Why Do Cats Bite?

What Causes Cats To Bite A Person?

The truth is that cats, I’m talking about house cats in particular, only bite whenever they are scared or injured. Or are just plain irritated. Most often, when cats bite they are trying to tell you that they aren’t enjoying the contact that they are currently receiving. For felines, there is a very fine line between enjoyable handling and irritating petting, so while an owner may think a bite has come from nowhere, for a cat the action is entirely justified.

Biting Is Normal For Kittens!

Biting and mouthing is a normal behavior in kittens. Because cats mouth and paw objects to explore their world, it’s natural for them to bite. But kitties can learn to inhibit the force of their bites and to use soft paws without claws. Your cat can still nibble and play-smack you with a soft paw and enjoy a kitty-correct game without drawing blood. 

Cats and kittens may bite for very different reasons, and it’s important to distinguish between them to help curb the biting. A kitten usually bites because of a socialization issue, while an adult cat may bite for a different reason. Kittens develop good manners through interaction with other kittens and their mother; other cats won’t put up with being hurt. Too often kittens go to new homes before they’ve learned these important lessons and their owners need to teach them. Kittens don’t know that teeth and claws hurt unless you explain it in kitty language the way a mother would. 

For adult cats, there may be a few reasons for biting:

1. It could be to assert dominance or respond to a threat. If a cat bites and then doesn’t back down, this could be the case.

2. Some cats bite to stop unwanted action or behaviors by humans or other animals, especially if this was effective in the past. For example if they previously bit while having their nails trimmed and then the nail trimming stopped, they may have learned that is an effective tool.

3. Some cats bite as a form of communication or a demand for attention. Instead of meowing, they bite. If a cat nips you and then tries to lead you to an activity, such as playing with a toy, this could be the reason.

Can This Biting Behaviour Be Stopped?

While you may not be able to prevent your cat from ever biting again, there are some techniques you can try. You’ll likely have to tailor your response to the age of your cat (older cat versus kitten) and the reason for the biting (dominance assertion versus communication).

  • Maintain consistent responses and make sure that all family members and visitors follow the same rules. If the cat gets mixed messages, it will be harder for you to enact your training.
  • Never allow your kitten or cat to play with your bare hands, fingers, or toes. All cats should be taught that hands are not toys. If you offer your hands as toys, you’re encouraging a risky habit. 
  • Offer an appropriate, interactive toy for the cat to bite. Stuffed animals are a hit with many cats. There should be a variety of toys (at least three) available so your cat does not get bored. Toys that dispense treats are a great way to keep their environment enriched and encourage appropriate play behavior by rewarding play with appropriate objects.
  • Continually and gently praise your cat for soft paws (claws withheld) or a soft mouth, saying, “Good paws,” or “good mouth!” If the claws come out or the mouthing hurts, make a noise and pull your hand away just as another cat or kitten would to stop the games. Use this as a distraction to stop the behavior, not as a punishment.
  • If your cat bites and won’t let go, grit your teeth and push your hand and arm in toward the bite to prompt your cat to release you. Pulling away from the bite stimulates it to bite even more. Additionally, you should treat your clothing as an extension of your skin and make it off-limits, or your cat won’t learn the difference between clawing your jeans and nailing your bare legs.
  • Train replacement behavior. Fo example, if your cat becomes over excited and attacks your feet when you walk into a room, teach him to sit and reward him for it. Then, when you come into a room, he will want to sit to get a reward. You can clicker train by pairing a reward like food with a click from a clicker. Eventually your cat will learn to associate the click with the reward and food treats will no longer be necessary.
  • Avoid physical punishment, which only makes cats more aroused and more likely to fight back and protect themselves or engage in rough play.

Properly Treating A Cat Bite

Cat bites are dangerous to you and other pets. They can cause serious infection and should be treated immediately. If a cat bites you, see a doctor as soon as possible. Up to 75 percent of cat bites introduce harmful bacteria into the body, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pasteurella species. Cat scratch fever, which comes from Bartonella henselae bacteria, may also be transmitted via cat bite.

Signs of infection may manifest in a couple of hours and are particularly risky for hands, joints, and tendons. Take immediate action if a cat bites you:

  • Flush out the bacteria from the cat bite by pressing on the wound. This could cause more bleeding, but will also help to force the bacteria out of the body.
  • Thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water. Use a clean cloth to wipe the wound.
  • See a doctor, who will likely examine and rewash the wound. She may prescribe antibiotics, stitch the wound if necessary, and administer a tetanus booster vaccine if yours is out of date.

After the doctor’s examination, follow her care plan and keep the wound area clean. Watch for any signs of infection, including redness, oozing, swelling, pain, or fever, and if you spot any, see the doctor again right away.

    Litter Box Training A Kitten

    Kittens Learn Early And Fast

    Kittens Need A Little Help

    As with babies of any animal, our little kittens are yet tender but very curious of everything. The time just before and after weaning is one of the most impressionable times in a young cats life. This article will help you propery train your kittens at a very early age. This will be very impressionable on the babies.

    Supplies You’ll Need

    To start your kitty off right on the path to developing good bathroom habits, you’ll need a few supplies:

    • Litter boxes: It’s a good idea to have one more litter box than the number of cats who will be using them, so if this is your first cat, you’ll want to start with two. Place them in areas that are easy to get to while offering privacy. If they’re too exposed, your kitty might not feel safe enough to use them.
    • Kitty litter: You’ll find a lot of options, ranging from inexpensive non-clumping clay litter to high-end, eco-friendly options made from materials such as pine pellets, recycled newspaper and even wheat. While many cats aren’t very picky about what type of litter you use, some cats are very particular and won’t use litter if they object to the texture or smell. Your best bet is to start with a standard, unscented clumping litter, and then if you want to use something else you can experiment once your kitty’s fully litter trained.
    • Treats and toys: When you see your furry bundle of joy using her box, reward her with a cat treat or a piece of her dry cat food. You can also use toys and praise to help create positive associations with using the litter box. Eventually, you’ll need to wean her off of expecting a food-related treat every time she uses the box.

    How to Litter Train a Kitten

    Follow these steps for how to litter train a kitten:

    • Show her the boxes as soon as she arrives by setting her in them and letting her sniff and examine them. Be sure not to move the boxes once you’ve shown them to her, to avoid confusing her.
    • Set your cat in one of the boxes immediately following meals and after she wakes up from naps. If you notice her behaving like she needs to go, which might look like sniffing or crouching in a particular area, pick her up and put her in her litter box.
    • Reward her whenever you notice her using it. Praise her and give her a treat or a toy.
    • Don’t punish or scold her for accidents. Doing so will only lead to stress and anxiety, which may exacerbate the problem and make training more difficult. Cats do not associate punishment with the incident in question, so it doesn’t help train her not to do it in the future.

    Cleaning and Maintenance

    It’s important to take proper care of the litter box. Not only will this help eliminate the dreaded “cat smell” from your home, but it will also make using the box a more pleasant experience for your cat.

    • Scoop the box daily to remove your kitten’s deposits. Replace soiled litter as needed—typically when the litter stops controlling odor.
    • Clean and disinfect the box when you change out the litter. Use mild soap and water, or a solution of water and white vinegar. Don’t use bleach, commercial disinfectants or other harsh chemicals, which could be harmful to your cat.
    • Use an enzyme cleaner to clean areas outside the box where your kitten has had accidents. This type of cleaner will eliminate the smell which, if left untreated, might encourage her to keep going in that spot.

    Litter Training Older Cats

    Typically, older cats will already be old hats at using a litter box by the time they come to live with you, but you may run into a litter box training challenge if the cat in question was formerly an outdoor cat. Even then, cats have all the instincts to help them learn quickly what a litter box is for. Getting them used to the litter may be the biggest challenge. In such cases, Vetstreet suggests filling the box with outdoor soil, to begin with. As your cat gets used to going in the box, gradually replace more and more of the soil with cat litter to give her a chance to become familiar with the new surface.

    Troubleshooting Your Cat

    Some cats, as mentioned previously, can be quite picky about the conditions of which they’re willing to go. If your cat doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of using the box, it could simply be that she doesn’t like the size or shape of the box or the smell or texture of the litter. If the box is covered, she may find it too confining—or it may be that she feels too exposed and would prefer a covered box. She might also dislike the location of the box, or it may be that you simply need to scoop it out more often. You might need to experiment until you find the right combination of factors that makes her comfortable enough to use the box.

    If she’s an older cat, she may be dealing with joint pain or stiffness that makes accessing the box difficult for her. Consider whether the sides of the box might be too high for her to comfortably climb over, or whether she has to climb stairs or jump up on something in order to get to it.

    Cats that have yet to be spayed or neutered might spray urine throughout the house in order to mark their territory, even after being fully litter box trained, suggests Petfinder. Often, being spayed or neutered tends to eliminate this behavior.

    If your kitty uses the box consistently over a period of time and then suddenly stops, or does so inconsistently, there might be an underlying problem. Stress and anxiety can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, so consider whether there have been any major changes in her environment, and talk to your veterinarian. Often, according to the ASPCA, no longer using the litter box can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection, which could become serious if left untreated.

    Now that you’re armed with everything you need to litter train your new cat, you’re well on the road to a happy, harmonious relationship with your family’s newest addition. Once you’ve ruled out stress or health problems and you’ve tried everything else, if your cat still isn’t getting the h

    ng of it, you may need to confine her to a small area with the box, such as a bathroom or laundry room, until she starts using it.

    Feral Cats As Pets

    Feral Cats Make Good Pets
    Do Feral Cats Make Good Pets?

    I love this question because all 4 of my current cats I have were rescued from the wild by me and have absolutely turned out to be the very best pets I’ve had period of any animal species or anything!! Quite frankly I did not know what to think when I brought the first kitten home. I was new at saving these guys at the time. But I knew if I didn’t save them their chances to survive very long would go way down.

    It Was Initially Part Of My Job

    Going back nearly 10 years ago now, I was doing a special job for a construction company I was doing pest and termite work for. It so happened that on the property of the home office of this company a momma cat had her kittens under the building, so quickly some of the workers started to complain about fleas and getting bit by fleas sitting at their desks or walking in and out of the offfice building and their cars, so on and so forth. My job was to catch the cats, momma, babies and all so they could be relocated, as well as treat the premises for fleas.

    I really Wasn’t Looking For A New Cat!!

    I had just lost a cat I had for many years I adopted at Pet Smart and wasn’t ready for a new companion (So I Thought!!), besides I had another cat Miles already, and a new Parakeet Chad I was getting to really enjoy. I was really taking Ms.Maui’s loss very hard.

    This is the part that really surprised me, was how I got so attached to these cats so easily. Before I knew it I took the alpha male, a beautiful Black Kitten full of energy and swagger, and brought him home, and named him Black which was the name of another black cat I had as a child. About a week later I trapped a gray and white female kitten and had run out of any place to take her so I took her home too. That was supposed to be temporary till I could find another home for her. Well guess what?? 10 years later and she is still my baby girl and I don’t know what I’d do without her!! I named her Boo since she was very shy at first. She’s been by my side when I really have needed her, she has claimed me as hers and that’s just the way it is!!! Certainly we were put together by God! No doubt in my mind at all!!

    Kittens Are Easy But They All Deserve A Chance!

    In this case I was able to bring home 2 kittens and tame them, train them and they have been my best pets ever. I’ve adopted 2 others since and 1 of them was already about 2 says the vet. I am not sure if she was lost somehow or was born wild, but the vet seems to lean toward likely being feral from birth. She adoptedd us very well and my have a slight “cattittude” but we still love her just as much. It gives her a special personality all her own!!! Her name is Millie. And the youngest is another girl. She’s black and white like a cow. So I named her Elsie. They are all loved and love back! If you find a lost or abandoned cat, and can afford to give it a home, the cat will reward you with love and companionship that is unmatchable.

    Cat Guide Is Here!

    Cats Are Better Than Dogs!

    OK I’m kidding. But man do cats really believe in themselves! It’s very true that cats tend to be a little snooty so to speak. I think it goes back to their wild days and they show confidence as a natural way to “scare” their enemies with the look that they will win any fight. That makes the enemies feel they should re-think any bad moves they may try to make.

    Looking For Content Ideas

    I already have a lot of content and ideas for more on my plate. However, I welcome any suggestions you may have. Simply hit the comments box on this page and tell me what you’d like to see in articles here at cat-guide.com. I can also be reached at robin@cat-guide.com.