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Gustav | Manolo for the Big Girl

Gustav

Internet friend Mary asks:

How is Gustav?

kittenFrancesca thanks Mary for asking and says: Gustav is just fine! He is now 6 months old, social to  the point of gregariousness, very verbal and insistent, a perfect angel when he is sleeping, fond of being petted and cooed over, and overall possessing a definite “personality.”  Highly entertaining and the perfect cat for Francesca.

Gustav was recently neutered, poor dear, and was quite angry with me for it when we came home from the doctor, but once the effects of the anesthesia wore off he seemed to forget all about it.

Of course, Francesca has bought Gustav a handsome collar and ID charm, so he looks quite spiffy. (No, Francesca does not believe in otherwise “dressing up” one’s pets.) He also has been trained with most social graces and properly connects the word “no” to touching the tables and counters.

Francesca’s only problem with Gustav is his ongoing kitten-ish inclination to bite people. He does not do so maliciously; he is playing, or just likes the feeling of having something in his mouth. It does not hurt, but it is a turn-off, especially for some of Francesca’s more skittish human visitors. Francesca is taking suggestions for training him to stop this behavior.

(PS That is not Gustav in the picture, but close enough! As Francesca’s friend L says, “in pictures, all cats look deranged.”)

6 Responses to “Gustav”

  1. annie November 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    What has worked for me and my kitties: If he bites a finger, instead of pulling the finger/hand away, stick the finger farther into his mouth, far enough to elicit a gag response. The finger biting soon stops.

  2. Jessica November 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    We got our precious little bitter, who also looks a lot like that picture, things to chew on. We got her some of these Petmate Looney-Loops, they look kinda like plastic springs and we can only find them at Petco. Now unless she is over excited she leaves us alone and chews on those :) Good luck!

  3. evilsciencechick November 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    I’m not sure how similar cat training is to dog training, but with dogs, if they are still retaining the puppy tendency to bite, what you do is this: during playtime, when he gets rambunctious and bites, make a loud ouch sound, and then turn away, stopping play for a minute. When he calms down, resume play, repeating the cry and the turning away each time the bite happens.

    When a litter is socialized together, they learn from each other when they are being too rough – the other puppy (kitten?) cries and doesn’t want to play anymore. As soon as they associate biting = no more fun play, the behavior should stop.

    Again, that’s for dogs. Not sure how well it will work with kittens. Good luck!

  4. Twistie November 9, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    I well remember one time when my father became mock angry with me for some comment or other. He playfully gave me a choice of punishments: herd cats or nail Jell-o to the wall.

    My reply? “Hand me the hammer.”

    Still, plenty of things he’s allowed to chew on and a calm, but negative, reaction when he bites are both good ways of getting the message through. It will take a lot of repetition (aside from size, the biggest difference between feline and human brains is the ridiculously tiny store of short-term memory in cats), but he will eventually learn.

  5. Ginger November 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    When working with my kittehs at home and at the Humane Society, I have found that when your munchkin chomps down, you should chomp down on them!

    By this I mean the following:

    When your hand is being bitten, use that same hand to hold onto the cat’s lower jaw (gently!), as if your hand is biting them back. They hate that feeling of having something wrapped around their lower jaw and will immediately try and let you go.

    You need to acknowledge it was you by saying “No biting” and making eye contact with them. They need to understand that you will “fight back”. It is similar in theory to what Annie mentioned above with the finger-gagging.

    Little kittens will take longer than a grown cat to get this concept, but the biting will eventually stop and you can focus on sweet, sweet kitty-cuddlin’ instead.

  6. La BellaDonna November 9, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    I do not know if it is possible at the moment, but does the lovely Francesca have feline company for the rambunctious but glorious Gustav? It has been my experience (a LOT …. A LOT! of experience) that two cats/kittens are easier to take care of than one kitten – and they can nibble on each other!

    Just a thought; if there are no other catses in the house of Francesca, a second one would be good for Gustav AND for Francesca!