I have an adult (5ish years old) foster cat who is very friendly and mostly trusts us (we've had her for over 2 years now). She's very loving but is very much her own cat, and would prefer her space be respected at times. I'd like for her to express her moods in non-biting ways.
She's very friendly -- greets everyone at the door and wants to play. She's social and loving, likes to sleep on laps, etc., so this isn't a problem of feralness. She just doesn't know how to express "stop" except by biting.
Sometimes she bites when she just gets too excited from playing or from being in a new bed or something - she gets too happy or overstimulated. Usually, though, it's when I dare to interrupt her when she's busy doing something important.
She doesn't bite hard, doesn't break the skin, but it's annoying and probably has prevented her being adopted so far. She does stop when I cry out, but she also gets a little scared. Watching her tail isn't helpful in this case (I've been through a lot of cats by this point and know the usual warning signs).
I was wondering if making my hands taste really bad
would help teach her to express herself differently.
It's probably important that there's not an odor (to avoid tipping her off pre-nibble), so citrus or mint won't work well. I was considering bitter apple, but a) does it have a scent, and b) will it likely irritate my sensitive skin?
Is there something else from around the house I could use?
Also, other non-traumatic suggestions for training her not to bite are welcome.
She's awesome, really, but her extreme friendliness lulls potential adopters into a false sense of familiarity, and then the toothy self-expression begins.
Here are pictures