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Kitten Biting And Clawing My Eyes

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by BabyBlueberry, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jun 10, 2019
    Hello! I'm in pretty desperate need of some help.

    I adopted a kitten (his name is Charcoal) tomorrow will be a week ago because I have anxiety and wanted an emotional support animal (not official, but you know, a companion I could love). Everything went well, we took him to the vet, he's got a neuter scheduled in three weeks, and despite being rambunctious sometimes and spilling his water bowl, he's a great boy!

    When I first got him, he slept with me because he was anxious, lonely, not sure but it made him stop crying. So the following days after, I brought him with me again. He's gotten to the point that he just gets out of bed and goes to play with his toys - no big deal. However, in the moments he stays in the bed with me, he tries to bite and claw my eyes, and as I said earlier I got him for anxiety. Typing all of this out alone has me anxious enough to be nauseous - I have bad vision as it is and I really don't want to lose an eyeball. When he does this he typically pulls back after a minute (to prepare for another attack) and in that time I try to redirect him/turn him around the other way. Even when I'm sitting he also tries to do this, but typically my glasses deflect his paws and he's not big enough to reach with his mouth.

    I really don't know what to do. I'm going to stop bringing him to bed with me but this is a deal breaker. When he's got his teeth or claws in my eyelids I'm too terrified to move or make a noise in fear that the damage will get worse. I've scoured the internet for solutions but so far all I see is to keep him out of my room but that's not physically an option for me. I'm terrified of my kitten and I don't know what to do - my vision is too important to me to risk all of this. Please, someone help. I can't get my eyes back if they get hurt.

    My kitten is male and roughly 6-8 weeks old in perfect health except for being treated for ear mites in one ear. He's had his shots.

    When I was younger (around 10 or younger) every cat I had, my mother declawed. Yes it was convenient for avoiding scratches but now that I'm older and this is my cat, that is entirely off the table for me. If I can't break him of this habit I will just have to get rid of him and become a dog person - my mental stability isn't equipped to handle this. Please, someone offer me some kind of solution - I love my baby boy, but I don't know what to do!
     

  2. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jun 10, 2019
    Apologies, I made this account out of desperation and don't know how to edit my original post, but Charcoal has everything. Litterbox that get's cleaned 2-3 times a day, toys of various kinds (balls, mice, and a wand), wet food in the mornings and dry throughout the rest of the day and night. I play with him but even then he gets aggressive, I have small, but deep scratches all over my hands and legs.

    It doesn't really help much that my mom doesn't attempt to discipline him in the slightest. If he scratches up her leg she just yells and stomps and it's super aggravating, and when I say something to her about (so far my only sometimes working solution) picking him up and placing him somewhere else and ignoring him, she gets huffy at me for "telling her what to do".

    I can handle his playtime aggression, I know how to fix that, but with a place as delicate and vital as my eyesight I'm at a loss for words.
     

  3. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Hi. I think to start off with, not putting him in your bed is a good move. It would seem that he either doesn't want to be there or given his young age he thinks it means more play time.

    Anytime he bites or claws (other than play), I would either 'hiss' at him or tell him a firm 'no', then pick him up - with a towel if you have to - and remove him from the area. Then, ignore him and go on about your business. This needs to be done each and every time - consistency is the key to breaking bad habits. So, hopefully if your mom isn't willing to do the same, perhaps at least the kitten will learn not to do it with you anyway.

    He is very young yet, and you are essentially looking for months of a very active, rambunctious (and, sometimes annoying) behavior until he ages some. Also, some of this will settle down after he is neutered as well. His age would also suggest he didn't spend enough time with his mother to learn 'cat manners'. So, you will have to become his mother in that regard.

    It will get better!!
     
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  4. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    I actually think your mom yelling and stomping when he bites or claws her leg *is* effectively teaching the cat. Cats find loud noises startling/unpleasant, and we usually recommend a loud enough to be startling "no!" immediately on inappropriate biting. (Some people like to hiss but same idea.)

    I myself use foot stomping to teach them not to dart out the door. I probably wouldn't use it for biting because I'd be concerned it might lead to an over-reaction if the cat links it up wrong -- for example, links it to your mom sitting on the couch.

    You kitten likes batting your glasses. It seems to get your attention. You need to use the same loud "no!" to train the kitten not to bat at the glasses. Since this is happening when you are trying to sleep, a loud noise probably doesn't work for you, and perhaps the most practical solution is not to let the kitten sleep with you until better trained.
     
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  5. fionasmom

    fionasmom TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Good advice....negative reaction to his behavior so that he starts to get the point and absolutely keep him away from your eyes whatever you have to do in order to accomplish that. I also have to agree that he possibly did not learn to play nicely because he lost his mom or siblings too early, especially if he is a rescue. If that is the case he has to be retrained to your way of playing. I rescued my Jamie at about 3 weeks and at first his idea of a great time was biting and scratching....in play. Don't buy into it on any level. Neutering and getting older will help but that is a little bit of a process.

    With puppies who bite, most rescuers do what they call a "puppy yipe" which is a high pitched squeaking sound that the mother dog will make if the puppies bite her or nurse to roughly. Keep hissing at him when he is being aggressive.
     
    ArchyCat purraised this.

  6. Luna92

    Luna92 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Hey, I can relate to you wanting a support animal but I don't think the problem is the type of animal but the age. As it's just a baby you'll be the support animal for now .

    Also having something so new and permanent in your life is bound to make you more anxious. I had a few days where i wondered why i thought this was a good idea but a month on everything's settled nicely.

    Its only been a week and animals can sense fear so as time goes by and you get used to your kitten it will be easier you'll be firm and it'll will know its place so to speak. As for crazy night time behaviour my kitten though an angel during the day loves to jump on me at night and at times quite literally slap me in the face (i shouldn't laugh) she also bites my hands, when this happens i say no and put her on the floor she'll get back up try and do it again and goes right back on the floor after while she'll sulk off come back and fall asleep. Also i dont play with her on the bed.

    But I agree if your kitten is putting his claws near your eyes thats very scary but if its your glasses that seems less dire and more trainable, as maybe they catch the light and s/he thinks its a game my kitten is trying to bite off my bracelet as I type completley unaware of how close her teeth are to my veins just be consistent move the cat away from you every time it plays with your glasses no matter what time it is. Or maybe, might be a strange idea but put some lemon on the frame of your glasses and then put in a place s/he can reach that sure stopped my kitten from attacking my wires!
     
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  7. lutece

    lutece TCS Member Top Cat

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    This works with kittens too, because young kittens normally make a high pitched squeal to tell their littermates, "stop, that's too rough!" We make a short, sharp, high pitched, loud "eeee!" sound when a kitten tooth or claw touches skin, and that helps kittens to learn that human skin is super fragile and not to be touched with tooth or claw. It typically results in the kitten halting its behavior and looking at me with a surprised expression, "can you really be that much of a weakling??"
     
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  8. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jun 10, 2019
    Lots of comments to address - most have the same ideas so let me get those out of the way first.

    I do consistently tell him no and place him down somewhere else and stop play when I'm awake. It's not horribly effective because he just goes from attacking me to knocking over anything he can, including climbing up our clothes (we have too many to fit in our closet, so they go on a rack type thing), trying to jump on surfaces we've already deemed a no-zone, or terrorizing our blinds. Those are all works in progress but it's kind of making my discipline ineffective because he just finds other naughty things to do.

    Regarding my eyes, when I'm "awake" my glasses are on. When I'm laying down to sleep, they are not - I'll bend the frame if I lay down with them on. So his teeth and claws are in full range of my eyes. Yesterday he scratched my eyelid but he was literally a nick away from my actual eyeball.

    Regarding my mother, she stomps and yells but then immediately picks him up and pets him. Her method is ineffective and confusing for even me, so very much so for him also.

    Now for everything else - I've tried blowing in his face, he just then claws my mouth and cheeks and nose. A spray bottle wouldn't work because he doesn't mind water. He takes baths just fine, and if he accidently falls in his waterbowl he just gets a little funny look but doesn't freak out or shake rigorously. I heard that thumping noses lightly works but I'm thinking that was a puppy thing not a cat thing. Either way, I attempted it, he just thought I was playing with him.

    My picking him up and placing him elsewhere method doesn't work every time. There was one night I was moving him off my chair for an HOUR (leading to him scratching me up VERY badly) and he was NOT having it. Refused to stay on the floor or at least jump on another surface. I finally gave up and had to go wash my hands from the scratches (I am mildly allergic to cats - this is why I got a kitten, hoping for somewhat immunity against him at least, and looking into shots. Anyways, when he scratches me, the scratches swell pretty badly and itch like wildfire, and typically they also scar. This is why I'm so scared of him scratching my eyeBALLS). After that he laid down and went to sleep.

    Anyways, my current course of action is to definitely not bring him to bed with me anymore, but everything else I'm muddy on, from everything I described above. Any suggestions? Should I change techniques entirely? Change the ones I practice slightly (which is only the pushing him away/putting him somewhere else thing)? I've never had a cat before that did this - in fact, all my past kittens were absolute angels compared to my little Charcoal. I'm at such a loss.
     

  9. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    Just be persistent. Kittens can be a PITA with all the different things they do that you have to train them to avoid, and yours sounds upper 25% of energy. Many of us have dealt with this, but even with experience its annoying. Still, as long as you are consistent you can make progress. I'm a little skeptical the exact noise you make matters, since I doubt a human hiss sounds like a cat hiss, but whatever noise you pick, just make it loud enough to startle/get attention and be consistent.

    Try playing with the kitten more, if you can. Laser pointer, lure toy like Da Bird or Cat Charmer/Dancer, crumpled balls of paper/foil or ping pong balls. Not a magic solution but can't hurt :)
     
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  10. susanm9006

    susanm9006 Willow Top Cat

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    If he is six to eight weeks old he is really young to be able to learn much of anything. You are just a big toy in bed so he jumps and bites. Part of the problem too is that he should have been with his mom and siblings for a few more weeks so he could have learned about biting and playing too rough.

    At his age you probably should be keeping him in a kitten proofed room or a large kennel for the night. If you do keep him with you then yes, putting him down when he bites or tries to play with you will eventually help.
     

  11. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    The girl I got him from said he was at least six weeks old, and when I took him to the vet he commented on how he seemed much bigger. He and his littermates were born outside and the owner didn't even know she had kittens until momma cat brought them to the porch. He's strictly indoors now because I don't have a cat harness or appropriate fencing to let him outside and not risk him getting hit by a car. His littermates were all a degree of feral - he was the least feral.

    He doesn't really respond to noises very well? It takes me hitting a table pretty hard to get him to flinch much less jump back or anything. I don't think he's deaf, just stubborn.

    I do play with him frequently, and especially when he gets to where he's zooming all over the house, I make sure to play with him until he just can't play anymore.

    I would keep him in a kennel or something at night but I'm pretty sure that's a dog thing, and the pet carrier we have is borrowed. I have no possible way to put him in a room of his own - my home situation isn't capable of that. He does, however, have spaces that are purely his own (ledges for example).
     

  12. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jun 10, 2019
    If I may add something, I've noticed he's jealous of my phone and attacks my phone or hands when typing as I am now, however, when that doesn't earn him his way (I always put my phone down as soon as I finish the message and love on him), he then goes for my eyes. It's definitely an attention thing regarding my hands and phone but I definitely feel my eyes are a spiteful thing - in this way at least.

    Speaking of which I now have more scratches on my hands and face from typing this. Yay.

    He also may be attracted to the movement of my hands to type, and the movement of the screen (though I have heard cats' eyes can't process the rays of light from things like phones/tvs, so they only see static. can somebody tell me if that's true or not?), but my eyes is something I desperately cannot explain.
     

  13. lutece

    lutece TCS Member Top Cat

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    Kittens often go through a "piranha" stage (that is what my kids call it) where they think anything that moves is a cat toy, including humans. At least with our kittens, this tends to happen between 8-12 weeks, although some are precocious (we have a couple of 6 week old "piranhas" right now). I have definitely seen some kittens become obsessed with certain body parts or clothing items. It's unfortunate that your kitten has become so excited about your eyes and face, and I hope your kitten gets out of this stage quickly, but I don't think this is abnormal. We've had kittens that went crazy over armpits or feet or ears or hair, or constantly tried to get inside our shirts, or jump on top of our heads, grabbing on to our scalps with all available claws. Some kittens are so bitey that it's a little scary to go into the kitten room during this stage.

    Normally mom and littermates help to teach kittens manners, and the kittens' behavior is much better by 12-14 weeks, which is generally an easier age to adopt a kitten. Since you do not have this kitten's mom and littermates to help you out, you will have to do all the kitten taming. I do think you need some way of putting your kitten in time-out when you need a break. You can get, for example, a soft-sided puppy playpen (the kind that has a mesh top so that he can't jump out) and put a litter box, food and water, and a bed in it, and then you can contain him while you sleep or work. A soft-sided pen is safer for a small kitten than a dog crate is. The kind of pen I have used is made by Jespet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  14. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jun 10, 2019
    That sounds like a dream, but my living situation doesn't afford for that kind of space. I have a living room and kitchen that's smushed together into one room, a bathroom, and a bedroom. The bathroom is inhumanly small, so I can't put him in there (I had an incident of a past cat getting stuck in a closet of around the same size, and that cat absolutely lost it. It was entirely an accident). As I said in a previous post I'd always had, I guess, "easy" kittens, so I never expected to have to do much more than kitten proof a few surfaces and just play with him and love him and feed him. My mistake for underestimating it all, I suppose. I've laid down and didn't take him with me, he didn't follow me, which is great. Can't guarantee with the rest of the night. I'll update again in the morning!
     

  15. lutece

    lutece TCS Member Top Cat

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    When you get scratched, be sure to rush immediately to the sink without any delay, and wash very, very thoroughly with soap. If you do that immediately, it may help the scratches from becoming swollen, itchy and painful. If you have antibacterial soap, this is a good use for it, but even regular soap can help, if you run to the sink and start washing immediately.
     

  16. lutece

    lutece TCS Member Top Cat

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    You might also try using a sleep mask at night to cover your eyes, so you won't have to worry about the kitten pouncing on your eyes when you take your glasses off at night.
     

  17. Luna92

    Luna92 TCS Member Young Cat

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    :/ if i was you for the sake of my eyes and allergies! I'd invest in a play pen and get your kitten used to a schedule and a safe place for both of you. Better for him to have that than be playing with you do some real damage and you end up giving him up.

    Also some kittens especially young ones dont appretiate being stroked or loved in the way that we like to show, make sure when hes playing nicely and being relaxed you treat him in away that he deems a treat, age appropriate foods and shiny new toys. Try to make sure you rotate the toys.

    And give yourself a break stress and fear isnt good for you make sure your taking care of yourself and there isnt any unnecessary tension in yout house regarding your mum. As he gets older he'll get calmer and more loving. But if you can try and stay away from the thought that hes being spiteful in anyway , hes just learning his limits. When he's behaving in a way you don't like be confident, firm and consistent, if you have to put him down 25 times because hes scratching or biting do that. If he enjoys attacking things get him a kickeroo. And if your at a complete loss try watching jackson's my cat from hell, even if it doesn't teach you anything it might make you feel better about your situation.
     
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  18. BabyBlueberry

    BabyBlueberry Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jun 10, 2019
    I'm very aware of what to do with my scratches and bites if he ever draws blood with them. The soap and water has helped tremendously with swelling and itching.

    I'm afraid of the dark and I'm touchy about stuff on my face. I tried a face mask once, and never ever did it again. You'd think such a simple item wouldn't cause that much anxiety but ooooh boy.

    I couldn't sleep last night and so I gave up tossing and turning in bed and came down and sat on my PC, this woke him up and he wanted lots of love. I did try the kitten yelp and the hiss thing, and that got some strange reactions. Hiss pretty much didn't phase him, and kitten yelp made him confused - but he did stop, if at least temporarily. After about three times I put him down and got on my phone (as I mentioned before he's jealous of it) to ignore him, which he didn't like. He jumped up pretty soon after again, and I repeated the squeals and putting him down after so many strikes. Eventually he just gave up with me and found a ball to bat around (I will say the ability for him to entertain himself to me is astounding. Give him a fake mouse and he'll play all on his own for hours. I do still engage with him, though). So far I'm going to keep trying to do this, and my last thing to do is break him from wrapping around legs.

    I know I bring up excess issues he has but I know how to address those (but gosh I'm definitely open to advice/stories of your own successes in these areas) at least enough to think that I'll succeed in those methods. I also watch the Kitten Lady and Jackson Galaxy, and gosh you're right it makes me feel so much better (and also gives me some stress relief to see some other happy little kittens).

    Today is the first day of having him that I'll be going somewhere for an extended period of time and he'll be alone (very important appointment), so I'm waiting to see what the house will be like when I get back home.
     

  19. Luna92

    Luna92 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Last night sounds successful...and tiring! I'm glad he finally got the message.
    My kitten was the same (she's 12 weeks old got her when she was 8 weeks old) and now we've got to the point were I can just tell her to stop, move my arm (her favourite place to attack) and she'll stop or lick my arm instead. Sometimes I can see that she's tempted and yet she'll resist. So keep going it'll get better. And I hope the appointment went well and your house is still standing!
     

  20. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Stomping isn't really a good response since your mom may just stomp on the kitten or one of his legs. That can be fatal or at best expensive vet bill. It also teaches the kitten to fear your mom not to not bite or scratch.
     
    PushPurrCatPaws purraised this.

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