Cats may bite for a variety of reasons, but on the whole, it is their way of letting you know that they are not happy with the current contact.
In the main, cats are affectionate animals, and once you have developed a bond with your puss, it is for life. It may come as a surprise then, that out of nowhere, you cat bites you. While this behavior can appear to come out of the blue, there is often a reason why your cat is biting you.
Of course, this is not the type of behavior that you will want, and many cat owners wonder how you can train a cat not to bite – the good news is that it is entirely possible.
In this article, we are going to be looking at some of the reasons that your cat may have resorted to giving you a nip and what you can do to break them out of this habit.
Why Is My Cat Biting Me?
Cats may sometimes behave in unusual ways – at least, they may seem unusual to us. Still, to a cat, who has no other way of communicating, these extreme behaviors may be perfectly acceptable.
One of the ways that your cat will let you know that he is not happy is by biting and whilst this may be painful or shocking to you, your cat will find it to be completely normal, and perhaps justified.
There are several reasons why your kitty might be getting a little more vicious than usual. Primarily, a cat will lash out in this way if he is not enjoying the current contact. This could be because he is uncomfortable or in pain. What you deem as a bit of harmless roughhousing, could be petrifying for your cat.
When humans interact with each other in this way, we have the ability to let the other person know when we are not longer happy – your cat does not, and biting may be his first line of defense.
Cats may use biting as a way of telling you to stop doing something, but there are some cats out there who will use biting as a way of showing affection, and this can be a little confusing. These bites are usually not intended to warn or cause harm and so will be generally softer – perhaps more like a loving nibble.
Why Does My Cat Bite When I Pet Her?
One of the great joys of being a pet parent is being able to offer love and affection to your animal, but this might not always be well-received.
This could also come out of nowhere, you might be enjoying stroking your cat and all of a sudden, she has decided that she has had enough and suddenly lashes out at you. The best way to avoid this is to learn the subtle signals that your cat sends you so that you are able to pick up on when enough is enough before she bites you.
Why Does My Cat Bite When I Play With Him?
Cats are extremely intelligent animals, and this means that they need a lot of stimulation. Many owners will offer this in the form of playtime.
However, your cat may become unintentionally aggressive during this time, and biting is not uncommon. The main reason for this is that your cat is displaying his natural instinct to hunt.
In the wild, cats would chase after and pounce on moving prey – picture the age-old image of a feline lying in the grass, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting small animal.
When you are playing with him, his instinct will kick in, and biting may occur without your cat even had a chance to recognize that what he is doing is ‘wrong.’
Why Does My Cat Bite Out Of Aggression?
Whilst your car may bite as a simple warning or because he cannot suppress his natural reactions during play, there may be times when he will become genuinely aggressive. If you are used to a happy and affectionate kitty, it can be quite a shock to see this profound change in attitude.
There are many common reasons that a cat might become aggressive, and it is important to address the issue to make him feel calm. Your cat will likely lash out if he feels threatened or is cornered – this is a natural response to fear and is not uncommon in other animals; including humans.
Your kitty might also go from calm to aggressive if he is startled, perhaps by a loud noise or something that another cat has done. In some cases, territorial cats might become snappy just by seeing another moggy through the window.
Unlike playful biting, biting that is associated with genuine aggression will likely be accompanied by other telltale signs. These might include:
- Twitching tail
- The ears may flatten back or rotate outwards.
- Hissing, spitting, or other vocalizations
- A change in posture – this could be crouching, an arched back, or appearing tense.
How To Train A Cat Not To Bite
Now that we understand the different reasons why your beloved kitty might be lashing out, it is important to find a way to control this behavior. The good news is that there are several techniques that you can use to train your cat into not biting.
Don’t Shout At The Cat.
One of the first things that pet owners need to keep in mind is that patience truly is a virtue when it comes to training your cat out of difficult behaviors.
Shouting at your cat will not achieve anything – even if you feel frustrated and hurt that your feline friend would behave this way, it is important to control these emotions. If you shout at your cat, you will only stand to frighten her, and this may result in further aggression or other unwanted behaviors like inappropriate urination.
Check Out His Health
Before you go on to any sort of training or reconditioning, it is important to take your cat to see their vet. In some cases, this biting could be related to a health condition.
Most commonly, cats will bite when they are stressed or in pain, and this is quite common in a variety of medical conditions, especially things such as unnoticed wounds, hormonal problems, and fleas. These are all things that can be easily treated, and doing so will likely reduce or entirely get rid of this aggressive behavior.
Don’t Treat It Like A Game.
If your cat is found to be in good health, the biting may simply be a bad habit. But one of the most important parts of training is not to let your cat think that you see his behavior as a game.
When your cat bites you, it is important to move away from him and clearly say ‘No’ or ‘Ouch’ in a stern yet calm tone so as not to frighten the cat. Doing this will help him to associate the behavior with you withdrawing from the contact, and he will likely not want to do it anymore. It may take a little perseverance, however.
You should also be sure to completely move away from your cat as in the beginning, he may mistake this action as being a game and might bite again to get another similar reaction.
Give Lots Of Praise
If your pet bites during playtime, then you will want to discourage him from this type of behavior and encourage him to use his paws and be more gentle.
Much in the same way that you would help a human child, you can give your cat a lot of praise when he displays behaviors that are acceptable. If he plays gently, let him know that you are happy with him by offering lots of verbal praise, petting, and perhaps even a little treat.
He will soon learn that he gets a good reaction when behaving in this way and will want to do it more frequently.
It is vitally important that before you perform this step, you do it mindfully and in a way that will not cause any harm to your cat.
If your cat behaves aggressively, you can gently take her by the scruff on the neck and push her head down towards the floor whilst telling her no. You only need to let her remain in the position for a few seconds before letting her free – this may seem like quite a challenging technique, but this is the same way that a mother cat would teach her kittens that certain behaviors are wrong.
It cannot be stressed enough that you should be gentle with your cat – this method is not intended to frighten her, but being too rough could scare her and result in more unwanted behavior.
It might be a natural reaction for your cat to pounce and bite, especially when they see something moving – this is how they would attack prey in the wild. However, when you are not playing with your cat, and she suddenly jumps at you and bites for no apparent reason, this can be upsetting.
One of the best ways to address this issue is to use toys for your cat to take her aggression out on and to give her something to play with.
If you can, keep a variety of cat toys conveniently around the home so that if she does randomly bite you, you have one to hand. Take the toy and throw it away from you. Your cat will go after the toy, and this lets her know that the toy is for biting – not you. It is also worth offering a lot of praise when she does react appropriately.
Don’t Pull Away
If you don’t want to use the withdrawal method, you could go in the opposite direction and try not to pull your hand away from your cat when she bites it.
The reason for this is that this will not resemble her natural prey. When cats attack prey, it will often try to escape; if you try to pull away, this could mean that your cat will continue to pursue you.
In contrast, despite the potential pain, if you allow your cat to continue biting but gently push her away, this will feel unnatural to her and cause her to stop.
Cats are normally quite placid animals who will go about their daily business without a hint of aggression, but in some cases, these loving animals could start biting. This behavior is not usually for the sake of it, and there will be a reason that your pet is acting this way.
However, there are things that you can do to train your cat not to bite, and whilst this may take a little patience and determination, these tips will ultimately change your pet’s behavior.