Kitty teeth are sharp and cat bites are no fun. To protect yourself from injury and put a stop to the unwanted behavior, it’s important to understand the cause of your cat’s biting. Here are a few different reasons your cat may be biting you, and how to prevent them.
Kittens enjoy playing from an early age, and it’s a normal behavior that gives them the opportunity to develop their coordination and problem-solving skills. Playing is also a social activity in which kittens can interact and develop appropriate behaviors with members of their own species. Engaging in rough play, which includes swatting, scratching, and biting, is all in good fun and normal for a kitten. However, that behavior is undesirable when aggressive play is directed towards you or another (human) family member.
How to stop play biting:
Some pet parents call it “love biting,” but feline behaviorists have coined the term “petting-induced aggression” to describe a behavior that is not well understood. According to Vetstreet, some cats may have a status-induced aggression which gives them the desire to control a situation. While being petted at length, Vetstreet says there may be a “neurologically significant negative stimulus” that affects certain cats. Through subtle body language, they try to communicate that they are unhappy with the situation, however these cues are often missed, which results in what appears to be a quick change in attitude.
How to stop “love” bites:
Cats may use biting as a form of communication when they want something. Instead of meowing, your cat might give a nip when he wants food, access to another room, or when the litter box is full. This type of biting is distinguished by your cat’s behavior to try to lead you in the direction of what he wants, or if he meows immediately after the bite.
How to stop this type of biting:
If your cat continues to bite, even after trying the tips offered above, you can “punish” him with a humane negative stimulus. As soon as he bites, a sudden clap of your hands or a quick squirt from a spray bottle will startle your cat and tell him that biting results in an unpleasant experience. Another option is to release a short burst of air from an air canister. However, you will need to carry your canister or spray bottle with you at all times until you’re confident the behavior has stopped.
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