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pepperann

Hey Heidi, New Kitty Likes To Bite

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So, Ivy like to bite. She bites and scratches if anything doesn't go her way. If we pet her when she's not into it, or pet one to many times, she bites. If we move her off of something like the table or counter, she'll bite. She doesn't bite every single time, probably 50%, maybe a bit more. How do we teach her not to bite and to accept being handled? She's not wild at all, just is very grumpy if she doesn't like what you are doing.

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That's a calico. Accept it.

LOL

No, you can teach her that isn't acceptable behavior with horse training techniques; be as gentle as possible while being as firm as necessary. Like speaking quietly before escalating to yelling.

First, you'll need to watch her body language to learn her signs about when to stop petting her. Some cats are very sensitive to being petted and can easily get overstimulated, which makes the petting touch uncomfortable for them and they take steps to tell you to stop. But, if you watch her and listen to the signs, she should tell you before she bites:

Ears forward to sweeping back.

Whiskers may sweep forward.

Notice if she goes from relaxed to tense.

Eyes being relaxed or closed and then popping wide open with pupils dilated.

Purring may stop.

Rippling her skin under your hand.

When she turns her head to look at your hand, that is a clear signal presaging a possible bite.

All of these "signs" are her speaking to you, telling you she is uncomfortable and asking you to stop. If she bites, you didn't listen to her and she had to "yell" at you to get your attention. That being said, some cats don't display all of these signs or they may blow through them so fast you don't have time to listen and stop before she bites at you. Many times, a loud/firm "Aaaaaannnnt!" is enough to discourage an intention to bite.

If she progresses to biting, hold your hand still until she releases you. Pulling away will cause scratches as many cats are hard-wired to prevent "prey" from escaping and they may grab on tighter before letting go. If she bites hard and/or grabs your arm with her paws, gently push your hand into her mouth. She wants to "catch" you, give her what she wants with something extra; make her catch you until she doesn't want to catch you anymore. Filling her mouth with your hand causes her to go from thinking she caught you and is in control to you catching her and her wanting to not be caught and her behavior will change from instigator to wanting to get away.

If she bites or scratches when you lift her off of surfaces you don't want her on, use a water squirt bottle to make her do what you want her to do without having to touch her. Many people think using a squirt bottle is cruel, but my thinking is along the lines of wanting my cats to listen to me when I say Stop or Get Down to prevent them injuring themselves, like jumping on counters or stoves with hot burners or pans of food. The squirt bottle enforces my requests so they become conditioned to listen and obey and I can omit using the squirt bottle.

Best of luck with these methods!

h =^..^=

Edited by Heidi n Q

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Thank you! I do have a squirt bottle, I'll have to use it more. I will also start paying more attention to her body language. I thought I was paying attention, but maybe not.

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When my cats were young, blowing into their face was often enough to interrupt the behavior I was trying to discourage. It was especially effective when play got too rough. I also knew it was time for me to back off and quit playing when things got too intense.

Tracy

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I used the water gun for chair scratching. I only had to do it once. After that, all I had to do was pick it up and he skulked off.

I must say though, I had a long haired tortie for nineteen years and she was very shy of strangers but never naughty.

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I have outdoor cats. Two always want loving. For a shirt while they would bite while being petted. I would just give them a mouth full of hand or finger. It worked.

Now climbing up ones pant leg is something else.

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Make sure that family or friends aren't using their hands to play with her. Such as wriggling their fingers or sliding hands across surfaces to tempt the cat to pounce. My cat mantra is "don't teach kittens that hands are play toys!"

Our Balinese can only handle two strokes on each side of her head. More than two and she will nip. So I stroke her one time on each side and remove my hand. I can pet her for thirty or more minutes. I also quit when she wants more attention. It makes her crave attention.

Edited by dondie

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It's only us here, so no one is using their hands to play with her. It is possible that someone has in the past though. She's getting better, or maybe I'm getting better at reading her signals. We are also trying to teach her to move away rather than biting. We have had her a month now :)

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It's only us here, so no one is using their hands to play with her. It is possible that someone has in the past though. She's getting better, or maybe I'm getting better at reading her signals. We are also trying to teach her to move away rather than biting. We have had her a month now :)

Yeah!!! I'm so glad that she is getting better.

A former co-worker had beautiful Persian kittens for sale and she taught everyone of them that fingers were play toys. All of them scratched and bit. She thought it was "cute" that all of her cats acted like that. :blink:

I didn't buy one.

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Our last cat was very sensitive to petting and we learned his signals. He was also sensitive to being moved, so it got to the point that we would use a pillow or other object to get him to move. Biggest problem was when guests would come to the house to remember to explain not to pet or move the cat with their bare hands! We did have quite a few scratched guests when we were not quick enough about the warning! He passed away at the age of 14 a few years ago. Our new cat is completely different, likes to be petted, carried and cuddled!

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