Calling a Kitty Time-out
A new foster cat has come into my life. He's a large tuxedo-colored cat named Oscar, with a big personality and energy to burn. I had to foster him because I knew he could bring a lot of joy into a family's life. He loves jumping in and out of boxes, chasing balls and coaxing Millie and Mannie into funny meowing "conversations." But along with that energy comes some scratching and biting.
This kind of behavior can usually be tracked back to something specific, like if the cat's feeling anxious, frightened or he simply doesn't like how he's being touched, especially if he's not feeling well. In Oscar's case, when he gets overstimulated—all that box diving can do that—he swipes at my ankles and forgets my hand isn't a toy. So I've started training him to stop. Whenever he lashes out, I call a "kitty time-out" and leave him for a few minutes. By doing this every time, he'll learn that "claws out" means playtime is over.
It's early training days yet, but I've already seen improvement in Oscar's behavior. It's time to reward him with a new toy.