One minute you’re petting your cat and having a nice moment; the next, they’re biting you. Why is that? A cat play biting is nothing to be alarmed about, but it’s not ideal for you. Keep reading about cats and biting.
Different Types Of Cat Biting
Why do cats bite? It’s one form of communication for them. It’s up to us, as their cat owners, to read their body language and determine why they’re biting.
Cats can bite for several reasons. One instance is when you’re petting your kitty, and they suddenly bite your hand or arm. They’re not being mean but simply saying that they’ve had enough.
While petting your cat, learn their body language and know the signs of when to stop before they get to the point of biting.
Alternatively, your cat may be biting out of aggression. You’ll know it’s from a place of fear or frustration when your cat bites hard, hisses, scratches, and has a defensive stance.
To avoid this behavior, figure out your cat’s triggers and help them avoid those situations.
Sometimes, a cat will act out of instinct and aggressively bite, so you’ll need to teach them that’s not okay. A great way to do this is to have wand toys on hand to distract them from biting you. It’ll also remind them that they’re in a safe place.
Finally, cat play biting is another form. This type of biting is entirely natural. However, you can discourage this cat behavior.
Cats Biting During Play
First, you might wonder why your cat nips you. It’s a question every cat parent asks because it’s common. A cat biting during play is nothing more than instinct. Some overstimulation might be involved.
Adult biting cats or kittens could be nothing more than their natural behavior. However, knowing why and how to stop it is all part of general cat care.
When your kitty bites you during play, they’re more or less telling you, “let’s play more!”
Cats are natural predators. They bite and bunny kick while playing with their littermates as young kittens. They’ll also do this to their mother.
This type of play is how the cat stalk, pounce, grab and bite its prey in the wild.
Except, they’re not in the wild. They’re pets. But cats don’t necessarily realize that. So instead, they’ll view their pet parents as their “mother” or even their littermate, practicing these moves on you.
By play biting with their siblings, they’ll learn how hard it is too hard when roughhousing. Kittens learn to reign in their bites. If they bite too hard, their sibling will yowl in pain, and their mother will disciple them.
Instinct is one of the reasons why kittens don’t leave their mother until they’re at least eight weeks old. But, if they’re separated from their mother too early, maybe issues can arise. One of them is that the cat never learns the proper way to play or behave.
How To Stop A Cat From Biting
Even though play biting is harmless behavior (to the cat, anyway), it’s still not your preferred behavior. Humans don’t want their arms to be punctured by tiny kitten fangs. So, how do you redirect this instinct? The answer is cat training.
Shop For Cat Toys And Products
Playing with toys doesn’t sound like training, does it? Well, for cats, it is. Using cat toys, such as wands, crinkle balls, or play mice, are excellent ways to teach your kitten how to play properly.
You should introduce these types of toys to your feline friend from a young age. Never allow them to play with your hands or feet. It’s cute at first, but it sends a message to your kitty that your arms and legs are toys and can be “hunted.”
Instead, set aside time daily to play with your cat and its toys. Show them how to play correctly; they can hunt for their play mice and stalk the wands.
Sometimes, your cat will get your hand or foot. If that happens, firmly say “no” and walk away.
This will teach your cat that you don’t like that type of play over time. Also, it mimics their littermates from yowling in pain and not playing anymore.
However, keep in mind that this is still instinct to them. No matter how much you train and teach them, they may bite play from time to time. In some cases, they won’t be able to help it. You can lessen the number of times they do it, though.
Don’t Pull Away From A Hard Grip
Walking away is best for showing your cat that you don’t like that type of play. However, sometimes cats are too fast and overstimulated.
When that happens, they’ll grab your arm and foot and not let go. They shouldn’t break the skin if they don’t get too carried away. So, remain calm and still.
Cats are visual, and pulling your hand away too quickly will only reinforce their hunting instinct. On the other hand, if you remain still, they’ll slow their hunting and stop biting.
When they stop, gently pull your hand away and walk away.
Reinforce Gentle Play
When your cat is playing gently with you or their toys, now is the time to give them positive praise.
Pets, treats, and calm verbal praise is excellent. All of this shows your cat that they’re playing safely.
Question Corner: FAQs About Cat Play Biting
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, read through the frequently asked questions answered below.
What Are Cat Love Bites?
A love bite often begins with your cat licking or grooming you. Then they suddenly nip you. They won’t break the skin, and often this is because they’re trying to get to a specific area on your skin to help keep it clean. It may not be ideal for you, but your kitty is only trying to do you a favor.
Have Fun With Your Cat
Never punish or yell at your cat if they begin to bite too hard. It’s instinct to them, and sometimes they get carried away or overstimulated. Instead, with positive reinforcement and proper play techniques, you and your feline friend should have a lot of fun together.
Rachel Poli is a content writer and author, but her real job is being a stay-at-home pet mom. Her zoo currently consists of a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two fish tanks. She’s also an avid pet sitter for a few local families, caring for various animals.
After realizing how little information there is for pet sitters on the internet, Rachel decided to start her own animal website. She strives to educate pet parents and pet sitters about the overall care of our furry friends.