Getting a new kitten in your life is always exciting. You can’t wait to cuddle and play with your new family member. Especially when they are young, cats are cheerful and playful animals, but sometimes they can get a little carried away, meaning they can scratch and bite their owners. This is normal behavior that they would display with their littermates in the wild.
If you have this type of problem, don’t worry—this is solvable, and here we will tell you how.
The 6 Tips to Get Your Kitten to Stop Biting
1. Redirect Their Attention
You want to teach your cat that only toys are for attacking. When playing, they can easily get carried away and start to attack not just toys but also your hands and feet. When they are young, they have even sharper teeth, so their bite can often hurt more than the bite of an adult cat. Our tip would be to wait for them to attack any part of your body, try to redirect them to a toy, and stop playing with them for a few minutes.
It would help if you never used your hands or feet to play with them because kittens pick up on things quickly, so it will be harder for them to learn not to bite and scratch you after doing so a few times.
2. Ignore Bad Behavior
A method that is also very successful in dealing with this issue is to ignore the behavior. Next time your kitten bites you, immediately stop playing with them. You should walk away and leave them to calm down. This will last for about 5–10 minutes, and you should repeat this every time they try to bite or scratch you. Over time, if you are consistent, your kitten will realize that every time they bite you, they are being ignored. When they realize this, they will hopefully stop biting you because, at this young age, kittens want your constant attention.
3. Raise Your Voice
Voicing your frustration is also a great way to stop your kitten from biting. But we suggest you never shout at your kitten because it would only confuse them and worsen their behavior. You should raise your voice only slightly and say “no” or “stop” when they start biting you. In this way, they will begin to notice that you are unhappy with their behavior, and this, combined with ignoring them, should be enough.
Kittens search for validation from you, so if you are not consistent, they will look at you like you are in some way reinforcing that behavior. But when a few minutes pass, and they’ve successfully calmed themselves down, you should start playing with them again and greet them with a gentle voice.
Play is crucial for the mental and physical health of your kitten. This means that with the proper play sessions, your kitten won’t have time for biting and scratching. When we say “proper” playing, we mean playing with specially designed toys. For example, you can introduce them to laser pointers or a variety of teaser toys, and believe us, they will be more than happy.
Your mutual playtime should last about half an hour daily; that way, you will bond with your kitten and make them feel relaxed and happy. Play is how they stay active and learn about things in their environment. So, it’s vital that they don’t view your hands and feet as playing objects—every time they get a little bit aggressive, direct them to toys.
5. Create a Good Environment
Play isn’t always the reason why your kitten is biting you—it can also be related to their mental health. Many situations can make your kitten feel anxious, such as their sudden new home, or, if you have other pets, they might feel frightened by their presence. So, you want to start slowly introducing your kitten to different parts of the house. You should keep them in one room, and when it’s time, they will begin to explore the rest of the environment on their own.
A similar thing goes with other pets in the house. You don’t know how they will react to each other, so start by introducing them to each other slowly and stay with them to watch their reaction. You would want to avoid extra noises in the house and ensure that your kitten has a lot of hiding spots where they would feel safe.
6. Check Their Health
Suppose this behavior continuously happens for an extended period. In that case, you should contact your local veterinarian expert because some illnesses can cause pain in your kitten, and they might react to that pain with aggression. If your veterinarian says your kitten is healthy, you know it is a behavioral problem. Pain can cause your cat to feel frightened by any touch, including yours. Aggression is commonly caused by:
- Orthopedic problems
- Thyroid abnormalities
- Neurological disorders
- Adrenal dysfunction
It’s important to understand that kitten biting is normal behavior that they would also display in the wild, either when playing with their littermates or when protecting themselves. But as this behavior can become unpleasant for you and your family, proper training is vital. This behavior is a problem for many new kitten owners, but consistency is the key to solving the problem.
Featured Image Credit: Giovanna Rim, Shutterstock