Cat Love Bites: Why is my Cat Biting Me?

cat biting
If your cat spontaneously bites you during petting, you may be wondering whether it's anything to worry about. Cats are expressive animals who communicate in many different ways. One of these ways can be through biting. If your cat suddenly bites you, it’s important to consider what they might be trying to tell you. It may not always mean they’re being aggressive.

Cats and their natural instincts.

Cats have survived so successfully in the wild because they are predators. It’s good to remember that even domestic cats still retain these survival and hunting skills. This means pouncing, leaping, clawing, and biting are a natural part of their play. A cat’s natural instincts drive them to keep their hunting skills sharp.


Cats that bite during play.

If a cat bites during playtime, it’s usually because their natural hunting instincts have been stimulated. Many cat toys encourage interaction by directly stimulating a cat’s hunting instincts. Feather wands, laser toys, and toy mice are examples of toys that simulate the hunting of prey.

While many cats enjoy interacting with these types of toys, it can be frustrating for your cat if they never quite catch their target. This may contribute to an aggressive outburst like biting. When playing with your cat, consider where you place body parts such as fingers. Try to teach your cat to play gently through positive reinforcement with praise and treats.
When your cat uses their paws in play, rather than their sharp teeth or claws, reward them so that they will be more likely to repeat this behaviour in the future.


cat sleeping

If a cat bites during playtime, it's usually because their natural hunting instincts have been stimulated.

How to read your cat’s body language.

When you're smooching with your cat and they suddenly bite you, it can come as quite a shock. It’s good to know that this behaviour won’t damage the bond you share with your cat, as your cat is simply trying to tell you something.
One of the common reasons cats bites is simply because they aren’t enjoying themselves when they are being handled. By learning to decipher your cat’s body language, you will be able to see and diffuse any tension that is building early.
Here are some body language signs that your cat might be irritated or angry:

  • - Their body posture becomes tense or rigid
  • - They hold their tail stiffly or curl it around their body
  • - Fur stands up along their back
  • - Ears tense
  • - Ears become flat against their head
  • - They hiss or growl (or even be silent).

It’s good to remember that your cat’s body language and vocalisations are your cat's way of expressing to you how they’re feeling. By putting your cat first and observing their body language and posture, you can adjust the way you respond to your cat in different situations, reducing your chance of being bitten and deepening the bond you share.


Month3 - Cat Bites Hand Infographic

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Meet our expert
Dr Fiona Patterson, Veterinary Advisor
Making the decision to become a veterinarian at just 10 years old, Dr Fiona Patterson has always had an inherent desire to improve the lives of animals.