Any tips for a kitten that bites me and everthing?

cam1983

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My little Marshmallow is about 2 months old. He was rescued and was bottle fed. I've been taking care of him. He is so sweet and cute I had to keep him. I've tried different toys for him, but he is always attacking us and biting. I've read before that babies that get seperated from their mother cats can be more bitey. I just worry because he bites my children too. My daughter has autism and sensory problems, she lets the kitten bite her until she bleeds some times. I have tried telling him no and showing him his treats and toys. Just worry because he will get bigger and this seems like a naughty habbit. Any suggestions would be appericated :) Thanks everyone!
 

mservant

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Marshmallow is a very cute kitten going by your other posts, and I am sure your children and many of their friends will be drawn to him instantly.
   Most will learn quickly that he will bite and scratch if they do things he doesn't like, but this might be a bit harder for your daughter to learn if she is not responding to the pain of him biting.  If he is breaking her skin when he bites please keep a close eye on the wounds in case any become infected:  kitten and cat teeth have a lot of bacteria on them: if any bite wounds become inflamed or swell up please seek medical attention for her quickly.  

Does your daughter seeks out sensations and seem to like it in some way if Marshmallow bites her, and maybe play in ways that she knows this will happen? If so it might be best to spend a lot of time with Marshmallow first and allow your daughter less time with him until he has learned his lessons well from you.  I appreciate this would likely be very difficult to do, but the longer a patern of behaviour goes on for them the longer it will take to unlearn - and as ever unlearning takes way longer.
    Hopefully if you can find a way of keeping biting and aggression out of their play their relationship should be really rewarding for both of them. If she has play with him before he stops biting regularly it might be worth trying only play with longer toys like feather wands or large Kong type animals with tails, or supervised calm time stroking and holding.  If your daughter tends to stick on doing one thing and finds it difficult to stop then think about what games she can play with Marshmallow that she will enjoy but will not get her stuck in the behaviours she finds hard to stop and come away from.  If both your daughter and your kitten both get over excited at the same time you could have some hard times settling them back down again.  
  Rather you than me....

Kittens learn their bite pressure and social rules about biting from their mother and siblings - mostly siblings through play and mutual biting and clawing.  As Marshmallow has not had access to this type of learning through cat play it is very important he gets it from you in a clear and consistent way.  If you can do this he should learn quickly what the boundaries are.  All kittens and cats have selective hearing just like children, and you will find that he learns quickly what 'no' means and also learns to ignore it.  He will hear it a lot.  With biting it can work best to use a different word or one syllable sound that does not get used for anything else. 'ow', 'ouch', 'argh', 'eeow', or similar.  One that is natural to call out if you are hurt.  If he mouths gently don't say it but as soon as his bite is hard or painful you call out.  You do not need to shout, just be firm and positive in how it is said so he knows you mean business.  

Some people use loud shaking tins or spraying water but as this can scare your cat and cause them to feel anxious it is likely to result in other behaviours you do not want and will also not help in any bonding for you and your cat.  It may well increase aggressive behaviour.  It is far more effective to avoid or ignore the behaviour you don't want and reward those that you do.  Play with them when they are being cute and starting to seek attention, and when they play nicely, and ignore and avoid when they are aggressive or biting.

As a basic principle I start with if your cat or kitten bites the worst thing you can do is respond as this will come across as a play response or as aggression; either way your cat will come in with more biting.  

The most effective way to stop the behaviour is to see the signs of when it will happen and avoid them.

If this hasn't worked, then you need to ignore, do not pull away, or point at them with a finger or hand.  A slight, firm movement in towards their bite will give a firm message and they will often stop at that point.  If you push in slightly towards him and he continues to bite stay very still.  If you stay still and silent he will probably get bored as not getting a response and decide to do something else.

If his bite is hard and painful say 'ow' or 'ouch', and remain still and calm, repeat the word, and if he does not let go after the third time lift him off and take him out of the room, close the door and do not let him back in for 30 seconds or until he looks calm.  If he goes off and plays somewhere else that is good, he has been diverted.

If he goes off and comes back to bite again repeat the whole process.  Only if he is breaking your skin should you try to remove him without waiting and going through the process calmly.  If you do have to lift him off do this carefully but firmly trying not to hurt him: release his jaws and lift him away and take him out of the room for about 30 seconds as mentioned previously.    

There is more information in the article I have provided a link for below:

 http://www.thecatsite.com/a/cat-aggression-toward-people

Another thing that I suspect will be important for Marshmallow is that he has plenty places to go hide or get out of reach of people when ever he wants, and these should be easily accessible for him. Hopefuly you have plenty of these already!

Good luck.  Marshmallow wants to play, and he is learning all the skills that are natural for him and help him survive in the wild or with other cats.  He just needs to learn what is acceptable and safe for you.  If you can keep as much as possible of the physical running about rough stuff to non contact as you can and the close up play gentle with clear verbal and non verbal language when he hurts you then he should learn all he needs to about being a cat but also about being with people, including your kids.  
  I hope things progress well and look forward to hearing how things go.
 
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cam1983

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Thank you for the response back. I finally had time after the busy holiday to read it & check out the link :)
 

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Hi, I cringed when I read your post. This is literally a life endangering situation and you need to act immediately. Here's what happens..kitten does something, seems good, nothing bad happens, so ...do it again. And again. And then he's a 12 lb. cat and no one can control him and he ends up in shelter and is put down. Even worse, it's obvious he is not playing if he is putting enough force in his bites to hurt your daughter.

Cat bites can--not always, but can--contain germs that could literally become infected--ask any vet---and could, at worst, even result in amputation of a limb if they do get infected.  Stressing this for how serious this is. Do NOT let him bite!  I've had 7 cats over 20 years and the only time I ever got bitten was when I grabbed one who had just been hit by a car, back in the days when I thought cats should be let outside. 

All kinds of good suggestions above. 1) the second he tries to bite, and chomps down, stop all movement until he releases! Don't try to pull away-he'll clamp down tighter. Be firm telling him "No! No!" repeatedly!  Then take him to a time out place and leave him there for a bit.   This could be play aggression or that sweet thing could just be a bully.

I'd suggest the Bully Remedy from jackson Galaxy:  http://jacksongalaxy.com/category/spirit-essences-u/spirit-essences-instructions/ but they are good about helping you make a suggestion if you call them. I wouldn't even let him around my daughter until he learns not to bite and! you will need to train (I know that will be difficult, but you must) train your child at the same time to not play rough or touch or hit him. Again, consistency

But with the "no" and the essences and other suggestions, You must be firm! You MUST be consistent. 

I think the length of these replies should let you know how serious this can be. 
 
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cam1983

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I'm happy to report after some training and conditioning both my daughter & my Marshmallow are getting along. My little girl has learned his cues of when he is being frisky. We checked out some libary books to read about cats & what they do with their tails and what their body language means. I've been also putting marshmallow in a quiet room when he gets alittle rambunctious and we have been putting up a flat hand and telling him no when he trys to bite. So far so good :)
 

mservant

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  Excellent news.  Congratulations on progressing to a reasonably peaceful household!   (Well, they are NEVER completely peaceful 
 )

It looks to me like there's a new love arrair going on there between you daughter and Marshmallow. Great for both of them. Thank you so much for the update.

Long may it all continue, you have made a fantastic start.
 

mservant

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  Excellent news.  Congratulations on progressing to a reasonably peaceful household!   (Well, they are NEVER completely peaceful 
 )

It looks to me like there's a new love affair going on there between you daughter and Marshmallow. Great for both of them. Thank you so much for the update.

Long may it all continue, you have all made a fantastic start.
 
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cam1983

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Yesss! Marshy now sleeps with her at night :) They are such cute snuggle buddies ♡ She has been helping out with feeding the kitties too, she also is in charge of his treats. Which of course she always asks me first if she can give him some, but she has the feeling of responsibility with him. They definitely have bonded beautifully! :)
 

mservant

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That is such a lovely progression, and will be a great experience for your daughter. 
  I look forward to some lovely fun and happy posts from you in the Cat Lounge including the fur pictures. :-D
 
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