Why Cats Bite and How to Prevent It

Brown and white cat biting a person's hand

Cats can bite for many different causes. Adult cats bite to show dominance, ward off threats, or get attention. It's natural for kittens to bite, chew, and paw items as they investigate their environment. Although a kitten bite could be amusing, an adult cat bite can be uncomfortable. Allowing a cat, regardless of age, to bite as frequently as they choose might result in subsequent unpleasant bites for the owner and increase the chance of persuading your cat to do anything, such as taking medicine or visiting the clinic.

Cats may be trained to utilize soft, non-claw paws and to reduce the force of their bites. Your cat may still nip at you, play-smack you with a soft paw, and engage in other kitty-appropriate play without inflicting any injuries.

Why Do Cats Bite?

To stop the biting, it's crucial to recognize that cats and kittens may bite for quite varied causes. An for a different reason than a kitten, who often bites due to socializing problems.

Through interactions with their mother and other kittens, kittens learn appropriate behavior; other cats won't tolerate being harmed. These crucial skills must be taught to kittens by their owners since they frequently move to other homes before learning them. Cat-speak explanations that mimic a mother's would be necessary for kittens to understand that their fangs and claws hurt.

As soon as you have your kitten or cat, start training them. The best teachings are imparted to kittens by a socialized adult cat who is familiar with the conventions of cat play. Additionally, kittens may bite to express a desire, investigate their surroundings, or have their teeth cleaned.

For adult cats, there may be a few reasons for biting:

  • It could be to assert or respond to a threat. If a cat bites and then doesn't back down, this could be the case.
  • Some cats bite to stop unwanted actions or behaviors by humans or other animals, especially if this was effective in the past. For example, if they previously bit while having their nails trimmed and then the nail trimming stopped, they may have learned that is an effective tool.
  • Some cats bite as a form of communication or demand for attention. Instead of meowing, they bite. If a cat nips you and then tries to lead you to an activity, such as playing with a toy, this could be the reason.

How to Stop Biting

There are certain methods you can attempt, even if you can't guarantee your cat won't bite again. Your approach will probably need to be customized based on your cat's age (older cats respond differently than kittens) and the cause of the bite (dominance assertion versus communication).

  • Maintain consistent responses and make sure that all family members and visitors follow the same rules. If the cat gets mixed messages, it will be harder for you to enact your training.
  • Never allow your kitten or cat to play with your bare hands, fingers, or toes. All cats should be taught that hands are not toys. If you offer your hands as toys, you're encouraging a risky habit.
  • Offer an for the cat to bite. Stuffed animals are a hit with many cats. There should be a variety of toys (at least three) available so your cat does not get bored. Toys that dispense treats are a great way to keep their environment enriched and encourage appropriate play behavior by rewarding play with appropriate objects.
  • Continually and gently praise your cat for soft paws (claws withheld) or a soft mouth, saying, "," or "good mouth!" If the claws come out or the mouthing hurts, make a noise and pull your hand away just as another cat or kitten would to stop the games. Use this as a distraction to stop the behavior, not as a punishment.
  • If your cat bites and won't let go, grit your teeth and push your hand and arm in toward the bite to prompt your cat to release you. Pulling away from the bite stimulates it to bite even more. Additionally, you should treat your clothing as an extension of your skin and make it off-limits, or your cat won't learn the difference between clawing your jeans and nailing your bare legs.
  • Train replacement behavior. For example, if your cat becomes overexcited and attacks your feet when you walk into a room, teach him to sit and reward him for it. Then, when you come into a room, he will want to sit to get a reward. You can clicker train by pairing a reward like food with a click from a clicker. Eventually, your cat will learn to associate the click with the reward and food treats will no longer be necessary.
  • Avoid physical punishment, which only makes cats more aroused and more likely to fight back and protect themselves or engage in rough play.

How to Treat a Cat Bite

Both you and other animals are at risk from cat bites. They need to be treated very away since they can result in dangerous infections. Visit a doctor as soon as possible if a cat bit you. Up to 75% of cat bites transmit dangerous germs into the body, such as Pasteurella, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus species. Cat bites can potentially spread cat scratch fever, which is caused by the Bartonella henselae bacterium.

Signs of infection may manifest in a couple of hours and are particularly risky for hands, joints, and tendons. Take immediate action if a cat bites you:

  • Flush out the bacteria from the cat bite by pressing on the wound. This could cause more bleeding, but will also help to force the bacteria out of the body.
  • Thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water. Use a clean cloth to wipe the wound.
  • See a doctor, who will likely examine and rewash the wound. She may prescribe antibiotics, stitch the wound if necessary, and administer a tetanus booster vaccine if yours is out of date.

Follow the doctor's instructions for aftercare and keep the wound area tidy. If you see any infection-related symptoms, such as redness, leaking, swelling, discomfort, or fever, call your doctor again very soon.

  • Why is my cat biting me?

    Cats bite for so many reasons: they could be overstimulated or showing affection; if they're babies, they could be teething; they could be depressed or scared, or they could be angry or sick.

  • Why do cats knead and bite blankets?

    Cats knead and bite blankets for a variety of reasons, but the most frequent is to comfort themselves or to unwind after an activity. They also engage in it when they are joyful and want to drift off. They are kneading and biting like they were feeding kittens.

  • Why do cats love bite?

    According to veterinarians, cats frequently bite when they are overstimulated. Perhaps they've had enough of your attention and playtime? Love stings. Love bites alert you to give your cat some alone time since they are never severe enough to break the skin and are never followed by hissing or growling.

  • Why do cats bite each other on the neck?

    Cats bite each other on their necks for several reasons: dominance, during mating, and play. It's nothing to worry about so long as they are not hurting each other.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.