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Why is my cat such a bitey git?

(38 Posts)
ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 09:51:53

We got two cats from the Cats Protection League at the start of September, a 3 yo and a 10 year old. We think they'd lived with someone elderly previously as we were told their owner moved somewhere where they couldn't take the cats with them.

All going okay so far, cats seem to have settled in well, but the younger one is so cocking bitey! They aren't particularly hard - they do hurt but I'm assuming he could bite much harder if he wanted, but they're pretty constant and often without warning(ish - getting used to anticipating it now). For example, right this moment I am sitting on the sofa balancing my laptop on my knee and he is snuggled up next to me, purring away; every now and then I'll break off to stroke him, either on the head or under the chin, and he'll act as though it's the best thing in the world 90% of the time and then randomly make a swipe at my hand. Similarly in the evenings when he joins us on the sofa - stroke, stroke, stroke, bite.

He's particularly bad first thing in the morning when he jumps on the bed and wakes us up and will repeatedly nuzzle our hands for strokes, then bite.

The other day my 3 yo was on the sofa, naked from the waist down, and the cat came over, licked his legs a few times, then sank his teeth into him. I was next to him at the time and it was completely unprovoked.

It's getting a little wearing! Is there anything we can do? Both cats have been neutered and he gets a fair amount of play time (though could possibly do more). He also has free access to outdoors (we are semi-rural).

Also finding his greediness/food obsession quite exhausting. We upped his food when he came to us on the basis he would be more active than he was when he was in the centre. We eventually got to the point where he stopped pestering for/stealing food (pouch plus handful of biscuits twice a day), but he's unfortunately put on an excess kilo (!) so is now back on a diet (1 x pouch in the evening and small quantity of biscuits in the morning). He is now constantly asking for and trying to steal food - repeatedly being shooed off the table and worktops, can't leave any food out on the side, will steal kids' food if left unguarded etc. He's very persistent, will steal food off the fork between your plate and your mouth if he gets the chance. Has to be shut out of the kitchen most of the time (PITA with small children, who are obviously incapable of keeping the doors shut).

Any suggestions please for either issue or is this just what having a cat is like? Not thinking of rehoming because we made the commitment to give him a home, but it would be nice if we could sort these out sad

lemisscared Mon 08-Dec-14 09:58:40

Those pouches are tiny, no wonder he is pestering for food - they are stupidly expensive too.

As for the biting, just don't stroke him. Only on your terms. He will soon learn that biting doesn't = attention, it = being ignored. I used to have a cat like this, lulled you into a false sense of security then would attack

Could try a feliway diffuser see if that calms him down

Thirdly - cats are bastards smile

SockDrawer Mon 08-Dec-14 10:02:36

That can't be enough food, can it?! shock Are you sure your feeding I'm enough?

I sympathise, I can't deal with bitey cats, they're terrifying and a PITA. Have a couple of plasters and a brew on me.

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 10:04:48

Ha ha! grin I've always thought they were probably bastards. Always good to find out I'm right.

Pouches are Tesco own (sorry cat) so fairly cheap. He was reweighed after two weeks on his reduced rations and had lost a grand total of 70 g hmm so I don't think we're starving him. Not sure if he's supplementing with rodents/food from neighbours ...

cozietoesie Mon 08-Dec-14 10:05:04

Seniorboy used to bite my mother but she was pretty indulgent - if she ever told him off her voice said NO but her tone said 'Who's Mummy's bestest, bestest boy then? He got her message. It took me a good few days to break him of the habit and he wouldn't dare now.

Let him make all the running in terms of stroking and if he so much as lunges, give him a firm NO (and mean it!) and put him down or outside the door and ignore him. 20 minutes of Exclusion should be sufficient. And repeat.

On the food, it sounds to me as if you're not giving him enough and he's going for extra because he's just so hungry. I'm afraid that putting a cat on a slimming diet is a long term thing. Here's some guidance on the topic. Have you thought of a forage toy/kibble ball or two if he eats dried? There won't be much outside at the moment even if he's a skilled hunter.

Micah Mon 08-Dec-14 10:07:05

The bitey thing can be territorial, just establishing the hierarchy and treating you as he would another cat. I knew it would be the younger one smile

Mine used to bite in the same way. Never drew blood, or even left a mark. He never used his claws though, so not an aggressive thing.

Good news is he grew out of it as he got older and more secure (and we homed him as an only cat, sorry. While on the surface he loved his brother, major territory issues- though we had the spraying too).

Best thing we found was not to react if possible. Apparently making a noise and pulling away feels nice on their teeth and triggers the prey drive, so they do it more.

As for the food- can you leave "light" biscuits down all the time, and feed half a wet pouch x2 a day. Mine self regulated eventually.

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 10:09:00

They were having a (Felix) pouch and 30g of biscuits a day at the centre, on the grounds they were shut in a small run all day. We pretty much doubled it and he put on loads of weight sad so now reduced down again but I live in fear of starving them. Other cat gets the same and seems fine but is much less greedy, he quite often leaves a bit of his food and gets it later, if we whisk it away before fat cat gets it (we feed them separately).

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 10:15:04

Yes, am starting to think two was a mistake! Don't think they're related but had lived together previously and came as a pair.

I do have a couple of balls - should I give him all his biscuits in that?

Thanks for biting advice - usually he gets told NO and shoved off bed/sofa. Will keep going with that I guess.

cozietoesie Mon 08-Dec-14 10:15:29

Maybe try a forage toy or two - they'll spin out the food and also give him some interest. (Kibble balls are easily obtainable if you're not up to making one yourself.) I'd up the rations a bit though - it sounds to me as if you're trying to do things just a little fast and maybe with him it might be better to look for more activity.

cozietoesie Mon 08-Dec-14 10:16:48

Yes - all his biscuits in the balls.

(You might find, also, that a little more food allied with extra activity will help his biting behaviour.)

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 10:17:31

It never occurred to me that working out the right amount of food to give them would be such a nightmare! Centre just said increase it, vet just says it depends on the type of food (Tesco pouches, Purina biscuits).

Mine would be on a serious rampage with that little food! Even my 15 yr old very small cat eats at least two bowls full of wet food and has free access to dry all day. Are you absolutely sure he wasn't too slim before? As long as he isn't really roly poly he may be meant to be a bigger cat!

It also might be worth looking at what you are feeding him.. Felix, and supermarket cat food is very low quality.. all filler and very very little meat content. Something with a better meat content would fill him up better and for longer. Look at zooplus.co.uk. We use ANimonda Carny (cheaper than supermarket and goes a LOT further) but there are several good quality cat foods on there and it might help keep him slim but not hungry.

I have a biter too, but when he does I just withdraw attention til he behaves again smile

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 10:19:21

K thanks smile

CatsClaus Mon 08-Dec-14 10:23:05

my old boy is a bitey git. Just the way he is, he came from the cats protection as a kitten, I think he was dumped as he has always been a bit "hard work/needy"

He just doesn't do being showered with affection, so a couple of short strokes, a brief tickle under the chin, anything more and it's bitey Oscar.

He's better now he is 14, or maybe we all got wise to the i am going to bite you look in his eyes.

cozietoesie Mon 08-Dec-14 10:25:11

Yes - you can tell by their body language when they're thinking a sinful thought so I've always hauled off at that point. (Or reproved on the thought rather than the deed - that's good for cat behaviour.)

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 10:25:57

Argh sad He has been weighed twice by vet, who thinks he's too fat. He was 4.something kilos when he left the centre, which they said was "a good weight". He's now 5.3 (or 5.23 after reducing food) and looks really chunky - can't feel his ribs, no waist when viewed from above, etc.

cozietoesie Mon 08-Dec-14 10:39:35

More exercise, I think? At this time of year, outside can be a bit boring (bad weather, not much in the way of wildlife to hunt etc) so you need to make inside exciting. If all he has to do with his waking time is eat, he's going to be feeling his oats a bit.

lemisscared Mon 08-Dec-14 14:06:58

Don't buy the pouches, even the tesco ones are a bloody rip off, buy tins if you must feed wet food, or alternatively buy a complete food. My mums cat has a tin of food a day, plus biscuits, but then he really is a fat bastard.

4kg is an average weight for a cat but if he is a big chunky boy then he may need more. Maybe go for a weight control complete food rather than the pouches. Honestly, im surprised he isn't chewing your arm off wiht only one of those a day and the biscuits will just be bulk rather than have any real nutritional value.

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 14:29:17

Maybe he is actually trying to eat us? shock

Stupid question - what is a complete food? I have a trolley at Zooplus full of Animond Carny cans but am happy to change, particularly if it's a cheaper option!

ginghambingham Mon 08-Dec-14 14:34:52

I had a lovely cat that turned up at our house as a stray. For the first year or so, she was ferocious - not quite feral, but still jumpy and too used to living on her wits.

Then she became tamer the more used to us she got. She died, probably aged about 15, a couple of years ago. She'd still have the odd go at someone she didn't like the look of - but was completely affectionate with us.

I've never had a greedy cat, so can't advise on that. Mine have all been quite picky about what they'd eat and barely ever finished a dish of anything.

Maybe your cat is just taking a little time to settle down.

RubbishMantra Mon 08-Dec-14 16:11:49

Complete means it doesn't have to be supplemented with anything else. I feed my cats Animonda, which is complete, but also leave biscuits out for them to help themselves to. You could go for a biscuit designed for neutered or indoor cats, these have fewer calories.

I also have a bitey bastard cat, he's calmed down a bit as he's got older.

FushandChups Mon 08-Dec-14 16:36:50

My previous cat was a biter but to her credit, she never went for the DC - only me! I never really got to the bottom of it as she was only with us 7m in the end - and was a biter to the end. I did stop approaching her for cuddles and let her tell me when she wanted them - but that didn't always work! Good luck as with him trying it on with your young DC, could be a worry!

Also, re food, I echo the food balls... although current cat doesn't play (hmm )even he will swipe at one those on occasion! You can get them for £5 from Pets at Home, or make your own of course!

Good luck - and I think it's great you took both cats... as frustrating as this initial bit is, they came as a pair for a reason so am guessing they would have been sad to be separated and not everyone can take two on thanks

lemisscared Mon 08-Dec-14 18:56:56

Complete foods are usually biscuit form (i am not up to speed with the cat foods as we have dogs) but IAMs is an example, or science diet - they do look as if they are expensive but i bet they are cheaper than pouches. My mum feeds her bastard cat pouches and says he wont eat anything else, he has four a day plus biscuits - i say, he will when hes hungry!

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 19:48:54

Okay, have just checked and the biscuits we have (Purina Pro Plan) say they are a complete cat food. Quantities given on the bag are:

2-4 kg 30-60g
4-6 kg 60-90g

in 24 hours, so for cats weighing between 4-5 kg, is about 40g in the morning plus pouch of wet food in the evening not about right?

Have half a sack of bloody biscuits so would ideally like to use them before buying anything else. Should we ditch wet food altogether and give cats 2 x 30g of biscuits? They seem to prefer the wet stuff.

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Mon 08-Dec-14 19:54:08

grin lemisscared My granny's cat has a buffet of at least four different things to eat at any one time, at least two of which are proper pure meat. He also needs feeding at 4 am, apparently, and won't eat off a dirty plate, so she gets up to sort out fresh food for him. If he comes to me in her will, he's in for a bit of a shock wink

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