We have had cats and dogs (and horses and donkeys) for more than 40 years. Several months ago, my husband came home with a kitten (6 to 8 weeks old) that he found huddled on a major highway near our home. Since the shelters are overflowing, we decided Cricket could be our new buddy. He is growing and healthy, has had two vet checks, and is now 5 months old. But we are encountering behavior we have never dealt with before. We reach for him or try to pet him, he flattens his ears, his eyes get black, and he jumps for our arms and bites hard enough to occasionally draw blood. Evenings, he loves laps and cuddling, etc., and doesn't seem antisocial; but daytime he's a terror. When he bites, I firmly say "no bite" and immediately hold his attention or grab his scruff. Do you think he will outgrow this when he is neutered? We wouldn't want this behavior as an adult. He will be an indoor cat, and we won't declaw him.
S.D., Waconia, MN Apr 19, 2009
Your best solution would be to neuter Cricket as soon as possible. Then consider adopting a healthy, young, spayed adult cat that is older and bigger. Part of his problem may be lack of social stimulation and active games, which a companion cat would best provide. A behavioral consultant could help you to avoid being bitten once it is determined whether the biting is aggressive- or dominance-related, defensive- or fear-related, or is associated with either aggressive play or the so-called "love bite" or "prey bite." There's a chance he just wants to play rough with you and has not learned how to be gentle. The best therapy may be motivating and entertaining the cat with a toy to chase, catch or kill -- like a fluffy, stuffed toy, catnip-filled mouse or a sock tied to a string that you pull.
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