Behavioral problems

Why does your Cat Bite you?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Why does your Cat Bite you?

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Those who have had cats know that their behavior can be complex: Sometimes you encounter a loving cat, an independent cat or even a cat that bites - or all behaviors in the same cat!

There isn't a single reason that explains all bites. Therefore, in this AnimalWised article we're going to look at why does your cat bite you, analyzing the different possible situations in order to help you find a solution or an answer to your question.

Read on and find out once and for all why does your cat bite you?, along with the possible causes and solutions.


  1. Get to know your cat
  2. Biting caused by social interaction
  3. Biting during playtime
  4. Affectionate biting
  5. Biting out of fear
  6. Other situations

Get to know your cat

Each cat has a specific and unique personality. For this reason, not all cats will appreciate the same gestures or respond in the same way to social communication, whether with us or with others.

You should make an effort to understand what your cat likes and doesn't like, how you should touch it and what are its favorite areas of the body to be touched.

Why does your Cat Bite you? - Get to know your cat

Biting caused by social interaction

While some cats adore being endlessly stroked behind the ears or on their back, others will detest it. Does this sound like your problem? You should learn to communicate with your cat and interpret whether or not it is angry, or if it is simply warning you to stop touching it in that area.

If you are relaxed and stroking your cat, and it suddenly bites your hand, then something is wrong - you've overdone it. In such a situation, the best thing will be to keep still and wait for the cat to divert its attention to something else. Stop stroking it and try to maintain a calm and tranquil atmosphere. This may sometimes happens when a cat is licking you and then bites you, as it may be part of their grooming session.

It is important for you to focus on your cat's body language, especially if it usually bites out of the blue. If you pay attention you will know if your cat is genuinely angry or if it is a simple warning telling you to stop bothering it.

Why does your Cat Bite you? - Biting caused by social interaction

Biting during playtime

Many people teach their kittens to play very actively with their hands, cat toys and many other items. If you reward this behavior, especially with hands, you will be encouraging your adult cat to intentionally harm you in the future without it realizing if it hurts you or not.

If you couldn't prevent it and your adult cat is now showing this behavior during playtime, you should try to change it. To do it, always use toys - and never hands - to play with your pet, something which you can positively reinforce with cat treats and snacks.

Some toys like dusters or balls with bells divert your cat's attention because of their appearance or sound, and you should begin the process with these.

Why does your Cat Bite you? - Biting during playtime

Affectionate biting

Perhaps you have a wonderful relationship with your cat, and this is maybe why you're wondering "why does my cat bite me?" - it simply comes down to love.

Maybe you haven't experienced this before, but sometimes cats tend to chew on your legs, arms and hands when they are in a happy situation: When you put food out for them, when you stroke them, and so on.

These bites are usually minor and painless (although they might hurt when the cat is particularly excited?) and usually occur as a result of the great energy and excitement that they want to express. In this situation, you should reduce the amount you stroke it, or even stop altogether. Also, if your cat doesn't bite while playing a game, reward it with cat treats so it can learn faster and behave how you want.

Why does your Cat Bite you? - Affectionate biting

Biting out of fear

Cats can bite if they feel scared, threatened, or endangered. Although they generally tend to use their claws, they also resort to biting. Identifying a scared cat is really easy: Its ears are pinned back, there's hissing, stereotypical behaviors, etc.

Why does your Cat Bite you? - Biting out of fear

Other situations

There are cases in which you will not able to identify why your cat bites you. It is then when you should turn to specialists such as ethologists, vets specialized in animal behavior.

It is important to know that an aggression problem should be solved as soon as possible, especially if you never know if your cat is going to attack or not. Although a cat is a small animal, it can cause a lot of harm; don't waste any time and fix the problem quickly.

Why does your Cat Bite you? - Other situations

If you want to read similar articles to Why does your Cat Bite you?, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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1 comment
MaryAnn Lamb
My cat has had this problem since I got her. She's 3 years old.
Today, out of the blue she attacked my right arm, biting and scratching.
It is very painful. My arm looks awful. This is not the first time. Is there anything that I can do??
Administrador AnimalWised

We have this related article which might also be helpful for you:

The main way to stop the cat from biting is finding out why they do it in the first place. Hopefully, the information in these articles will be useful.
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Why does your Cat Bite you?