Dear Miss Behavin’: My new kitten always pounces at me and bites at my hands and feet. I’ve tried to ignore him when he does it, but it’s not working. How can I get him to stop?
Your kitten might be telling you that he is bored! Play with him more often and let him get out that extra energy. Look for warning signs such as an intent gaze, wiggling bottom, and a low, stalking posture. If he gets his teeth on your hand, go limp and slowly move your hand away. Give him a time-out and a few minutes to calm down. If you are consistent with the time-outs, he’ll learn the connection between what he’s doing and your refusal to play. Redirect his energy with toys! Never yell or punish your kitten, he will only learn to fear you. When he pounces at you, lure him in to play time by throwing a toy or waving a wand toy in front of him. Toss ping pong balls down the hallway or point a laser pointer and get him to chase it. At the end of playtime, help him wind down by giving him treats and speaking calmly. Patience is key! Never use your bare hands to play with him or roughhouse. Every member of the family needs to follow these rules and children should be supervised around the kitten. Observe, redirect, distract, and be consistent. Your kitten’s energy will go towards toys instead of your hands and feet.