Biting and Licking cat
by Beverly Spincic
(Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
I adopted a cat that has been abused in some manner, ie no shelter, not fed on a regular basis, when fed just a small tin of tuna, and some sort of physical abuse. I got her and she had just turned one year old. She loves to lick and chew on my fingers and is content to do so for hours. She does not bite hard when she chews but I am hoping there is an alternative to this behavior. However, I don't want her to stop unless I can substitute whatever she is trying to achieve with another solution. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer by Kate
yes this is a learned behaviour, a sort of habit rather than for any real need. And you are right it is not something that should be encouraged as sometimes as they get older they can by accident bite too hard, especially if strangers are around.
You will need to stop the behaviour by putting her on the floor every time she does this straight away and perhaps give her another chewy toy or ball to distract her. However you will have to do this every time and immediately so that she starts to learn that when she chews your fingers she is put down. this is part of the negative/positive discipline process which cats find the best way to learn (see this page for more info on this process
best wishes Kate
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