Behavioral problems

Teaching your Cat not to Bite

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Teaching your Cat not to Bite

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Cats have many virtues. They are very smart animals, and, in general, very affectionate. However, they may have unpleasant behaviors, such as biting and scratching, habits that certain cats and kittens tend to practice while playing with them.

Although many cat owners tolerate these loving bites, it should not be forgotten that this behavior can lead to uncomfortable situations with guests, especially if there are children involved. That is why, in this AnimalWised article, we'll give you some of the best tips for teaching your cat not to bite.

You may also be interested in: Why does your Cat Bite you?
  1. Why do some cats bite?
  2. Teaching them since they're kittens
  3. How to avoid my cat biting me?
  4. Quiet play

Why do some cats bite?

In this article we will focus on the nibbles provided during play time, which are the product of the excitement experienced by cats at this time. This phenomenon is also known as game aggressiveness.

In any case, cats may have aggressive behaviors against people, including bites, for other reasons. We will briefly review those situations below, to help you distinguish game aggressiveness with other behavioral problems. Discover why cats bite their owners:

  • Organic causes: there are diseases that can trigger aggressive behavior in cats, such as hyperthyroidism or feline immunodeficiency virus , for example. Please visit a veterinarian to rule out such processes before starting to treat this behavior as a behavioural issue.
  • Fear: sometimes, cats can react aggressively when they feel threatened. In these cases, cats tend to adopt a clearly defensive attitude, stepping to one side, arching their back and bristling fur. Fear can develop during the stage of a cat's socialization, but they can also acquire fears in their adult stage, due to traumatic experiences, for example.
  • Aggression by game: it's what we'll talk about in this article, clearly differs from previous cases because it occurs while the cat is playing with us, or when you try to encourage them to play, and does not display any other sign of aggressiveness . It usually occurs in cats that are otherwise not aggressive or fearful and do not react violently in these situations.
  • Other causes of aggressiveness: the premature adoption of the cat, the lack of attention by the owners or education may be also responsible for feline aggression, without forgetting the character of each individual.
Teaching your Cat not to Bite - Why do some cats bite?

Teaching them since they're kittens

As in the majority of behavioural problems, best results are obtained if the problem is corrected early, when the cat is still a kitten. Knowing how to educate a kitten is not always easy and takes time and patience.

Small cats are still more playful than in adulthood, and in addition it is very fun to play with them. On the other hand, at this stage, their bites and scratches are less painful than adult cats.

In any case, although although the game seems fun and the cat doesn't harm us, we must be aware that if you do not fix the problem now then it will be more complicated to arrange, so it is advisable to stop the game when the cat bites or scratches, using one of the methods that are described below, and never reward or reinforce this behavior.

How to avoid my cat biting me?

There are several ways to cut this behavior, however, some are more effective and indicated that others. If you want to know how to teach an adult cat not to bite or what to do if your two-month-old cat of 2 bites much, keep reading:

  • The best technique, as usual, is the simplest: stop playing with it when they bite or scratch. To do so, simply hide the hands, for example in the pockets, and ignore him. For a playful cat, putting an end to the game is a severe enough punishment, and it is usually not necessary to do anything else.
  • Rewarding them is also very simple and positive: this must play with the cat and pay attention when they are relaxed, not biting. Through warm words, stroking them or a tasty treat we can strengthen calm and positive game behaviors, something that helps them remember better. Through positive reinforcement, there are more chances that the cat understand and repeat behaviors.
  • Many people, in addition, wonder how to scold a cat when they bite, however, physical punishments are highly discouraged, since, in addition to being unpleasant, they are not effective and can be very damaging, and can aggravated their conduct.
  • Taking the cat from the skin of the neck, as mothers do with their kittens, is a good way to make a cat relax. You can even use special pegs, which do not damage the skin of the animal, and are used for this purpose. However, if your cat is not used to this type of exercise or is already an adult, this method is not recommended.
  • There are those who recommended issuing a sharp cry or sound like a whistle when the cat performs this behavior, on the basis that it is a measure that resembles the sound issued by the mother mother when her kittens bite her, which is none other than a scream. Although it is not contraindicated, if these techniques are used it should be done with care and without abusing them, since they could increase stress, excitement and nervousness in the animal.
  • Just give a whisle or a cry of pain at the very moment the cat bites, without starting to cry or whistling constantly, making the cat nervous, and, incidentally, the neighbors.
Teaching your Cat not to Bite - How to avoid my cat biting me?

Quiet play

Do your cats bite you when playing? Do they bite you hard? Convert a nervous and aggressive game in another relaxed and less damaging one is the aim which should be pursued. It is important to understand that it may take us time to teach a cat and for them to understand it correctly.

For this purpose it is advisable, first of all, not to neglect the cat's entertainment, and if time allows, it is highly recommended to spend some time every day to play with the animal, for around ten and twenty minutes.

It can be interesting to use toys such as the "fishing rod" type or similar to avoid the, doing damage directly to us, moreover, in this way can reinforce them whenever we want it. It is also important to provide the animal with appropriate toys to improve their welfare, such as the kong or intelligence toys.

Finally, as extra tricks, we can make sure we enhance environmental enrichment of our home and even make use of synthetic pheromones.

Teaching your Cat not to Bite - Quiet play

If you want to read similar articles to Teaching your Cat not to Bite, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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What did you think of this article?
I adopted a 3 year old cat, she great except she bite. We have small grandchildren and we will not be able to keep her if she is scratching and biting them. When she bite me its not a hard bite at first but if I don't know what she wants the second bite is a little harder. How to stop this. I know in the morning she wants to be fed, I don't get up a 6am I am retired. But for the most part I don't know what she wants.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Kathy,

Have you tried the tips and techniques provided in the article?
I love my cat
Administrador AnimalWised
It's easy to see why!
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Teaching your Cat not to Bite