Have you ever just sat down with your cat petting them, and all of a sudden, it turns around and bites you? A lot of people have experienced this sudden mood change and we often wonder “why does my cat bite me”. Especially when you have children around, it might be even more important to understand this behavior so you can get to the root of it and prevent any major biting incidents.
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Why Does My Cat Bite Me?
It’s not easy caring for your cat when you feel like they’re out for blood. Well, they’re not of course, at least not intentionally, but they might bite you all of a sudden without warning. Most of us have come to accept this behavior as common even though we have no idea of why they might do it. We can’t reduce the biting unless we know why.
Don’t Worry, It’s Just Love
Love bites are probably the most commonly known reason behind why cats bite. Most people assume this is why they might get bite marks suddenly when petting their cat. A love bite is basically a gentle bite which lets you know your cat is happy with you. You have to be careful before it evolves into something a little more aggressive though. Sometimes, your cat could also nip at your hand when it is over stimulated. It’s their way of telling you there’s too much going on (visitors or too much action or stimuli in the immediate environment). You might want to try taking a break instead of roughing up your cat.
Play With Me or Hit the Road!
Overstimulation is the next step after the love bite. When those playful nips turn into actual painful chomps, that’s a good sign to let you know that your cat is over stimulated. Basically, there are too many people playing with them, too many sounds, and too much to handle! They just need a break for a while, so as hard as it might be to leave your cute little guy alone, give him some time to calm down.
Playacting or playing is the other route your cat can take if overstimulation isn’t the answer. They might think you want to play! This is a fairly common action since cats are hardwired to attack from time to time. If you’ve suddenly had a cat latch onto your ankles, you know what we’re talking about. They might just be play hunting and not realize they’re being so rough.
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Take Cover! He’s Angry…
Cats might bite for all kinds of reasons, including common ones like being afraid, angry, annoyed, or stressed. These are pretty obvious, but it’s a little difficult to pick out the actual types of aggression that your cat might display when there are a few you need to look out for.
Territorial aggression is wired into cats, although some experience it more strongly than others. Cats might end up fighting one another in your home, or they might even go after you if you get in the middle! This can even happen if your cat feels threatened in some way by another cat, so they may redirect their aggression towards you. In some cases though, aggression towards humans is a product of poor beginnings. Unfortunately, some cats are mistreated before they enter your home or might not have received all the love they deserve. In a new environment and with an unfamiliar person, they might lash out in order to protect themselves. Just be wary if you see your cat’s setting up for battle and give them space if they need.
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You’ve Crossed the Line
It’s hard enough trying to figure out what makes other humans mad, but it can feel just as difficult when trying to understand what has made your cat angry. In the end, it might not be any of the reasons we’ve mentioned. It actually might be our fault! We might not understand it, but it’s possible to cross the line without even realizing it, and to anger your cat unintentionally. Look for the tail flicking, the ears flattening, growling, or their eyes following you like they’re ready to pounce. Maybe take a few steps back if you’re in the line of fire!
Last Resort: The Vet
You might be a little confused still about why your cat is fighting you. If it seems like a sudden change, it might be best to plan a trip to the vet. Your vet can perform a physical examination and x-rays to find out if anything is wrong. There might be arthritis in the spine or limbs, explaining why they growl or hiss when picked up. There can also be neurological conditions that lead to sudden pain in the spine or tail. The skin over the spine will ripple if this is the case.
Keep in mind though that going to the vet and giving your pet medication should be what you do only when you truly don’t know what else could be bothering your cat. There’s nothing wrong with going to the vet just to be sure of course, but don’t give your cat any medication until you’re completely sure.
Training My Cat Not to Bite
There are many solutions to the problems we’ve listed above and those are all fine solutions that it might be necessary to look into, but you can also train your cat not to bite you. This is all about letting your cat know that biting is unacceptable.
First off: don’t ever hit your cat! Making them afraid of you won’t help anything. When they do bite, shout something to let them know and just walk away. “Ouch” and “No” are always good options. They’ll learn that you won’t play if they’re too rough.
Keep an eye out for warning signs too. If they flatten their ears and start swiping at you, take a step back and give them some space. Their tail might start wagging and the hair on their tail might start to puff out or stand. Their body might tense up and you might notice them squirming or see their skin twitching. Your cat’s eyes usually look dilated when they’re having fun but if you notice a change in that ie. they move their head and eyes towards you, then it’s a message to step back.
Lastly, praise your cat for good behavior. Treats go a long way whether your cat is an adult or a kitten! It’s best though to start training as a kitten if you can and to tell them when they do something wrong so they’ll learn. We know that it’s hard to say no to that cute little face, but stay strong! It’ll make things easier in the long-run.
Why does my cat bite me when all I want to do is pet him? It’s a tough question for sure, but there are actually many reasons that might influence your cat’s sudden aggression. Most of us don’t know too much about them, but once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s actually pretty easy to fix it. Try to understand that when your cat bites or scratches, it is actually built into their natural instincts. You can help by expanding its energy through play. Train your cat not to bite and you won’t need to look at those bite marks for too much longer.