Help with cat behavior issue, jumping on ankles/ legs

CuteBabyBiscuit

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My kitten is almost a year old. She is super sweet and loving as well as very playful. Since about 8 months old she’s loved to jump and grab my legs and ankles. Only mine, not my moms. When she does she does not bite very hard or claw me. I’ve been scratched by her teeth and claws because of reacting poorly to this and moving away too quickly (as well as needing to trim her claws at the time lol). I’ve tried standing still, i’ve tried hissing or saying no. I have walked away and left her in the room for a little while. That worked when i trained her not to grab my arms. I do try to play with her often and she has plenty of toys, a tower near the window to watch the birds, etc. I just dont know what to do about breaking this habit of hers or if its just a phase she’ll grow out of eventually. Otherwise I see no single kitten syndrome issues. She uses her litter box, no outside box peeing. Isn’t very destructive . She’s gottn into a few things but I give her stuff like paper bags and safe toys to “rip up on” that I think it helps. She gives me space in the right areas. I know she is asking to play when she tackles me but I just want to teach it out of her and not sure where to start.
 

Caspers Human

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Whenever she attacks you, grab a toy and play with her like that.

If you have a wand toy or a fishing pole, use that. You could, simply toss a mouse for her to chase. Regardless the kind of toy, her lesson should be that toys are for playing, not people.

Also, make sure you play her out at least once or twice per day. By that, play with her until she's too tired to play anymore. Young cats need lots and lots of play. If you don't play her out, she'll have too much extra energy which she will direct toward you.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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Whenever she attacks you, grab a toy and play with her like that.

If you have a wand toy or a fishing pole, use that. You could, simply toss a mouse for her to chase. Regardless the kind of toy, her lesson should be that toys are for playing, not people.

Also, make sure you play her out at least once or twice per day. By that, play with her until she's too tired to play anymore. Young cats need lots and lots of play. If you don't play her out, she'll have too much extra energy which she will direct toward you.
I have done that, grabbing a toy but she ignores it and goes right back to my toes. But I do think you’re right about the play, I should probably play with her a little more. And fingers crossed this is just a phase that will fizzle out as she moves out of the teen stage lol
 

Kris107

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I tend to disagree about playing. All that might do is reward her for attacking your feet. "Ooo, if I attack mom's feet, she'll play with me!" It then becomes her cue to you that she wants to play. (yes, our cats can train US) So I'd try a high pitched, loud "EEP!!!" or something. You may want to warn anyone else in your house. My husband hated when I did mine, but after a bit - I don't have to do it anymore! But the attack should illicit something they don't like at all. Also, don't shake her off or react if you can help it. Your feet/ankles should play "dead". She shouldn't get any reaction that she likes from it.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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I tend to disagree about playing. All that might do is reward her for attacking your feet. "Ooo, if I attack mom's feet, she'll play with me!" It then becomes her cue to you that she wants to play. (yes, our cats can train US) So I'd try a high pitched, loud "EEP!!!" or something. You may want to warn anyone else in your house. My husband hated when I did mine, but after a bit - I don't have to do it anymore! But the attack should illicit something they don't like at all. Also, don't shake her off or react if you can help it. Your feet/ankles should play "dead". She shouldn't get any reaction that she likes from it.
I’ve tried loud sounds but she doesnt react to that. I will give the play dead a try though next time. It is so hard to stay consistent with that one cause i’m worried she’ll bite just a little too hard one time lol.
 

Alldara

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It's not the loud sound in particular but thr high-pitched "eeeep!" Is close to how another kitten would say, "you're hurting me." You have to go up in pitch in your voice. Like mimicking a bird cry.

Having a kicker toy and play wrestling IS important. But I agree with K Kris107 If you are initiating that kind of play when she's attacking your feet/legs then that will be how she illicit that play from you. Rather, play wrestling with a kicker toy needs to be put into your routine.
Young cats who like wrestle play and don't have a like-minded cat play mate will seek this out from humans. The ultimate solve is either get a cat playmate who likes to wrestle or find a "yes" way to wrestle her with a toy.

It only took Calcifer about 2 weeks to stop ankle attacks this way. We still play kicker toy a couple times a week. This stops him getting too rough with the other boys.
Ghost we eeeped at him once and he never feet attacked again.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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It's not the loud sound in particular but thr high-pitched "eeeep!" Is close to how another kitten would say, "you're hurting me." You have to go up in pitch in your voice. Like mimicking a bird cry.

Having a kicker toy and play wrestling IS important. But I agree with K Kris107 If you are initiating that kind of play when she's attacking your feet/legs then that will be how she illicit that play from you. Rather, play wrestling with a kicker toy needs to be put into your routine.
Young cats who like wrestle play and don't have a like-minded cat play mate will seek this out from humans. The ultimate solve is either get a cat playmate who likes to wrestle or find a "yes" way to wrestle her with a toy.

It only took Calcifer about 2 weeks to stop ankle attacks this way. We still play kicker toy a couple times a week. This stops him getting too rough with the other boys.
Ghost we eeeped at him once and he never feet attacked again.
I really need to find a good audio of that eep sound. I’ve tried so many different variations and she just keeps going like she didnt hear me. The kicker toy though is a good idea. I play with a wand but adding kicker toy play in there is smart I’ll try to add that to my play. Also I wonder, she is in her teen stage, is this also something that she’d grow out of she gets older?
 

Caspers Human

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You make the noise like they did in Monty Python when somebody was trying to make a silly sound like surprise and alarm.
Or, maybe like: "We are no longer the knights who say Ni! We are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

Eep!
 

Caspers Human

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Our youngest, Elliot, likes to lay at your feet and tussle with your toes when we get out of the shower to dry off.
It seems like he has a thing for wet feet. I have no idea where he got it from.

In this house, rules say that cats are allowed to play and attack humans. Elliot knows the limits and obeys them, pretty well.

Whether wrestling is allowed or not, the important thing is to set the rules, right from the beginning, and enforce them religiously. Start teaching them early and there will be few, if any, problems. :)
 

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Our current rescue kitten Goober was a horrible biter/ankle attacker. She would chomp on you any chance she got. Head/arms/hands/feet. Always playfully but very annoying. Luckily that changed when I was able to trap and bring in her brother Stan Lee. Now they run around constantly chomping on each other and she has quit biting us entirely. Her brother doesn’t bite us at all. Either they are too tired from running around or they get their chomping fix from each other.
I’ve always rough played with my cats with my hands and arms after they get a little older but never let them play with my feet. They dart in front of me while I’m walking and almost trip me as it is. They don’t understand I can’t twist in the air and land on my feet when I fall down the stairs with a load of laundry in my arms. Lol
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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By toes, do you mean, your bare toes? My cat sometimes goes after my naked feet, but tends to leave them alone when I wear socks or shoes.
She goes after bare feet or if I’m wearing slippers lol. But not shoes. and if my feet are covered she goes at my calves lol. Never biting hard enough to break skin. I stood still today out of curiosity and she squeezed but always held back just enough.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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To make the proper "eee" sound think of a smoke alarm and make that sound as close as you can with your voice.
Oh wow that sharp ok, thank you. I’ll have to figure that one out lol. Not sure I can hit that shrill of a sound.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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Our current rescue kitten Goober was a horrible biter/ankle attacker. She would chomp on you any chance she got. Head/arms/hands/feet. Always playfully but very annoying. Luckily that changed when I was able to trap and bring in her brother Stan Lee. Now they run around constantly chomping on each other and she has quit biting us entirely. Her brother doesn’t bite us at all. Either they are too tired from running around or they get their chomping fix from each other.
I’ve always rough played with my cats with my hands and arms after they get a little older but never let them play with my feet. They dart in front of me while I’m walking and almost trip me as it is. They don’t understand I can’t twist in the air and land on my feet when I fall down the stairs with a load of laundry in my arms. Lol
I really really wish I could have two but our landlord barely let me have her.
And right goodness stay safe on those stares with the lil assassins haha!
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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Our youngest, Elliot, likes to lay at your feet and tussle with your toes when we get out of the shower to dry off.
It seems like he has a thing for wet feet. I have no idea where he got it from.

In this house, rules say that cats are allowed to play and attack humans. Elliot knows the limits and obeys them, pretty well.

Whether wrestling is allowed or not, the important thing is to set the rules, right from the beginning, and enforce them religiously. Start teaching them early and there will be few, if any, problems. :)
I agree! I was able to enforce and train her out of attacking my arms, still figuring out what she’ll listen to with my legs. Also just hoping its a phase as she is in the “teen stage”. She’ll be one year old next month.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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You make the noise like they did in Monty Python when somebody was trying to make a silly sound like surprise and alarm.
Or, maybe like: "We are no longer the knights who say Ni! We are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

Eep!
HA using monty python as an example is perfect (love that movie). But NI, I could totally do that kind of higher pitched sound. I’ll give it a go next time.
 
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CuteBabyBiscuit

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You make the noise like they did in Monty Python when somebody was trying to make a silly sound like surprise and alarm.
Or, maybe like: "We are no longer the knights who say Ni! We are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

Eep!
SO I had a chance to try this and I used Ni, as it helped me get the higher pitch I needed and it was IMMEDIATE. she let go and has not gone at my leg all day. I realized I was just not going sharp enough before. Fingers crossed it keeps working. Thank you haha!
 
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