Cats are very special creatures. They have their own habits and their own personalities that sometimes seem a world away from dog’s personalities. Sometimes these differences make it difficult to interpret cat behavior. One piece of cat behavior is biting people. This can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous behavior. But there is hope and it starts with understanding why cats bite people.
When It Happens
The first step to changing the biting behavior is to understand why it happens. Pay attention to when your cat is biting you. Are they trying to get your attention? Is it during playtime? Does it happen when you get home from work after they have been left alone all day? Once you recognize the time, you can take steps to avoid or correct the behavior.
Cats can be aggressive, but often the biting is just meant to be playful. One big clue is noise. Cats are generally pretty quiet when they are playing, but noisy with hissing and growling when the aggression is real. Biting may also be a way to tell you something or get your attention.
How To Make It Stop
Don’t use your hands or feet as toys. By using hands and feet as toys, you are encouraging your cat to bite them. It can be difficult for the cat to determine when it is okay to bite you and when it is not okay to bite. So much easier for the cat if they just aren’t allowed to bite you at all.
Too rough during playtime.If playtime gets too rough, stop immediately and turn your back to the cat or leave the room. It can take time for the cat to learn, but if done consistently, your cat will make the connection that biting ends playing. And your cat wants to play.
Bring in toys. Have a wide variety of toys to use and watch which kind your cat enjoys the most. Most cats like to bat balls and mice and like to stalk things. They also enjoy a variety of new things to explore, like bags and boxes. Cat grabbing at your feet as you walk by? Try carrying toys that you can easily toss out to distract the cat.
Play with your cat.Seems pretty straight forward, right? You may come home from work late and tired, but your cat has just been home alone all day and is probably bored. Play with your cat for ten minutes per day, twice a day. This will help strengthen your bond and will allow your cat to burn energy.
Handle your cat properly.Some cats do not like certain behaviors, like rubbing the ears or reaching over them. If you see that you are consistently attacked when reaching over your cat, change your behavior. In this case, your cat is telling you it is unhappy with what you are doing. Pay attention to the cat’s behavior and adjust your own accordingly.
Outdoor enclosures can be fun. If you have the available space and materials, consider building an outdoor enclosure for your cat. Put in lots of branches and things to explore, climb, and jump on. Cats are curious by nature and letting them be in a controlled outdoor setting can help some of the anxiety and restlessness that can buildup.
Yes, cats bite. It is in their nature during play and during aggression to bite. But you can modify that behavior to bite only the things that are acceptable, like toys. Start the training as soon as you get your cat and be consistent with the training. No biting hands and feet, use time-outs when playtime gets too rough, and handle your cat properly are keys to changing the problem behavior. When biting is under control, you and your cat will have a happier relationship and more fun times can be on the horizon.