Different cats bite for different reasons. In order to figure out how to stop a cat from biting, you have to figure out why they’re doing it to begin with. Here are six of the most common reasons why cats bite, and how to stop it.
Why Do Cats Bite?
1. Some cats will bite in to assert dominance. Your cat may be biting because they’re trying to show who’s in charge. If your cat bites you, then doesn’t back down or try to cuddle or play, then your cat is likely biting to show dominance.
2. Cats bite as a way of communicating. Instead of meowing if they want something, your cat may nip your toe, arm or finger as a signal to you. They may be asking for food, to be let outside, or even for you to clean the litter box. If your cat bites you, then tries to lead you to his food dish, the back door, the litterbox – then he’s probably just biting as a way to communicate.
3. Kittens will bite to practice attacking. I had a kitten several years ago named Miss Abigail. She attacked her big sister for several months when she was a kitten. The vet assured me that the attacking behaviors would eventually stop. Luckily for Miss Abigail, the older cat didn’t fight back!
4. Un-Neutured males can be aggressive. Consider neutering your male cat if he’s biting. Male cats will generally calm down if they’re neutered. Neutering provides other safety benefits for your cat and stops unwanted litters of kittens around the neighborhood!
5. Declawed cats may start biting. Cats can feel vulnerable and start biting if they don’t have their claws. By the way, please know that declawing cats is now illegal in some (or all?) states. To find out why, watch Jackson Galaxy’s video called, The Truth About Declawing Your Cat.
6. Cats will bite to defend themselves. If the cat is being attacked, picked on, or provoked, they’ll certainly bite to defend themselves. Watch out for this if you have small children or other pets in the house who might be bothering the cat.
Why is My Cat Biting Me?
For more information about why your cat is biting you, read my article (includes video) called, Why Do Cats Bite Their Owners?
How to Stop Cats Biting You
First try to ignore them. Your cat is likely biting to get a response from you. If you don’t respond, they may try a different method such as meowing.
Only respond to appropriate communication. Only do what your cat is asking if they’re asking nicely. Be careful not to reward the biting behavior by giving them what they want. Wait until they’re not biting to reward them.
Be consistent. When your cat is a kitten, the biting may be cute. But eventually it becomes painful and problematic. Never let your cat bite you or even nibble on your fingers. If your cat bites you in any way, they need to get the same reaction from you consistently. You can’t let them bite sometimes, and not at other times. Pets need consistency in order to learn how to behave appropriately.
Cat Love Bites
Why do cats give love bites? Cats biting their owners can be a big problem, but don’t confuse a cat love bite with your cat biting for reasons like dominance, fear, communication or self-defense. A cat love bite, also known as petting-induced aggression, sometimes starts with licking then progresses into biting. The cat is usually relaxed and not showing signs of aggression like hissing or growling.
According to PetMD.com, cat love bites are not usually a sign of affection. It’s more likely the cat trying to signal that they’re done with the interaction (like petting). If the petting continues despite their efforts to end it, they may bite. A cat love bite can also result from overstimulation.
Cats can also bite unintentionally. When they’re grooming themselves, they’ll sometimes use their teeth. They might do the same when they’re licking you, again, unintentionally.
Also remember that some cats won’t particularly enjoy being petted in certain areas or at all. If your cat continues to gently (or not-so-gently!) bite you when you’re petting them, it may be a signal that they’re just not that into it.
By the way, that’s my boy, Whiskers in the pics. 🙂
If you feel you need more help with your cat’s behavior, I can recommend a very good resource for cat training called, Complete Cat Training Guide from KingdomofPets.com. This is a downloadable eBook that is packed with information on how to solve 25 real-life cat behavior issues. It includes the best cat training techniques with step-by-step instructions. This program is $37 and comes with a full money-back guarantee.
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