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How to deal with biting behaviour in cats

Cats will bite for different reasons and it’s important to identify what those reasons are in order to find a solution.

Biting as a defence mechanism

If your cat bites you in a non-playful way, he is probably trying to tell you something. You may be stroking him too roughly or in the wrong place. He doesn’t have many ways to tell you when you are being too rough, so biting may be his way of communicating to you to stop. Try being gentler and stroking him on his terms.

Biting behaviour could suggest that your cat feels insecure. Ensure your cat’s environment is well suited to his needs and that he has free access to patrol his territory. Give him plenty of toys to keep him occupied.

New biting behaviour

If your cat suddenly develops biting behaviour, it’s likely a change in his lifestyle could be causing this. Introducing another cat to your home, moving house or changing your cat’s environment in any way could make your cat feel stressed causing him to demonstrate aggressive behaviour.

Give your cat access to plenty of hiding places and food, water and sleeping resources to make him feel comfortable. Using a pheromone diffuser should help your cat relax. Speak to your vet for advice if your cat’s aggressive biting behaviour continues.

Play biting

Your cat might bite you when he is playing because he wants to practise his hunting skills. He won’t understand that this is unacceptable unless you teach him. He needs to learn that his toys are for biting and not your hands.

When playing with your cat, use toys that direct the play away from you. Reward your cat for good playing behaviour and ignore him if he starts to bite you by putting an end to the activity and leaving the room. Resume play once your cat has calmed down.

Never reprimand your cat for biting, as he won’t understand and may bite in response, making the situation worse.

Kittens that bite

Biting behaviour can start from a young age. It might seem like a lot of fun having your kitten playfully bite you, but if you encourage this behaviour it could continue into adulthood. And a bite from an adult cat can hurt! Start training your kitten not to bite as soon as possible. Kittens are more impressionable than older cats too, so it’s the perfect time to influence their behaviour.

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