Is he playing or is he being aggressive?

Carrot_cake1502

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I have a 6 month old cat, he tries to bite my face but I don't let him and if he does it doesn't hurt? Is this him being playful or is this aggressive behaviour?
 

Kieka

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Sounds more along the lines of playful or love biting. Depending on if your kitten does it when sleepy or hyper. Either way, biting in general is something you want to discourage. A 6 month old bite and adult bite can be very different even if neither intendes to hurt. My typical reaction to tooth or claw is a loud yip (startle them and get their attention), exaggerated pain/sadness and ignore the offender (after removing myself from their reach). Every single tooth or claw every single time gets the same reaction. Remove attention entirely and separate. You don't have to yell or anything, just enough of a reaction that they know something happened and you are unhappy. It has to be every time so they have consistency. Give it about two weeks and most nipping will stop.
 

vince

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Sometimes it only takes one such instance like Kieka stated above. If you set firm limits, it may not happen again. The first time one of my cats tried to bunt me in the face at night in bed, he finished up by love-biting my nose. Apparently, my response was aggressive enough that he hasn't done it again, and that's been about four years.
 

Babycat1

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My 3.5 mth old kitten waits behind something n stalks me. When I walk by she wants to play with my feet / legs which to her is biting my leg. This is my 1 st Cat ever n altho she looks so cute stalking her prey ( my feet) getting play/love bites is not. Must I always walk with a toy to distract?
 

ArtNJ

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My 3.5 mth old kitten waits behind something n stalks me. When I walk by she wants to play with my feet / legs which to her is biting my leg. This is my 1 st Cat ever n altho she looks so cute stalking her prey ( my feet) getting play/love bites is not. Must I always walk with a toy to distract?
If you read the above posts, folks are not recommending distraction for biting. Reason being, distraction is for stopping a behavior in that specific moment, it does nothing to stop reoccurences. Indeed, if you are throwing a toy, that is a positive and could even reinforce the leg pouncing. I would use a just loud enough to be somewhat startling "no!". If that doesn't work, you can gently but firmly hold them down for long enough to make sure it isn't fun for them.
 
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Babycat1

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If you read the above posts, folks are not recommending distraction for biting. Reason being, distraction is for stopping a behavior in that specific moment, it does nothing to stop reoccurences. Indeed, if you are throwing a toy, that is a positive and could even reinforce the leg pouncing. I would use a just loud enough to be somewhat startling "no!". If that doesn't work, you can gently but firmly hold them down for long enough to make sure it isn't fun for them.
Ok thx. What is the proper way to hold them down? Do I grab the scruff? Roll them on their side like an alpha roll?

would throwing the toy be okay before she pounces on my legs or wld that reinforce the stalking ?
 

ArtNJ

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Ok thx. What is the proper way to hold them down? Do I grab the scruff? Roll them on their side like an alpha roll?

would throwing the toy be okay before she pounces on my legs or wld that reinforce the stalking ?
I hold by the scruff and also put a hand above the back legs. I don't move the cat, just hold it in place. Unless your actually being hurt of course. But usually a loud "no!" will work given some time.

If your sure that you are being stalked and about to get your legs pounced, I'd just use the loud "no!" or stomp your foot. Throwing a toy is good when your not worried about training and distraction is enough. Like if a bigger cat is playing a little too roughly with a smaller, you can throw a toy to try and distract them. Your not really trying to teach the cat how to play nicely with the smaller cat, because thats not so possible with a cat, but just give the little one a break. And its not like throwing a toy is going to increase rough play. But imagine if you tried throwing a toy to get a cat off the kitchen table. I guarranty that the cat would learn to go up on the table every time it wanted to play fetch.
 

Babycat1

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What you say makes sense. She needs a lesson in not stalking my feet rather than a pure distraction. She only started this behavior last week so I need to nip it in the bud. Are there any alternatives than holding her downn the firm ”NO!”? I have a bad back n can’t always bend that far. Most of the time I can, sometimes I shouldn’t.
 

ArtNJ

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Just do the "no!". Thats usually sufficient. Holding the cat down would be like if you try that for a week and get nowhere.
 

pmv

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Sounds more along the lines of playful or love biting. Depending on if your kitten does it when sleepy or hyper. Either way, biting in general is something you want to discourage. A 6 month old bite and adult bite can be very different even if neither intendes to hurt. My typical reaction to tooth or claw is a loud yip (startle them and get their attention), exaggerated pain/sadness and ignore the offender (after removing myself from their reach). Every single tooth or claw every single time gets the same reaction. Remove attention entirely and separate. You don't have to yell or anything, just enough of a reaction that they know something happened and you are unhappy. It has to be every time so they have consistency. Give it about two weeks and most nipping will stop.
Ever dealt with this sort of thing in bed at night?

One of my three cats (~9 months) likes to nip toes. He's actually very gentile, and while I do give him a "no" or "ow" when he does it and he'll usually stop for a bit, I suspect he does this while I'm sleeping and doesn't get any negative reinforcement because I don't wake up. He hasn't gotten better with this, except perhaps in that he tries to see exactly how far he can go before I react.

With him it's definitely playful, or perhaps grooming - it's often lick, lick, bite. He's usually purring like mad and he's super attached to me; he's never shown any signs of actual aggression.
 

Kieka

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Interesting. Not really love bite, those tend to be more so petting aggression really. But if you are enforcing it when you notice, I wouldn't worry too much. Sounds like you just have a smart one who knows where the line is and tests it. When Link was that age, he would make little attempts to get me to move the line on what behavior was acceptable. At nearly 7years old he still tests it, but just in smaller ways and less often.
 

Katy Perkins

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Your kitten is at the play-fight age. Usually, they do this with their siblings and mother and soon learn on their own skin that bites hurt so they eventually stop the behavior. But since you cannot bite him back to prove it hurts, you will have to be patient and also try not to encourage him. Do not let any of your family members encourage this behavior either. To do this try not to play with your hands. Use balls and feather wands and mouse-shaped or plush toys.
 

Katy Perkins

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Your kitten is at the play-fight age. Usually, they do this with their siblings and mother and soon learn on their own skin that bites hurt so they eventually stop the behavior. But since you cannot bite him back to prove it hurts, you will have to be patient and also try not to encourage him. Do not let any of your family members encourage this behavior either. To do this try not to play with your hands. Use balls and feather wands and mouse-shaped or plush toys.
 
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