How to Stop Biting Cats

Next to litter box misses, biting cats are one of the biggest behavioral problem for their owners. Most cat owners do not understand this behavior among their cats thus they tend to fail to deal with it properly. Many feel that biting the cat back is a good way to discourage this behavior, but usually end up receiving a second bite or a lovely scratch or two in return.

One of the best ways to stop biting cats is to never allow the behavior in the first place. Using your hand or foot as a ‘spider’ or other type of monster while playing with your kitten lets her know that attacking and biting is acceptable. Little teeth become big teeth and a cat who is taught to play this way as a kitten will usually want to play the same game in adulthood. My husband played with our female cat when she was young by rubbing his foot on her stomach until she attacked. Now fully grown, she will still periodically lay on the floor near his foot and bite and scratch it. He yells and I smile sweetly and mention that I told him that it was a bad idea ages ago.

Always be aware of your cat’s body language. If she is laying comfortably on your lap while you are petting her, pay attention to what she is trying to say. When she has had enough or you have touched a sensitive area, she will give warning before the impending bite. Signals will include a flattening of the ears, a flick of the tail and her head will turn towards your hand. When you notice this happening, stop the petting immediately. If you are still unsure, stand up to force her to jump down.

Cats who are stalking pretend prey will also bite. Again, body language will tell you everything. Before attacking, she will crouch down, flatten her ears, her pupils will dilate and she will swish her tail or wiggle her bum. Although this is only her way of honing her skills, the attacks can hurt if you are the target. If you see her preparing to pounce, divert her attention by rolling a toy across the floor or placing a stuffed animal between you and the cat. Allow your cat to wrestle and play with the toy and praise her. Another great cat toy is one that you can pull along the floor and let your kitty run after it.

If your cat does bite your hand, yell “Oww” or “No”. This will usually surprise her and she will let go. Pushing your hand towards her as opposed to pulling it away, as prey would do when trying to escape, is another way to make her let go easier. After you have your hand back, walk away from the cat and ignore her.

By being persistent and always discouraging or redirecting the behavior, biting cats soon quit using you as their main target.