Help! Why Does My Cat Bite?

It is very common cat owners to ask themselves “why does my cat bite” and “what can we do to change this behaviour?” Changing the behaviour of the cat is a slow process that requires a lot of patience, proper management and appropriate training. 

In this article, we will talk in details about the reasons why a cat bites or nibbles its owner. We will explain the causes of aggression in cats and what could you do as well.  

Why does my cat bite me?

Let’s start by saying that cats are not aggressive animals by nature. A behaviour like biting can be due to a genetic predisposition, negative experiences and traumas, as well as lack of socialization at a younger age. 

The first step to solve this behaviour problem is to identify the reason behind it as well as the stimuli that trigger the aggression. The exciting stimuli can be a loud noise, certain smells, some people showing up at home, presence of dogs or other animals or any unexpected situation.

What if your cat bites when you are petting her? 

Sometimes while you pet your cat and everything seems relaxing and calm, she suddenly turns around and bites your hand and tries to grab your fingers with her paws.  

While we find some cats who like endless petting on their ears or their back, others can hate them. So, this behaviour is usually a warning to stop touching that area; in many cases, it is often the belly. Also, the feeling of relaxation triggers some cats to feel vulnerable and decide to attack as to defend themselves. In this situation, we recommend you pet your cat for a shorter period and provide a treat every time it behaves well. Your voice tone is also very important, avoid speaking with a loud voice while you pet herm as she can negatively associate this. 

If you have adopted your cat prematurely, then it is common to see aggression while playing with her. Kittens learn proper social behaviour when they are around their mother and siblings.

Is cat biting part of a play?

Biting while playing with you can also happen when the cat gets soo involved and excited. Many people at first find this behaviour funny, especially when the cat is small. As the cat grows up, this habit will stick and becomes hard to withdraw. If this is the case with your cat, avoid shouting, but reinforce it with kind words and positive situations.  

In other cases, kittens and young cats can attack your calves and feet while you walk in the corridor. Try to ignore this behaviour, because the cat expects attention, which is an indirect reinforcement. Make sure your cat has different toys, cat trees or daily play sessions as aggression can be a result of boredom. You can get some catnip toys that cats love so much. 

What if your cat bites you when she is happy?

Cats can express their affection by biting you to show you that you matter to them. This is a natural behaviour kittens usually do with their mothers. Always use positive reinforcement to change harmful practices.  

If your cat bites you very hard, this can be due to being scared, threatened or in danger. However, before attacking, the cat will show various signs, such as severe meowing, spiky hair, rear ears, hissing (blowing very hard from the nose) and even a retracted body posture.

A hiding cat reflects that it feels threatened in its environment. Therefore, we must provide a very safe and calm surrounding, free from noises or surprises. Read more about similar cat issues here.

Are cat bites dangerous?

Although many people think that cat bites are completely fine and there is no danger from them, however, this is not accurate. A cat bite can be the cause of serious infection due to bacteria in the animal’s saliva and germs that reside in its mouth. It can also transmit rabies if it has it. 

Even if there is no significant bleeding after being bitten by a cat, it is important to consult your doctor.

  • Clean the area with soap and water then rinse with plenty of water
  • Check that no foreign body remains, such as cat hair to limit the risk of secondary infection
  • Rinse again with clean water
  • Gently dry the area with a clean, dry and soft cloth
  • Disinfect the wound with an antiseptic

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