When cats are still kittens they are refining their hunting skills. They get to practice skills such as stalking, ambushing and capture. Doesn’t sound so aggressive? That’s right! But a little mistake most cat owners make (myself included) is to use — without knowing or realizing — our fingers and to teach your new kitten that it’s okay to bite in our hands and fingers. This is cute and not a bad thing when they are only 12 weeks young. But when they are a full-grown adult with adult teeth, things aren’t so cute anymore and his teeth will hurt much more. In the future, your cat won’t see the difference between your hands and that of a child…
It’s important to teach everyone in the household to not allow the cat to bite. Be determined and consistent in this! Always use toys instead during playtime, that way no one can get hurt.
If your cat accidentally bites or scratch your hand do not pull away! If you pull away your hand while he has his teeth or claws in it you will react like a prey and your cat will only keep a good hold on you. And if you look at the way his claws and teeth are shaped you will see (and feel) that pulling away will only do more damage to your skin — but we all know that our first respond is to pull away. That’s normal, but your first respond should be to move your hand forward instead. It confused the cat because he’s not expecting it. And by pushing forward the claws or teeth will easily let go of the skin.
You can also use a verbal respond like a keyword that is only used in those kind of situations and you will get your cat’s attention. A high-pitched ‘ouch’ usually does the trick. If you use that word every time, he will know to release the grip eventually. When he has eventually learned the trigger word you can use it when he’s about to make contact and avoid being scratched (or bitten).
End of Playtime
Another thing you can do is that when your cat bites you during playtime is to ignore him for a few minutes. No hitting, screaming or anything else. Just simply ignore him. This will give off the message that what he did, or when he scratches or bites a hand, playtime will end. After those minutes of ignoring are done you can continue playing. That will hopefully learn him what is acceptable to bite and what is not.
Attacking Your Ankles?
When your cat is ambushing your ankles this is merely a sign that he doesn’t get enough playtime. This makes the solution simple: Provide more playtime with interactive toys. You can also schedule daily playtime of at least three times fifteen minutes. This will help your cat to get rid of his built up energy, and that way he won’t have a reason to attack your ankles.
Does your cat ambush your ankles or bite your fingers when playing?