Behaviourist Peter Neville sinks his teeth into his latest case: two kittens who won’t stop biting and scratching their poor owners! Tasha and her husband Justin had lately adopted two four-month-old female kittens named Prego and Saatchi, nevertheless they were in need of some prompt advice about teaching their now additions to be social, well-behaved cats — as, although they were special, these kittens were attacking hands and ankles!
Stop the biting!
In order to teach the two kittens not to hurt their owners, I suggested we started by teaching them bite inhibition. They needed to learn that humans have softer skin and no fur, so they need to soften and control their biting when dealing with us. Simply put, when the kittens bit during play, they needed to understand it meant the end of the game.
Justin and Tasha can continue playing, strengthening the stillness with a peaceful: “Excellent, lightly… Kitten – that is good!” If a kitten bites way too hard, they had to give an “Ow!” before instantly making the kittens alone. When you are scratched or bitten it is important to not squeal, by cats — you’ll appear to be that simply fuels the conduct and a captured animal! There is, loud “Ow!” a firm enough, and make sure to remain calm if you’d like to stimulate the identical from the cats.
It really is the exact same method we utilize when training puppies, plus one that cats generally knowledge in the kitten between themselves and from their mom Justin and Tasha needed to proceed or simply start the procedure, as we weren’t sure what experience their cats had inside their earlier rearing environment.
Feedback during play
Kittens also need to learn their claws can inflict painful damage when used on people. If at any stage during their interactions, the claws came out – even slightly – they had to use the same “Ow” noise that was used in the bite inhibition exercises.
As noise and movement could cause the kittens to pursue the game even more. They need let their hands go limp and use a toy to distract the cats before removing their hands. When it came to ankle-pouncing, I explained that the kittens wanted to play and practise their chase-and-grab co-ordination. It’s normal for kittens to learn the appropriate size of ‘prey’ to pounce on as they develop. Normally, prey would be mouse-sized and the cats would learn that humans are too big for them. We had to channel that enthusiasm into a different target without the owners punishing the cats, as that would affect their relationship with them.
If they saw the kittens getting ready to stalk or pounce, they could simply pick up one of the many toys lying around and use it to distract them away from their ankles and onto the toy. Cat toys need to move in order for them to be entertaining for cats, so having a ton of toys just lying around was not good enough, until the kittens knew how to play with toys alone, they would have to be reminded and encouraged to focus on the toys instead. I recommended the pair to buy some ridiculous active stay and damage article – and fly fishing rod type gadgets, as I can observe that both of these kittens went to be active people who’d require a lot of intellectual excitement. I also encouraged launching many food-dispensing games and eating areas with just a few kibbles in each dish. The cats could motivate to look for food, keeping them cheerfully occupied in the place of annoyed or bored – which could bring about biting harder for fun.
To stop them from climbing up legs, I suggested to Tasha and Justin to firstly pre-empt the climbing by distracting the kittens. If they continued to climb, the couple should gently remove them and put them back on the floor, rolling a toy or ball of paper past them to divert their play.
If they showed any signs of finding their own way up onto laps or couches that didn’t involve a trail of bleeding humans, they could reward the kittens with lots of love and some nice treats, as long as they stayed calm and relaxed.