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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20626
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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She bits all the time, she is still a kitten, all she do is

Customer Question

she bits all the time, she is still a kitten
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the kitten?
Customer: all she do is bit you
JA: Where does the kitten seem to hurt?
Customer: your feet your ankles or hands when holding her
JA: OK. What is the kitten's name?
Customer: princess
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about princess?
Customer: no
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Is she an only kitten?

Is she indoor only?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
she the only kitten and in the hiyse all the time.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you,

Now this isn't an uncommon situation to see in young kittens in a single cat household without outdoor access. In regards ***** *****'s behavior, while frustrating, it is her way of trying to carry out her natural playing instincts and need for environmental stimulation. Her biting and attacks are her way of trying to encourage you to play as a kitten does. Of course, people often don't want to play in this manner and therefore we need to retrain her. Just to note, you do need to be aware that getting a kitten to change her ways it is an uphill battle that will take a lot of patience and perseverance on your part. Because you don't want to stop her asking to play with you, rather you want to modify play to something that is acceptable to both of you.

With this in mind, we need to redirect her play but also clearly deter the behaviors you do not want. To start, for the short term, if she does something unacceptable like biting, you can use a squirt bottle or "time outs" to convey that you aren't happy about this behavior. This will help you make clear what is not allowed. That said, the real key here (especially in a young malleable cat) is to redirect her behavior so she looses the desire to rough house in this manner with you.

To do that we need to stimulate acceptable play. So, we'd want to use toys that have a variety of toys that require a variety of responses from your cat (ie toys to chase, stalk, pounce, and move around). And if you have a range, do consider keeping them on a rota, so she will have that 'new toy' excitement even if you aren't continually buying toys. You can also give your cat new objects to explore (ie cardboard boxes, perches, paper bags). As well, even with millions of toys to play with, if she sees them all the time and they are just lying around for her to go to, they aren't going to be as exciting as the 'moving target' that is you. (kind of like a kid with a video game, sometimes they want to play 2 player with you). So, you want to encourage her to play with the toys with you. This will increase her focus on them, as well as appropriate play with you. And with this, do try and set time aside for her (ie 10-15 minute play-a-thons a few times a day). It would be worth considering having these times around the times you are currently being attacked (or try to start play before she gets to the biting behavior). This will provide mental stimulation for her and incorporate you into play in a way that you are happy with. When you are having these sessions, don’t encourage her to bat your hands or feet (and avoid 'glove' type toys or kicking the toys as well). Instead, direct the play away from you by using a long dangly toy or throwing your cat’s favorite toys.

As well, just as you are addressing this redirection of play, if you are having ankle attacks, you can defend yourself by carrying toys with you and toss them ahead of you to redirect her attention. Try to get her to focus on chasing the toys instead of attacking you.

Besides environmental enrichment, you may wish to consider adopting another cat as a playmate. If you do, choose a young, playful cat like Princess. Though this will take introducing them properly, and this will depend on how she feels about other felines. But sometimes a playmate of her own species can give an active playful cat someone more keen to play bite/wrestle games.

Overall, redirecting feline play behavior can be a challenge but isn't impossible to do. It requires patience, perseverance and constancy with your reaction to the negative behavior. If you make sure you are appropriate addressing her need for mental stimulation in a positive manner, you will be able to discourage her negative behaviour by getting her refocused on more 'people friendly' pursuits. Therefore, you can use water and 'time outs' if she does attack at the moment, but more importantly we need that environmental enrichment and proper play, to teach her what is acceptable and with that over time the attacks should decline and your kitty should be a happier wee lass.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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