Have a Kitten Who Bites? Here’s What to Do About It

Kittens usually have one clear agenda: play, eat, cuddle. That’s the plan. But every once in a while, kittens can get overexcited, sinking their cute little teeth in for a taste†ó and it hurts!

Don’t take it as an attack. Kitten biting is typical behavior that is part of every kitten’s natural development. They’re working on learning to use their mouths to hunt and protect themselves. Can you blame them?

As their owners, however, it’s important we teach them that nibbling on hands is inappropriate. Here’s how to teach them to stop†before it becomes a real problem.

First, intervene early.

Those nibbles might be cute in the beginning, but they’ll quickly get rougher. Early intervention will†help prevent more painful bites down the road, as well as create an opportunity to bond with your tiny pet through a little training.

Second, start by offering a toy.

Your kitten has natural hunting instincts. It’s in their nature to chase something! To ensure your kitten knows the difference between appropriate prey (toys) and inappropriate prey (you), make sure you provide lots of opportunities to play with things other than your hands. Soon you’ll learn whether they prefer rolling balls, laser lights or something else.

Kitten biting cat toy

Third, keep them engaged at mealtime.

Continue reinforcing that “hands are not food” by providing interesting mental exercises at dinner time. There are lots of puzzles out there, designed to make getting food a little bit of an adventure. Or, if you want a cheaper option, simply put some kibble in each section of an ice cube tray and let them have fun figuring out how to “catch” the pieces.

Fourth, feel free to hiss.

It’s important to teach your kitten that biting hurts! When your kitten takes a bite, make it a point to hiss or let out a squeal that demonstrates you’re in pain. They’ll take the hint.

Fifth, praise gentle behavior.

Hissing can be a great tactic for redirecting bad behavior, but it’s important your pet doesn’t always see you as the bad guy. Don’t yell all the time. On the reverse, reward good behavior whenever you see your kitten behaving sweetly. They’ll lean in to the praise and start seeking more!

66 comments

Maria P
Maria P17 days ago

Thanks

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Chad Anderson
Chad A24 days ago

Thank you.

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Karen M
Karen Martinez27 days ago

Interesting article. Our cat bites, but that's because she hates me (loves her daddy, but not the mommy-lady). It wasn't a problem when she was little, but the older she gets the worse it becomes. Were I able to leave her alone, we would not have a problem. Maybe someday I'll learn.

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer27 days ago

OK thanks.

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Lesa D
Past Member 28 days ago

if you can't stand the teeth get out of the kitten!!! lol... =^..^=

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Martin H
Martin H29 days ago

Good ideas.

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federico b
federico babout a month ago

Grazie.

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Amy Fisher
Amy Fisherabout a month ago

Thanks

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Susan B
Susan Babout a month ago

If my kitten bit when playing,I'd gently tell her no and move her away. She out grew the biting stage. Did have one scary experience with a two- year- old cat I adopted from a shelter. He had been fine with being petted,and picked up until one night when he grabbed my arm with both front paws and bit down on my hand,not breaking the skin,but hard. I was more afraid of his clawing down,than being bitten.I kept my hand still and pretended to whimper and go, "ooh,ooh,you're hurting mee" He immediately stopped biting,and let go of my arm. I had tooth marks,but no broken skin,no scratches. This would happen fairly often during the twelve years we were together. It was a game he liked to play that I called "Baby Vicious",and there was no bleeding involved.

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Greta L
Greta Labout a month ago

Thank you

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