Wednesday, May 14, 2008

-- how to stop a kitten from biting

So yesterday I was typing and not paying attention to the kitten. She had a little tantrum (brought on by hunger, I now realize) and began gnawing and scratching at my hands until she got rougher and rougher until suddenly she was attacking me, ears flattened and tail whipping angrily. How do you teach a kitten not to bite? (At least not hard?) Any aggressive move (hitting, etc.) will only make the kitten fear human hands and is not my objective. There has to be a way to get the message "be gentle!" across.

Well I got onto the internet and found people recommending either pushing down on the tongue or holding the jaw. I thought it sounded iffy, could it really work? Well I tried it and it worked like a charm! I was very gentle, just holding firm pressure on her for a couple seconds but she hasn't bitten since and has even been playing without a hint of unsheathed claws. What a sweet kitty.


I've also discovered the miracle of Dust-Off.

Even better than pushing down on the kitten's tongue is hissing at the her (blowing on her with a sudden expulsion of air).

But even BETTER than that is Dust Off -- those cans of air that people use to clean keyboards. It's more effective than water and also doesn't get the surface wet (so you don't have to worry about ruining nearby furniture by reprimanding the cat). The can makes a hissing noise which the cat understands as an unpleasant "don't do that" noise. This has absolutely halted the kitten's aggressive tendencies and she is starting to be much nicer.

I went to the office supply store and bought a huge pack of them and now keep one can in every room in the house. Best $20 I ever spent. One spritz is all she needs.

BTW if you decide to try this, you only need a short burst at the cat -- if you spray the can too long, it comes out cold. You don't want to hurt your pet so just do short bursts.

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