Kittens are adorable, but their playful nature can sometimes lead to biting. While it may be cute when they’re little, it’s important to discourage this behavior before it becomes a habit. This post is all about tips for discouraging kitten biting.
Finnegan was a playful kitten who still loves to play. However, his biting habit required me to find a way to maintain peace between him and his adult Tabby sister, Abigail. Despite Finnegan’s love for climbing and chewing on Abigail like she was a rag doll, and biting my hands while hanging on with his claws, I discouraged the behavior while still allowing him to play.
This is a super important life cycle for a kitten and a crucial time for learning!
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NEVER HIT OR SLAP YOUR KITTEN
(this will not even work in discouraging poor behavior, and it is downright mean and ineffective)
I used some techniques I had learned along the way of helping Fosters out, and then I also chatted with a kitten behaviorist.
These are some tips I picked up from being a kitten parent:
Provide appropriate toys
Make sure your kitten has plenty of toys to play with. This will help redirect their biting behavior towards toys instead of your hands and feet.
Wand toys are still my favorite, even since Finnegan has grown into an adult cat. Wand toys encourage jumping and bunny kicks which will alleviate energy!
The rainbow toy is a hit among kittens and cats! This toy will give your kitten endless playtime.
Encourage those energy burst releasers with a good kicker toy and wand toy.
Use positive reinforcement
When your kitten plays with toys instead of biting, reward them with treats and praise. This will reinforce the behavior you want to see.
Avoid rough play
Gentle Play is Key
Kitten play should be gentle and calm. Avoid using your hands or feet as toys, as this can encourage biting.
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Kittens are playful by nature, but it’s important to encourage gentle play to avoid bites and scratches. One way to do this is to avoid using your hands or feet as toys. This can send mixed messages to your kitten and encourage biting.
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Instead, offer your kitten appropriate toys, like soft balls or stuffed animals. Engage in playtime with your kitten using these toys, and avoid rough play that may lead to biting. If your kitten does bite, gently redirect their attention to an appropriate toy.
Remember, kittens are still learning and exploring the world around them. With patience and gentle guidance, you can help your kitten develop into a well-behaved and happy companion.
Teach bite inhibition
If your kitten bites too hard, say “ouch” in a firm voice and stop playing with them. This will teach them that biting too hard is not acceptable.
Consider getting another kitten
I cannot emphasize enough how much I wish I would have brought one of Finnegan’s litter kitten siblings home too. If I can help anyone else who might be on the fence about one kitten or two, perhaps my experience will be useful.
Having a litter mate would have given Finnegan a buddy to roughhouse with, someone to bond with and another animal to get some affection from. It all worked out in the end, but I believe now, it would have been easier on me, Abigail and Finn he had one of his siblings.
That’s my two cents on one kitten or two.
Schedule a play date
If you know of another kitten parent, you might see about a play date!
Sometimes the best way to discourage biting is to provide your kitten with a playmate. They can learn appropriate play behavior from each other.
Try clicker training
Bringing a new kitten into your home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, as adorable as they may be, they can also be quite rambunctious and prone to biting. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can help: clicker training. By using positive reinforcement techniques, you can not only discourage biting behavior, but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.
Ways Clicker Training Can Help:
- Socialization: Clicker training can help socialize your kitten by getting them used to different people, sounds, and environments. This can reduce their fear and anxiety, making them more confident and well-adjusted.
- Encouraging Play: Kittens love to play, but sometimes their play can turn into biting. Clicker training can help teach them appropriate play behavior, such as chasing toys instead of fingers.
- Positive Reinforcement: Clicker training relies on positive reinforcement, meaning you reward your kitten for good behavior rather than punishing them for bad behavior. This helps create a positive association with training and encourages them to continue behaving well.
Clicker training is a powerful tool for discouraging kitten biting and promoting good behavior. By socializing your kitten, encouraging appropriate play, and using positive reinforcement, you can create a strong bond with your furry friend and enjoy many happy years together.
I used clicker training and honestly, Abigail wanted nothing to do with it but Finnegan was super receptive. He loved the attention (and the treats)!
While kittens are undeniably cute, it’s important to remember that their playful biting can turn into a bad habit if not addressed early on. With a little effort and patience, it’s possible to discourage this behavior and ensure a happy and healthy relationship with your furry friend.
By following these tips, you can help your kitten learn appropriate play behavior and prevent biting. Remember, patience and consistency are key when it comes to training your kitten.