How to Stop Your Cat From Biting You

Cats of all ages can bite, for different reasons.

It’s not you, it’s the cat…well, it could be your fault too. Cats often mistake fingers and hands for chew toys, and those sharp teeth can really leave their mark. You need to curb this painful habit by training your cat to know that biting you isn’t a good thing. We’ve pulled together a few tips that you and your cat will really be able to sink your teeth into.

What Triggers the Biting

Stopping this habit can sometimes be as easy as figuring out what’s triggering her to bite. Perhaps it’s stress that causes your cat to become defensive or aggressive. Does she get bitey when your friends are over for a visit and you force her to be social? Maybe your cat gets testy if children start playing with her too roughly. Watch your cat’s behavior whenever bites occur, taking note of what was going on at the time of the biting. This will help you pinpoint a potential cause and start to form a plan of action. If there’s a trend, do what you can to stop the activity that leads to biting.

The Right Way to Play

It doesn’t matter how old your cat is: you need to teach her that hands are not a toy. It’s natural for cats to bite down on the things they’re playing with, whether it’s a string or a catnip toy or even another cat. That’s why it should come as a surprise that they try to do same to your fingers and hands. It’s super cute when a kitten tries to do it… at first. However, it doesn’t take long for it to turn into a bad habit, and once your kitten grows into a cat, those teeth bite down even harder!

You’re in Charge

Positive reinforcement always works best with cats. Negative reinforcements, such as punishments and scolding, can make your cat stressed or frightened. And when your cat’s in that state, you won’t be able to get her to change her behavior. The next time she tries to bite, show her that you’re in charge by clapping your hands and staring directly at her before leaving her alone for a few minutes. And don’t be afraid to assertively tell her no, no matter how cute she is.

Toys or a Companion

Biting may be a symptom of pent-up energy, along with her instinct to hunt and kill prey. Make sure your cat has a variety of toys to play with so she can use up some of that energy and get much-needed exercise. If this doesn’t work, consider getting your kitty a fellow feline that could be her companion whenever you aren’t home. Hey, we all need a friend, and another cat in the house will prevent boredom from setting in.

There are many reasons why cats bite, so it’s important to be patient and try to figure out what exactly is the root cause of the biting. Is your pet bored, is she stressed or scared, or was she brought up to think that it’s okay to bite a human as part of a play session? Understanding feline behavior takes time, so try all of these tips to make sure your kitty is relaxed and happy enough to never feel the need to bite the hand that feeds her.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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