It's a good thing she tested negative for rabies.
January 3, 2012 1:13 PM Subscribe
I asked before
about my cat's bitey tendencies. A month of strict training hasn't resulted in any adjustment. Maybe it's me?
posted by brina to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My cat bites. She bites me when I wake up in the morning. She bites me when I'm petting her. She bites sometimes when I pick her up to keep her away from an open door. Occasionally, I'll be sitting next to her on the couch, not touching her, and she'll suddenly start biting me.
She does not do this to The Boyfriend, who lives with us. She does not bite him at all. Okay, I'll admit she's nibbled him once or twice. But mostly the two of them are on very good terms.
I'm wondering if I'm not reading her cues correctly. For example, when she's lying on her back and seems very relaxed, I'll go in for some tummy rubbing (only after she's sniffed my hand and given me a green light), and then comes the biting. Not always. Just ... sometimes. Seemingly at random.
Every time she's nipped me since I asked my original question, I have picked her up off the couch (or wherever) and condemned her to the floor. I have said, "OWW!" and walked away. Once, she started getting all bitey on the couch, and then she kept biting as I tried to evict her, but evict her I did.
I've come to the conclusion that maybe I'm misunderstanding her. Sometimes I think she's saying, "Hey, I'm lying on my back and want to be cuddled," or, "I'm going to sit next to you now so you'll pet me." And then she bites, so I think, "No, obviously she really didn't want to be petted."
To be clear, when this happens her ears are not back, her tail is not flicking, and the only sign she is about to bite is when she opens her disturbingly large mouth to attempt to take a chunk out of me.
She is otherwise very well-behaved. She has not bitten any house guests. She has not destroyed anything (other than a few books, which she used to make a nest, but one can hardly blame her for that). She doesn't pee or poop outside the box. She's even been trained -- mostly -- to stay away from the apartment door when it's open.
I do not like the idea of using a spray bottle, mainly because I'd have to keep one ON me at all times, since the biting is always out of the blue. By the time I run to grab a spray bottle, the biting is over and I'm not sure she'd connect the two events. Same goes for the can/jar of coins.
Instead of looking for more ways to train her, I'm now looking for ways to educate myself about What Cats Don't Like. Are there more cat-cues I should be looking for? Like, is it common knowledge that you don't pet a cat who is lying on her back? Is tail-swishing during petting always bad, or can it be a sign of happiness? How do you tell the difference between happy tail-swishing and annoyed tail-flicking?
Do you have any cat-to-human translation tools you use? Books, articles, videos, and anecdata are all welcome.