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View Full Version : My kitty bites me... a LOT.. advice please


September 14th 06, 05:20 AM
I have a beautiful calico that I adopted when she was a very young
kitten (about 7 years ago). The problem is, any time she sees a hand
coming towards her, she'll lunge at it, bite it, recoil and hiss, then
run away.

She does this alot with people she doesn't know (I assume she feels
threatened), but recently she's started doing it to me a lot. I've
tried reaching out to her very slowly, talking to her while I do it or
putting treats in my hand and them reaching out to her but even this
doesn't work.

She's never been mistreated and I don't know where this agression comes
from... I've read that cats get over stimulated from petting. She does
that sometimes as well. I'm concerned about the biting with no petting
stimulation or threat.

Even when I play with her with a toy (catnip animal or wand) if my hand
is within her reach, she'll lunge and bite me instead of directing the
biting toward her toy. I have another cat and they play together, so
she does have an outlet for pent up energy.

She's very timid around new people, but she's very affectionate with
those she knows well. At night, she likes to curl up in my arms and
sometimes she sleeps there all night. So, I know she's not antisocial
and she doesn't feel threatened or scared of me in general.

When she does bite my hands, I make a lound noise (OWWW!) but she runs
away too fast for me to do any positive punishment. I don't know if
it's better to ignore her biting episodes and hope they stop when she
realizes she doesn't get any kind of attention from them, or to make
her biting me an unpleasant experience (with a lound noise or some
Bitter YUCK on my hands).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

D

Debra Berry
September 14th 06, 07:12 PM
If she started biting as a kitten, it's possible that she was raised
alone, rather than with a litter of kittens. They tend to teach
each other that it can hurt to be bitten. They have a harder time
when only exposed to humans....because we don't play the same way.

Cats let each other know when they are unhappy. Hissing is a good sign.
I have fostered a lot of cats and have had success with hissing at
a cat when it does something that hurts you. Reach your hand towards
her and if she looks like she will bite, hiss at her and draw your hand
away. Then ignore her or walk away.

If you touch her without her biting, then praise her, pet her or give
her a treat. Punishment doesn't work. It will just make her scared of
you. You want to let her know that biting is not acceptable and reward
her when she doesn't bite. Never play with her with your hands -
such as wrestling with her or tickling her. You might try using a
stuffed animal to "wrestle" with her, although since she plays with
your other cat she may get enough wrestling. Always play by throwing
balls or toys, or with a feather on a stick or on a fishing pole toy.

One question, does her biting break the skin? Some cats are nippy
by nature and give "love nips" to people they care about. You
need to discourage that and encourage playing in an acceptable way,
but the cat is not actually aggressive if it isn't biting hard. It is
just playing, but in an unacceptable way to us.

As for petting aggression, sometimes cats get over stimulated. There
are
usually specific signs when that happens....ears back, pupils dilated,
tail thrashing. Best to stop petting when you see that.

Debbie


wrote:
>
> I have a beautiful calico that I adopted when she was a very young
> kitten (about 7 years ago). The problem is, any time she sees a hand
> coming towards her, she'll lunge at it, bite it, recoil and hiss, then
> run away.
>
> She does this alot with people she doesn't know (I assume she feels
> threatened), but recently she's started doing it to me a lot. I've
> tried reaching out to her very slowly, talking to her while I do it or
> putting treats in my hand and them reaching out to her but even this
> doesn't work.
>
> She's never been mistreated and I don't know where this agression comes
> from... I've read that cats get over stimulated from petting. She does
> that sometimes as well. I'm concerned about the biting with no petting
> stimulation or threat.
>
> Even when I play with her with a toy (catnip animal or wand) if my hand
> is within her reach, she'll lunge and bite me instead of directing the
> biting toward her toy. I have another cat and they play together, so
> she does have an outlet for pent up energy.
>
> She's very timid around new people, but she's very affectionate with
> those she knows well. At night, she likes to curl up in my arms and
> sometimes she sleeps there all night. So, I know she's not antisocial
> and she doesn't feel threatened or scared of me in general.
>
> When she does bite my hands, I make a lound noise (OWWW!) but she runs
> away too fast for me to do any positive punishment. I don't know if
> it's better to ignore her biting episodes and hope they stop when she
> realizes she doesn't get any kind of attention from them, or to make
> her biting me an unpleasant experience (with a lound noise or some
> Bitter YUCK on my hands).
>
> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
>
> D

Debra Berry
September 14th 06, 07:12 PM
If she started biting as a kitten, it's possible that she was raised
alone, rather than with a litter of kittens. They tend to teach
each other that it can hurt to be bitten. They have a harder time
when only exposed to humans....because we don't play the same way.

Cats let each other know when they are unhappy. Hissing is a good sign.
I have fostered a lot of cats and have had success with hissing at
a cat when it does something that hurts you. Reach your hand towards
her and if she looks like she will bite, hiss at her and draw your hand
away. Then ignore her or walk away.

If you touch her without her biting, then praise her, pet her or give
her a treat. Punishment doesn't work. It will just make her scared of
you. You want to let her know that biting is not acceptable and reward
her when she doesn't bite. Never play with her with your hands -
such as wrestling with her or tickling her. You might try using a
stuffed animal to "wrestle" with her, although since she plays with
your other cat she may get enough wrestling. Always play by throwing
balls or toys, or with a feather on a stick or on a fishing pole toy.

One question, does her biting break the skin? Some cats are nippy
by nature and give "love nips" to people they care about. You
need to discourage that and encourage playing in an acceptable way,
but the cat is not actually aggressive if it isn't biting hard. It is
just playing, but in an unacceptable way to us.

As for petting aggression, sometimes cats get over stimulated. There
are
usually specific signs when that happens....ears back, pupils dilated,
tail thrashing. Best to stop petting when you see that.

Debbie


wrote:
>
> I have a beautiful calico that I adopted when she was a very young
> kitten (about 7 years ago). The problem is, any time she sees a hand
> coming towards her, she'll lunge at it, bite it, recoil and hiss, then
> run away.
>
> She does this alot with people she doesn't know (I assume she feels
> threatened), but recently she's started doing it to me a lot. I've
> tried reaching out to her very slowly, talking to her while I do it or
> putting treats in my hand and them reaching out to her but even this
> doesn't work.
>
> She's never been mistreated and I don't know where this agression comes
> from... I've read that cats get over stimulated from petting. She does
> that sometimes as well. I'm concerned about the biting with no petting
> stimulation or threat.
>
> Even when I play with her with a toy (catnip animal or wand) if my hand
> is within her reach, she'll lunge and bite me instead of directing the
> biting toward her toy. I have another cat and they play together, so
> she does have an outlet for pent up energy.
>
> She's very timid around new people, but she's very affectionate with
> those she knows well. At night, she likes to curl up in my arms and
> sometimes she sleeps there all night. So, I know she's not antisocial
> and she doesn't feel threatened or scared of me in general.
>
> When she does bite my hands, I make a lound noise (OWWW!) but she runs
> away too fast for me to do any positive punishment. I don't know if
> it's better to ignore her biting episodes and hope they stop when she
> realizes she doesn't get any kind of attention from them, or to make
> her biting me an unpleasant experience (with a lound noise or some
> Bitter YUCK on my hands).
>
> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
>
> D

DRM113
September 14th 06, 08:56 PM
Thanks Debra!

When she bites, she means it. She usually breaks the skin.

I will try the hissing thing. Hopefully she'll get the idea.

Thanks again for the advice!

D