At what age cats should stop biting and scratching games?

  • I have a Maine Coon kitten who is 1.5 months old. When he's playful, he starts biting and scratching whenever he sees your arm next to him, and any hand movement is like an invitation to bite. Trying to put a hand on his back causes him to roll over and fight it with claws and teeth. Same is with feet. He even purrs when biting. He never purrs when playing with toys.

    When he's sleepy, he's nice and sweet, purring and allowing to be petted. He sleeps next to us, so he doesn't hate us.

    Different internet resources divide into two groups: some say 'He's just a kitten, it's totally fine, he'll stop', and others say 'If I don't teach him not to bite, he'll bite all his life'.

    We've tried playing with him with toys, tried screaming when it's painful, tried spraying with water once, nothing seems to be working really. At most, he switches to something else, and next time he wants to bite again, he bites.

    So, maybe he's really too young to stop just yet? At what age they stop biting on their own?

    Your kitten is quite young. Usually they play and bite their littermates and learn how to play without hurting each others, but maybe your kitten hasn't had time to learn this. It is now your job to teach him.

    @EsaPaulasto I thought same too. I guess this asks for a follow-up question on how to do that. I suppose I'll ask it some time later.

    Hi I have exactly the same situation with a 2 month maine coon and wondering what you did with your kitten and how it behave now?

    @Mego I followed the advice to limit hand games. Then we took in a second cat. We also cut nails a little so that scratches were not bloody. After a while it just stopped. He's still a little misunderstanding the limits when playing with another cat, and starts scratching us if we're playing long, but he never starts it without provoking now.

  • Kittens need to stay in with their mother for 12 weeks. That's three months and your kitten is already with you when only 1,5 months old. Being with the mother is not all about the mother cat nursing her babies, it is also an important period of time when they learn to play safely with their littermates and with their mother as well. Little kittens have the sharpest teeth and claws there is, at least that's how it feels to us humans.

    I got firsthand observations of this learning process when we got two male kittens at the same time. They were both 12 weeks old but from different homes and different mix of breeds. The other one came from a fluffy thick fur litter while the other one is from a slick short hair litter. They both naturally learned to adjust their play so as to not hurt their own littermates, but the one with thicker fur had learned to play rougher. It did not start well when these two started playing together here at us. A lot of meowing and hissing from the thin coat fellow went into educating his thick furred mate on safe play rules. After all it worked, they still play together but there's almost no hissing or such sounds nowadays.

    When does a kitten learn to play safe? At its first months of life, and that with the best playing pals; its own littermates. When a kitten in question has been taken away from his littermates at so very young age it means the play training is a job for his owner(s). How to do this is something for another Q&A.

    Play training by the kitten's owners is possible, I'm sure of that, it only takes time and effort. My best advice, given your kitten's young age, is to quickly get another kitten to play with this one. Just be sure to find one who is well past 12 weeks old already, one who has spent all that time with other kittens and thus knows the rules. In your place this is without a doubt what I would do.

    +1 Always a good idea to get at least a pair of kittens. Not only to have them learn from each other, but to keep each other company when you're busy.

    I made a separate question about a gender, if we're to take another kitten.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM