Can't defend yourself from razor-sharp teeth? Here's how to stop kitten biting
Kittens are playful, fun, and cuddly until they stick their needle-sharp teeth into your skin or scratch during playtime.
Not to worry—this is not an expression of your new kitten's bloodlust. Biting, scratching, licking, and attacking are all part of normal kitten behaviour, and the good news is that these violent tendencies decrease over time and, in most cases, stop naturally.
It doesn’t mean you should allow it because young kitties must learn manners from the get-go to develop into friendly and sociable adults. Training your kitten will set boundaries and help them understand acceptable behaviour.
Untamed teaches you how to stop kitten biting and offers practical advice for raising a happy and healthy cat.
Why does my kitten keep biting me?
Kittens bite for several reasons:
Get ready! I’m coming to bite you.
Source: Danilo Batista
Kittens learn how to play from their mothers and littermates. Biting their brothers and sisters is crucial during kitten development because that's how they learn to hunt but also what hurts and how to be gentle.
Kittens often stalk and attack their cat parents. They do it playfully, but they exercise their hunting instincts. If a kitten is separated from their mother too early and hand-reared, or if they are the only one in the litter, they never get the chance to learn to play gently. Such kittens will have difficulty understanding what’s painful and unacceptable in feline and human interaction.
A victim’s reaction can reinforce this unpleasant behaviour. If your kitten senses fear, their instincts to chase and catch prey kick in even stronger.
If a scared kitten feels trapped, they may get overwhelmed and bite to defend themselves.
There are three common scenarios:
- Running away—If your kitten tries to run away, don't cut their way and catch them because it will aggravate them further
- Hiding—If your kitten is hiding, don't try to pull them out because it will only tell them they were right to be scared
- Lowering their body close to the ground—When cats get scared, they fluff up their fur to appear bigger, curve their back, and sometimes go down to the ground. If this happens, leave your furry friend alone to chill
Here are some tips for addressing these situations:
- Teach kids and other family members how to handle a kitten—Cats and kids sometimes don't get along because children often don't know how to be gentle. Show them how to play with the kitten, teach them to give them treats, and desensitise the kitten by feeding them while your kids are in the other part of the room
- Help your kitten build confidence—Anxious felines often feel threatened when you look them directly in the eyes. Ignore them, turn your back, and let them come to you. Don't turn around or make any sudden moves when they do. Allow the kitten to investigate you and relax naturally
- Reward bravery—Give your kitty a tasty treat whenever they venture to explore something. They will soon learn that new experiences are great. Always have some healthy treats. When your kitten goes into a new space, drop a treat near them and don't make any fuss about it
Never try to pull a kitten from under the bed or any other hiding place.
Source: Piotr Musioł
The most common cause of agitation, and consequently, attacks on people, is redirected aggression.
Redirected aggression comes from frustration. For example, your kitten may see something they would like to catch outside, but they can’t reach it because the window is closed. You walk by the kitten, and they launch a strike on your foot.
Signs of agitation include:
- Flattened ears
- Twitching skin
- Staring, wide-open eyes
- Fluffed up fur
- Low growling
- Flicking tail
Indoor kitties quickly learn to release their energy during playtime and get accustomed to interacting gently with humans and other animals.
Teething is an uncomfortable and painful process. As a kitten changes their teeth, they need to chew on whatever they can to massage their gums or dislodge a loose tooth. Sometimes, younglings choose their cat parents’ arms and feet for this purpose.
You can redirect their attention to chewing toys, but thankfully this period doesn't last long, and the biting usually stops on its own.
How do I stop my kitten from biting during playtime?
If your kitten keeps biting during playtime, there are many ways to get them to stop:
- Don't let them play with your hands
- Tire your kitten
- Keep your furry friend busy
- Disengage whenever your kitten bites you
- Put something bitter on your hands
- Keep the kitten's energy balanced with a high-quality diet
Never play with your kitten using your hands
Your hands are not toys. Make that clear to your kitten.
Source: Roxanne Desgagnés
If you tease your kitten with your hands, they will mistake them for toys (or pray) and bite.
Playing with your hands will confuse your feline friend. Their instincts tell them to catch the prey, but your kitty gets reprimanded when they attack them.
This habit will also make petting and grooming the kitten challenging. They will think it's playtime and won’t allow you to brush or pat them.
Tire your kitten
Kittens are full of energy, so they sometimes go completely wild and drop all inhibitions, which is when they can bite. When your kitten gets restless, make them run after a toy on a string. Channel their energy away, using an interactive object that will keep your hands and feet at a safe distance.
These bursts of energy typically last for five to ten minutes a few times a day. When kittens blow off steam, they usually lie down and sleep. Pat them when they calm down and give them a treat as a reward for being good.
Keep your kitten busy
Energy surplus can get intense if your kitten gets bored often. You must give them interactive toys they can play with independently. It's also wise to swap toys frequently so your kitty doesn't get bored with them.
Some good options include:
- Electric mice
- Floppy fish
- Puzzle feeders
Disengage when the kitten plays rough
Games should stop when your kitty hurts you or another animal.
Source: Vera Barus
You must show your kitten that you will not participate in aggressive play. Give them a firm "no" whenever they bite you. Stop the play and continue only when the kitten calms down.
Another option is to terminate playtime and leave the moment your kitten hurts you.
Put something bitter on your hands
You can put an unpleasant but non-toxic substance on your hands to discourage your kitten from biting. They will associate biting with an unpleasant taste and eventually stop.
Never use force or punishment. It can make your kitten fearful and ruin your relationship.
Keep the kitten's energy balanced with a proper diet
Cat food high in carbohydrates is unsuitable for felines because it breaks down into sugar, causing a sudden mood rush. After a carb-rich meal, a kitten gets a massive surge of energy, but the initial high is followed by an unpleasant drop, making the kitten lethargic and lazy.
These oscillations are like a rollercoaster and can harm a feline's health in the long run.
High blood sugar levels in blood make cats feel hungry, and increased appetite leads to excessive weight gain. Obesity can cause many health problems, most notably diabetes and heart disease.
What is a suitable feline diet?
Your growing kitten needs a high-protein diet to stay healthy.
Image (c) Untamed
As obligate carnivores, felines don't need carbs in their diet. They should get all their calories from animal protein and animal fat. How many calories they need depends on your kitten's breed, age, and weight.
The best diet for your kitten should be similar to what they would eat naturally. In the wild, cats hunt and eat birds, mice, frogs, lizards, slugs, and other small animals. For domesticated kitties, lean meat and fish will do the trick. Cats get all the vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids (taurine, arginine, and histidine) from meat.
- Animal protein—more than 50% (make sure the protein is from whole meat, not meat derivatives)
- Animal fat—less than 20% (anything more leads to weight gain)
- Carbs—up to 3% (fibre can be beneficial for your kitten’s digestive tract but should be fed moderately)
What ingredients to look for in cat food?
Many cat parents focus on how much and how often to feed their kittens but fail to examine what they are feeding them. The table below shows what cat food should contain and what ingredients to steer clear of:
Animal protein and fat
Ingredients to avoid
Team up with Untamed to teach your kitten not to bite
Let’s make a deal. You give me the box, I ease on the biting.
Image (c) Untamed
Getting your kitten to calm down and stop biting can be time-consuming, but Untamed makes it easier.
Our jelly and gravy meals deliver all the necessary nutrients to your growing kitten and keep their energy levels even. Made with human-grade meat or fish and gently steamed to preserve the taste and nutritional value of the ingredients, our meals are irresistible even to kitties who tend to refuse wet food.
Untamed dishes are:
- Full of animal protein—With 60% to 63% meat and fish, our meals offer two times more protein than the industry average
- Free from harmful ingredients—We don't use fillers like grains, vegetable proteins, meat derivatives, sugar, or harsh additives
- Vet-formulated—Vets honed our homemade recipes to ensure an ideal protein-to-fat ratio
- Hypoallergenic—All Untamed products are free from known allergens. We have also created two single-source-protein options—Chocka Chicken in Jelly and Tuck-In Tuna in Jelly—for sensitive kitties who struggle with food allergies
- Fussy cat-approved—There hasn't been a fussy eater who managed to resist Untamed delicacies
- Ethically made—We only cooperate with sustainable, cruelty-free suppliers, our packaging is 100% recyclable, and we leave a neutral carbon footprint
Want to keep your kitten's energy levels steady? Order Untamed!
To order a taster pack of healthy cat food online, you should:
- Take our Try Now quiz
- Select the products
- Place the order
The trial pack will come in a day, with free shipping. You can opt for our subscription plan and get a fresh batch of your kitty's favourite dishes every month.
The Untamed effect