We've all been there. One minute your feline friend seems happy to soak up all of your attention and affection, and the next minute, their jaw is clamped firmly around your hand! Why does my cat bite me is a common question amongst pet parents, and the answer is that biting can occur for many reasons.
"Biting can happen for different reasons and in different contexts," the team of behaviorists over at Cats Protection explain. "Biting may occur when a cat is stressed or threatened, or when a cat is showing prey or play behavior."
A cat will usually use biting as a last resort when they're feeling overstimulated, and it's often after we humans have missed other vital forms of cat communication that our feline friend uses to try to indicate to us that they want to be left alone.
Biting is a common cat behavior problem, so if you're finding yourself on the other end of this right now, rest assured, you're not alone. The good news is, there is a solution. Check out the handy TikTok video below, put together by Cats Protection team, or read on for a summary of the main points...
1. Remain still: "If a cat is directing hunting behaviors onto a person, it's important to remain still and not move around too much, or make high pitched squeals as this may excite the cat even more and exacerbate the behavior" the Cats Protection team explain.
2. Increase enrichment: Provide your cat with plenty of stimulation throughout the day if you notice that biting is a problem. "This includes the use of puzzle feeders and regular play sessions." Check out our guide to how to play with a cat for a vet's advice on this.
3. Monitor petting: "Some cats find petting overstimulating and this can trigger a response where the cat bites, or grabs and bites, onto the person's hand," says the Cats Protection team. "In these scenarios, it is best to handle the cat little and often. A few strokes around the neck or shoulder area and remove the hands after that. Avoid stroking them when they're lying on their side or rolled over exposing their tummy."
The Cats Protection team also state that engaging with your cat when they're off the ground may make them feel a lot more secure and reduce the risk of them biting you.
If your cat's biting is proving to be a cause for concern and you don't notice any positive improvements after implementing the above tips, we recommend speaking with your vet or a professional behaviorist for advice and guidance.