We host frequent Live Q&A sessions on social media and it’s crazy how many people ask about why their cats bite them. Our cats may give love nibbles from time to time if we are playing with them with our hands (which we don’t recommend), but they never bite us hard. So, of course, we had to research all the reasons why cats bite their people. Most every reason why a kitty would bite you falls into one of three categories.
Why Would A Kitty Bite You?
- Fear. Cats that are anxious are fearful. One of a feline’s protective mechanisms is their teeth. In the wild cats will attack if they are scared of someone or something and our kitties instinctively do the same. In fact, just this weekend our neighbors took their cat to the vet for the first time in 6 years and he bit the vet tech when she tried to restrain him. While most people who work in the veterinarian industry know how to properly treat cats that come in, this one clearly did not. Cats smell fear and take on the fear of those around them. If your cats are in a stressful situation or if you’re attempting to handle them while under stress yourself, you might get bit. Understanding your cat’s personality and signs of stress will help you avoid this situation.
- Dominance. Sometimes cats will feel the need to show their superiority or they’ll bite to tell us to stop. This often happens when a kitty has had enough of you petting him and will let you know by biting. Most cats will not bite their loved ones hard in a show of dominance, but younger kitties may not know their limits just yet.
- Attention. This is very common with kittens. Kittens have a lot of energy and they need to play a LOT. If you aren’t playing with your kittens enough they may bite your ankles as a way to start playtime. If this is happening, I suggest picking up a wand toy and engaging in play with them. Using your hands or feet as toys will only encourage the biting. Redirecting the unwanted biting with a positive reinforcement like a toy is a great way to train your cat to not bite you!
It’s worth mentioning that cats who are declawed will also use their teeth for defense. After all, it’s the only defense mechanism they have left if they’ve been amputated at their fingers. Please never declaw your cat.