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Putting an end to kitty biting and scratching

Petting your cat can be therapeutic and having a cuddle is one of the biggest perks of owning a feline. When kitty suddenly decides to start biting and scratching you or your family, it can quickly become a painful, annoying problem.

Kitties mouth and paw objects while exploring their environment – it comes naturally and is to be expected. However, when it turns into a nuisance, it’s probably time to take action to prevent it recurring. Unwanted scratching and biting is an annoying puzzle that can be solved with a little training and persistence, so we’ve drawn together a little information to try and help you combat troublesome behaviour.

Cats can be taught to bite with just a little force. They can also be shown that claws hurt, yet soft paws are perfectly acceptable. By adopting the role of their mother, you can show puss how to swipe you with a soft paw and play without their claws coming out.

Kittens learn behaviour by interacting with other kittens and their mum. Experiencing group conditions helps them to realise they cannot hurt others. If your kitten was taken away from its mother or group before learning important behavioural lessons, you might have to take on the role of teacher if you want to show them how things are done.

Start as soon as you get your kitten or cat and don’t allow your feline to play with your bare hands, fingers or toes. Praise them when they gently mouth you, are soft pawing and withholding claws. In order to maintain consistency, confirm when they are pleasing you by using the same form of words.

Hiss at them if clawing starts or they are too keen with the mouthing and it hurts. Hissing sends out signals similar to those that they would receive from another cat wanting to stop the games. Use this as an interruption to stop the behaviour, not as a punishment. Too much hissing will decrease effectiveness.

Never use physical punishment. If your pet can’t contain their claws and teeth, put them into a room alone for ten minutes and let them take a time out. Freezing them out of your social circle will be a suitable punishment for misdemeanors.

The sooner you start to tackle any problem, the better. Training younger cats and establishing patterns of acceptable behaviour tends to be easier than in older felines.

8 September 2015

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