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Unread 07-29-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Hi there
I have just got a cat and have some questions - can anyone suggest any advice?!

My 2 year old, neutered boy came from a rescue shelter 2 weeks ago - he had lived on a farm previously, mainly alone. He was timid and was in the shelter for 3 months. I thought he was settling well and getting used to us but in the last 2/3 days he has started biting me (not breaking the skin) and chewing my clothes (e.g. a button on a sweater I was wearing at the time). He also looks out of the window a lot and I guess is eager to get outside.

He follows me round everywhere and meows til I pet him, then will scratch or bite if I stop petting and start to move my hands away.

I've got a Feliway and I'm using rescue remedy.

Can you suggest anything??!! thanks!!
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Unread 07-29-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome! Thank you for adopting from a shelter!

What's your boy's name?

First I would like to say that cats love to look out of windows and it does not necessarily mean he wants to go outside, it just means he likes to look out the window. If it's feasible, put a bird feeder out there so he has "cat TV".

He'll be much safer inside.

Get him some things he is allowed to chew on, such as a thick clothes-line rope or sisal rope, cardboard boxes (with the flaps removed) a cloth cat nip mouse, etc and when you find him chewing on your clothes redirect him to his own things.

I just reread your post. If he is chewing on a button of your sweater while you pet him, he is probably bonding with you. You are his mama now and he loves you. Redirecting works there too. When he's chewing on your button, gently slip one of his toys, or stuffed animal or fleece blankie between you and your clothing.

Be sure to give him plenty of interactive play time with you. A half hour or so every evening around the same time and he will soon come to look forward to that time with you as a special bonding time. It will help him feel more secure and the exercise is good for him.

Not to mention, the more play time and Games he gets with you the more his intelligence and personality will be developed.

The biting and scratching when you stop petting will have to be trained out. What do you do when he does that? do you start petting again? Then he's trained you already!

It's not uncommon for a cat to demand a little more attention this way, and it can be endearing, but he needs to learn that you are the Mama and Mama does not want to be scratched or bit.

But I think your boy is probably still feeling insecure and worried about when he will get his next lovey dovey session.

One way to do train him away from this behavior is to have a toy or stuffed animal ready. When you want to stop petting him, slip the toy into his arms, or drag the string, to distract him from what you are about to do (stop petting).

If he grabs or bites you at other times, like during play, tell him no (use his name) gently but firmly and turn your back on him and ignore him for a few minutes.

Mama cat ignores her kittens when they are too rambunctious so he will understand this behavior if it is done consistently.

And finally, love him love him love him. He sounds like a real gem!

Can't wait to hear more about him.

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Unread 07-29-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for your tips! His name is Monty...I borrowed it for my username! I just went to play with him and he started chewing my pocket edge, he then went to scratch and bite me so I used your technique ("No Monty!") and turned away and ignored him. I could see him in the mirror...after a few minutes he moved to sit at my side. I definitely think this is worth keeping up. I'll get him something that he can chew on too.

I wondered because he was on a farm before, he might be missing chasing and pouncing on mice etc., so maybe if he went out and chased the birds he might be less inclined to bite me. Yesterday our neighbour's cat came to our window - she and Monty faced each other. He rubbed his paw on the window (seemed friendly) but she hissed and whacked the window. Maybe this has upset him too?

Thanks for your help!
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Unread 07-29-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Hi. Thank you for adopting the cat.

I think you are on the right track about teaching your cat not to scratch and bite you. Acerlt gave some really good tips. As long as you follow them, your cat will get the idea. Cats are actually very smart. When he scratches or bites you, he is probably playing with you. Let him do that with a stuffed toy. Cats need to play rough sometimes because that's part of their nature, but with humans we can teach them how to play with us appropriately.

By ignoring him after he bit or scratched you, you are sending him a message that "no more play time if you do that to me", once he realizes he won't get any more attention from you with that behavior, he will stop.

My cat Flip LOVES his stuffed mouse. He would bunny-kick it, bite it and scratch it. Sometimes he grabs my hand and thinks its his toy, but as soon as he smells that it's my hand, instead of kicking or biting, he will start licking . It is quite funny.
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Unread 07-29-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Hi ! Welcome to you and Monty ! I'm proud of you taking in a shelter kitty ! It's so sweet to know that Monty follows you where ever you go ! I believe Acer and Amy have given you wise advices... Hope to hear some good news from you soon !
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Unread 07-30-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for your messages everyone!

I have now uploaded a picture of lovely stripy Monty.

I'll report back on how his 'chewing' issue progresses....
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Unread 07-30-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty View Post
Thanks for your messages everyone!

I have now uploaded a picture of lovely stripy Monty.

I'll report back on how his 'chewing' issue progresses....
Where did you upload the pictures ? If it's at the Cats Pictures section, we'll need to wait for a few days to get them released... but if you create an album in your profile, they will show immediately (I checked your profile, and didn't see any... )
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