My cat scratches and bites me whilst purring his head off

(9 Posts)
ceara Sun 30-Jun-13 15:01:50

If you Google "petting aggression" you will find lots of info and tips. As totallybursar says, it is very common and essentially the cat is just getting signals confused. The good news is that there is lots you can do to change this behaviour but it takes a bit of patience. It is so rewarding when you see the changes, though. Things that have worked best for me with this problem are 1. Learning to read the tiniest signals that kitty is about to flip - not easy, as it can seem like as lightning change - and aim to stop petting before it happens. 2. Slowly build up his tolerance - one extra stroke at a time. 3. Rewards and treats. 4. Don't punish your cat for petting aggression, but push him away and ignore him for a bit if he does it. The idea is that he learns that fun and attention only happen if he isn't aggressive.

You sound to be doing great with him already so just keep at it and be patient.

Burmillababe Fri 28-Jun-13 22:56:13

Is he ginger by any chance? They seem to do it a lot! If its any help, it is a sign.of affection, we had a ginger who would wrap his paws round your arm (digging his claws in) and would bite any fingers he could get hold of!

MostlyCake Tue 25-Jun-13 08:39:50

Thanks all for comments. Reading TotallyBursar's comment that's exactly how I stroke him! He is a lovely cat and seems to know that he shouldn't bite or claw us so it's down to us to realise when he's getting over-excited.

He is an indoor-outdoor cat though so we wont be clipping his claws (and not just because it would be an absolute nightmare to do!).

I think he has had a bit of a rough time before us, apparently his previous owners moved house and just left him behind - how can people do that?

HeffalumpTheFlump Tue 25-Jun-13 08:03:10

My cat was just like this. She would suddenly go from a purring happy madam to an overstimulated biter in nanoseconds. As advised above we cut down the length of time we were stroking her and she grew out of it completely. She had a rough time before she came to us so maybe it makes them a bit more sensitive?

TotallyBursar Tue 25-Jun-13 07:06:34

Please don't shout at him any more sad. It's not his fault he's being a cat.

When we stroke them we stimulate different things - sometimes sexual behaviours and sometimes hunting/play behaviours (such as the back feet kicking at you while they grab your hand) - the majority of cat owners will experience 'lovebites' a bite that is not hard and is not the same as the self defence bites. It's the same bite they would use for scruffing each other.
This is just as natural for them as grooming you & is dependant on the signals we are giving and what boundaries and training we have put in place.

If he's nervous then getting him overexcited and then chastising him won't help.

If he is easily overexcited (which may calm after 6-8 weeks post castration) stick to safe areas - around his head/ears/chin and his sides but not flank. Long strokes down his back, scratching around the base of his tail or rubbing his chest and tummy are very stimulating.
Also make sure his claws are clipped - if he's scratching with extended claws fine (well, not fine but ykwim), if he's catching you with sharp bits on retracted claws they are too long.
If he gets silly put him down on the floor, he'll probably then run it off & be a bit giddy, then you can start cuddling him again/have him snooze on you calmly.
Also keep your hands out of the picture when you play with him while you are trying to train him - playing a frantic game holding a feather & going in with the same hand for a tickle is asking to be caught and chomped!

I agree with cozie. Quite a lot of cats do they when they get overexcited. After a while you learn to read the signs and stop before they get to that point.

MostlyCake Mon 24-Jun-13 23:20:59

Thanks cozietoesie! He is my first cat so I'm probably missing some pretty obvious cues that he's getting over excited - my husband has had cats all his life and very rarely gets bitten.... Limiting strokes from now on!

cozietoesie Mon 24-Jun-13 21:49:29

You're likely physically over-stimulating him. Keep the strokes and cuddles to those times when he comes up to you asking for them and then restrict them to a few strokes or chin chucks but lots of loving words.

Then divert him with a treat.

smile

MostlyCake Mon 24-Jun-13 21:41:00

If we pet the cat, after a few minutes of him really enjoying the attention he bites us - hard enough to bruise but rarely breaks the skin. At the moment he is wearing a vet cone to keep him away from some stitches so can't bite so has taken to scratching really hard instead - these do break the skin and sting like anything. What's this about?? He purrs his head off while you're stroking him then goes for you! Am trying not to take it personally but it's starting to hurt my feelings...

I shout NO! at him every time but this makes no difference. What else can we do?? He's a rescued neutered tom with no history, around 2.5 years old, quite nervous around other people and sometimes flinches away from us for no apparent reason - perhaps has been mistreated in his old home. Because of this I dont want to hit him but it's very frustrating especially if he's broken the skin...

He always runs away after he does it as if he knows he's done something wrong whether you shout at him or not. Any insights?!

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