Help with partially wild cat and play biting

Kristi BarfieldKristi Barfield CharlotteMember Posts: 75
edited 8 July, 2016 in Behavior & Training
Long story short, over the past two years I left my crappy ex-boyfriend, met someone better, married him, and we have been trying to get on our feet. Since we're struggling, we moved onto my mom's property (about 14 or 15 acres, with barns and horses) into a camper. Years ago, my mom started feeding a couple strays that came in and started hanging out in the barn, but she never got them spayed/neutered. So now, we got here to find that the property is overrun with mostly feral barn cats. Since we're both cat people, we've been trying to help them out. We got in contact with a few different rescues and have been trying to home the tame cats and kittens... and TNR the ferals. One of the mama cats we took in on Easter and fostered her and her kittens until they were old enough to find homes, and we decided to keep the mama cat as an indoor cat in our camper, even though we told each other we wouldn't have any kitties yet because the camper doesn't have much space! But she's been a great cat so far. But, one of the rescues that we gave some of the tame/mostly tame cats to contacted us the other day and wanted us to take back one of the cats. Apparently, this one has been biting in every foster home she's been in and they have all returned her. The rescue wanted to give her a break, see if she calms down any, and try again to home her in a few months. She is a beautiful cat... pictures don't really do her justice. And I was really surprised to find out she's been biting! She's always seemed really sweet with us. So, we took her back and are keeping her in the camper for now, too. (now it's extra crowded... but I don't want to put her back outside with all of the others.) The first two days she did great!! But now she's getting comfortable here, and I'm starting to see what they were all talking about. She has a lot of energy! And, sometimes she takes that out on hands and feet. When she's calm, she's perfectly sweet and friendly. But when she gets playful, she gets a little out of control. She runs around the camper, attacking everything. And most things, I don't mind if she attacks. But she will also attack us! What can I do about this? I know if we can't calm her down somehow, there aren't very many people who would want to put up with her! And I don't want to put her back outside. She does seem happy as a pet. She doesn't try to get out, and she loves to snuggle. We may end up having to keep her, even though it's a bit crowded, if she does okay in here with our other cat. (So far, they are doing fine despite the small space. But with her energy, she might end up annoying our other cat. I'm hoping she doesn't!) We've trimmed her claws, which she has never had done, to keep her from ripping holes in our hands... and we got her a calming collar yesterday, which seems like it might be helping some. (she is also very skittish and runs from noise and sudden movements, but is doing a little better with that now.)


  • SterlingAndTheSTeamSterlingAndTheSTeam Mount OliveMember Posts: 41,262 ✭✭✭
    edited 8 July, 2016
    She may just need to get all that play out of her system. Lots of play exercise with a wand-type toy might help. If it's beyond normal play, what people have suggested in the past was "the water spray bottle". When she does something you don't want, have the bottle ready and spritz her with it. Some people use a can with pebbles inside and drop it. The water or the noise breaks her concentration of biting or playing too roughly. I've also found that when she hurts you, let out a yip (like how a puppy would yelp if something hurt him). Many times a cat will stop because they really don't mean to hurt you. If you want to get more physical, you can scruff her when she bites. Grab her by the scruff of her neck like a mother cat would do. Lift her enough that her front legs would be off the floor but she is still supporting her weight with her back legs. If she doesn't go limp and "surrenders" and she tries to twist out of your grasp, keep scruffing her but push her body down to the floor (like a mother cat would use her weight to hold a misbehaving kitten down). Whenever she stops struggling, quickly release her. If she comes back at you again, repeat the reprimand. Remain calm but keep scruffing until she stops. Patience is the rule here. Hopefully, one of these suggestions will help. (One thought, don't use the pebbles in the can if it would scare your other cat who is doing nothing wrong). |^|
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