How to stop a cat from biting is a very interesting topic for cat lovers. Cats are fascinating creatures. They have a very unique ability to catch us completely off guard when we least expect it don’t they? One minute they’re sitting there all cute and sassy like ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ and then suddenly out of nowhere at all, Kapoow! you can feel teeth sinking into your skin. Are they really trying to take a chunk out of your hand? No warning, no obvious reason, just an unprovoked attack. Or is it?
Why is your cat biting you, I hear you ask? Well there are a number of reasons for this type of behaviour. What may seem as an unprovoked cat attack is not usually as it may seem. Let’s have a look in more detail below about the reasons why cats may go into cat attack mode:
Reasons why a cat may bite
- Natural Hunting Instinct
- Close Contact
- Pure aggression
- Kitten Biting Phase
As you can see, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the case of the cat bite. There are many reasons as to why this type of undesirable behaviour occurs and a situation you need to nip in the bud pretty quickly.
Cat bite infections are common, because the skin effectively gets a pretty deep puncture wound. Once the wound seals over, the bacteria tends to get trapped underneath the skin. You can also be sure that if your cat is willing to bite you as their loving owner, they will be happy biting someone else too. In most owners opnions, it is classed as bad behaviour and completely unacceptable.
We have taken a look above at some of the reasons why your cat bites you and goes into cat attack mode. Now we need to take a look into much more detail about how you can prevent this behaviour from occurring. There are some simple steps you can take to try and retract this behaviour effectively. It will take time, patience and some effort on your part, but the results will most definitely shine through.
Give your cat some space
Cats are pretty independent creatures that like to live a solitary life. In the bluntest way possible, they like to be left alone! That doesn’t mean that they are not up for attention and cuddles. But you have to be aware that this is always on their terms and not yours. They aren’t toys and you shouldn’t treat them as such. So when you ask yourself why you have just received a cat bite, it could be because you have showered your kitty with too much affection at a time that is not suitable to them.
What should I do?
- Let your cat come to you when they want some attention. A cat bite is a major warning sign that your kitty isn’t happy, and likely wants to be left alone. Don’t hound them for cuddles or force your attention on them. They will most definitely let you know when they are looking for some love.
- Create a safe retreat for your kitty, where they can hide away from the world if they want to and be at peace. Some cats find themselves getting anxious with humans around them constantly and need a bit of ‘me’ time. Cat caves are a great way of giving your cat the option to hideout on their own and be in a safe, secluded place. Away from all the hussle and bussle.
- Indoor cats find it more difficult to have time alone, as they can’t just disappear into the big wide world like an outdoor cat can. You may be adamant that you do not want your cat outside to roam freely, but have you ever thought about letting your cat out into your secure back yard? A cat door, where you can limit access can be a great idea to give your kitty a bit of freedom and time on their own with nature.
Giving your cat some much-needed peace when they need it could be the answer to avoiding that nasty cat bite!
Sometimes cats bite because they want to play. They just have so much pent up energy, they don’t know what to do with it all. It is likely this built up energy gets taken out on you and you end up with a nasty cat bite or two.
Toys are a fantastic way to drain off some of that energy. They allow your cat to put all their concentration and energy into something else and 9 times out of 10 aren’t looking at your hand as the main event. Kittens in particular love to play and bite. It’s important you let your kitty play, as they have a lot of energy and it’s a great tool for their learning and development, but you need to also make them aware that a kitten bite is not ok. Let’s take a look at some types of toys that are great for preventing a cat attack:
What should I do?
- Chew toys are great for cats that bite. You are allowing your cat to do what comes naturally to them, but keeping yourself a safe distance away. Some cat chews are infused with cat nip to keep your kitty even more entertained and chewing is also a great way to promote healthy teeth and gums.
- Feather toys are a fantastic way for you to get involved with the action at a safe distance. Cats love to chase and pounce on pretty much anything that moves. This is the type of cat toy that will keep your cat fully entertained with your assistance and is a fantastic way for them to release all that energy that has built up.
- Puzzle toys are engaging, thought provoking and fun for your kitty. This is a suburb way of keeping your cat out of trouble and focussing on something positive. Tiring them out means they will likely be way too tired to cat attack you.
Your hand is not a toy
One of the biggest mistakes owners make with cats that bite is to allow their feline friend to use their hand as a toy. It’s sending the message to your kitty that biting is ok and although you may feel like your cat biting your hand during play time is ok, they will identify this behaviour as acceptable generally. This means they are likely to implement the cat attack at other times and towards others such as family and friends, who may not find this quite so appealing. So how can I stop my cat using my hand as a toy?
What should I do?
- Make sure your cat has plenty of ‘hands off’ toys to play with. This means toys that do not require your assistance and where you can keep a safe distance away from sharp teeth. There are plenty available on the market to choose from and your kitty needs to learn to play on their own sometimes without you.
- If your cat does grab your hand during playtime, immediately tell them ‘noooo’ with an authoritative, sharp and lowered tone. The tone in your voice can make a big difference to how you communicate with your kitty especially if they are not used to hearing your disapproving tone.
- If you do need to extend your hand to your cat for any reason during playtime, do not ignite the situation. Keep all fingers fully closed. Fingers that are spread out look menacing and a great opportunity for them to implement the cat attack. Sorry, but you brought this one on yourself my friends.
Cut off play
If your cat is getting overly rough and boisterous during a play session, it is important for you to cut play time off early. There is only so much your hand can take from cat bites and your kitty needs to learn that if they exhibit this type of bad behaviour, then the fun will end pretty quickly.
Cats are pretty intelligent creatures and have the ability to learn very quickly under the right circumstances if we allow them to. Here’s the best way to deal with cutting off play early:
What should I do?
- Determine firstly whether your cat has taken the play session too far and whether that warrants cutting off play early.
- If the answer is yes, terminate the play session immeditaly so there is a very clear definition. An immediate change in activity that leaves your kitty stunned.
- Turn your back on your cat and seize all interaction. No looking, no stroking, no vocal communication. Ignore your feisty feline completely.
- Turn your attention to something else where your kitty can clearly see you are now focussing on something else other than them and their biting behaviour. Read a good cat book, that’s always a great option!
Avoid Aggressive Mode
There are certain times when going near your cat is a big no no and it takes a lot of observation to figure out exactly when this is. Aggressive mode is not pretty and should be avoided at all costs. Body language plays a very key part in determining how your cat is feeling and ultimately how close you should or should not get.
Just because your cat is getting aggressive with you does not mean that they will get aggressive with someone else and vice versa, making it all very difficult to decipher. Aggressive mode is one of those times where if you choose to not take the warning you are likely to experience first-hand the cat attack, which could lead to a very nasty cat bite.
Here are some simple steps you can take to identify when a cat is in aggressive mode and how you should address this.
What should I do?
- Check your cat’s body language. Is your cat displaying a defensive posture? Is their tail flicking? Are they scratching or growling? These are all signs of the aggressive mode and the cat attack may be imminent.
- Try to identify where the aggression is stemming from. Is the agression directed towards you? Or is there something else instigating the behaviour. If it the latter this is probably the easiest to rectify by removing that ‘something’ out of the equation.
- If the aggression appears to be towards you, ask yourself, what am I doing right now? What is different? Try to eliminate whatever that is immediately.
- Do not, and I repeat do not, approach your cat and try to comfort them in close proximity. This is the easiest way to end up with a cat bite.
- Try to get them to focus their attention onto something else, such as toys, but keep yourself at a distant. Putting their cat cave in an empty room in the house where they can be alone and quiet is also a great idea. Somewhere they can work off the aggression in their own time.
- Do not under any circumstances pull out the treats! This is not a time for praise. We do not want to be rewarding your kitty in any way, shape or form for this behaviour.
Lots of cats suffer from anxiety and fear and this can manifest in many ways. You can be sure Anxiety can instigate a cats need to bite. If you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time you end up being the unfortunate victim of the cat attack. In some cats, anxiety symptoms are very clear and you can pinpoint exactly where that fear is coming from.
A typical example of this is loud, unexpected and unfamiliar noises such as fireworks or a balloon popping. Some cats are fearful of the hoover and others don’t like direct sprays such as deodorant or hairsprays being used.
This is probably the easiest level of anxiety to manage. You can pinpoint the cause and eliminate, for the most part, the root cause. However, some cats experience extreme anxiety that stays with them every day and is a cause for concern. Cats that are fearful are very likely to bite and this can often lead to severe cat bite infections. So how can I stop the cat bite?
What should I do?
- Providing a soft, warm blanket for your kitty is very comforting and soothing. They can wrap themselves up and drown out some of the sounds and noises that are bothering them and go into full relaxation mode.
- Cat caves are also a great way to give your cat the ability to shut off from the world and to feel safe and secure. Why not also try placing the cat cave in a quiet room in the house away from others to give them that added privacy and security.
- One of the best ways we’ve found to deal with a cat that suffers anxiety is to use plug in diffuser sprays. Feliway do a great range of calming products for cats and the diffusers are one of their best selling products. The diffusers emit pheromones that are soothing to you cat and mimic your cat’s natural pheromones.
- Cat bites can be completely avoided when handling your kitty correctly. Make sure you always check your cat’s body language and act accordingly.
- Never give treats to your cat if they are exhibiting bad behaviour and biting you. This will encourage your kitty to continue with this behaviour. At the same time, absolutely do reward them if they have shown you the desired behaviour you are looking for.
- Never approach an aggressive cat directly. This is the easiest way to get bitten and you could end up with an unpleasant cat bite infection.
- If you’re worried about your cats biting behavior it is advisable to visit your vet for some further advice. They also want your cat to stay happy, healthy, and calm as much as you do.