Kitten Teething: 5 Tips to Stop Kitten Biting

Do kittens teethe? To get through kitten teething, kittens will bite just about anything. Here's how to keep your fingers and toes off the menu.

Meowing is among the most common cat noises.
Meowing is among the most common cat noises. Photography by ©Foonia | Getty Images.

Do kittens teethe? Kittens start losing their baby teeth around 9 weeks of age, and from that time until their adult teeth are fully grown in at 5 to 6 months, you can count on lots of chewing action. In fact, like teething babies, teething kittens will bite and chew on anything — including human toes and fingers — to ease the discomfort they feel. This is why kitten teething is a perfect time to teach your kitten to stop chewing on things she shouldn’t. Here are a few tips to help kitten teething and stop misdirected kitten biting.

A kitten crying or making sounds with mouth open.
How do you stop inappropriate cat biting when it comes to kitten teething? Photography © Martin Poole | DigitalVision / Getty Images.

1. Ease That Kitten Teething With a Binkie

Chew toys aren’t just for dogs anymore. A number of manufacturers make toys designed to provide an appropriate target for all that kitten teething. These include cloth toys that can be chilled to ease tender gums, firmer chews that will exercise the jaw muscles and nylon-based toys for kitten teething.

Related: What to Know About Kitten Behaviors

2. Let Your Kitten Bite a Toy Instead

The more your kitten plays with appropriate toys, the less likely she’ll be to chew on you. Your teething kitten needs interactive play because it helps her to work off excess energy and develop her balance and strength. At least two 10-to-15-minute play sessions per day using a teaser toy will give a kitten an appropriate target for her chewing and strengthen the bond between you.

3. Don’t Let Your Kitten Play With Your Hands

When you’re petting your kitten, be sure to keep your hands away from her mouth. The same thing goes for playtime: Never use your fingers as play objects.

4. Practice “Ow!” and Down When Your Kitten Bites Inappropriately

If that kitten teething does lead to a bite, say “Ow!” in a high-pitched but not overly loud voice and put her on the floor. When cats play together and the play gets too rough, the victim will utter a high-pitched cry and this will cause the aggressor to back off. Consistent use of the “Ow” and Down technique will teach your kitten that biting leads to an absence of play or petting.

5. Be Prepared with Chew Toys for Your Kitten

Make sure you keep appropriate chew toys on hand wherever you are. If you’re sitting with your teething kitten and you see her getting in the mood to bite or chew, you can give her the toy and say, “Here, chew this.”

It’s crucial that you consistently and lovingly reinforce the message that only certain things are appropriate for kitten teething, chewing and biting, and people are not among them. The behavior training you do now will set the stage for the rest of your lives together. It’s entirely up to you whether that life includes being a human pincushion.

Tell us: How do you handle kitten teething? How did you teach your kitten not to bite you? Tell us in the comments!

Featured photo: Photography by ©Foonia | Getty Images.

Originally published in 2012.

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28 thoughts on “Kitten Teething: 5 Tips to Stop Kitten Biting”

  1. I recently found that if you rub hand sanitizer on things you don't want the cat/kitten to bite, she'll stop. (Its probably the taste)

  2. I have used the “OW” approach but it sometimes isn’t enough. I have found that if I blow a short puff of air in her face that stops it. They don’t like the air and after a while they learn to stop biting.

  3. Right after I had brought home my cat when she was a kitten, I happened to find a fast food toy of a cat that was made of molded rubber but yet softer. When she was trying to bite me, I would tell her no sternly then give her that toy. That ended up being her favorite toy for a long time.

  4. Pingback: 5 συμβουλές για να σταματήσετε το γατάκι σας να δαγκώνει – Socialize my Pet

  5. I have a 7 month old who bites when he wants to be pet. His sister does it as well although he doesn’t it a lot harder but not enough that i think it’s aggressive more to get attention. They aren’t the typical love bites either. Not sure what i should do because it is random and it’s not like he is chewing. It’s more of a ”HEY! BITE. Now pet me.” and if I stop petting he will bite again.

  6. Pingback: Train Your Kitten to Stop Biting – Aw Kitty

  7. Pingback: Six Things You Need to Know About Your New Kitten's Teeth – TippVet

  8. This was very helpful! Thank you! I have a 6 week old Siamese kitten who can’t stop biting and sucking on my fingers. He’s been getting a bit more aggressive with the biting and clawing lately. I wasn’t sure if I was feeding him enough either. I feed him four times a day, but at every feeding he acts like he hasn’t eaten in days. He’s super active and likes to play for hours.

    1. I have an eight week old kitten and she is behaving the same way. I just feed her whenever she asks which is usually 3-4 times a day. I have been teaching her the word no and giving her time out when she gets to aggressive. I need to get more chew toys for her though.

    1. I got my kitten a soothie that babies use. She chews alot on it n u can get 2 in pack in the infant department of your favorite store.

  9. This spring we adopted a senior cat who had been surrendered :-( Obviously, his first family played with him with their hands. He’s a biter. I’d love to break him of this habit, but he being 7 years old I think it might be too late. :)

    1. It is never too late to train a cat or dog. Look at videos on training for good behavior. There is great information which I’ve used as I have a cat that uses to attack my other cat, as I did not know to do an introduction when they were kittens. It has worked wonders and my grey tabby no longer attacks my brown tabby.

    2. I have a 5 month old kitten and he’s a biter I find if u pinch their ears eventually they will learn that u are the Alfa

  10. This spring we adopted a senior cat who had been surrendered :-( Obviously, his first family played with him with their hands. He’s a biter. I’d love to break him of this habit, but he being 7 years old I think it might be too late.

  11. My Rag Doll always bits me. She just jumps up when my arms or on the chair and bits also my feet. I have scars all over my arms. She has been doing it ever since I got her. She is over 1 year old.i spray her and she doesn’t mind.

    1. Maybe try playing with her with her toys until she’s really tired. She might just be bored. My friends got a bubble squirt gun thinking their cat would like to chase the bubbles, but she hates it. If play time doesn’t work, you might try a bubble gun instead of a water sprayer. She needs to know that her behavior is not acceptable. I know it’s unpopular, but I don’t think the gentle approach always works. With dogs I am pack leader, and with cats, I am pride queen. End of story!

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