I love my new kitty, Agent Cooper, beyond all reason. He's 1 year old and was a stray, and he's been living with me for a month now. The problem is, he's a biter. I'm pretty sure it's an OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, CHOMP! kind of bite, but I want to be sure I am reading, and handling, his behavior correctly.
is the young man in question. When I met him in the shelter, he was so affectionate and adorable and such a purr factory that we immediately snuggled and I began crying (I know. I am pathetic.)
When he was placed in the carrier and taken into the car, he was so terrified I thought he might have a kitty heart attack, but he adjusted to life in my house nearly immediately, never hiding, purring and cuddling as soon as he felt safe, and things have been great. He didn't seem like so playful a kitty so much as a born cuddlebug.
Not long after he started to get comfy, however, he began to respond to cuddling and pets with a bite. At first it seemed playful, and then it was hard enough to leave a mark. My general reaction was to shout OUCH! And NO! And perhaps to even hiss - and cuddle time would be over.
It didn't really stop him from giving it a try whenever I'm petting him, though. Eventually I started holding him down by the nape of his neck until he calms down. This makes him purr like he's in ecstasy, but once I let go, he's rolling around, leaping, and biting again. If I let it go on at all it escalates to mark-leaving levels of biting, but it's never aggressive.
As far as I can tell, he's playing/being affectionate. It is now to the point where if I walk by, he leaps on my legs (without claws extended, and he does not bite me), or playfully bats at me as I walk by. I usually just keep walking, although I will sometimes turn around and playfully scritch him, or pick him up, which he LOVES for about 1 minute and then he playfully bites me again and I put him down, purring.
I guess what I want to be sure of is - am I reading the signals correctly? This biting is nothing to worry about, right? And secondly, is there anything I can do to train him out of it, or am I just going to have to accept that he thinks I am Cherry Pie and Coffee all rolled into one and he just needs to give me a chomp when he gets overwhelmed?
Would Feliway help?