Are you new to sharing your home with a kitten? You're probably wondering how to stop a kitten from biting. It's important to train kittens as early as possible so they learn that biting is an undesired behavior. And below we'll help you learn how to train a kitten not to bite. We can stop kittens from biting by using a mix of interactive toys and proper training.
There are a few different reasons why kittens bite, and we need to remember that these are natural instincts. The right tools, time, and patience can be used to correct undesired behavior.
Cats are natural-born hunters that love to play. They all have enrichment and stimulation needs to be met indoors, and they tend to be finicky. It's best to have several options available to prevent boredom, undesired behavior and overzealous kitten biting!
We also need to keep in mind that cats view all attention as positive attention, whether it is good or bad. We should never yell at or hit our feline friends. This will only teach them to fear us.
Trimming your kitten's claws regularly is a must as well. This will keep you safe from scratches, and you don't want the claws to curl. If you follow this advice, and your kitten is still biting, it is recommended to clear up any underlying medical issues with your vet.
Why Do Kittens Bite?
All cats are born with natural instincts ingrained in them, even if they have never lived outside. These natural instincts teach cats how to survive and will include learning how to kitten bite! Kittens are taught at a very young age to bite moving objects. The mother cat teaches her babies how to eat by bringing home injured prey. When your kitten sees a moving target, these instincts kick in and enthusiastic kitten biting is the natural result.
Food is not guaranteed when you live in the wild. Cats are opportunistic hunters, and they have to be ready to catch prey at all times. Cats play with live prey to act out this inner conflict. The more threatening the prey, the longer the cat will play with it.
Kitten Biting is Simply Them Learning
As mentioned above, kittens learn how to eat from biting injured or dead prey that mommy brings home. Eating is crucial to survival, so biting is learned at a very young age. Your kitten biting is certainly an acceptable behavior because mommy taught it to him.
Kittens biting their littermates before they are properly socialized. If your kitten was taken away too soon, this could be a reason he is biting. Kittens also learn play from their humans. It's important not to use our hands or feet during play because this will teach the kitten that rough play is acceptable.
How to Get a Kitten to Stop Biting
Kittens are extremely energetic and playful. So, the best way to stop a kitten biting is with toys. It is recommended that kittens and cats get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. You can break this up into two or three sessions a day.
We should mimic prey behavior with toys to get our kittens to play. Make your kitten hunt, stalk, run around, and pounce at these toys. Always let your kitten catch and "kill" the toy to complete the hunting experience.
It's much better to encourage them to kitten bite their toys and not your hand! This will help prevent other behavioral issues. Cats require mental stimulation indoors, and this full hunting experience with toys is perfect for stimulation. Kittens can get stressed easily without proper stimulation.
Train From the Beginning
Cats thrive on routine so it's important to train your kitten as early as possible. The mother cat trains kittens to bite prey at a young age, so now we have to train them to kitten bite toys instead of us. Create a schedule for multiple play sessions every day. Make playtime a routine and stick to it.
Stop Playing Immediately if Your Kitten Bites During Playtime
If your kitten bites during playtime it's important to stop immediately. We should not reward undesired behavior with more playtime. When you stop playtime, this will teach your kitten that the fun stops when he bites. Again, make sure you are persistent.
What Toys to Best Use for Kitten Bite play?
Studies have shown that cats prefer human interaction to other stimuli, even food! Interactive toys are best because you are involved in playtime. These toys are best at mimicking prey behavior and the hunting experience.
Using these kitten biting toys will get your kitten active and excited. Interactive toys typically have a small bird or mouse at the end. This is perfect for that catch and "kill" stimulation mentioned above. Now your kitten will bite the toy during playtime instead of your hand.
Fishing pole design
DaBird has a wonderful interactive fishing pole toy that comes with feather attachments. My cat loves to chase the feathers because they look like birds flying around.
PetFit4Life makes a fishing pole toy with five worm like toy attachments and it's an alternative that we recommend as a great choice for hypercative biting kittens!
Toys that have distance between teeth and fingers ONLY
It's important to keep your fingers far away from your kittens during playtime. Kittens can be rambunctious, and they might get carried away during playtime. It's best to keep your fingers away just in case they become a kitten bite target!!
Have lots of different types as they can get bored quickly
Cats are finicky and get bored easily. Choose interactive toys that have multiple attachments to keep playtime fresh. You should have a collection of toys that are different because not all prey are the same in the wild. Using different toys will provide extra enrichment and stimulation, and this can help prevent undesired kitten biting.
What to Do if Your Kitten Bites you During Playtime
When biting simply stop and stay still
Kittens are trained to bite moving targets. If your kitten bites you during play, stop immediately and stay still. This will stop playtime, and your kitten won't have the opportunity to continue biting.
Kittens like movement
Prey does not stand still, it continues to move to try and escape. So, movement attracts kittens. If you continue to move and play, this is an invitation for your beloved to continue kitten biting!
Kitten bite overload? Ignore them and give them a time out
Ignoring your kitten after a bite is the best way to handle the situation. Kittens love attention, so you don't want to give them attention when they repeat an undesired behavior. You can practice time out by stopping playtime momentarily.
Then restart play and be calm
When you stop playtime, your kitten should stop biting. After a moment, you want to reward the desired behavior of not biting with more playtime. Always remain calm. Cats are sensitive and can pick up on our energy and emotional state. You want your kitten to know that you appreciate that he stopped biting during the time out.
Create a message that biting skin will mean an end to the game
When you stop playtime after your kitten is biting too much, you are teaching your kitten that the fun stops after a bite. This will train your kitten to understand that kitten biting is an undesired behavior. Be patient and persistent with stopping and then rewarding desired behavior.
What Not to do About Kitten Biting
Again, cats are sensitive to our emotions, and they get stressed easily. Stress can cause many health issues and further advance behavioral issues. Being angry at your kitten for biting will only make the situation worse in the short and long term of your relationship.
Negative emotions will make the situation worse as well. You want your kitten to be happy around you because this will help you bond. Training your kitten in a positive environment is much better for his health, and it will warrant much better results.
Never hit your kitten for biting, in fact, never hit your kitten, full stop! Even a small tap on the nose will trigger the wrong emotions. Physical punishment will only train your kitten to fear you. This can also increase aggressive behaviors and trigger even more kitten biting.
Roughly push her away
Pushing your kitten away is another form of physical contact you should avoid. These types of punishment will only make the situation worse. Your kitten might also see this as play and continue biting you. Fear will only teach your kitten to avoid you.
Squirt her with water
Squirting cats with water is another form of punishment you should not use. This will destroy your bond, and again, it will teach your cat to fear you. Kitten biting is normal behavior for kittens, and it should not be punished.
Yell at her
Since cats pick up on our emotions, yelling should be avoided as well. Yelling at your kitten will not stop the behavior. It will make kitten biting episodes even worse.
Remember to trim kitten claws
Another natural instinct for cats is to scratch. Scratching allows cats to stretch, shed dead bits of claws, sharpen claws, and mark their territory. Never declaw your kitten. This is an amputation of the toe, not just the claw. Plus, even declawed cats reserve the urge to scratch.
Trimming your kitten's claws should become part of your regular routine. If you train kittens early, this will become an easy task.
Trim in a quiet area
Trimming in a quiet area will allow your kitten to relax and remain calm. Avoid areas near the window to make sure she can't be distracted. It is best to trim when your kitten is sleepy or full after a meal. You should sit your kitten in your lap facing away from you when it's time to trim.
Acclimate to paw touching
Cats don't like their paws touched, so it's important to ease into it and train your kitten early. Get your kitten used to paw touching by massaging her paws lightly. Press the toe lightly so the claw pops out and immediately reward with a treat. If your kitten pulls away, stop. Take baby steps so your kitten doesn't learn to fear the nail clipper.
Get used to the clipper
The sound of the clipping claw may startle your kitten. Massage your kitten's paw and extend her claw. Before you clip her claw, clip a piece of uncooked spaghetti instead. Reward your kitten with a treat. This will teach her that a calm behavior around the clipper receives a yummy reward.
Be aware of the quick
The quick of the claw contains nerves and blood vessels. This is the light pink part that you see inside the claw. If you clip the quick, it will bleed, and it's very painful for your cat. Always trim the white part of the claw only.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop a Kitten From Biting
If kitten biting problems persist, you should get advice from your veterinarian. Cats are masters at hiding pain because a sign of weakness makes them an easy target for predators. Some health disorders can affect behavior.
If your kitten gets a clean bill of health, then his aggressive biting is behavioral. Try to find out what the triggers are to avoid this aggressive behavior. Is it play aggression or petting related? Some cats get overstimulated during play or petting, and it's helpful to know the trigger to avoid unwanted biting.
Always make sure to provide your kitten with proper exercise and playtime using interactive toys that assist in kitten biting training. These interactive toys allow your kitten to have the hunting experience indoors. Use a bunch of different toys on rotation to keep playtime fresh.
Enrichment and mental stimulation are crucial for indoor cats and kittens. Both can help prevent boredom, behavioral issues, and stress.
Never punish your kitten for biting. Punishment will only teach your kitten to fear you, and it can worsen aggressive behavior. Provide plenty of places to scratch, and trim your kitten's nails regularly. We need to encourage natural instincts so our kittens live a happy life indoors.
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