Are you having difficulties with kitten biting? First of all you need to distinguish between playful biting and excessive aggressiveness. If your cat is really young and just learning to socialize, it is possible that the biting phase is a part of its development. If you believe that this is not a passing phase and it the kitten biting is part of an overall pattern of aggressive behavior, there are behavioral change techniques that you can adopt and you can also use the help of cat behavioral trainers.
If you are still in the stage of getting a kitten it is worth noting that there are some breeds known to be mellow such as the Persian, Ragdoll and Birman whereas the Burmese and Siamese are described often as boisterous. It you feel strongly that you cannot handle rough and tumble play in your house, you should research and choose a breed known to be docile and less aggressive.
Even if you pick a relatively mellow breed be aware that biting comes naturally because the kitten is learning to work with its natural instincts. In the wild, a cat will have an opportunity to rough house with his family and enjoy some pawing and biting without necessarily causing any harm. When the cat becomes a domestic pet, it may still need an outlet for these instincts and this energy and as a pet owner you need to facilitate this.
You can make time to play with your kitten and give it your undivided attention. If during the course of this play time the kitten bites you, you should say a firm ‘no’ and stop the play at that time. The message that some behaviors can cause unattractive results will get through to the kitten much as it does to a child who is taught to play properly with others. It is important that you stay consistent in the way you handle biting.
Sometimes, if the kitten is really tiny, you may think it is cute and then find much later that the same habit in an older cat is painful. So, from early on express your disapproval of biting and be emphatic about it. You will be playing the role of the kitten’s family in helping it recognize how much playful aggression is acceptable and when it becomes dangerous. While you do not have to yell at your kitten, a laughing “no” will not serve the purpose of communicating a serious message.
You can provide toys and a scratching post that will allow your pet to have chances or opportunities to bite and scratch. A kitten biting a chewing toy is very different from it latching on to your arm or leg. The former is a much better way to provide an outlet without your having to worry about injury and blood loss.
Sometimes the problem of kitten biting occurs when a kitten is trying to tell the owner that she finds something unpleasant or unattractive. So, being carried in a particular way or being touched in a specific spot may make the kitten feel vulnerable and prompt a reaction such as biting. In this case, you can respect your kitten’s choices and stop holding it in that particular way and stop petting it in any unacceptable way. There is also the choice that you can exercise which is to train the kitten to accept your handling and your petting.
You can take the precaution of wearing thick gloves. By approaching the problem steadily and without an air of confrontation, you can slowly change the kitten’s attitude. Introduce the new behavior in short stretches and move on to comfortable items more quickly. By keeping the handling short and by not prolonging the unpleasant situation you are allowing the kitten to become used to the new context slowly. You can also use food treats to let the kitten know that you appreciate the progress that is being made.
If you find that the episodes of kitten biting coincide with other signs of aggress such as a hunting stance, dilated pupils, fixed stare and swishing tail, you may need to consider using a cat trainer to help in training your pet. The saying “no” technique may not be enough for an animal that is prone to seeing the situation as a fight rather than play. Sometimes, you may be advised to get another cat so that the two animals can engage each other’s aggressive tendencies.
These cases of overall aggression are not common and as a cat owner you will find that most often kitten biting can be easily handled if you are firm and consistent.