Why Do Cats Bite Their Owners?

Jade Augustine

It's in their nature. Sometimes cats will bite. It's often in response to fear or feeling threatened, but some cats will bite for seemingly no reason.

Yet, the cat always knows why it is biting, and there are plenty of reasons a cat may bite. It's important to understand the reasons behind a cat's bite to help them stop their damaging behavior.

Photo by Crina Doltu from Pexels

What Are Some Reasons A Cat Bites?

A cat may bite for any of the following reasons:

  • Overstimulation
  • Communication
  • Fear
  • Irritation
  • A desire to play
  • Stress

It may be easy to identify if a cat wants to play, but it might not necessarily be easy to tell if your cat is stressed. A cat owner needs to remember that a cat will bite to communicate.

Respect Your Overstimulated Cat

Many cats will bite as a response to overstimulation. Your cat may love being pet, but if you notice signs such as dilated pupils, the swishing of the tail, or flattened ears, then it's time to stop petting and let your cat just be for a little bit.

If you keep petting an overstimulated cat, you have a high chance of being bitten.

Make Sure Your Cat Does Not Bite You When Playing

Using your hands or feet as toys for your cat will naturally make them believe that biting you is an acceptable form of play. It is not. If your cat is consistently biting you out of an urge to play, the best thing to do is to redirect them to an appropriate toy such as a laser pointer or a string. If, during play, your cat suddenly chooses to bite you instead of the toy, cease playing for the time being. If necessary, you may need to put the overstimulated cat in a room by itself for a few minutes until it calms down.

Never Physically Punish Your Cat

If you try to fight your cat's aggressive behavior with more aggression, your cat will likely fight back. This teaches her that fighting is acceptable behavior. This is especially true if your cat learns that using its teeth and claws is the only way to get you to respect their space.

Instead of physical punishment, you can use several different techniques to show your cat that you will not tolerate biting.

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Biting?

If you're expecting your cat never to bite again, you'll need to manage your expectations. Cats will bite for many different reasons. Biting is often a way that a cat tries to communicate with you for one reason or another. What you want to stop is habitual biting.

Some cats respond to a high-pitched squeal in response to a bite. Your cat may recognize that they're hurting you, and they'll want to stop the behavior. Do not return aggression with aggression.

If the cat doesn't respond to your declaration of pain, then the next best thing you can do after receiving a cat bite is to get up and ignore the cat. Once they figure out that biting doesn't work for them, they'll likely try to find another way to let you know what they need.

How Do I Get A Biting Cat To Let Go?

When a cat is biting you and won't let go, the natural response is to pull away, which only makes the cat's grip even more dangerous. Instead of trying to tear your arm or your foot away from your cat's teeth and claws, push your limb towards their mouth. This behavior will likely make the cat release its grip.

Cats can be mysterious creatures, but the truth is, cats do often alert us of their needs and desires. We just have to tune into them on their level and listen.

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Jade Augustine is a writer from Fort Collins, Colorado. She is passionate about cats, dogs, entertainment, vegan food, and traveling.

Fort Collins, CO

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