Are you one of the pet owners asking that question?
It can be frustrating if your cat still bites even if you are very gentle with it.
In the next few minutes, you’ll learn why do cats bite and what you can do in order to deal with it.
Understanding Cat Behavior
In order to understand why your pet is still biting you, it is important to understand a few things about cat behavior.
A kitten and young cat must have some time to play. It is the way that they can develop their natural instincts.
In an ideal setting, a kitten or a young cat would have siblings or other cats with which it can play with. That’s not the case in most households however.
These days, if you have a cat, most likely it is the only one in your house. That leaves it with no other option but to play by itself or play with humans.
When cats play, that is when they develop their social skills and their physical coordination. It is normal for young cats to engage in very rough play. Their play naturally consists of mock aggression.
Some first-time owners who see their cats in this kind of play for the first time mistakenly believe that they have an aggressive cat. That’s a mistake, because it’s just natural behavior for their pets.
The aggressive actions that a cat can make while playing may include:
The problem is when these actions are directed at humans because there are no other cats that they can play with. Because of the excessive energy that the cats may have could drive them bite humans.
Type of Cat Bites
It’s important to remember that just because your cat has a habit of biting does not necessarily mean that it’s an aggressive cat. There could be some other reason why your cat is often biting you other than induced aggression.
It’s important to understand that not all cat bites are the same.
Cat bites can be classified into two:
- Aggressive biting
- Love bites
As you can guess from the name, aggressive biting can be painful and it can actually cause infection and in some severe cases, even scarring.
Aggressive biting usually happens when a cat is fearful. It can also happen when they are sensing something in the area, like another cat. It can be because of play aggression. In some cases, aggressive biting results from physical abuse that the cat has received in the past.
You have to familiarize yourself with play aggression because it is the most common reason why cats bite humans.
Now, love bites are milder and they are not really bites in the sense that they don’t usually cause wounds. These love bites are a kind of communication for the cats. It can happen when the cat has a strong bond with you or when it receives over-stimulation.
You don’t really have to worry about the love bites because these usually do not break the skin, but the behavior should still be corrected.
How to Stop a Cat from Biting?
First of all, you might be wondering if it is even possible to stop a cat from biting.
The good news is that there are some things that you can do in order to reduce it.
Play aggression is the most common cause for cat bites. While playing aggressively is normal for cats, it can be a problem when they overdo it. Cats have fur which protects them when they scratch and bite each other.
Humans don’t have that kind of protection, so when they play with you, there is the chance that you could end up being hurt.
So, one of the keys in stopping your cat from biting you is to prevent play aggression. How can you do this?
Stopping Play Aggression
You know some of the reasons why cats bite. It is time to learn the ways on how you can stop them. Here are some effective ideas that you can try:
1. Set a Regular Play Time with Your Cat
A bored cat may bite and scratch you in order to catch your attention when it wants to play. That’s the same thing that it would do with another cat. It will do those attacks in order to provoke a reaction from you.
One way that you can train your cat is to set regular play time with them. That is also a way for you to train and teach them. When they learn that there is a set time for play, they would no longer bite you just to catch your attention.
2. Use Toys When Playing with Your Cat
Now, when you are playing with your cat, you should remember to always use toys.
It may be fun to have some rough play with your cats with your hands and feet but when they grow older, they could cause some real harm if they bite you out of play.
It would be best if you will use toys when playing with them so they don’t associate your hands and legs with play time.
When shopping for cat toys, go for the ones that are separated from your hands or feet.
3. Use Distractions
If your cat is still getting used to the idea that your hands and feet have nothing to do with play time, you may have to carry a toy around with you.
You can use the toy in order to distract them in case they still try to play with your feet when you pass by. The toy should be handy so you can just throw it and distract them.
4. Do Not Engage
If your cat attacks when you are playing with it or at any other time, don’t engage. Walk away and don’t look at it.
That should teach it that you will not engage in that sort of play time with it.
5. Keep it Interesting
Cats are naturally curious and active. If their environment is unchanging and unvarying then they could end up getting bored easily. That could lead them to become aggressive and engage in aggressive play.
It is up to you to make their environment as interesting as possible. One way that you can keep their environment interesting is by providing them with plenty of toys that they can play with on their own.
6. Get Another Cat
A solo cat will be bored even if it has plenty of toys. The best way to distract it and prevent bites is to have another cat that it can play with.
Preferably, your cats should be of the same age and they should grow together. That would reduce the chances of unwanted behavior from developing.
7. Give Them an Outdoor Playground
Cats should be in the outdoors exploring. It is understandable though why you might not want them roaming around. If you can, then provide an outdoor enclosure where you cat can jump around. There should be obstacles in it that your cat can explore.
8. Time Out
If the cat does bite you, there should be some indication on your part that the behavior is unacceptable. Leave the room and walk away for example. Don’t try to pick it up as it may bite you even more.
9. Don’t Use Physical Punishment
Do not physically punish your cat for rough play. It may see it as even more play and encourage the behavior even more.
Watching Out for Love Bites
As it has been mentioned, love bites are not as serious or as dangerous as the bites that come from play aggression. That does not mean that you should not be on the lookout for it.
This will normally occur during a petting session and a cat no longer wants to be petted.
To prevent love bites, you pay attention to the tail of your cat. When you see the tail is swishing and is low on the ground, that’s a good sign that you should leave your cat alone for a while.
Another warning sign is when their ears are moving back. The good news is that cats give out signs that they are not pleased with you. It’s up to you to learn what those signs are.
Treating Bite Wounds
Cat bites can still cause infections so you have to treat these seriously, especially when the bites have caused wounds.
Here are the steps you can follow when your cat bites you:
- Clean the wound first with soap and water.
- Run the wound under running water for a few minutes before washing it with soap.
- Dry the area and then apply some antibiotic ointment.
- Use a sterile bandage to cover it.
- It is best to go see a doctor for consultation, especially if the wound continues to bleed or if there are signs of infection.
With the ideas that are here you wouldn’t be asking, “Why does my cat bite me” anymore.
You would know exactly what you can do in order to discourage that sort of behavior from your cat.