My cat bites when hungry

carouseless

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My cat is an expressive cat. When he is hungry or wants snacks, he will start rubbing against our ankles. When we don't tend to his needs, he will start to bite. I feed him half a can of food (Full can is 80g, half can is 40g) for breakfast (9-10am), then the remaining half for lunch (1-2pm), and then kibbles for dinner (7-8pm). He usually doesn't finish his canned food, and never finishes kibbles, he is quite picky. In between we give him snacks when he starts to rub against us. And I don't mean just a casual rub, but incessant rubbing. I just wonder, is he really that hungry so often? And if so, should we be feeding him so often? We had to keep him in a room so that we won't disturb us as we work from home. And after a few rounds of biting, I've started to be fearful around him. I also wonder if its correct to reward him with food after he bites, wouldn't that just encourage his behaviour? What can I do?
 

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susanm9006

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First, I would stop giving him treats when he rubs. That is basically training him to do what you don’t want him to do. The biting when rubbing is him getting overstimulated and frustrated. Second, 80 grams which is around three ounces isn’t much wet food. I would consider increasing wet food for both breakfast and lunch and possibly decreasing the kibble or replacing it with more wet. And smacking a cat does no good. Instead walk away from him and ignore his behavior. If you think he is going to bite keep something, like a pillow or similar between you and the cat.
 

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I would guess, as mentioned above, that he might not be getting enough food to eat. Since he isn't eating it all, I would also guess he is not very fond of the food and would prefer to be given treats - which he apparently likes more. It might be beneficial to try other wet foods to see if something else would appeal to him more. The better he likes the food, and the more food he eats, the less likely he is to continually bug you for treats.

How old is this cat, and what does he weigh? An adult cat generally needs about 20-25 calories per pound of weight - many younger adults may need more than that. So, using that basic guideline, if your cat weighs 9 pounds he probably should be eating 180-225 calories per day. I would shoot for more wet food more often and maybe leave some dry food out overnight for him to munch on.
 
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carouseless

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I would guess, as mentioned above, that he might not be getting enough food to eat. Since he isn't eating it all, I would also guess he is not very fond of the food and would prefer to be given treats - which he apparently likes more. It might be beneficial to try other wet foods to see if something else would appeal to him more. The better he likes the food, and the more food he eats, the less likely he is to continually bug you for treats.

How old is this cat, and what does he weigh? An adult cat generally needs about 20-25 calories per pound of weight - many younger adults may need more than that. So, using that basic guideline, if your cat weighs 9 pounds he probably should be eating 180-225 calories per day. I would shoot for more wet food more often and maybe leave some dry food out overnight for him to munch on.
Thank you for sharing! Yes, he is about slightly less than 8-9 pounds, and is 3.5 years old. Our canned food is only 47kcal per can, and he already doesn't finish it, so we must have been underfeeding him. He is quite picky, and we have to keep changing his type of food once he stops eating a certain type. I hope we can find a good routine with him soon. Many thanks.
 
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carouseless

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First, I would stop giving him treats when he rubs. That is basically training him to do what you don’t want him to do. The biting when rubbing is him getting overstimulated and frustrated. Second, 80 grams which is around three ounces isn’t much wet food. I would consider increasing wet food for both breakfast and lunch and possibly decreasing the kibble or replacing it with more wet. And smacking a cat does no good. Instead walk away from him and ignore his behavior. If you think he is going to bite keep something, like a pillow or similar between you and the cat.
Thank you for the advice! I didn't realise that the rubbing can also get him overstimulated, so thanks for sharing that. Also, it sounds like a good idea to increase wet food for breakfast and lunch, with less kibbles for dinner. He is an office cat, and we are unable to leave him wet food in the evenings as we leave the office then. Leaving wet food overnight will attract pests. I hope this improves his behaviour. It's hard for me to just walk away from his biting as I get really scared and want to just appease him. Again, many thanks.
 

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Stop being afraid of your cat. You're in charge. I don't mean in a domineering, "you WILL do what I say", kind of way. But in a "l love you and I'm responsible for your well being and teaching good manners" kind of way.

You have to let your cat know biting is unacceptable. You'll have to try different things to see what works best. With our cat, what works best is to watch for signs that bitting is about to begin and tell her no while positioning my hand so she can't or won't bite or scratch. This works because Belle starts with restrained biting, so we get a warning.

If your cat is a healthy weight and gets enough to maintain that weight, you're feeding it enough.

Part of the problem is that your cat is an office cat. That means your cat is spending more hours away from you than it does with you. If the office operates on typical office hours, your cat is in the office more hours alone (and maybe bored) than with people. The office space may need to be more stimulating for the cat while it's there alone.
 
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carouseless

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Stop being afraid of your cat. You're in charge. I don't mean in a domineering, "you WILL do what I say", kind of way. But in a "l love you and I'm responsible for your well being and teaching good manners" kind of way.

You have to let your cat know biting is unacceptable. You'll have to try different things to see what works best. With our cat, what works best is to watch for signs that bitting is about to begin and tell her no while positioning my hand so she can't or won't bite or scratch. This works because Belle starts with restrained biting, so we get a warning.

If your cat is a healthy weight and gets enough to maintain that weight, you're feeding it enough.

Part of the problem is that your cat is an office cat. That means your cat is spending more hours away from you than it does with you. If the office operates on typical office hours, your cat is in the office more hours alone (and maybe bored) than with people. The office space may need to be more stimulating for the cat while it's there alone.
Thank you so much for sharing. Your advice about being in charge resonates and I feel like that's a good way forward.

Has your cat stopped biting since? What makes her want to bite and scratch?

My cat has stayed in this office all his life upon adoption, and fears going anywhere outside. So we made the decision that its best he lives in the office. We will definitely be looking into how he can be stimulated while being there alone. Thank you!
 

Cat McCannon

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In the beginning, Belle would scratch and bite because she was a four month old stray when we took her in. She didn't bite or scratch hard, just enough to let us know she wasn't going to be eaten without a fight. She didn't like being petted. But she did like to play. We had to teach her "Hands are not toys!" With consistency, she got better and better.

She's about a year old and energetic. She'll get the rips and get caught up in whatever play fantasy she's having and start to play bite. But she'll catch herself and stop. Still, she needs an occasional reminder. That's when I tell her "No teeth!" I don't wait for her to get over aggressive. I tell her as soon as she opens her mouth.

I don't suggest letting your cat outdoors. I've seen too many cats dead in the road. But you might think of getting a carrier to take your cat home on weekends and at least the occasional evening.
 
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carouseless

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In the beginning, Belle would scratch and bite because she was a four month old stray when we took her in. She didn't bite or scratch hard, just enough to let us know she wasn't going to be eaten without a fight. She didn't like being petted. But she did like to play. We had to teach her "Hands are not toys!" With consistency, she got better and better.

She's about a year old and energetic. She'll get the rips and get caught up in whatever play fantasy she's having and start to play bite. But she'll catch herself and stop. Still, she needs an occasional reminder. That's when I tell her "No teeth!" I don't wait for her to get over aggressive. I tell her as soon as she opens her mouth.

I don't suggest letting your cat outdoors. I've seen too many cats dead in the road. But you might think of getting a carrier to take your cat home on weekends and at least the occasional evening.
That sounds so great, sounds like Belle is really in tune with you, where she listens to you.

He has a little garden that is part of the office that we let him into. It is an enclosed garden so its safe. Maybe I'll buy one of those transparent carriers so he sees the outside world. Unfortunately, my home is not conducive for cats due to a number of factors. Thank you again for sharing.
 
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