A neighbor found a 3 1/2 week old kitten, and gave it to me. The little guy is now 8 weeks. Thriving well and making friends with my two older cats,10 years each.

My dilemma is, Henry, the kitten, tends to be very playful with my hands, biting, and scratching. When he gets too rough, I will repeat "no" in a harsh voice, which causes him to pull back, or stop. However, a few times I must admit, became concerned because he would get in pounce mode, stare at me, and attack my face.

I am not sure how to correct this behavior. Each time he has pounced, I automatically block his attack with my hands. Naturally, this move pushes him back on his hind legs, and I repeat..."no". I tried the aloof act, and he just comes at me no matter what. Normally he is a sweet, kitty.

He is getting older, and I am fearful if this continues he may reach my face and do some damage. Any suggestion?


2 Answers 2


This is very natural cat behaviour. Kittens especially have a lot of energy and they tend to combine this energy with their cat hunting instincts very often. He thinks your hands are play items. The idea is to associate this behaviour with something he hates. Enter the water spray bottle. My wife and I used to use a water spray bottle every time my boy would get like this. Over time now we don't actually need to spray the water. He has associated the sound of the spray bottle with not doing his scratching and biting thing. Also make sure you play with a lot during the day. All that energy needs to be expended. We used to (and still do) the chase as we call it. Here I chase him and in turn he chases me all over the house. It's actually a lot of fun for both him and us :)

  • Upvote for the spray bottle technique. It took our cat less than two weeks, after which he would stop with what he's doing when he heard me move on the couch (because that signals to him that I'm reaching for the bottle) Cats don't respond to training (they don't register that they should comply), but you can rely on a cat's ability to decide what it wants. If you attach a consequence to a cat's actions (scratch the curtain = get sprayed), then it will stop the behavior if it wants to avoid the consequence.
    – Flater
    Oct 6, 2017 at 12:51

He thinks your hands are toys, and his instincts are telling him to hunt. Instead teach him that hands are for petting and carrying food to the bowl, not food/prey itself.

You should stop letting the cat play with your hands and only let him pounce on or play with acceptable targets. When he gets into that mood grab one of his toys and redirect attention to that.

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