kitten

[ Edited ]

DebiW: I used this type of spray with my ferrets years ago, and it worked really well. I've tried three different brands of bitterspray on my kitten, but they don't stop her. I can tell the taste is bothering her, but she just keeps going. I'm also having trouble keeping her from electrical cords. The spray is a good idea, though. It just isn't working on my particular kitten.

New Member

Re: Biting kitten

I wish I had better news but ALL kittens do this! I can always tell a person who has a kitten or puppy because their hands are all covered with bite marks and scratches! The kitten will outgrow it but, perhaps a companion will help her/him redirect those teeth onto them! Otherwise, don't pet your kitten unless they are calm or you are wearing gardening gloves!
Occasional Contributor

Re: Biting kitten

Kitts and puppies must learn what is called "bite inhibition" before they learn to stop biting altogether. If you immediately stop all biting, they will continue to bite hard as adults. Instead, only redirect the hardest bites, but ignore or even reward the soft ones. Then eventually redirect the medium bites. And in a few weeks you can redirect all biting.

Be sure kitty has lots of fun toys, including interactive toys. If kitty continues to bite, remove yourself from the situation, because your hands and arms are just too rewarding. With consistency this WILL get better. As a final stage to stop all biting, rub something bitter or yucky on yourself. Petco sell various products for that. NEVER spray it in her mouth because then she will just dislike you altogether. Let her bite the yucky taste herself.
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