How to Stop Kitten Biting and Scratching

It's important to stop kitten biting and scratching behaviors early, so they don't grow up thinking such behavior is allowed.

When kittens play, they imitate hunting behaviors. Pouncing, biting and clawing resemble the activities of their larger, wild cousins. There are ways you can modify these behaviors so your cat doesn't destroy the furniture or cause unintentional injury to your or your children. Since your pet will most likely be living inside the house, training cats to behave more like pets and less like wild animals is an important part of responsible ownership.

Furniture Clawing

This is one of the most common cat behavior complaints. To your cat, scratching the furniture is a form of exercise and territory identification. Provide a variety of scratching posts to provide an alternative to your couch. There are many commercial types available in different configurations. Some cats like a bit of catnip rubbed on the posts.

Deterrent sprays are also available to discourage clawing. Some cat owners have reported good results with double-sided tape, aluminum foil and lemon-scented sprays.

Exercise is also important. Provide kitten toys and be sure to interact with your pet to encourage activity and bonding. A bored, under stimulated cat is more likely to be destructive.

Don't Permit Aggressive Play

In a litter of kittens, rough play is common. When you are playing with your kitten and she becomes aggressive, stop playing immediately. A stern NO or loud clap of the hands is usually enough of a warning. If you continue to try to wrestle your kitten, she will interpret this as a continuation of the game. Stop the game so she knows the rules.

Cat Fighting

Neutered male cats are less likely to fight than intact males. Neutering is always recommended if your cat spends any unsupervised time outdoors.

If you have two cats that are struggling to put aside their aggressive differences, you have some choices. You can continue to keep them apart forever, but that is a difficult and impractical solution. Brief, supervised interactions may allow them to solve their hierarchical problems and they will be able to coexist. If an occasional battle breaks out, a quick burst from a water pistol is often the easiest way to distract them.

Sometimes, cats will suddenly become aggressive. If your previously docile cat is showing unusual behavior, it could be a sign of illness or injury. Check her carefully for wounds, lameness or other signs of illness.