biting in a rescue cat

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janeyjane
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biting in a rescue cat

Post by janeyjane » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:50 am

Hi
Just wanted some advice on my newly adopted rescue cat. He was a stray and is apparently 2 years old. At the Cats Protection centre he was known for being very nervous, needing a lot of patience. He allowed me to gently pet him but got tense after a bit...fair enough. I wanted to give a cat who would not be immediately chosen the chance of a home so took him on. I have only had him a week so very early days, but he is a bit of an anomaly. after initially hiding from us he now comes up to us every time we come into the room, and constantly winds around us and rubs against hands and legs (so very good progress anyway), but without warning can turn and nip. This is whilst he is still winding around us....not while we are stroking him if you see what I mean...I don't think it's over-stimulus. Most nips do not draw blood and are minor but he has broken the skin on occasion. Today I put his food down and he cared more about my hand leaving the bowl and when I walked away he nipped my leg. I wonder if that's because he didn't want food but more attention and that was his way of telling me? I don't want to get this wrong as I know he has had some bad treatment somewhere along the line and want him to trust us....but don't want to end up scared of giving him TLC either! Unless he becomes the cat from hell, he is NOT going back ...I think he does like us, so much so, we're good enough to eat. lol. Any advice anyone?
Thank you,
Jane.

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Jacks
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Re: biting in a rescue cat

Post by Jacks » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:19 pm

There are a number of proposed reasons for this type of behaviour - basically you are moving across the visual field and it could be a hunting impulse or a defensive strategy. However there is also the issue of how well he was socialised with humans as an infant or how early he was removed from his mother - they teach them a lot of manners as well as how to hunt. Of course you won't know anything about his early life if he was found as a stray.

Another suggestion is that it is play behaviour - and would be part of sibling romping and play tussling. Young kittens who haven't been socialised well will do this. I have a suspicion that he may be trying to play with you... in which case by leaping away you will encourage him to try again - not easy to remain calm when you're being nipped however! I wonder whether he's a little younger than they thought - again it's so difficult to tell in a stray. Have you taken him to your vet for an introduction and a check?

janeyjane
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Re: biting in a rescue cat

Post by janeyjane » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:28 pm

Hi. Thanks for the response. I too think it may be more playful than aggressive...although he did draw blood when he bit my brother, but even he said it didn't seem to be viciously. He was given a good check up at the Cats Protection league's vets, where he was neutered and microchipped and had his jabs. I assume it was the vet who aged him at about two. However, even the staff said he seemed a bit younger to them. At present we are saying no when he nips and leaving the room so play time is over. Hope we're doing the right thing. In all other respects he seems to want the attention, so I'm really pleased with that.

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greenkitty
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Re: biting in a rescue cat

Post by greenkitty » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:39 am

What's his body language like when he nips you? Tail up/down, eyes narrowed, ears back that kind of thing?? Do you turn your back on him when you walk away?

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Re: biting in a rescue cat

Post by janeyjane » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:01 pm

Well, not frightened I don't think. He seems to do it as a way of getting attention more than anything...or when excited, like when I am carrying his foot dish to another room he is scurrying around and pounces at my legs or feet. I really think it's a habit thing, not an aggression so hopefully he will get out of it in time. I am currently reprimanding him verbally if it's only a little or if it is a bit worse I will leave the room. He is absolutley all over me for attention most of the time. I am wondering if the poor little thing has never had any, he's always rubbing his head in my face and getting under my hand, so that I will pet him. I have high hopes for him, bless him.
Thanks for your replies. I feel much better about things now as he seems quite happy.

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