Tips for Getting Your Cat to Stop Biting

Non-cat families think of claws and scratches when they think of cat aggression, but anyone with a cat will tell you that it’s the teeth that can do the real damage. Cats bite for a variety of reasons, from exploration and play to trying to show you who is boss. In kittens, biting behavior is easy to nip in the bud with training, but in adult cats, putting a stop to bites can be more challenging. If your cat’s behavior is hard to manage, talk to your veterinarian, who can rule out a medical issue and provide advice. These tips will also help.

 

Teach Proper Play

Kittens love to explore their surroundings using their mouths. They will test out everything with their teeth, including your hands and feet. They will also nip while they are playing. Do your best to discourage this instinct by redirecting their attention towards toys and refusing to play in a way that allows biting of your hands and feet. For cats that are particularly aggressive with play biting, give them a time out in a room alone for a few minutes so that they learn that biting doesn’t get them the attention that they want.

 

React Like a Cat

Cats let each other know when biting has gone too far by hissing. You can communicate the same message by hissing yourself. Hiss loudly to interrupt the bite, but use this tool sparingly. If your cat hears it too often, he or she will become immune to it. For kittens, a loud shriek can also stop biting, but don’t do the same with an adult cat, who may become more aggressive in response.

 

Avoid Reinforcing the Behavior

Some cats use biting to ask for food, play, or attention. Don’t give in to what your cat wants after biting. Doing so will tell your cat he or she is the boss and reinforce the behavior. Instead, reward your cat for good behavior, such as rubbing against your legs, so that he or she develops a new way of asking for something.

 

The veterinarians at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can help you navigate the complexities of caring for your cat, from spay and neuter services to cat teeth cleaning. To make an appointment at our veterinary clinic in McKinney, please call (972) 239-1309.

 

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