Why Does My Cat Bite Me?

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

One of the confusing things about cats is that they sometimes bite for no obvious reason. Sure, kitties bite to defend themselves and hunt, but some will bite when you don’t expect it. To help you better understand your feline, here are some of the reasons why cats bite.


Does Your Cat Bite You While You’re Petting Her?

Let’s say that you’re  petting your cat when, all of a sudden, she decides that she’s done and bites your hand. While this seems strange, she might be trying to tell you that she doesn’t like to be touched on a certain part of her body. Or, she might be getting overstimulated, especially if you’re petting her from head to tail. 

Basically, this biting behavior may be a way for your cat to communicate that she doesn’t want to be petted anymore or you need to change the way you’re petting her. Start to look for signs that your cat is getting agitated so you can avoid getting bitten. 

Does Your Cat Bite as a Form of Play?

Kittens and adult cats pretend that they’re hunting when they play, so some biting may happen while your kitty is in a playful mood. If you want to avoid bites to your hands, ankles, or legs, be sure to have a  variety of toys that your cat can chase, bite, and kick. Whether you give your kitty catnip toys or you play with her using a wand toy, she can let her energy out in a positive way.  

If you have a kitten, don’t let her get used to biting your hands. While it might be cute and harmless when your fur baby is tiny, once she gets older and has her adult teeth, it won’t be fun for you anymore. Training your kitten to use her toys, not your hands, can help prevent problems later on, when it might be harder to change bad habits. But if you have to train an adult cat, use positive techniques that teach her to use her toys rather than your hands. 

Does Your Cat Bite When Frustrated or Angry?

Another reason why your cat might suddenly lash out at you is a feeling of frustration. In this case, try to figure out what made her feel on edge, and work on ways to prevent it from happening again. For instance, if something in her environment is triggering the behavior, you can try to reduce or eliminate exposure to that trigger.

Also, if you’re seeing signs that your cat is angry – examples include growling, hissing, or a change in  posture – it’s a good idea to avoid getting too close. Giving her a chance to let her energy out on a toy might be an effective option. 

Try to Understand What Your Cat Is Telling You

These are just a few of the reasons why cats bite. The goal is to figure out what causes this behavior in your pet. Ask yourself if the biting is hostile or playful. Some kitties might even gently bite as a sign of affection or to get your attention.  

There are ways to train your cat so she realizes that biting isn’t allowed. Never get aggressive with your pet or use harsh methods. With the right approach, she’ll understand that she can let it all out on her toys instead of her humans or other pets.  

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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