Why does my cat bite me is a question that pet owners ask when their cat is snuggled up, purring and looking happy, telling them that life is good as they gently stroking it… then suddenly turns around and bites!
All joking aside, this biting behaviour is not unusual and yet it is a controversial subject. While some cat lovers call it a “love bite”, others call it “a mean, unfriendly, biting cat”. Could it be that when your cat bites you for no apparent reason, it is because he is too stimulated by the petting, even though you thought you were giving him pleasure? Let us try to answer this very question through this article on why does my cat bite me.
Why Does My Cat Bite Me? Could It Be Over Petting?
The Three Main Reasons:
As we mentioned above, the cat is too stimulated by the petting you provide and it genuinely isn’t because you’re bad at petting or a bad owner.
- Repetitive petting creates static electricity on your cat’s coat:
This ends up causing a shock that naturally results in a negative response from your kitty. If your cat is elderly, you may also have accidentally touched a painful joint while stroking.
Whatever the reason, attacks following petting or defensive biting can be avoided by promoting socialization from an early age. The amount of petting a cat can tolerate is influenced by the experiences it has had with humans when it was still just a kitten. It is therefore essential to spend time with your kittens – grooming and getting it used to human touch.
- A sign of insecurity:
Any cat feeling in danger (regardless of its age) and having exhausted its other methods of defense (trying to move away for example) will adopt an aggressive attitude that can go as far as biting. It’s important to pay attention to the signs and behaviours they exhibit for example when your cat was playing on your lap and now feels that it has received enough petting for the day, it is important to let him/her decide and go away. If you try to convince him to stay, he is very likely to give you a little bite with a warning that says: “I’ve had enough so far.”
Young cats can also bite when they are afraid or when confronted with something new in their life. A mother can be aggressive when protecting her young, and cats can also run wild and bite when they are in pain.
- Playful misconceptions:
Non-aggressive play bites are part of the game between cats! This is normal behavior, so be careful with your hands when playing with your kitties!
Now, Let’s Look At What We Do Wrong During Petting:
It is important to know how to recognize the signs of attacks that come after petting your feline friend. Watch for changes in your cat’s body language as you pet them and here are some elements of body language for you to consider:
- Erect ears are a sign not to be missed!
Thus, if the backs of their ears are turned slightly forward and their hair is standing on end, your cat is upset and you should stop petting it and ask other family members to also comply.
- Pay attention to your pet’s mood:
Notice or feel when it starts to get tense, hear it vocalize, or see its ears and tail activate. You should be able to determine if he has had enough of the way he acts and moves. You can even teach this to young kids!
- Sickness or vet-time:
If your cat is behaving as if it is going to bite every time you pet it (or during other interactions) and you don’t know why, it is essential that you investigate and identify the reason. Always remember to check that no underlying disease or stressor related to your cat’s environment is the cause of this aggressive behavior.
Get To Know Why Cats Bite Without Petting:
Here are other signs indicating that your pet is potentially about to bite (excluding petting situations):
- If your cat adopts a warning or hunting position, it is because it is preparing to pounce, so this is not the right time to play or pet your cat.
- When it arches its back your cat usually gives a warning signal, it asks you to leave it alone. He won’t necessarily jump, but you’ll know it’s best to give him some space.
- If its tail is stiff and lowered or if it is straight and pointed towards the ground, your presence is not desired.
- If he vocalizes a lot, such as growling, hissing, or screaming, take it as a warning and walk away.
Understand Your Cat’s Preferences:
However, sometimes there is no need to stop petting your cat! It is a pleasant experience that makes you both feel good and strengthens your bond. Just make sure you’re on the same wavelength as your kitty.
To do so, let the cat take the lead, and watch for the following signs:
- Does your cat enjoy being petted for a short time, such as a few minutes, before biting you? If so, stroke it for a shorter time to see if that improves the situation.
- On the other hand, if you stop too early, your cat might push your hand to ask you to continue!
- Cats like to be stroked on the head, the base of the ears, the cheeks as well as the underside of the chin (their facial glands are there). However, most cats don’t appreciate being petted on their stomachs, tails, or backs. It may inconvenience them and they will let you know.
- Remember, felines want to keep their coats smooth and clean, so avoid repetitive petting and circular motions that can ruffle their fur. The ideal is to stroke them delicately with your fingers.
- You may have noticed that your kitty asks for your attention at specific times of the day, for example in the early evening. Take advantage of this moment to relax with your feline friend and let him come towards you rather than forcing him to settle on your lap.
- Offer your cat a calm environment as we know cats don’t like sudden noises or changes in their environment.
- Make sure your cat is in the mood for petting. Is he lying down, relaxed and happy to interact with you?
- A few treats can help! If your kitty seems reluctant to spend time with you, offer her a treat and pat her when she approaches you. After a few times, she should come to you anticipating the treat, then you can gradually increase the time spent together until it becomes a habit.
- Watch for any changes in your cat’s tolerance, if you spot any signs of discomfort or pain see your vet right away.