One day your cat is sitting on the couch – purring – and all of a sudden they bite you! What happened? Was it something you did? Was there a sudden change in their mood?
There can be a number of reasons why your cat bites you, but most often it’s simply because they’re trying to communicate something.
Common Reasons Why Cats Bite:
When a kitten bites it could be any of the reasons or simply playing. Kittens bite each other during play and this is how they learn to control their claws. They also learn boundaries and what is acceptable. If you kitten bites you, first try to determine why it did it.
They’re Angry or Frustrated
Cats use biting as a way to show their anger or frustration, especially when they’re feeling threatened. Cats might do this if you’re holding them in a way that’s uncomfortable, or if they feel like you’re preventing them from doing what they want to do (such as attacking another animal). If your cat is biting out of anger or frustration, pay attention to its body language. Other signs might include hissing, growling, and swiping of the paws.
They’re Afraid or Scared
In some cases, cats bite when they’re afraid or scared. This might happen if you’ve just brought a new pet into the home, or if there’s been a sudden change in their environment (like a loud noise). If your cat is biting out of fear, they might have their ears back, be hiding, or be trying to escape.
They’re in Pain
Cats may also bite when they’re in pain. If your cat seems to be biting out of nowhere, it might be a good idea to take them to the vet to rule out any medical issues. Biting related to pain often happens because the cat has arthritis or another painful condition.
They’re Trying to Show Affection
Some cats may also bite out of affection, simply because they love you! Although this might seem counterintuitive, it’s actually a common way for cats to show their love and affection. The key is that they show it when they feel they can get away with it. Since they know how much their bites hurt, they only do it to people who’s they’re comfortable around and/or when they think you won’t be able to stop them (like when your eyes are closed).
How to Prevent Your Cat from Biting You
So what can you do if your cat bites you? Keep in mind that cats will often bite when they feel they can get away with it. So, one way to reduce how frequently your cat bites is by petting them only when they’re in a calm and relaxed state. You should also avoid petting them when they’re eating or drinking, as this can be seen as a threat.
If your cat is biting out of anger or frustration, try to redirect its energy by playing with them. Use a toy that they can swat and bite, like a fake mouse. This will help wear them out and keep them from getting frustrated.
If your cat is biting out of fear, you can try to desensitize them by gradually exposing them to the things that scare them. Start with something that’s not too scary and reward your cat when they show signs of being calm. If your cat is in pain, make sure to take them to the vet so they can get the proper treatment.
If your cat is biting out of affection, you can try to train them not to do it by saying “no” in a firm voice and putting them in timeout. Be consistent with this and eventually your cat will learn that biting equals getting put away.
It’s important to remember that cats are creatures of habit, so it might take some time to change their behavior. If you’re consistent with these tips though, over time your cat will start to behave differently.
Aggression in Cats: When to Worry
Some people think the reason they get bit is that their cats don’t like to be petted or touched, but this often isn’t the case. A more likely explanation is that some cats are very sensitive and when being petted may bite when they feel overly excited or stimulated.
This is very common in kittens and young cats who tend to play rough with one another when playing. If you watch closely, when two cats are playing together they will wrestle each other, swiping with their front claws and biting. Sometimes this “playtime” can become a bit too rough for the other cat or they are just having fun playing keep away.
When cats are over-stimulated often they will be more reactive to being touched by people, sometimes even exhibiting aggressive behaviors. A good way to prevent this is to teach your cat the “touch” command. This way, when they are playing too rough you can give them a cue to stop and then pet them.
Cats love the tactile sensation of being touched, but not all cats like to be held or picked up. You will have to experiment with what your cat likes best so you can work on teaching them the touch command.
To teach this, you can use a treat or toy to get your cat’s attention, and then when they come over to you, give them a pet while giving them their cue word such as “touch”. Once they lick their paws, etc. you can give them the cue to stop and then give them another cue like “good touch” or “nice touch”. This will help them to associate the good feeling of being touched with the cue word.
When it comes to aggression in cats, there are a few key things to look out for. As a general rule, you should worry if your cat is biting, scratching, or hissing at people or other animals in a way that seems excessive or unprovoked. In addition, you should be concerned if your cat is avoiding people or acting fearful.
If you’re seeing any of these signs, it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet for a check-up. There could be an underlying medical issue causing the aggression, and it’s important to get it treated. In some cases, cats may also need behavior modification therapy.