Our 5 month old kitten still bites sometimes. I know their teeth are growing--that is why they usually bite, but how long will tooth growth take? Is this behavior normal? Secondly, its been 3 months, but the kitten is still not friendly and runs away(scared sometimes).
Cats bite for many different reasons. Not all of them are a matter of immaturity or aggression.
- We have a 7 month old cat, who is incredibly energetic. Whenever he plays, he goes all out (nails and teeth). He's has gotten better at avoiding the use of nails/teeth when playing with me (I stop playing when he hurts me); but once he gets excited, he still forgets from time to time.
- We also have a 16 month old cat, who bites as a way to show affection for humans. I let her bite me, and she nas never hurt me, nor broken my skin. She does bite harder when she's more affectionate, but her bites amount to nothing more than a pinch.
- Our third cat is also 16 months old (they are sisters). While she does not bite us, she bites her sister on the neck when they're bundled up (cuddling, licking each other, ...). The sister likes it, and we think this is why she in turn bites us; because she knows it as a sign of affection.
I suggest looking into the biting behavior by letting the cat do what it wants to do, without telling them off. Observe what they are trying to achieve.
- What's the kitten's emotional state? Playful, affectionate, scared, angry, ...
- When not reprimanded, does the kitten bite hard enough to break skin, or hurt the recipient of the bite?
- Does the kitten intend to hurt the recipient? (even if they can't bite hard, they could still be trying to bite as hard as they can)
Based on this, you can change your approach:
- If the kitten means well, and the recipient doesn't get hurt: Leave it be. It's likely just a matter of giving affection or playing.
- If the kitten means well, but ends up hurting the recipient: Tell it off for doing so. If it bites humans, then the human should stop engaging the kitten when it crosses the threshold of what it acceptable biting. Don't tell it off before it crosses the threshold; don't engage it after it has crossed it. Be consistent, and the kitten should learn the boundaries of what's acceptable.
- If the kitten does not mean well:
Even if it doesn't hurt now, if this behavior continues, they will eventually start hurting you.
- Find out why the kitten is upset. Fixing the source is the best solution.
- If you think it's hormonal, then it's likely a temporary problem (related to childhood/puberty). Tell them off for misbehaving, but don't excessively punish or ostracise them if they didn't actively choose to behave this way (it sends the wrong message when they didn't mean to be aggressive).
- Use general training techniques to teach them to not do it. I suggest browsing Pets.SE, there are a lot of answers that delve into training techniques for cats.