Here's some tips that can help curb your cat's biting:
- Don't give them attention when they bite. Especially if it's biting during play. Cats can use biting to get attention or because they think you make fun prey to play with. Walking away or putting them in a separate room can give them the idea that biting you is not fun. If your cat gets in wild moods where they are extremely bitey, a time out either in their crate or a separate room can really help. I've seen my cat become amazingly sweet after 10, 15, 20 minutes alone in my bedroom.
- Spray them with water. Most cat's don't like being sprayed with a water bottle and this can be a deterrant when they try to bite. However, if your cat is in a mood where they keep trying to bite you even as you keep spraying them with water, it's time for a time out for kitty.
- Give them play time where they can act out their aggression on toys instead of you. It is a natural instinct for cats to hunt. They need a little time to be able to act that out in positive ways. It doesn't have to be an expensive toy. Paper bags, milk rings, a piece of string while you're holding it and supervising all work great. Some cats love to chase after the light cast by a flashlight.
- Put Bitter Apple Spray on your hands or feet. My cat used to love to bite my toes as a kitten. It was very annoying. So I bought some bitter apple spray at Farm N Fleet to spray on my feet so she wouldn't like biting my toes anymore. I also sprayed some bitter apple spray on electrical cords just in case. This bitter apple spray I found was marketed for dogs - to keep them from biting at their skin and fur, but it can work for cats too.
- Discourage letting your cat play with your hands. It seems obvious, but I admit I've done this. It's fun for both the cat and me to try to catch my fingers, but it can be a really bad habit to get into.
- Say NO when they bite and move away from the cat.
- If they don't let go quickly when they bite, touch their nose with your finger. Cat's don't like it, and it can make them want to let go.
- Watch their signals. If their tail starts whipping when you're petting them, it's a sign they're getting annoyed or are irritable and they may need to be left alone for a while.
- Investigate the cause of the biting. Is there a new addition to the family? Has their status as king or queen been disrupted? Are they scared? In heat? Bored? Defending their young? Are they just playing? Are they overstimulated? Are they teething?
- Be patient. It takes time. Please don't give up on your pet because of a bad habit. With time and patience, these bad habits can get better. I was almost ready to give my cat away when I first got her, and she has grown into a wonderful cat.
If you have any additional advice or suggestions, please feel free to comment.