How to stop a kitten from biting and scratching?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

It’s not easy being a cat parent, let alone of a kitten.

They are young, fragile, and they bite and scratch.

But hey! Before you decide to return them back to where they came from, try using the following tips and trick, because I assure you, cats and kittens of all kinds can be trained.

Here’s how:

You can easily stop kittens from biting and scratching by trying many things like shouting ouch, walking away from them, discouraging bad behaviours through certain methods and many more ways.

Want to know what those ways are? Then keep on reading!

Why do kittens bite and scratch?

To solve any kind of problem, you first need to understand the reasons behind them. Therefore, we’ll see the reasons for a kitten biting and scratching first, and then move on to training them.

It’s a game

Let’s face it:

Kittens and cats are animals after all, so when they are playing, they may unintentionally bite or scratch you. You can identify if kittens are playing or not by checking out a few things:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Tail wagging softly to and fro
  • Flattened ears towards the back of their head
  • Sudden pouncing

If the kittens are doing the above, they are generally just trying to play and nothing more.

That’s how they interact

Kittens would jump, scratch, and bite each other when they are trying to socialize. Even if it sounds a little weird to us, this is how the kittens interact with each other and how they make friends.

Learning boundaries

When kittens are scratching and biting, they are trying to understand their boundaries. You need to tell them when it’s fun and when it stops being fun, so kittens can learn their limitations.

They may be scared

You’ll have to observe your kitten for this. See if they are scared or frightened of something, like an unknown person or another pet in your kitten’s territory. These may startle your kitten and instead of being nice and affectionate, they may get aggressive and start biting and scratching.

Don’t touch certain places

There are a few places that kittens don’t like getting touched, for example, their face, paws, or belly. So, make sure you are not touching in those places to avoid getting them to become aggressive.

They’re hurt

If you notice that your kitten is not letting you touch in one specific place, they may be feeling some pain. A visit to the vet is necessary in this case.

Observe your surroundings

If there have been complaints about your kitten biting and scratching from others around you as well, try and observe the environment of your kitten and people around. Sometimes the children and other people are doing something unintentionally that makes your kitten aggressive, and they end up biting or scratching.

How to stop kittens from biting and scratching?

Once we’ve figured out the reasons behind all the biting and scratching, we’ll now be able to use the technique that would suit your kitten much better.

Shouting ouch

Yelling a loud and a firm OUCH! can be done easily. As soon as your kitten bites or scratches you, yell ouch. Make sure to be firm when yelling, but don’t pull your hand or feet away. As soon as you’ll yell, the kitten will stop and look at you. Now is your cue to pull your hand away slowly, otherwise, they may think you’re playing and grab on again.

Scratching posts

This is an easy trick, get a scratching post, or build one for your kitten so it can get its aggression out of its system.

A scratching post can be a simple jute rope tied around a pole, a wooden plank, a leather stuck out to the wall, etc. You take your kitten towards the post multiple times a day and you let it scratch its heart out. When it listens to you, give it a treat. Try and appreciate your kitten’s act.

If you see it extending claws or scratching somewhere else, distract it with a sound or something and take it back to the post. This may take a few days and some extra treats, for your kitten to learn, but it is one of the great ways to help them learn to be nice.

Walk away

Walking away from your kitten can be one of the things to try and train them. As soon as they bite or scratch you, stand up and walk out of the room and shut the door. Walk-in again after a good 15 minutes. If the kitten is still up, pat them and give them love and in case the kitten has slept, just let them be.

Set limits

As soon as your kitten bites or scratches you, stop them then and there. Let your kitten know that this is not acceptable behaviour. Kittens are intelligent and will learn their boundaries.

Use toys

Instead of using your hands or your feet, use toys to play with your kitten. This way, even if they get a little too excited, they wouldn’t be hurting you.

Look out for signals

Observe your kittens well. Look for what they do or how they start to act right before they start scratching and biting. This will help you to stop what you are doing the moment they begin to get aggressive.

  • Kittens may start purring
  • Their pupils start to get thin

These may be a few signs that your kitten is about to bite or scratch.

Don’t play rough

Just because you feel that kittens are away from their natural environment, does not mean that you must play rough with them. Teach them how they can play games inside the house and what are the acceptable games. They are very flexible and adaptable and will soon learn to live inside the house.

Consult your vet

If none of the above tips are working out in the case of your kitten, go visit your vet, they may help you out with training them better.

Consistency is key

Whichever method you decide to follow for your kittens, it’s an absolute must that you and your family are consistent with it. Consistency is the key to training your pets, be it kittens, puppies, or anything else. If you stay consistent with them throughout the training phase, you’ll surely have yourself a well-trained pet.

Related questions 

Are kitten bites dangerous?

Yes, not just to humans but other animals too. Their bite may destroy tissues and leave bacterias inside the body. A person who has been bitten by cats may show symptoms like flu. Even though there are very few chances but no proper treatment can result in death.

Do I need a tetanus shot for a cat bite?

A cat bite may leave the wound infected with bacteria, and in case you are not up to date with your tetanus vaccines, you’ll most probably have to get it.

Should I be worried if my cat scratched me?

If you’ve been scratched, you should take your cat to its vet instantly. Cats who spend a lot of time outside may cause diseases like cat scratch fever, rabies, ringworms, tetanus or other infections.

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