These days in America 11% more people own pets than they did towards the start of the 1990’s, with cats being the second most popular pet type after dogs. Cats are appreciated as pets for their quirky behaviour, fluffy cuteness, affection and playful behaviour. Of course, cats are animals and so they also have behaviours that are slightly more confusing, or even less palatable which all come with their individuality. One such behaviour is biting, and you may have wondered – why do cats bite?
To help you understand why your kitty bites and what to do about it, we’ve collected lots of useful information on the topic below:
Why Do Cats Bite?
Have you wondered, why do cats bite you? You may wonder why your beloved cat feels the need to show you the sharpness of those carnivore teeth. What did you do to deserve that?
Firstly, don’t worry, it is really normal for cats to bite and actually, it very often isn’t aggressive behaviour. Cats are predators so whilst they can bite out of aggression or even necessity (for killing prey, for example) they can also bite, scratch and pounce as part of their natural instinct. It’s how they express themselves and relate to their environment.
Let’s take a look at all the different reasons your cat might bite with these Q&A’s:
Why Do Cat’s Purr And Then Bite You When You Pet Them?
When you are petting your cat you may find that suddenly they go from purring and bliss, to latching into your hand and wrist with their teeth and claws. It can be quite jarring but it does let you know that your cat is ready for you to stop petting them. The key is to try and look for signs they might be ready for the petting to end. The first sign is flicking of the tail which suggests they are starting to get irritated. They may also give you warning bites. So, for example, if you wonder why do cats bite then lick? This could well be why. It is a warning bite so that you know the cat is annoyed. It could also be they have become stimulated and playful, in which case you can switch the petting to playing, perhaps offering them a kicker toy to release their energy out onto (rather than your arm).
Why Do Cats Bite You When You’re Playing With Them?
If you have wondered why do cats bite their owners during play? It is simply them enacting biting and kicking as they would with their brothers and sisters when they were in the litter. It is also not abnormal to see young lions and big cats enacting this kind of bitey, rough and tumble in packs as a form of affection and play. They may also need to get to the satisfying part of the ‘kill’ with their prey, which is where they catch it and bite it. This is all normal for a cat because playing to them is simply acting out those natural instincts.
What you can do as an owner is provide items like kicker toys and toys they can bite so that they can do this natural behaviour without hurting you.
Why Do Cats Bite Gently?
This is learned behaviour they may have started as kittens and it can often be a sign of affection called a love bite. Why do cats love bite? Why do cats lick and then bite you? It could just be for an extra sign they really like you, or to get extra pets if rubbing up against you or staring at you isn’t working. They may also do this if they are hungry and they know that it gets you to give them food in addition to meowing lots.
Why Do Cats Bite Aggressively?
More often than not cats will just give you a warning bite when they are overexcited. However, cats can bite aggressively and when they do they may squeeze hard with their jaws, growl and fully latch on to the area they are biting. It is more than a nip and tends to be easily identified.
Why do cats bite you aggressively? It can be lots of reasons. They may simply do it as a way to express themselves, in which case they need toys to take out that frustration. It might be that they are stressed in the house, in which case they need more space to escape.
It could be because of other cats in their space, or even in their local environment. The key is to find out why they are acting this way and to never reinforce this behaviour with affection, petting or treats. You should also never physically discipline your cat for biting as they do not respond to this kind of discipline. It simply breaks their bond with you. Cats should only ever be trained with positive reinforcement. You can find some tips on stopping kittens biting here and here.
Do Cats Bite You When They Are In Pain?
If a cat doesn’t usually bite you, but is showing signs that they are angry, especially if you go near a certain part of their body, or if they are making themselves small, hiding, vomiting or limping, they may well be in pain. Out of character biting could well be protective and because your cat is fearful or in pain. In this instance they need immediate veterinary attention.
The trick is to get to know your cats body language, how they play and how they like to connect with you. By doing this, you soon get to know what is normal and abnormal for your cat, and you can then act accordingly with a vet visit, training or other actions.
A Cats Tendency To Bite After Declawing
It is important to note that cats can be more prone to biting after declawing. This can be because the practise leaves them in pain, or because they cannot scratch and so they bite instead. Declawing is an unethical practice banned in many places with many more downsides to it than making your cat more likely to bite.
A Cats Meow Is Usually Worse Than Their Bite
In reality, it is very normal for cats to bite and simply a part of the way they express themselves.
Usually there is a good reason a cat is biting and it can either be trained out of them, avoided with the right environment and routine, moved onto toys or they need to see a vet. As their owner, you’re sure to figure it out for the good of your kitties health and happiness moving forward.