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How to stop kittens biting?

(22 Posts)
MostlyCake Fri 24-Jul-15 13:00:34

Brother and sister kittens about 4 months old, re homed from a rescue. Both are very friendly although the boy is a bit more nervous. They come up to be stroked but then bite or even bite for no reason.
I've been tapping then (not a hard hit but a sharp tap on the leg or nose) but don't like this approach. How can I get them to stop? I don't want them to bite when they are big enough to really hurt - my mil cat is basically unapproachable for this very reason and he used to playfully nip as a kitten...

At 4 months of age they are just getting their adult teeth.. so basically they are teething babies. You should NOT be tapping them (another word for that is hitting, you know.. and hitting pets is never acceptable or necessary)

Just withdraw attention..and give them things to chew.. toys! It will pass. A few cats are biters as adults but ALL kittens's part of a developmental phase which will pass in a couple of months.

Mine bit us and also chewed through everything at that age.. 5 iphone cables, a macbook charger and a table lamp to name just a few casualties! They are 14 m old and don't chew anything and don't bite us.

Just move out of the way when they bite and please don't 'sharply tap them' ..that IS the way to ensure aggressive adult cats!

PinkSparklyPussyCat Fri 24-Jul-15 14:54:22

I can't believe anyone would think it acceptable to hit tap a 4 month old kitten. I agree with Medusa, they need toys. Harry is 10 and still nips but tends to take it out on his catnip banana. Even when he nips me I wouldn't dream of hitting him.

RubbishMantra Fri 24-Jul-15 18:30:05

Agree with not "tapping". Apart for the obvious reasons, cats aren't pack animals, so will just feel confused as to why they're being punished.

Try some interactive wand toys like the Flying Frenzy to help work off some of their energy, making them less likely to see your toes and fingers as playthings.

When you stroke them, only do it around the head, neck and ears. Lots of cats don't their back, flanks and belly to be touched. My cat throws himself on his back, as if inviting a tummy tickle. If I fall for it, he's got me in his be-whiskered bear trap, lined with claws and teeth. confused My other cat's really placid though, and lets me stroke his (adorably baldy) tummy.

sparkysparkysparky Fri 24-Jul-15 18:32:46

We'll be getting a rescue kitten after the hols )our old girl died in March. I've made a couple of "twisted kickers " for her from cut off jeans. It's based on a Jackson Galaxy product that I saw online but is a bit pricey imported here. Basically a 5-7 cm diameter tube about 25-30 cm long. The twist is in that it is sewn up in a different direction at each end.I filled it with catnip and crinkly paper. NewKitten can chew and kick.

RubbishMantra Fri 24-Jul-15 18:33:23

Those catnip Kong toys are good as well, for practicing disembowelling on. Mine have the kickeroo and the snake.

sparkysparkysparky Fri 24-Jul-15 18:41:31

and yes yes to loads of toys especially a Flying Frenzy. There's Wiggly worm chewy toy you can get from pets at home.

Micah Fri 24-Jul-15 18:49:33

Kittens bite. It's a mix of teething and instinctual behaviour, learning to hunt.

Watch kittens playing with each other, they are just doing exactly the same with you.

Cats have sharp claws and sharp teeth. They are fully capable of drawing blood. If they don't, they are playing. When my 8 month old bites (he likes to hunt toes), his teeth nip but claws are sheathed.

Best thing is to ignore. Any sort of reaction, especially pulling away and squeaking, drives the prey instinct and they'll do it more.

IHaveBrilloHair Fri 24-Jul-15 18:53:13

They do this, it's because they are teething, but it can hurt.
I used to just remove them and put them down, I'm not sure they learned so much as they grew up.
None of them bite now.

sparkysparkysparky Sat 25-Jul-15 08:55:20

Love the look of the Kong stuff. And the kickers look fab. Obviously not better than my homemade one but they might get accidentally added to basket.

BagelwithButter Sat 25-Jul-15 10:40:36

A neighbour showed me that if your finger is being bitten, you don't yank it out.

Instead, gently raise it towards the roof of their mouth, thereby tilting their head up, raising their chin, that way they can't actually bite down on your finger. A neat trick, I thought! smile

pinkchampagne1 Sat 25-Jul-15 11:39:19

I was about to start a thread about this too so must be a common issue with kittens. My little Bertie is 5 months old now and adorable, but he has several biting frenzies every day. People said he would calm down after he was neautered but that hasn't been the case! We have tried telling him 'no' and walking away but nothing seems to work. He is often purring at the same time so don't think he does it out of anger. Reassuring to read it normally passes

MrsBertMacklin Sat 25-Jul-15 11:45:29

YY to not reacting if they bite, I've also read that the sensation of you pulling your finger out of their mouths is akin to prey struggling to get away so it only encourages them to do it again.

BertCat only bites me if she gets overstimulated, e.g. too much play or petting. As soon as her tail starts getting overanimated now, I know to calm things down and withdraw.

If she does bite, I relax my hand until she relaxes her grip, then gently pull away and walk away.

ChilliAndMint Sat 25-Jul-15 11:45:45

Taxidermy ?

Sorry, bit of a silly question, enjoy your kitties.

MostlyCake Sat 25-Jul-15 20:34:54

At risk of starting a massive argument I don't think it's a bad thing to tap them - and yes, it is just a tap - they arent being beaten up or abused! Maybe once out of 10 bites they get a tap on the nose, more often they get put on the floor. I also don't think it encourages aggression in adult cats as my MIL cat is basically unstrokable and she never hit, tapped or did anything other than allow him to keep doing whatever he was doing. As a result, he is a shit and will bite or scratch you just for the hell of it.

My DH and I are scratched to pieces as the kittens burrow under the duvet in the middle of the night and bite and scratch our feet - how many people here would lie quietly having been wrenched from sleep by being savaged?!

Hopefully they will grow out of it....

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 25-Jul-15 21:32:35

I hiss at mine if he get's a bit scratchy bleedy.

A big part of a cats brain is devoted to detecting movement, if they spot something moving they literally have to look and investigate it. They only have teeth and claws to do this hence the bleeding.

They do grow out of it, the Bengal was a nightmare kitten. Absolute little sod, wilful and strong. I literally begged the vet to neuter before 6 months as I couldn't sit down without being attacked.

But he's grown out of it to become a very affectionate cat with me. Dh he doesn't like because he dropped him from 6ft as a 5-6 month old and the cat has never forgotten it.

Dh put a bit of parcel tape on him before Christmas last year (was severely bollocked for it too) and it freaked him out. He now watches you if the tape comes out and will leg it if you put it down near to him.

You really don't need to discipline with hands, a hiss will stop them long enough for you to get your hand free.

chockbic Sun 26-Jul-15 13:38:31

Hissing is the only thing which has an effect on Bengal Beast. I wouldn't dream of tapping, or hitting. Not only because he would most likely rip my arm off grin

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Jul-15 14:03:05

Dh was playing asbo up by touching his forehead, then his paw and asbo tapped him hard on his hand.

I heard it in the bedroom. Quite funny.

girliefriend Sun 26-Jul-15 15:08:24

Not all kittens bite, my girl kitten has always been quite gentle and never scratched or bitten me or dd, my boy cat however was a terror and my hands were in shreds when he was a kitten.

My brother told me to really shriek as if in terrible pain when boycat went too far with the biting which seemed to work as did picking him up and putting straight on the floor. I don't think tapping will do much in terms of discipling a kitten tbh, they won't understand!

Boycat grew out of it by the time he was 7 months or so and is now very soppy and soft.

Lurkedforever1 Sun 26-Jul-15 15:48:10

Same as others, tapping or anything similar is pointless, they aren't pack animals, they learn by habit. Eg you train a dog to come to its treat, the cat trains you to give it a treat when it comes.
If they bite, just stop interacting with them. No response, no purpose. The second they remove their teeth don't reward them with a toy, or they'll assume biting results in play. Distract them beforehand. Or stroke them differently etc.
One of mine still hunts us, or our guests occasionally but without claws or using teeth properly, cos since the kitten phase it got reintroduced as a game. By her.

PlayingHouse Sun 26-Jul-15 17:06:58

I say No! to mine and that seems to work, I don't pull away and they switch to licking instead.

At first I would say No! And then withdraw all affection by putting them on the floor.

Now the word No! seems to be enough.

I didn't know cats could learn words but there you go ...

MostlyCake Sun 26-Jul-15 20:59:00

Ok. Will try hissing and yelping. Maybe this will keep them off the clothes horse as well........

Thanks all

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