11 week old kitten - play biting

Cecil20

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Hello, I am new here and recently introduced myself and my cat Cecil who is an 11 week old kitten.

He is very friendly and affectionate aside from that he does two things. One of them is that he bites on my hands when I play with him, I'm certain it's nothing aggressive but do I need to stop this behaviour now and if so how do I do it?

And the second issue is he runs after me and bites my feet when I am walking around the house. This is annoying and I'd like him to stop. Again I don't think he's being aggressive, I think it's either because he wants something or he finds it fun.

Did a search on the past few pages as I'm sure this has been asked before.

Appreciate any advice.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! Welcome!!

Try a fairly loud hiss when he's after your ankles. He's a baby and doesn't know better and a hiss is how his feline mama would let him know his behavior is unacceptable. You may need to do this more than once :)

Try giving him a soft toy or even a partially frozen clean washcloth (well rinsed if you use scented dryer sheets!) when he's biting your hands. I don't know if he's teething yet or just play biting but either way, getting him to play with something other than your hands is important.
 
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Cecil20

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Hi! Welcome!!

Try a fairly loud hiss when he's after your ankles. He's a baby and doesn't know better and a hiss is how his feline mama would let him know his behavior is unacceptable. You may need to do this more than once :)

Try giving him a soft toy or even a partially frozen clean washcloth (well rinsed if you use scented dryer sheets!) when he's biting your hands. I don't know if he's teething yet or just play biting but either way, getting him to play with something other than your hands is important.
Thank you. The hiss sounds like a great idea, I'll try it and hopefully it helps.

Why does the cloth being partially frozen help?
 

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You didn't mention how long you've had him, but even at 11 weeks, he's younger than the recommended 12 weeks or older for a kitten to be adopted out. The longer they stay with their mom and siblings the more cat manners they learn, things like playing or biting too hard hurts their sibling, or in your case, their human. Of course, circumstances sometimes have kittens being adopted out younger, and when that happens, as in your case, their human family has to train them to "play nice".

Here's a TCS article that might have some tips for you.
How To Stop Playtime Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles

There's also this article from the Humane Society that might be helpful: Note, it does mention using a water squirt bottle, which TCS does not recommend.
Teach your kitten how to play nice
 

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If he's teething, and he's about the right age to be starting to, the cold of a partially frozen cloth can help with discomfort :)
 
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Cecil20

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Sorry, I got him at 8 weeks. I did try the hissing thing earlier when he grabbed my ankles and tried to bite and he seemed to back away.

He has a scratching post and some toy mice with string on them to chase, I'll look at more toys for him and encourage him to play with those. I'm trying really hard, I want to be a supportive human for him.
 

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I think that he is on the young side and still exhibiting behaviors that would have been extinguished if he were with his litter for a longer period of time ideally.....this having nothing to do with you adopting him at the wrong time as he is lucky to have a loving home. Jamie was about 5 weeks when I found him dying in a woodpile, so once he was up and running he was a true biter, scratcher, shredder, jumper just because to him it was fun. Don't allow the biting. Move your hand, or yourself away from Cecil so he understands that play ends when that behavior starts. Hissing is also a deterrent which you are finding is working.

The feet biting is also playing; it may be that he does not want you to leave or walk away as I have another rescue, Elise, who uses that behavior when we stop brushing her and she wants it to continue. Again, no payoff for the behavior and he will get the point.
 

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Hi! When your kitty is in play mode, I’d recommend you avoid getting your hands near him at all. I know it’s hard but don’t pet him or allow him to get at your hands at all when he’s playing. Only pet him when he’s sleepy. I have a four and a half month old kitten and he’s recently gotten WAY worse with the play biting, and I think it’s because I didn’t nip it in the bud when he was younger. I caution you to be super consistent now.

When you’re playing with him use long handled toys, like a dancer, so he can’t get near your hands. Try to tire him out during these play sessions by making him jump up and down a lot chasing the toy.

Also, rotate the toys you use and put some away where he can’t get them all the time. If the same toys are always just laying around and he plays with the same ones all the time, he can get bored of them and will go after your hands instead.

If he does bite you, playtime and attention should end immediately. Walk away from him, go into another room for 5 minutes “ignoring” him, so he learns when he bites the fun ends. This has been the most helpful thing for me so far.

It can be a challenge. I am still struggling with play biting too, so I hope you have better luck than me!
 

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What you have is typical kitten energy and antics. More play time with a wand toy, keeping nails trimmed and if he bites do NOT pull away. Push towards the mouth and he will release then just ignore him for a bit. Then get a wand toy to play him out. It's why I always find adopting two kittens is far easier then one lol. Oh if he doesnt have a cat tree make sure to buy at least one. Cats need cat trees, they love to be up high and climb all over it. It's just a lot of fun, more fun then a scratching post for sure.
 
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Cecil20

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Thanks for all these helpful replies, this is very useful. Cat tree and wand toys will be looked at and purchased and hopefully he will enjoy them.

I will remember to only pet him when sleepy and leave the room if he breaks play rules. Sounds straightforward but consistency is probably going to be a challenge.

Fingers and paws crossed 🤞🐾
 
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Cecil20

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The hissing thing is working. He either just runs after me and hugs my leg, or if he tries to bite and I hiss, he stops immediately and walks off. I'm surprised how well it works.

Soon he is due for his worming tablet, I'm a bit nervous about giving him a tablet because I know how difficult it can be. Does anyone have any tips on getting cats to safely take their tablets? And when should I get Cecil neutered, is it recommended?
 

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Cecil20

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Cecil has started to continue biting my feet again :(

The hissing doesn't do much to him now, he just ignores it. And he still play bites, I can tell he isn't doing it to hurt because his claws aren't out, he's just messing around but if this continues will it be a real problem when he's an adult cat?

I just want to tell him that I'm always happy to play with him but he needs to understand biting can hurt :(
 

Furballsmom

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Did you try a partially frozen cloth, that I mentioned above?
partially frozen clean washcloth (well rinsed if you use scented dryer sheets)
Clap your hands, throw noisy keys on the floor, --hard, near to him, use a metal can half filled with coins - anything loud and noisy to startle him out of that mode of going for your feet. Keep repeating it and be consistent.
 
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Cecil20

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What do I do? Just give him the cloth to do what he likes with it?

I'll try these other noises, clapping will probably be the easiest but I can try other things too.

I read the articles BTW, and as Cecil is almost three months old I'd say now is the right time to sort out the neutering with the vet, right?

Thanks for taking the time to reply to me, Furball.
 

Furballsmom

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Just give him the cloth to do what he likes with it?
more or less, --the idea is to let him chew on it because he's probably teething. The cold of the cloth should help ease any discomfort he might be experiencing and could consequently help cut back on biting and chewing.
the right time to sort out the neutering with the vet, right?
Depending on if they have any particular requirements regarding weight or age, yes :)
 
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Cecil20

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Thank you again. I will try it and then report back. Hope it helps!
 

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a lot of kittens will attack feet in play. Most of them also grow out of it, thankfully.

does he do it every time you walk or only sometimes when he's feeling playful/frisky? If it's the latter you might be able to redirect his play to something more productive. Some kittens will think our attempts to stop these kinds of attempts are actually us just playing back/giving them something to engage with. So, with some ignoring is usually the best. When my cat plays rough her 'punishment' is that I stop playing with her.

I also second that there might be some teething going on. A lot of kittens get mouthy and want to chew on something at that age. There are some cat chew toys available, including some 'chew stick' treats. My current cat was very mouthy as a kitten and I kept some chew toys and chew sticks handy. When she tried to gnaw on my hand, I simply removed my hand and offered the toy or treat instead. Soon she realized a chicken flavored thing was much more fun :)
 
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