Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)/cat bites ankles

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Question
I have a eight year old spayed female cat, she was a feral when I adopted her but she adjusted wonderfully to life with me.  She was just a year old at adoption, then two years later I found out that she as a heart condition.  Thanks to medication she is doing great, the only problem is that she constantly tries to bite my ankles.  This behavior began three years ago and it  only happens at night.   I do not want to spray her with water ( unless I have no choice), is there anything I can do to stop this.  I love my cat and she means the world to me.

Answer
First of all, sorry to hear about her heart condition, I hope she continues to do okay. If you haven't tried this yet, you can toss a loud toy or an empty pop can taped shut with a few pennies. This is meant to pose as a distraction and someting else to occupy her time with instead of biting your ankles. Did something happen that you can think of that triggered her behavior as sudden behavior changes tend to start from being triggered?

Keep me posted and let me know if there are any other questions I can answer.  

Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant

Expertise

I have experience dealing with different cat behavior signs, including separation anxiety, possible aggression and the difference between fear aggression and actual aggression, this would include possible feral cats. I also am familiar with the several different approaches to introducing a new cat to the environment as well as how each cat or cat and dog and live comfortable and dealing with litter box issues and help you decide if the problem is medical or behavioral.

Experience

My experience began with my own cats and escalated while working with area animal shelters for the past 10 years. I was able to watch and learn how the cats would react to different stimulus and each other. My experience grew during college and became able to distinguish between medical and behavior issues.

Publications
"Pawfect Pets," a weekly column in my local newspaper with pet health and behavior and training tips.

Education/Credentials
I graduated with an Associate's in Veterinary Technology in 2009 and became RVT in the state of Iowa in 2012 with a focus on Behavior.

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