seeking advice on taming "wild" cat (playbiting)

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by sleepyinlalaland, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    I posted a few months ago about my new, un-asked for acquisition...a young kitty. I was a last resort as my daughter was moving and could not keep her 7 month old cat.

    This cat is a hoot, a non-stop dynamo, and VERY playful. The problem is that it plays like a teething puppy! It very seldom allows one to just pet it, but rolls over on its back and begins vigorously biting me (or anyone) all over my hand, while using its forelegs to wrap tightly around my wrist! The bites are obviously playful, and have never really hurt, but it IS very annoying.

    So far I'm trying to bear with it (hoping its a stage) for a short play and then take my hand away. I DO try to emphasize my delight in the rare times he just lets me scratch, pet and cradle its head. Ordinarily it does not seem to like to be petted at all, but will just roll over and begin the "play".

    We've had several cats in the past, most raised from tiny kitties, and I've never experienced one as feisty and rambunctious as this. I like this cat and he's actually entertaining in his high spirits. But, I want to know if anyone has suggestions for dealing with this play-biting. Even if I don't mind it so much, I'd be hesitant to let a small child pet it, because the cat's biting may scare the kid...and quickly pulling ones' hand back from even a playful bite, might in fact be injurious.
  2. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    No, yours is not a stupid post. I welcome all comments, whether they contain ANSWERS or not!

    I've considered and TRIED to react with visible and exaggerated pain...hoping the cat will somehow make a connection. Somehow, I doubt that cats are as tuned in to their "owners" feelings as dogs seem to be! Actually little puppies seem to have a hard time curtailing this kind of behavior as well; they just seem to have to pass through the stage.

    Fortunately, these little bites are not as painful as the little bites of puppies I've had before (which were yes, like razors). Felix seems to really control the force of his bite, but it is annoying never the less. And at about 9 months old, I don't see it lessening. I guess it is still quite young.
  3. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    kittens are usually socialised when with their mother and siblings but not always.

    Cats CANNOT be trained like dogs.

    My old cat Rosie never did learn how to play, she was too vicious so we just didnt hand play with her. Even when she was older she still kept her claws out and bit if someone wanted to play. Other than that she was the most affectionate, loving cat so long as you didnt play with her

    Wear gloves!!

    Rosie
    [This Message was Edited on 09/01/2008]
  4. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    are a good idea. I was kinda planning to do this, but was worried that I would be signaling that it was OK to play this way. But I agree Rosie that cats are pretty much untrainable, so I may as well adjust and just protect my hands!

    I hate to admit this, but I think I still harbor hopes of finding a more suitable HOME for this kitty. My place is very small and if any cat was born to run, run, RUN, this guy is and I know he would like a larger space. While I am very fond of this rogue, I was enjoying my pet-free, kid-free lifestyle! I like to spontaneously lie down and do yoga positions and not have a cat attack me, and I like to be able to leave once in a while without worrying about kitty-care. I wanted to write up an ad for possible (better) homes, but I'm afraid the biting thing would discourage would-be owners, or possibly cause new owners to get rid of it in less kind manners.

    It is still a good cat, the biting truly is playful and he never has his claws out. Probably we are stuck with each other. I will look for some gloves!
  5. 4everkid

    4everkid New Member

    Darn! I accidentally Xed out my page and had to start over! I hate it when that happens!

    I have had some experience with this, both in puppies and kittens.

    First of all, don't use your hands/fingers as play tools. Use something else: a stick, a dowel rod, the eraser end of a pencil, a wire hanger straightened with string tied to the end, etc. When he is playful and rambunctious, don't let him associate your hands with playing or attacking.

    When he is sleepy and resting, THEN pet and stroke him. In his tiny mind, you want him to think HANDS = PLEASURE, TOYS = CAPTURE.

    In the wild, a rough playing cat would be met with a fierce roar or growl. So when the kitten is too rough, you need to let out a sharp, shrill, high-pitched sound. "OUCH" or any other sound you choose - as long as it is loud, shocking and uncomfortable to hear. He won't like the sound, and will catch on quick. If you pet him and he bites or claws you, make the sound, and remove your hands from his presence.

    Cats are natural hunters. But you don't want to be the prey. So hide some cat toys around the house for him to hunt and capture. That will help feed his instinct.

    If you can catch him in a sedate mood, you can clip cats claws with normal (sharp) fingernail clippers. But you have to cut from top to bottom, not side-to-side. otherwise they will splinter. I started doing this with my two kittens when they were young. They put up a small fight, but not too bad, since they are used to it. It really helps to keep those bad boys trimmed!

    As for the glove idea... I just saw some hilarious cat playing gloves in PetSmart last week. They have super long, pointy fingers with puff balls on the fingertips. They have wire or something in them to keep the long fingers rigid. They look like something from the Grinch circus - all striped and colorful and crazy looking. I was tempted to chase and bite them myself!

    My son had a kitten, and he lived with a couple of other college aged guys, who had tons of visitors. This poor kitten was constantly being teased and taunted and played with by all these guys. And young guys like to play rough. Poor little Mio's life was probably nothing but fingers waggling in his face 24/7, and guys constantly grabbing him to play. Mio grew up to be... not a friendly cat at all. He came to live here eventually, and I was sure I could soften him up. It was a long process, and he was slowly becoming more trusting and gentle - then we lost him to the great outdoors.

    So if you only remember ONE thing from this long post - toys are for playing and human hands are for loving.

    The crazy rambunctious behavior is part of kittenhood. He will outgrow most of that.
  6. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    for your most excellent and detailed advice!

    YES, of course...hands for pleasure, toys for attack and capture. I will implement that advice right away and instruct all visitors to substitute an inanimate object for the "playing" (biting). I'm gonna have to look for those crazy gloves too.

    Yes, I do look out for the quiet moods and then am able (sometimes) to pet him calmly and can see that he is able to relax and enjoy that. With time, I expect that he will mellow and enjoy more of those moments.

    That is just a remarkable photo of your own two kitties.