How to keep a cat from biting

First of all, know that you are not alone. My cat, Grace, took up biting as a hobby, but it has gotten better.

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.

Yet another reason to spay and neuter

If you're a pet owner, I'm sure you've heard the list of reasons to spay and neuter your animals. It can help pets live healthier lives, prevent overpopulation and can keep pets from running away in an attempt to find a mate.

Yet, I discovered that living with a pet who is not yet spayed or neutered can be the best motivation of all to bring an animal in for spaying/neutering - and fast.

Growing up, we had a dog named Benji. When my parents were new in town, the pastor was nice enough to stop over for a visit. Benji was very quick to make friends with the pastor's leg. My parents were mortified. Between that and Benji's rambunctiousness, my parents decided it was time to get him neutered.

Recently, my brother's cat went into heat. She called out for a mate all night long and kept up the mrrrrooooowing during the day. She even managed to get me back for all the times I cut her nails - by peeing on my hand. My sleep deprived brother couldn't bring her in to get spayed fast enough.

If you've had any of these experiences, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone. And, if for any reason you are unable to spay and neuter your pets yet, a good set of earplugs and a sensor of humor can go a long way in helping.

If cost is a factor, you can search for low cost spay/neuter programs in your area

I wish you the best. Take care.

Animal Talk

Did you know that cats can speak and understand English?

Until I became a proud cat owner, I had no idea. I honestly though all they ever said was meow and hisssss. I learned my spoiled cat, Grace could talk when I went up to her one day and said cheerfully, "Hi Grace, Can I pick you up?" She replied, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Some people would have listened to that emphatic no, and sometimes I do, but not always. So, when I picked her up, admist her classic symphony of groans and meows, I could clearly hear her say "Put me dowwwn!" If that's not enough to make her point, she usually finishes with a dramatic HISSSSSSSS. Grace really is quite a vocalist. I'd love to put her on American Idol - and give her to Simon!

The other thing I never knew when I first got a kitty is that I would begin to understand her native language. At first, I was puzzled when this strange creature looked at me and chirped. I wondered who was this cute little furry alien who loves to pounce on me and talk like a bird? it took a while, but I finally learned what she meant.

Chirrrrupp means I'm so excited! She says it most often as she is jubilantly running to pounce on her glitter ball.
Some think it can also be a way for cats to mimic their prey and get them to come closer.

I have a long way to go before I become fluent, but I have learned some other interesting words as well:
  • Grrrrrrrrrrr means you are beginning to get on my nerves. Leave me alone.
  • Grrrrrrr Mrrrrrrrow Mroow mrrrrrrr in a very low pitch means okay, now you are starting to really really get on my nerves. Seriously, leave me alone!
  • A short "rrow" is a way of sassing back when she doesn't like something.
  • A short "Meow" from low to high is her way of saying Hi
  • A longer louder Mrrrow is a demand for something. After all, she does believe she is the boss.
  • Purrrrrr usually means I'm really happy especially if they seem really relaxed and in a sweet mood. I usually see this when Grace is too tired to be so feisty.
    According to experts, a purr can also be a way for a stressed cat to calm themselves. Apparently some cats do this in stressful situations like the vets office though I've never heard Gracie do that. Usually she just hisses at everybody.
Cats also have some interesting body language. It may be a little different from one spoiled cat to the next, but I've learned that if their tail is really whipping, it's a good idea to back away and watch out.

Do you have a story about your pet?
Let me know and I'll be glad to feature it in a future blog!
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