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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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Angry help kitten attack

[[U]B]Can anyone please help me[/U][/B]. We have a 8 week old pure white kitten who is being naughty. We have had him about 2 weeks now and he came from a really dirty house who the owners of the the mother cat just kept letting her turn out the kittens one after the other.

Our problem is he keeps biting and attacking anything that moves. We can be sitting watching the TV, the kitten wakes up runs over and bites us . I am married with 2 children age 13 & 9. We push him away, say no etc but he comes back for more. He attacks feet, hands, arms, legs anything really.

We have 2 more cats age 10 & 3. He will go up to the oldest cat while he is asleep and bite him around the neck.

When he starts getting tired he is lovely , purring, cuddleing up to us. He had loads of toys suitable for a kitten. plus extras like my sons golf balls.

I have rang the vet and the recomend that we take him to a behaviour therapist at the local vets.

Has anybody else had this problem or have any advice on the subject.

I would be very greatfull for any help.

Thanks
Helen

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 12:33 PM
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help kitten attack

Dear Helen

Have no fear! Your kitten is not abnormal, and if you love and care for him from now on, he should be a fine, healthy friendly lapcat soon.

The fact that he came from a neglected home shouldn't be too much of a problem on the long run. Much of the bad behaviour he is showing is actually not bad behaviour at all, but just normal kitten behaviour that hasn't been tamed by contact with humans.

I assume he had brothers and sisters in his old house galore. He grew up playing with them, biting and wrestling for sport. This is how cats learn to hunt : They play attack their siblings.

Little kittens in a litter have fur that allows their siblings to bite quite hard without hurting each other. Humans have no fur, so your little one has to learn that he can't dig in quite as hard as he could with his playmates. Pushing him away will only make him think you want to play more. To teach him that it hurts you, say "NO" loudly and sharply and let your hand go limp, or shake it away rapidly, even if he falls off your lap! If he really misbehaves badly, squirt him with a fine spray of water(not in the face). If he persists, put him in a lonely spot far from the family and ignore him. Repeat this every time he misbehaves.I don't advocate spanking kittens, but clapping your hands loudly or tapping with your finger on his nose( SOFTLY) will annoy him. Cats hate surprises. If you don't want him biting your hands at all (some people enjoy some gentle nibbling, others don't) put something that tastes bad on the spots he bites most often, like pepper or bitter apple. He will get the message.

Reasons kitten get a little rough are also because of boredom. Throw a piece of crumpled paper for him to wrestle with, and it will distract him from your feet and hands.Perhaps a kitten size teddy will help, as it closely resembles his lost furry family members. Make sure he has enough toys to keep him occupied, especially if he is an indoor cat. You have the right idea with golf balls. Shoe laces suspended like a mobile are a particular favourite!

Probably his sneak attacks on the other cats is an attempt to get them to play with him, not anything to worry about. Kittens often wrestle with their mother too! The other cats may not want to play and get annoyed. They will rarely hurt a overactive kitten, but might gently bite, sideswipe or wrestle a kitten to submission as a form of discipline, almost like saying : Enough now, settle down! Provided the adult cats do not hiss or spit, give a low growl, flick their tails rapidly in anger or flatten their ears against their heads, they probably aren't even annoyed with the little one.

It is a good sign that he cuddles you when he is sleepy. My eldest cat, Hobbes, was just as much a ankle-terrorist as your kitty, but today is the calmest, most loving hug-bug you could imagine. He broke his leg recently(so badly it had to be amputated) and didn't even bite hard enough to break my skin when I touched the leg to feel the extent of the injury. He just kinda sank his teeth hard enough to cause pain so that I could know how sore it was for him.He also used to bite me hard as a kitten, and was a huge annoyance to my husband when he tied his bootlaces, as Hobbes though these looked like mouse-tails!AttaaaaaacK!But annoying behaviour in a kitten is rarely something that persists into adulthood if you take good care of your little one.

I think your vet is a bit hasty, especially in the light of the age and background of your cat. My feral kitten Susan took more than 4 weeks to adjust and become friendly when we found her living in a drain as a baby. Give the little one time!

I think your kitty is just adorable. Send me a photo! [email protected]

Good luck!

Whizper
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 03:38 PM
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I had/have this problem with my kitten. We got him at 4 weeks old (saved him from being euthanised) and he lost his litter mates at 3 weeks old so he kind of missed out on social skills. What we did with him when he was younger was say no and spray him with water when he attacked us. It worked for some part of it but at almost 7 months old he still isn't 'cured.' He goes through stages now and he will get so bad that we can not get him to stop. When he gets like that we put him in the laundry for time out. It only takes him about ten minutes to calm down and he comes out a super calm kitty. Hopefully your kitten won't take as long as mine but I'd try a firm 'no' and a spray of the water bottle. That way down the track a 'no' should be enough. He is probably just testing out the waters, seeing how rough he can play. I wouldn't be too concerned about getting him a behaviourist at his age.
Make sure you guys are using play time with the toys too. I read that the best way to stop a kitten from attacking you is to notice when they get in this mood and grab a toy and get them to play with that instead. We can usually tell when our kitten is going to attack us and we get the toys out straight away. It doesn't always work but the time out thing is a sure thing.
I don't have huge experiences with cats (this being my first one) but that's what we've been doing here. As with him attacking the older cats....I'd leave that up to the cats to sort out! One quick swipe should stop him there

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 03:57 PM
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When My friend took Neo my kitty's brother, she got another kitten so he had soemone to play with. Some cats need a kitty that is close to their age. If he attacks you use a spray bottle my cat did that but it doesnt happen any more. Some of the stuff you mentioned is just kitty behavior he just might trying to play with you. You mentioned he came from a dirty home i wonder if you give him some exstra attention (when hes being good) because he might have not had much human contact. (I am a new kitty owner myself) I hope this info was good and hope everything goes well. You should share kitty picture
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 04:39 PM
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Thats typical kitten behaviour thats what you see them doing with each other and with their mothers but normally they get put into their place and learn what is right and what is wrong from a young age by mum. If he hasn't had the best upbringing then he won't know the difference between right and wrong and its upto you to teach him

My male cat was very much like that when he was younger so i know where you are coming from as its not pleasant to be walking along and to be ambushed with sharp little teeth and claws sticking into your ankle at every opportunity and its also not nice to have to be on your gaurd all the time around a pet. Like RSbunny mentioned a water spray is the best idea and thats a method i used with my cat although he happens to like water so didn't really work all that well but still worth a try Everytime the kitten goes to do something wrong try distracting him with a toy but if he continues and does something wrong i.e attacking you, use a water mister (like you use for the garden or house plants) and give him a squirt and say NO. Hopefully he will soon associate that if he does bite or attack then he's going to get wet and soon no should be enough to halt him in his tracks. He's a kitten so he's going to be playful and test out his bounderies to see what he can and can't get away with and also with time he should calm down eventually but he needs to know what is right and what is wrong and at this stage in his life an animal behaviourist wouldn't be beneficial to him as he's only a baby and doing what all kittens do. As for the other cats they will tell him whats what as cats don't take any flack of anyone when they have had enough they will put him in his place and teach him respect, its all part of his life lesson

Kirsty


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 08:28 AM
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I think the key phrase here is "8 week old kitten" He is completely normal and doing EXACTLY what 8 week old kittens do. They need to play and they need to run around and attack things. Their instinct is to hunt small pray so when you and your family move around he is actually just doing what is instinctual. Please do not squirt him with a water bottle for this. At 8 weeks this is not a behavioral problem. Just give him lots of toys. There are tons of things to use around the house to keep him busy without spending lots of money. Also make sure you keep his nails clipped at that age they are like little needles. Expect behavior like this to last at least 3 more weeks. They will still be full of energy but will start to calm down around 16 weeks. That's just an average time frame though your kitty might not work on that time schedule. I would be more concerned if the kitten started acting lethargic.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 10:46 AM
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Just giving him toys will not necessarily stop the bad behaviour.

Cats are not stupid. Humans make much more fun prey to play-hunt than a ball. Some cats will ignore a hundred toys in favour of a set of human toes.

THAT is why it is necessary to make playing with toes and fingers less fun that playing with toys by methods such as clapping, saying no, water sprays (they are quite humane! ) and unpleasant flavours like pepper. The more persistent the cat, the harder it may be. Most cats need no further discipline than a firm "No!". Some will simply not learn until you use sprays or pepper. Some will NEVER learn.

By all means clip his toenails. Even better. Get a good scratchpost for him to shorten his toenails on. In nature, a cat doesn't have a clipper, and tree bark is God's clipper.

I don't know if I agree with Dena, since my cats all learned Within less than 2 weeks from my getting them (except for the feral, which took 4 weeks) not to be quite so ferocious if you apply the methods above consistently. My kittens only bit me once ore twice, but tapping their noses put an end to that. Please, I said tap, as in touch and let go. The point is not to hurt them. They don't like the tip of their nose being touched, that's all. So they learn "If I bite this hard on my owner's finger, she taps my nose. I don't want her to tap my nose, so I don't bite her hard enough so that she does". In Hobbes, my older male, this didn't work, so clapping, putting him in timeout and the spraybottle were eventually necessary in bringing the point across.

You are doing fine. If your kitten cuddles you and purrs, you must be doing something right. The only other person a cat purrs to is himself (to comfort him, like a human humming a lullaby to himself) or his mommy (when she licks him clean or feeds him, he purrs). Cats don't purr if they hate you and are unhappy little kitties. (Although interestingly, cats purr to themselves when in pain, in a kind of self-comforting gesture)

I think what Dena is trying to say is that you shouldn't worry too much! Cats behave this way because God made them that way. The clapping, nose tapping and water spraying are merely ways we try to change that behaviour so that cats and humans can better co-exist!He is not sick, weird or abnormal. He is just a kitten.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 12:41 PM
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I would have to agree with Dena. I have a 7 month old kitten who was exactly like that for the first couple of weeks that I owned her. Its instintive for them to hunt and they need to learn it or they are not going to survive in the wild, its part of their genetic make up. There are some toys that you can get which my cat found way more fun then my hands and feet. I have a lot of things from those days that have a long stick with a fun fluffy something at the end. that way you keep keep your hands safe. Long bouncy strings with bells and a toy at the end on them too. Try and my the toy look like the pray allow them to catch it every once and a while and let it get away. My cat like the catching it part it doesnt actually get killed she would rather it play with her more. I also have a few toys in which she has and play with herself when I am doing school work. Shes very independant.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 01:00 PM
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Gosh my 2 year olds are still doing that! He's behaving exactly as a kitten should. Interact and play with him and enjoy the time he spends with you. I always think kittenhood goes by way to quickly!

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