Cats are natural stalkers and hunters, and from their earliest days, they bite, scratch and practice their skills with enthusiasm. Every pet owner has his or her own tactics on how to deal with the problem of biting. Fortunately, when the animal is small, they are young enough to handle, and are impressionable enough to learn the right habits instead of fighting to overcome bad ones later in life. Below are several methods that animal trainers have found effective when teaching a kitten not to bite.
Tips On How to Stop the Biting
Make clear distinctions: Playtime can be raucous and fun, but make sure that the cat sees the difference between your hand or foot, and the toy she is playing with. Balls of yarn, felt toys, pretend mice, feather fishing polls, etc.–all these are excellent objects for your kitty to direct her focus on. If she becomes used to chasing, pouncing and scratching your hand, then biting will quickly follow.
The sooner your cat can learn the rules of fair play, the easier it will be to curb the temptation to bite.
Interrupt the bite: Some pet owners use the method of interruption. When pawing and batting becomes scratching and biting, immediately remove the target by lifting your hand out of reach. Another way to interrupt the kitty, is to move her away from the target. If she bites say “No” and lift her off your lap, or away from the arms or toes she was attacking. This will help her understand that the kibosh is put on playtime whenever biting is involved. Make sure you respond quickly when she bites, so that the association will be clear.
Replace the object: A natural next step to the interruption method, is to provide a toy that the cat can chew and bite. After you stop your cat from biting, say “no” and move her away, immediately give her another toy to play with. Drag a felt mouse or feather line, and distract the cat with a better object of prey, to help your fingers become less interesting.
Ignore the kitten: An increasingly popular method of training cats or dogs to avoid a behavior is to ignore them whenever they practice it. When the bite occurs, drop everything, hold still and do not engage. Kittens will most likely lose interest and will soon find that you are no fun whenever biting is involved.
Correct the action: Some owners choose to be more hands-on with their correction, by tapping the kitten’s nose whenever they say “no,” or by gently holding the kitten’s mouth shut. This is very effective if the kitten seemed to bite for no reason other than to get your attention, or out of frustration. When the biting stems from some other motivation than a fun play time gone awry, it would be useful to take clear corrective measures of training your cat. Hold their mouth shut and firmly say “No.” Other pet owners recommend a quick tap on the head immediately after they have bitten someone. The tap doesn’t hurt, but it’s an unpleasant reminder that biting is bad. However, if this is your method of choice, remember to be very careful as kittens are extremely fragile creatures. Avoid squeezing them too hard, or reacting out of anger, hurt, or pain as this will always have a negative effect.
Outsmart them with a taste deterrent: If you want to really get your point across, help your cat learn that your ankles, socks, arms and fingers are disgusting to taste, lick nibble or bite. Whenever you play with your cat, spray some potent taste-deterrent liquids on a paper towel, and rub it on your hands or clothes that most often are under attack. The sour and spicy flavor will be so effective, he may never venture a bite again!