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Cat's playful biting still hurts

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Q: My 6-month-old cat wants to bite me. He can play only so long before he starts biting. Will he grow out of it?

S. W., Ramsey, Minn.

A: He won't grow out of it on his own. But if he learns it's no fun to chew on people, he'll eventually stop. Dr. Scott Line, Atlanta, Ga.-based veterinary behaviorist, says to quit playing before he starts to bite. Keep a stash of furry mice toys or ping pong balls near the sofa, so that should he begin to bite, you can distract him by tossing a toy onto the floor. Hopefully, he'll run after the toy. If he does bite, yelp "ouch,'' in a high-pitched voice - which will startle your kitty - and walk away. Game over; no more attention.

Never use your fingers as a play toy. Instead, at least twice a day use an interactive toy, such as a fishing pole-type toy with fabric or feathers for your cat to catch and chew on.

You may want to ask your veterinarian about C.E.T. chews. This is a yummy item that your kitty can chomp on, instead of your fingers. Keep the chews in the fridge to help soothe a young cat who may be teething.

Line adds, "Never punish the cat or do anything physical. At best your cat will think you're unreasonable; at worst he'll learn to fear you.''

Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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