Charlie Chocolate Paws

Question about an 8 month old kitten and biting

Charlie is appx. 8 months old. I adopted him and his brother Leo when they were 3 months old. I also have an 8 year old cat. All the cats are spayed and neutered. He plays with the other two cats- he’s a little rough and aggressive with them but nothing too out of the ordinary. The problem is that he attempts to bite me all the time. I never play with him with my hands. I use the laser pointer, feather wands, and other toys. Almost every time I try to pet him, he tries to bite me. He’s never broken skin but it concerns me that he’s still biting. He also swats at my face sometimes when I pick him up.

When he tries to bite me, I say “No bite” firmly and walk away. He just kind of looks at me. He’s a very active, feisty, and vocal kitten. His biting has increased over the last month or two. At first I thought it was because he was teething. Then his brother Leo got very ill with a neurological condition and things were pretty chaotic in our house for a week or so as his brother was unable to walk or stand and had to have multiple vet visits. Charlie definitely seemed agitated during that time; he was really aggressive with Leo and the biting seemed to increase. His brother is almost fully recovered and things have been very calm and back to normal for the past 4 weeks. He is no longer overly-aggressive with his brother. I don’t know how much Leo’s illness has to do with the biting- maybe I’m over-analyzing.

Do you think it’s just going to take more time for him to grow out of the biting or is there more that I can do? He’s also a chewer and if he has access, he’ll chew on cords, paper, etc. He also does a lot of nursing and kneading on a blanket with full suckling with his mouth and tongue (it’s pretty cute!). Maybe he’s just a really oral kitty? Is it normal for an 8 month old cat to bite like this?


Asked by Charlie Chocolate Paws on Nov 3rd 2009 Tagged biting in Behavior & Training
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Izadore (Izzie)

A lot of the things you say point to Charlie's being a kitten and possibly not taught proper kitty manners by his mamacat and sibs when he was in the litter. He may be biting and clawing because cats don't really "pet" each other. When a cat comes up to another cat and "pets" or paws at them, it usually means playtime and that's with claws and teeth. Charlie seems to see you as another littermate and it may be that you need to establish yourself as pawrent. Our friend Gracie's mom hisses like a mamacat would whenever Gracie or her brother Boris misbehave. Gracie's mom says she's gotten quite good at it and her two furkids know they've overstepped their boundaries when Mama hisses at them. As for the "oral fixation", I've heard that buying one of those rubber balls with the holes you can stuff with cat treats works to occupy the kitten and gives them something to chew. Izzie has suddenly stated chewing, so I'm on my way to get one, too. Give Chas some time to recover from the stress.


Izadore (Izzie) answered on 11/4/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


♥ TT ♥

Hi Charlie! TT is a biter. I can remember when he was still considered a foster kitten and I would go into the kitten room to socialize with them- he would bite my feet, hands- anything. I would have to leave the kitten room to get away from him. I can remember wondering "what is wrong with him!" Now that he is grown, I can pet him for a short period of time- and then he flops over and tries to bite me. He is 2 now, and I am still hopeful that he will calm down- it is always "playful" biting- it's not the kind that when you pet a cat too much and they lash out. I am not sure what could have caused it, because he had plenty of kittens to learn from- and I never encouraged it. I don't know how to help you with Charlie, but I feel your pain ;)


♥ TT ♥ answered on 11/4/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Gracie

Like Izzie said, bites are not tolerated in our house. Mom will just walk away from the offender. If that doesn't work, or doesn't drive the point home, she hisses at us. Hissing means "You quit it right now mister, or else", the way only a mom would say.

In the rare instance that hissing was not enough, it has been followed up with a timeout. You basically scruff kitty (make sure to support under his body once you've immobilized by scruffing), and relocate him to the bathroom, or another room that is just sooo boring. You then walk away from the door for about 5 minutes. After that, release kitty and wait for him to approach you.

Some cats are just mouthier than others. With Boris he will still nip when angry or overexcited on occasion, whereas I never use my mouth when mad (I do have a higher threshold as to how much petting I tolerate, though). Mom just had to accept that she always needs to leave Boris wanting more, rather than risking triggering his "no more, thanks".


Gracie answered on 11/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Dharma

Kittens will be kittens. When my two were little I wore pants and long sleeved shirts. They had play toys and nap time. They would only play bite when they were overly excited. When mine were teething they would chew on anything. If the kitten was taken too early from the Mother it could account for the sucking. When I adopted my second kitten the biting and scratching stopped. They wear each other out playing which is a form of learning for them. Hang in there.


Dharma answered on 11/10/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer