Help, my cat bites! – Tips for a cat that bites
A kitten may bite into your hand or foot while playing. You’ll find it cute at first, but it is still better to reject this behaviour from the start. Once your cat has matured, you will find those painful bites a lot less amusing. What to do if your cat bites? Here are our tips!
Instinctive biting among kittens
Cats are predators and hunting involves biting. It is deeply-rooted behaviour and it is completely normal. By playing with each other, kittens learn how to hunt later in life and how to jump and kill their prey effectively. So chasing a hand or foot and setting its teeth into it, is practice for later. Adult cats can still ‘play’ in the same way; is it pure instinct. Of course, you do not want your kitten or adult cat to grab you. Luckily, you can break the habit. Mainly by making it clear that you do not wish to be a prey and by offering it alternatives for rougher play.
Cat bites a lot, how come?
Your cat’s biting behaviour can have several other reasons in addition to playing/practising:
Kittens that grew up alone didn’t have other kittens or adult cats around to teach them that biting is not part of play. These cats will have to learn from their owners. Keep your hands away from its mouth during play to prevent it from biting into your hands. Did it manage to get you anyway? Stop moving and relax your hand or foot. Your kitten will probably let go on its own. Pulling back will only make your cat bite you again because it will think you are playing a challenging game.
A kitten that is left alone the whole day may get bored. Cats sometimes express this by biting something when their housemate is gone, for example the plants. But also your hand once you’ve returned home. It basically means that your cat wants attention. Give it the attention it craves by playing with it until it is tired and make sure your home provides more challenges.
Fear or pain
A cat may bite when it is scared or in pain. This is often associated with simultaneous scratching with the ears pressed flat against their head or while mewing softly. In case of fear, determine its cause and try to eliminate it. If you think the biting may be caused by pain, contact your vet immediately.
Read more about breaking unwanted habits.