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Why Does My Cat Bite Me? Causes and Solutions

cat biting me

Feline aggression is a problem that worries many guardians, so it is common for those who live in this situation to ask themselves “why does my cat bite me” and above all, what can they do to solve it effectively and get calmer behavior in their cats. Do you also have a biting cat?

Changing the behavior of the cat is a slow process that requires a lot of patience on the part of the guardian, good management and the application of appropriate guidelines. In the most severe cases, it may be necessary to give the cat tranquilizers or pain relievers, especially when the levels of stress and aggression are so high that they endanger the well-being of the individual and everyone; household members (for example, when there are young children at home and the situation poses serious risks).

In this article Why does my cat bite me? Causes and solutions, we will talk in detail about the reasons why a cat bites or nibbles its guardian, explaining the causes that can cause the appearance of aggression in cats, what to do when it happens and above all: how this behavioral problem should be dealt with effectively. Indeed, a biting cat can have several meanings and the treatment will always depend on the cause.

Why is My Cat Biting Me

To answer your question “why does my cat randomly bite me”, whether it be the feet, the hand, the calves or the hair, it is essential to review how the character of the cat is forged and how it forges aggressiveness or related behaviors.

We must know that felines are not aggressive animals in themselves, in fact, this behavior can be caused by a genetic predisposition, by learning, that is to say, negative experiences and traumas or we can also talk about errors in the kitten’s socialization process.

To solve this problem of cat behavior effectively it is necessary to identify what is the cause, the reason for the fact that your cat bites you, by correctly differentiating the behaviors related to the game of fear, intolerance to handling, redirected aggression or pain. It is also important to identify the exciting stimuli that trigger aggressive behaviors, such as loud and sharp noises, the appearance of people at home, abnormal smells, the presence of dogs and other unexpected situations.

We will now go over the most common causes that can cause a cat to bite in this article. 

My Cat Bites Me When I Pet It

This is a very common problem, especially when the body language of cats and the meaning of certain postures are unknown. It manifests itself in the following way: we pet our cat, which apparently is relaxed and calm, until it suddenly turns around and bites our hands, with more or less force, grabbing them with its front paws. While this may surprise more than one distracted person, the truth is that, with his body, the cat has shown us that it will bite before doing so. Whether with tail movements or ear movements, the cat warned us that it would bite us. 

But why does my cat bite me when I pet it? And also why does my cat bite me when I stop petting him? While we find some cats who like the endless caresses on their ears or their back, others will hate them. So, this behavior is usually a warning to stop touching that area, usually the belly, though. Some cats experience a feeling of relaxation and well-being so pleasant that they feel vulnerable and decide to attack as if to defend themselves.

The ideal way to prevent the cat from attacking is by doing short caresses and reinforcing these with voice or rewards (small cookies or others) so that your cat perceives caresses as something pleasant, where he must feel safe. In any case, we will avoid shouting or scolding him, as this could cause him to associate the caresses in a negative way.

My Cat Bites Me When We Play

Especially in cats that have been adopted prematurely, we observe aggressive behaviors linked to play. We must know that kittens learn good social behaviors with their siblings and their mother, who teaches them the limits of play or bite. In his absence, the cat does not learn to manage it properly and bites you unwittingly.

This can also happen when people are playing very actively (and even abruptly) with their cat, using their hands or feet, while the ideal way is always to use a toy as an intermediary to prevent injuries. One of the most recommended accessories in this sense is the fishing rod for cats.

In other cases, cats are overexcited, usual in kittens and young cats, and even attack the calves and feet when we cross the corridor. At first, guardians find this behavior very funny, when the kitten is still small, and unconsciously reinforce it with kind words and positive situations. Later, when the cat is adult, it will have the habit of biting when you play with it.

Another important aspect to work in this type of active aggression will be environmental enrichment since this behavior can be due to the frustration of a house without stimulation or to the prolonged absence of guardians. We can offer toys that we will vary, cat trees or daily play sessions with our cat.

How To Prevent a Cat From Biting

Especially when the behavior of the cat does not improve, worsens or when the bites and injuries are serious (or target a child), it is very important to consult a specialist, preferably a veterinarian specialized in ethology.

First, the professional will rule out a possible hormonal or health problem by means of diagnostic tests, such as a blood test. In addition, through a questionnaire and/or home visits he will provide a diagnosis, personalized guidelines and even a behavior modification plan. He may also prescribe medications to improve the well-being of your cat and ensure gradual improvement.

It is important to tackle the problem of  “why does my cat bite me” as soon as possible because the longer we wait, the more likely it is to become chronic and the more difficult to treat. In some cases, the problem may never be resolved. In all cases, it is the veterinarian who offers us a prognosis. Our job will be to follow the directions of the professional and to be very patient because it is a work that takes time.