Cat is STILL biting...why??

julia123123

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I adopted a senior cat 6 - 8 months ago. Since I've had her, she's bitten me multiple times, unprovoked. A couple of times it was misdirected aggression - we were watching a dog, she hated it, bit me a few times. But dog is long gone and still...this morning was typical. She wakes me up at 4:15 by walking on me. She settles on my hip, where she sometimes likes to sleep. I reach out to pet her and BAM! A very hard bite. But 90% of the time, she WANTS me to pet her. Sometimes she sits on the bedside table and watches me read. She isn't asking for attention. I'll notice her ears going down and BAM! She attacks.

I hate to lock her out of the bedroom. We have two younger cats that we keep in a separate bedroom at night only - the rest of the time they have the run of the house. Nighttime is my senior cat's time to have the run of the house without being bothered. They leave her alone, but she's still annoyed that they're here. I don't think the bite today was misdirected aggression though, because we've had them for two months and no issues. The bites are every few months and just as I'm letting my guard down, she bites again. They're never the result of overstimulation by petting, either. I'm very careful there!

Any thoughts?
 

di and bob

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If you are not stroking her over two times (Overstimulation) then it is most likely her way of letting you know she is still very much new and is hyper-alert and fearful. 6 -8 months in a new home is not long at all in a cat's world, especially when there are other cats too. She is still VERY much aware there are other cats around and is watching/thinking of them. Females are the manners teachers, the limit setters, and she is trying to establish herself in the household.
when a cat keeps biting, especially unprovoked, there is one way to break them of it but it has to be done every time to work. When she chomps down, grab her by the loose skin on the back of the neck, pull her away and hold her to the ground until she stills. Usually a few seconds. If she comes back at you, do it again. Tell her NO firmly and loudly, or even better hiss at her (her own language) They can really struggle at first. but this instinctively quiets them. It sounds bad, it is called scruffing, but you can't have her bad behavior escalating, This shows her who is boss. NEVER pick a cat up this way it can hurt them, but you can lift their front feet off the ground (leaving their back legs on the ground for support) if they really struggle. I have had to use this to administer medicine to some stubborn cats too. It really works. this is to be used as a last resort, but I have had a LOT of success with it. She cannot be allowed to bite you unprovoked. I hope it works for you!
 
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julia123123

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She doesn't really SEEM hyper-alert. She lounges around the house and sleeps most of the day. She likes to look outside but for the most part, she's a pretty relaxed cat. That's why the biting, which comes out of nowhere, is such a shock. I've avoided the hissing because I don't want to wake my husband up...but I think I will have to try that...or just lock her out of the bedroom. That's the ONLY place where she bites me!
 

danteshuman

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Could she be in pain (arthritis?) I would want to rule that out. I agree with everyone else it takes training and 6 months is nothing to a senior cat who is having to adjust to a new home (& other cats.) She still might be hyper aware while lounging (like if her tail is twitching or if a soft toy nudging her sends her into almost attack mode or beings more aggressive.) My cat is hyper aware in one area when I walk him and he growls at me at the slightest tug of his leash.
 

sivyaleah

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I would not recommend scruffing. Nearly all vets have stopped using this technique and it's no longer a recommended tactic. All it does is wind up making your cat even more weary of you. Cats don't learn by punishment, which it is.

Biting in older cats is usually due to overstimulation which you can control with your interactions. Add in that she is still a newcomer to your home and figuring things out.

For instance, if you know the cat will bite you while in bed reaching out to pet it, don't do that! That is overstimulation to her apparently. Fear/pain are another reason so getting her cleared for any potential health issues is an important first step. Being a senior there could be several reasons why she is reacting this way including reduced hearing. Fear should be addressed since you mention she hasn't fully integrated into your multi-cat household. Maybe think about reintroducing everyone?
 

Kflowers

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This works with kittens, but may well work with adult cats. You need to tell her, no, that hurts, in her language. The instant she bites you hiss at her. You may want to practice this away from her, because it's a little tricky. You may also spit. The odds are she'll jump down when you do it. I also agree with danteshuman danteshuman that it's likely she has arthritis and when you stroke her you rub on a part that hurts and get a reflex bite. (Arthritis isn't just for joints, it may occur anywhere along the spine or sternum or where she once broke a bone and it healed.)
 

sivyaleah

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This works with kittens, but may well work with adult cats. You need to tell her, no, that hurts, in her language. The instant she bites you hiss at her. You may want to practice this away from her, because it's a little tricky. You may also spit. The odds are she'll jump down when you do it. I also agree with danteshuman danteshuman that it's likely she has arthritis and when you stroke her you rub on a part that hurts and get a reflex bite. (Arthritis isn't just for joints, it may occur anywhere along the spine or sternum or where she once broke a bone and it healed.)
I used the hissing technique when Luna was a kitten, and it worked very well with her.
 
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julia123123

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I will definitely try the hissing technique. Sometimes she bites me with no petting, though. It's pretty frustrating. She has a clean bill of health from vet so...I guess I'll just keep her out of the bedroom at this point and hissing if she tries it elsewhere!
 

FeebysOwner

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I know it is disruptive, but wouldn't it be a better idea to let her be in the bedroom UNTIL she bites, then hiss and place her outside the room. She will eventually connect that biting you in bed is going to get her kicked out of the room. You are not teaching her anything by all of a sudden keeping her out of the bedroom - she will have absolutely no idea why.
 
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julia123123

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I know that makes sense, but my sleep has been so disrupted. Last night I put up the baby gate. She got to snuggle in bed until she left on her own accord, baby gate up, and I got an extra hour of sleep. I get up, lots of pets, everyone is happy (or at least she seems happy)!
 
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