Why does my cat bite me?
Why does my cat bite me?
As many cat owners out there can attest to, cats can sometimes bite their owners and often without warning. Is there a meaning behind this or is it just for fun? While cats can bite out of aggression, this is usually not the case when they give you a small nick. However, if you’re worried that this is becoming a bit too common then read on, as Petplan answers the question: why does my cat bite me?
Why do cats bite you?
Sometimes there is no one reason why your cat is biting you but the vast majority of the time they will be trying to communicate something to you. Of course, cats are fairly limited in their means of communicating with us, but a bite is something that’s hard to ignore.
Your cat may just be playing with you, or they may want you to stop the contact you are currently having with them, even if a few minutes ago they seem to be enjoying it.
Additionally, it is possible to train them to stop biting as often, but don’t forget that ultimately these animals are driven by instinct and scratching and biting are a big part of those instincts. It’s best to make a note of what situations your cats tends to bite in as this will help you when you start training.
Cat bites when playing
One of the most common activities that will result in cat bites is playtime. Cats are natural hunters and these behaviours show during playtime, you may notice the way your cat hides and pounces while playing so it should come as no surprise to you when the teeth and claws are deployed.
However, if you feel that these bites and scratches are becoming too much of a problem, or they’re a little too sharp for your liking, then it is possible to encourage a gentler form of play by positively reinforcing the behaviour that you see as desirable.
For instance, if your cat is playing more gently, using only paws, as opposed to teeth and claws, reinforce this behaviour with extra attention or even a treat. Alternatively, get them a toy with which they can be as rough as they like, and reward rough play with the toy in order to communicate the message that this is okay provided it’s not yourself.
Just like all babies, kittens are just beginning to find their way in the world and test out their limits as they grow into their bodies and instincts. Because of this, kittens may be more prone to scratching and biting than an older cat, simply because they don’t know any better, and while their natural weapons may not be as sharp as an older cat, it’s important to set boundaries so this doesn’t become a problem in later life.
For instance, kittens will spend the majority of their time either sleeping or playing and as such you should encourage this to ensure they grow into healthy well-adjusted adult felines, but you should make sure to stress to them that behaviours such as biting people are not acceptable.
Instead, you should ensure that your kittens have plenty of toys to play with and reward them for gentle play with yourself or comparatively more aggressive play with their toys.
Aggressive Cat Bites
Often cat biting is just a form of play or practice but sometimes it can get a bit nasty and this kind of aggressive behaviour is something that needs to be taken very seriously.
When cats are being aggressive in this way it’s often easier to tell it apart from playing, you’ll most likely notice that their entire demeanour has changed, and these bites are often accompanied by hissing and intimidating body language.
In cases like this, the aggression often stems from feeling scared or intimidated themselves, meaning that whatever you were just doing or if anything new has been introduced into their environment this is probably not something the cat was a fan of. This could be anything from petting them in a way they dislike or bringing other pets into the space.
However, if you feel that your cat has a tendency to be overly aggressive you should attempt to change this behaviour by rewarding good behaviour, but not by physically reprimanding them, as this kind of punishment will simply not be understood by the cat and could potentially make things a lot worse.
Cats may sometimes forget what they’ve been taught so you shouldn’t blame them for an occasional lapse in behavioural standards and you should also be aware that aggressive behaviour will be much more common in outdoor cats as they learn from territorial disputes.
Does your cat bite when you play, or for any other interesting reason? Let us know in the comments below...