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Kittens are a lot of fun, but if you're new to owning one, you might not know how to handle their scratching and biting. This behavior is natural for kittens, and it's not always a sign of aggression or fear. However, if you don't take care of the problem before it becomes serious, it can become a bigger problem for you and the little ones in your family.
The good news is that kittens can usually be trained to avoid this behavior in most cases. Find out why your kitten might scratch and bites and what you can do to resolve this problem.
Whilst this is not uncommon, the playfulness in kittens sometimes results in unintentional scratch and bites. What causes these?
There are a few reasons. First, kittens are curious creatures and like to explore everything with their mouths and claws. This can lead to them accidentally hurting you when they're in a playful mood.
Another reason is that kittens are still learning how to control their strength and nails. So sometimes they might scratch or bite harder than they intended to, especially when they're excited or scared.
Last but not least, kittens may use their nails or teeth to defend themselves if they feel threatened, scared, or cornered. In cats of all ages, scratching is a natural way to mark territory. However, kittens often scratch when they are stressed or anxious. As kittens grow into cats, the majority of them lose the need to scratch gradually. However, some cats never lose this instinct.
So, If your kitten has been scratching or biting excessively, you should try to figure out what's causing them. Is your kitten just looking for a hunting game? Or is there something else going on that's causing her to be aggressive? Knowing the cause can help your kitten better control herself, preventing accidental injuries in the future.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you are uncertain of the reason behind your kitten's behavior when it seems abnormal.
There are a few things you can do to help stop kittens’ unwanted behavior.
First, provide them with plenty of toys and scratching posts so they have an outlet for their energy. Kittens are active and love to play. If they don't have anything to do, they may start biting things as a way to release that extra energy. So, make sure your kittens have plenty of toys and things to keep them occupied. Scratchers, sissal posts and mats are also a great way to help them release excess energy and keep their claws healthy. And remember, don't use your hand when you're playing with kittens. This will trigger their association of your hand with a prey, which is something that you don't want happened.
Also, do not punish your kittens when they scratch or bite you, as this will only cause fear and might, which leads to further behavioral problems. It might be difficult to discipline your kitten when they scratch or bite, but it's important to resist the urge to punish them. Kittens are still learning how to control their claws and teeth, and punishing them will only make them more anxious and stressed. Instead, try to provide them with positive reinforcement when they use their claws and teeth appropriately. For example, you can give them a treat or some loving attention when they sharpen their nails on a scratcher instead of your furniture.
Third, use your voice. Say "OW!" “OUCH” in a loud but not overwhelming voice when your kittens bite or scratch on inappropriate places. This will startle your kittens and help them understand their actions are not acceptable. Be consistent with this, and eventually your kittens will learn that some behaviors are not tolerated.
Finally, giving your kitten lots of love and attention is one of the best ways to help them feel secured and less likely to bite or scratch unexpectedly. When they are not threatened or scared, they are less likely to lash out in response. If you give them lots of care and patience, they will learn to trust you and feel comfortable around you, which will help prevent future aggressive behaviors.
If you have consistently used these methods and your kitty is still attacking you for no reasons, it is time to speak with a vet or get the help of a behavior specialist. The sooner you deal with this behavior, the easier for you to prevent future episodes. Also, it is important to remember that kittens are extremely playful, and this behavior is not a sign of aggression. However, it is important that you teach them at a young age that biting and scratching are not acceptable, otherwise they will continue to do this habitually into their adult life and it will be much harder to stop.