Lashing out at my cat?

butterboi

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I've spent 3 months with my kitten so far and have been very consistent with the training techniques - reward good behaviour, punish by ignoring/removing reward, since I learned that any verbal/physical punishment is not productive and only makes the cat fear me and destroys our bond.

for the most part this worked really well and I can tell that my cat really loves and trusts me. loves getting my attention, trills when I greet him in the morning and loves to sit on my lap all day.

I observed that since there are no consequences - he takes his chances to cross the line and test his limits.

one example is the biting - I have been teaching him to not bite me for the past 2+ months - consistent of course. given that I do not provoke him by giving unwanted touches - he knows well that hands are not play things for biting, and that biting me intentionally is not ok to get what he wants (like wake me up for food or play time).

BUT biting me when he is hungry or bored in the morning is a habit that still continued to surface from time to time. on most days he wouldnt but some days when he goes impatient, he would bite hard on purpose to get my attention and proceed to run away.
So one morning he bit my arm hard when I was sleeping in bed and I lost it. I shouted at him and hunted him down and cornered him, dragged him out from under the bed and threw him into the toilet and locked him inside there for 3 minutes. basically scaring the shit out of him since it was the first time I had ever displayed such anger.

after that day, he never messed with me again when I am in bed sleeping. he doesnt show signs of fearing me when we are not in the bedroom, and things seem very normal otherwise.

So now I am wondering - as much as people say that you should not punish your cats - should I do it? given that I treat him well on all other occasions , should I punish him/be very fierce on certain big NO-NOs like biting me?

Note 1: I know sometimes cats get overstimulation which results in a bite - but I can tell the difference between that and when he bites intentionally when unprovoked.

Note 2: I understand that he's also in the teething stage so it's natural to want to bite things - but I don't think it's okay to bite me - I am completely fine with him biting and chewing on everything else and have never stopped him from such
 
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Jcatbird

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Cats are loving individuals. He does not bite out of spite or to purposely do damage. It is a way to communicate in cat language. He is trying to communicate something to you. Whether it is teething pain, hunger, frustration or even some illness or other pain, it is really on you to do a little detective work to understand what he is saying. We don’t want them biting and I understand that. Losing control of your temper and putting him in the toilet is extreme. I would hate for you to feel this upset again. You need to find a way to communicate with him that will not ever cause him to be traumatized but also teach him. If he is healthy and is not in pain, you can try clicker training. I think it would help you both. When frustrated you will get the relief of clicking the clicker and he will learn that this is your way of “speaking” to him. The world is filled with stress these days and we all feel it but I cannot say it strongly enough that you need to find another way to relate to this kitty. A simple no, said in a firm but calm voice would be far better than grabbing him, punishing him or losing patience. Let me compare this to how you would treat a small child. If you would not do it to a child, please don’t do it to this kitty.
 

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Cat Behavior Problems [What to do and what not to do] – TheCatSite Articles
Maybe this would be helpful to you. I believe your cat is still young? Biting can be love bites, kitten imitating grown cat behaviors, kitty in distress or pain( always ask a vet if there could be a problem, like a bad tooth or, as you mentioned, teething) play bites, fear (maybe even trying to tell you that there is something you should be worried about! I had a cat bite me to wake me up because there was a gas leak in the house. If not for that, I could have died. Trust your kitty as you want him to trust you.) and remember that a young kitty grows out of many behaviors. Try keeping toys for kitty out, give lots of play time, leave some food out at times kitty seems to want to nip and ask here if you have questions. Kitties really are not prideful. They may not understand they hurt you so using the right techniques will get you both into a happy and loving relationship. Every cat is different so get to know your kitty as a friend and partner in life. If you treat kitty with respect as an equal as it grows up, then kitty will be your guardian and protector for life.
 
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butterboi

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Hmm, I don't put him in the toilet out of anger - it was just routine because whenever he bites, I do a time out with him and the toilet is a good place because it doesnt have much, just his litter box and comfy rugs to lay on.

When I lost my anger that day, I meant I cornered him and dragged him out from under the bed- because I have never made him feel threatened in any way so it was the first time I did that (we usually play chase and catch for fun but it was never in this manner, I could tell he felt threatened because for the first time ever he hissed too)

I understand that he doesn't do it out of spite -that he is trying to communicate - but for me, biting painfully to ask for attention/food is not okay. I feed him 4 fixed times a day, plus 2 extra snack sessions with everything calculated down to the calorie for his weight (I weigh him once a week too as he is still growing). and 2 play sessions every day, so I know that he is not deprived of anything.

When he bites it's usually because he wants to be fed right away (but maybe I am still sleeping and the alarm only rings in an hour) - when I ignore him jumping up the bed and stepping on me, then after awhile he starts to scratch and bite (this used to be really serious so after a lot of ignoring + time out sessions, he learned that doing this doesnt get him what he wants)
 

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My Graham used to be like that which always annoyed me because her bites hurt. What I did was each time she'd bite I hiss at her and say "No" in a louder voice. Then I leave her to go someplace else in the house, to somehow let her know her bites would mean she won't have any more laptime or cuddling. After just several incidents and me "hissing" and saying "No" she just stopped. Not once did she bit me again. I guess it worked. :)
 

game misconduct

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might wanna feed both canned and dry food then you can leave a lil dry out to hold him over until its time for canned food Also dont react to his hit and run tactics just chalk it up as he got one over on you otherwise it becomes a game and good way to get your attention like the saying goes bad attention is better than no attention good luck
 
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Hellenww

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basically scaring the shit out of him
Kitty loves and trusts you and that one high fear incident didn't change that. You were lucky. Continued fear will just make him a nervous scared adult. A very loud OWW and locking him out of the bedroom immediately should work.

Like game misconduct game misconduct suggested leave dry food out overnight and if he's under a year have it out all the time. If you normally feed him as soon as you get up, change that. Do something else for at least 1/2hr then have a sound (tap on the can, clink the dish or something fun) that he can associate with meal time.

I've had "Mama Hugs" work for young kittens and older adults. Pull them in for a firm but gentle hug so they can't move and learn bed is for sleeping. Mama cats hold them down and groom little ones when they get annoying. They also hiss to let them know enough is enough.
 

Caspers Human

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If all you do is use your voice to "scold" the cat, you aren't likely to have any problems.

Just use your tone of voice at different levels, depending on the severity of the "crime."

If the cat gets too rambunctious or does something wrong but he doesn't mean to do it on purpose (like biting when you pet him) say, "Uh-uh-uh...No." Maybe toss a toy and distract him.

If the cat does something he knows he shouldn't do (like going on the kitchen counters when he knows that he's not allowed) give him the "Uh-uh-uh..." warning but, if he doesn't get down, say a little louder, "No!" Maybe pick him up and put him on the floor. If you think appropriate, give him a treat after he does what you tell him to do.

If the cat does something that's hurtful or causes damage, start out with "Uh-uh..." then say, "NO!" if he doesn't obey. (Like scratching furniture.)

If the cat does something dangerous like you see him about to jump up on the stove where he can get burned, you can clap your hands or stomp your feet and use your "big voice" to say, **NO!** Maybe he's trying to escape the house when he's not allowed outside. Maybe he's fighting with another cat or something. Whatever you think are the "big bad" things where the cat can get hurt or things can get damaged that would be expensive to fix.

Start small and work up. First, "Uh-uh..." Then distract. (and reward good behavior) Then it's "No!" After that, it's "NO!" and, if it's really bad, **CLAP-CLAP-NO!**

If the cat obeys, give lots of petting and "good kitty." Give a treat for good behavior if you think so.

If the cat is really-really bad and scolding doesn't work, after he has had his "three strikes," you can put him in the bedroom (or some place) and close the door for fifteen minutes.

If you were talking about a dog, I might advise differently. If you had a big dog like a German Shepherd, it might not be out of line to pull him up by the scruff and say, "No!" (Of course, always reward for good behavior.)

However, you CAN'T treat a cat like that! If you do, it will only make him willful and hand-shy.

You want a cat to be cuddly and come in for nose rubs. You don't want them to run and hide under the sofa every time you sneeze.

Use "escalating levels" of scolding.

Be consistent. If you decide that something is a no-no, it should always be a no-no. If he gets scolded some times but not others, he will never learn.

Always scold the moment you discover the bad behavior. If you wait even for thirty seconds, the cat won't be able to make the connection between the "punishment" and the "crime."

Always scold for the same thing in the same way. Little things like accidental scratches and bites should be "Uh-uh..." Big things like jumping on the stove should be "No!" If he's really bad, he gets a "time out" just like a toddler who misbehaves. Don't yell for a "play bite" on one occasion and then "Uh-uh..." the next. Always the same way for the same crime, every time.

Getting the "CLAP-CLAP-NO!" treatment is a big punishment for a cat. Cats aren't sturdy like big dogs are so you can't treat one like a dog.

If you are consistent, it shouldn't take long for your cat to learn your "House Rules."

I can't remember the last time that our cat, Casper, broke a rule that even went past the "Uh-uh..." phase.
 

Caspers Human

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We had a Van cat, once, that liked to play with water.

Whether it was a dripping faucet, the toilet or a bathtub full of water, made no difference.

When the weather was hot, one of his favorite games was to play hockey with an ice cube on the Linoleum floor of the kitchen. He'd bat it around like a hockey puck until it melted then he'd play with the leftover puddle of water.
 

mani

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It's pretty obvious that this member is referring to the toilet as a room, not the actual toilet.
....... I do a time out with him and the toilet is a good place because it doesnt have much, just his litter box and comfy rugs to lay on.
 
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butterboi

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Thanks a lot for the responses!
To clarify, yes I meant toilet as in the bathroom, I do NOT dump him in the toilet bowl 😂 everything is closed and he is safe in there,if anything just bored I guess, and I set a timer for3-4 minutes each time before opening the door for him again.

I guess my main concern was about being fierce to him and its effectiveness on educating him while creating a good bond between us in the long term.

Usually I would just grab him and quickly put him in there for a bit without any extra gestures or words, but that day I lost my cool and had a really aggressive stance as I literally hunted him down to catch him and put him there pretty roughly (but not to the extent where I hurt or injure him in anyway)

I guess from what I have gathered here, from now on I will try to educate him by first giving a warning, and then a firm and loud NO if he does not heed it. Will stick to fierce and assertive verbal cues and only physically intervene in a gentle manner to stop his action, instead of being rough/making him feel threatened in any way.

Thanks all!
Here's some photos of
 

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Caspers Human

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It's perfectly normal to feel like saying, "Damn cat!"
Maybe we don't all act with complete objectivity as much as we should. Again, normal.

You didn't hurt your cat and, as far as I understand, it was a one-off event. Right?

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "No harm, no foul." ;) ;) ;)

Your kitty is a real cutie! :heartshape:
He looks a lot like a stray that has been visiting our back porch and Casper's Girl-Human has been feeding.

That fourth picture where he's lying in his window bed makes him look very dapper! :D
 
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Abc12345

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I've spent 3 months with my kitten so far and have been very consistent with the training techniques - reward good behaviour, punish by ignoring/removing reward, since I learned that any verbal/physical punishment is not productive and only makes the cat fear me and destroys our bond.

for the most part this worked really well and I can tell that my cat really loves and trusts me. loves getting my attention, trills when I greet him in the morning and loves to sit on my lap all day.

I observed that since there are no consequences - he takes his chances to cross the line and test his limits.

one example is the biting - I have been teaching him to not bite me for the past 2+ months - consistent of course. given that I do not provoke him by giving unwanted touches - he knows well that hands are not play things for biting, and that biting me intentionally is not ok to get what he wants (like wake me up for food or play time).

BUT biting me when he is hungry or bored in the morning is a habit that still continued to surface from time to time. on most days he wouldnt but some days when he goes impatient, he would bite hard on purpose to get my attention and proceed to run away.
So one morning he bit my arm hard when I was sleeping in bed and I lost it. I shouted at him and hunted him down and cornered him, dragged him out from under the bed and threw him into the toilet and locked him inside there for 3 minutes. basically scaring the shit out of him since it was the first time I had ever displayed such anger.

after that day, he never messed with me again when I am in bed sleeping. he doesnt show signs of fearing me when we are not in the bedroom, and things seem very normal otherwise.

So now I am wondering - as much as people say that you should not punish your cats - should I do it? given that I treat him well on all other occasions , should I punish him/be very fierce on certain big NO-NOs like biting me?

Note 1: I know sometimes cats get overstimulation which results in a bite - but I can tell the difference between that and when he bites intentionally when unprovoked.

Note 2: I understand that he's also in the teething stage so it's natural to want to bite things - but I don't think it's okay to bite me - I am completely fine with him biting and chewing on everything else and have never stopped him from such
I understand the frustration but scaring your cat will ultimately take you a step back, not forward. My cat used to have an awful food sensitivity and would get diarrhea almost every day when she was a kitten (lasted several weeks while we ruled out parasites and other health problems). During this time, my kitten would get runny stool and scoot on my rug, causing me to shout to surprise her before her butt touched the rug, run to her, whisk her up, and give her a partial bath. She hated the whole process, especially because I’m sure she picked up on my frustration and panic. Adding to that, I had to hunt her down day and night to force feed her prescription probiotics with a syringe. After a few weeks of this, my kitten would run away when I took even one step toward her, dash away under the bed after using the litterbox, become extremely timid of loud noises, and in general seemed miserable and terrified of the world and especially of me. It took me months of speaking in whispers, moving around my apartment at snail speed, and giving her a treat each time I picked her up to get her comfortable again with me.
The disciplinary method may seem to be working now, but in the long run it will harm your relationship with your cat. I’m sorry I can’t provide advice for fixing the biting problem, but I hope you’ll approach this a different way. Best of luck.
 

Jcatbird

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Precious kitty. From the expressions, I would guess a very smart kitty too. You seem very interested in ways to teach him so you still might want to look into the clicker training if you have any further biting. Very intelligent kitties sometimes enjoy learning things and kitty might be fascinated by a clicker. When kitty does something right, you click the clicker and give a tiny reward in the beginning. The positive reinforcement carries through until you no longer need the reward system other than telling kitty how good he is and giving pets and snuggles. The photos are adorable. Love those expressions. I am so glad you found some helpful information. Please update if you have any further questions.:)
 
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