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What can we do about our kitten that bites constantly?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

Our 4-month-old kitten bites constantly, and very hard. At what age do they lose their baby teeth and what can we prevent this biting problem?

Mahlon Powell


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Kittens begin teething at 6 to 8 weeks of age and will continue to teethe, bite and chew until they are about 4 to 6 months of age. Many kittens will have "Play aggression" where they play too hard. This is common. I have an article that I think will be very helpful to you about this topic.

The best ways to deal with kitten biting is avoidance and/or diversion. When you see the situation coming that your kitten may start to "bite", stop what you are doing and withdraw your attention from your kitten. Stop petting, stop playing or whatever it is you are doing.

The other technique to deal with kittens biting is diversion. Play with your cat using "toys". Roll a ball, use a battery operated toy, feline flyers, laser pointers or whatever stimulates your kitten. Make sure you wear him or her out. When you notice your kitten in a situation where he or she might "bite" – get out a toy and get them to play. Help them release their pent-up frustrations or energies on an appropriate toy.

I think you might really like this article – it is by Dr. Nick Dodman –a really great behaviorist at Tufts University. Go to: Introduction to Feline Aggression


Another couple article that might be helpful to you is Developmental Milestones in the Kitten.

Best of luck!


Dr. Debra



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