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Roughhouse with Minion


Savannah Super Cat
So its been three weeks since we picked up Minion, and we are loving her. Despite the perpetually sore noses from her licking us while we sleep.

But I was wondering about some of the play time we have. Every so often she seems to want to rough house with us. Which is fine, but she uses her mouth. And those little kitten teeth are sharp. I don't think she means to hurt us, cuss her claws are in and she's happy. But our hands still wind up all scratched up if we do play that way with her. And I don't want to encourage her that biting is okay at all. Is there still a way to play with her and yet let her know that biting isn't allowed? We primarily use air cans as our disciplinary action. (spritzing her if shes getting up on something/playing with something she shouldn't.) It worked really well to teach her that a mad dash at the door every time it was open wasn't allowed. But I dont think she would associate the spritz with biting and instead with the playing.

Any suggestions?

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
When she tries to roughhouse with you, it should be a "no tolerance" if she uses her mouth you say Uhh with a sharp loud tone, or a high pitched squeal if it hurts. That's how kittens learn when they've bitten their siblings too hard, they squeal! But also scruff and say no and put away from you is effective too. You may have to be patient and firm but playing with her with your hands is not to happen and play ends if she tries to bite you even when it obviously is in play. Redirecting with a wand toy (so a safe distance from your hands) is a good alternative... she likely needs to expend energy (especially if you don't have another pet for her to bounce off) so she needs to play just not physically with you... nothing that you wouldn't an adult cat doing!

You could also try the tactic of if she bites at your hand, just don't move it. Leave it there and often with no reaction they will give up and move on. It's hard to know exactly from your description which tactic might work so you will notice I've given a range. Additionally, when they bite on your fingers, if you can push that finger down the throat to make her gag that in effect gives her an unpleasant consequence to biting you that can be effective. It's a puppy training technique but can work in kittens too...It often depends on the individual situation on what tactic is best at that time...


Staff member
You definitely don't want to encourage this behavior and Brigitte has given you several different techniques to break the habit. She sounds like a smart kitty so I don't think it will take much for her to learn that biting humans is a no-no...

SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
Sometimes the cats like to play rough. Rascal likes a little rough play at times. When he would bite a little too hard I would yell ouch and remove my hand. He has learned to gently nibble when he plays rough and light kicks with his back feet. I really enjoy the look in his eyes where he is just about to lose it, but he controls it every time.


Savannah Super Cat
I totally agree with everything said. Taz was so cute and little when he came to us at just 4.5 lbs. It was really cute then, but now at 23 lbs not so cute. Kittens, especially Savannahs, grow to up. I found a combination of a loud "Eeeeehhh" sound and a squirt from the water bottle to the face (he didn't care if it was on his body) worked to break him of the biting and claws. Now he has wonderful claw and teeth control. We still play rough with him, but he knows not to get to crazy. Good luck with training. I always keep this in the front of my mind "Don't start any habits now that you want to break later".