Attack Kitty

by Cristina
(Istanbul, Turkey)

I have a female kitten of 2 1/2 to 3 months. I found her on my 92 year old mother's terrace when she was a month old. My mother liked her so much and we thought the kitten was abandoned so that I told my mothers maid to keep the kitty at home and she would become a companion for my mother.

It was great for awhile but then she started to bite and scratch my mother. I am not sure exactly what the maid did (and will never get the complete story) but I know she was locked in the maids room a lot and probably punished.

I was away for a couple of weeks and when I returned I took the kitten to my apartment (I do not have a garden only a balcony which is not ideal for a cat especially one as adventurous as this one. And I am out a lot during the day so I wanted to sleep with her so she would be sure to have my company at night at least.

I play with her, love her, take her down to the apartment garden when I can am teaching her to fetch a ball....BUT she bites me A LOT.

At first when she came i let her gnaw on my arms because she had been refused so much at my mothers house I thought she needed full acceptance. But then she would attack me in bed - it began right away but has gotten a lot worse and there is seldom a night that she does not go for me before we sleep and when we wake!

She goes for my hands and arms and gives me hard vicious bites and even gets under the sheets and bites my body. When we first go to bed we have to have some kind of fight every time and I try to get her mind off it by playing with her with beads and a knitted ball on a sting and it goes well for awhile but then she starts focusing on my hands and going for them.

Last night when I was about to get into the bed she attacked and bite my thigh. This morning my wrist! I do not know what to do. When she is calm she lies in my lap and sleeps and loves being stroked but she moves to biting several times a day and I am becoming adept at focusing her interest onto something else but cannot actually stop her biting when she is in full attack mode.

I tried hitting her on the head with one finger but did not feel right about it for a lot of reasons and now I hiss at her which works but feels like we are fighting!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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This is some amazing toys I bought recently
by: Katy

Catnip Mole

I hope it's ok to post this link, I don't think Larry will mind. These are moles, I thought they were mice but ye they are moles and they have a very nice squeak when they're touched. I bought 3 and will get some more. You could get a few of these and your kitten will soon realise the difference between hunting you and hunting the toys.

biting and scratching
by: Katy

I wanted to comment so much. I have been through this with small kittens.
I learnt that kittens want to play a lot and when they play with each other they bite and scratch and roll about. Because they have thick fur it doesn't hurt them. I think your kitten needs some toys, like squeaky mice or balls or things that they can go back to and pounce on. There's loads of ways to play at chasing, pouncing and attacking without it involving you being scratched.
Sometimes they do this when very young to get their mother's attention to either make her play or to give them milk so see if yours is asking for something.
Never smack your kitten, it's like children, whatever you do is teaching them to do the same and pain isn't a good way, distraction and teaching is much better, cats are very very intelligent and brilliant communicators.
One thing I have done before is when a cat plays too rough with it's claws out, to gently hold the paw and stroking it lovingly just push the claws in and say "velvet paws" and after a few times you only have to say "velvet paws" and they'll know it means "put claws in please".
Have fun and good luck.

She does not know that it hurts you.
by: Larry (editor)

Hi Cristina,

Very sorry to read of your problems with your biting kitten.

As you don’t know if your Mother’s maid cruelly punished your kitten we can’t assume that she did - - and I would think if she did then the kitten would be very wary of humans and shy away from you, rather than just bite.

I know you let her bite you for a good reason, but I really don’t think it was the best thing to do. She now thinks she can do it when she wants, which will usually be to get, or keep, your attention. She does not know that it hurts you.

You are right to play with her when you come home; for one thing it lets her use up her energy. You can bet that she spends the whole day sleeping, or most of it, so she will be full of beans.

So when you go to bed, your kitten may not be ready for sleep and wants your attention. And biting you is a good way to get it.

The ball on a string is a good idea, it should keep her away from your hands. If not, try a longer piece of string.

When she bites you in bed, pick her up and put her in another room (if possible.) She will not like it of course and will cry. But she has to associate losing your company and attention if she bites. It will take time before she learns, but has to be done.

Sounds like you have a lovely kitten Cristina, I do wish you success with curing her biting habit. Hopefully others will post with some tips for you.

Larry (editor)

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