Doesn’t it drive you crazy when your cat bites you randomly and it becomes a daily occurrence? There’s certainly hope because there are steps and ways to discipline a cat not to bite.
Use odors and sounds they don’t like to discourage biting and handle the situation calmly and quickly.
In the following questions, we will be discussing further how to discipline your cat and what you can do to reduce and possibly stop the biting.
What Do I Do to Discipline My Cat Not to Bite?
- Mix odors and spray. Cats have a keen sense of smell and will react to a spritz of solution containing water and a bit of citrus, mint, or specific essential oils (like lavender and cinnamon). Spray it in the air away from their face, close enough that they smell it. If not, a simple water spray also does its job well.
- React calmly and don’t pull away in panic. Resist the urge to pull because it only provokes your cat to strengthen the bite. Make a loud cry to startle your cat, signaling that you want it to stop.
- Use a loud device. Have a can of compressed air or handheld alarm within reach. The startling noise will deter your cat from doing it again.
- Your cat needs a time-out. Let your cat be by itself in a room for about a minute to reset.
- Don’t miss out on playtime. You must be thinking how repetitive this advice is in almost all articles regarding correcting your cat’s bad behavior. An hour of playtime daily helps our pets remain sharp, focused, and healthy. “Often when I have behavioral problems with cats, the owners are not actively engaging in playtime with their cats,” says Dr. Taylor Truitt, DVM, The Vet Set, Brooklyn, New York.
Disciplining means that with disobedience is corrected with a form of punishment, so when your cat does it again, it knows that “this biting comes with consequences I don’t like”. Please don’t use physical punishment to discipline your cat not to bite.
Do Cats Grow Out of Biting?
Kittens bite a lot more and they get less repercussions because they are yet to understand that this isn’t something their owners are okay with. They eventually mature into year 2 and are expected to behave more with your guidance as the owner.
Kittens start growing their primary teeth and incisors around 3 or 4 weeks. This lasts up to 6 months, an uncomfortable and painful stage called teething. They crave to eat solid kibble and tear things apart to cope with the pain.
On the other hand, adult cats bite for a purpose. The bite usually translates to “I want something” and “stop what you’re doing, I don’t like it”.
What Is and Isn’t an Aggressive Bite?
Cats have a reputation for being fierce biters. However, not all such biting is aggressive, defensive, or needs to be controlled.
Cats also like to bite their owner out of affection. This sort of bite is called a love bite. A love bite is more like a gentle nibble than a painful bite. When a cat bites without any accompanying signs of aggression such as hissing, growling or raising fur – it is considered a love bite.
Some experts, such as Dr. Ballantyne, also believe that a love bite is less a sign of affection and more a signal of unwanted interaction. If the interaction doesn’t stop, a love bite can escalate to an aggressive bite. So, many a time when you are sitting wondering why your cat bit you out of nowhere, remember, you have been warned to stop.
Can You Train Your Cat Not to Bite You?
You definitely want your cat to have a positive association with your physical touch. Most cats, especially the ones adopted, do not like being petted, showered, or groomed, and that is when they strike out their claws. Here is what you can do:
- Cats are most calm and distracted when they have just had playtime, are sleepy, or having a meal. That is the perfect time to train your cat to have a positive association with your strokes.
- Since cats are highly food-motivated pets, stroke your cat while it is feeding and is distracted. Start with the head and gently move towards the belly. When you keep doing this consistently, cats will start associating the positive feeling they get from feeding with being petted by you.
- You can also try feeding your cat directly from your hand while also petting them slightly every time you feed them. Pretty soon, your hand and touch will become a source of positive feelings for the cat instead of fear or aggression.
- Allow your cat to release pent-up energy by playing with toys mainly. Using your hands and feet as toys to be wrestled with encourages biting.
- If all else fails, a second cat can work as a better trainer than an owner ever could. Cats that didn’t grow up with littermates tend to be more aggressive. Cats learn that they are biting too hard and playing rough when their friends stop playing or retaliate.
How to Avoid Being Bitten by Your Cat?
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘remove yourself from situations you don’t like’? Well, it’s best you try it with your cat. Cats usually bite when they are in a defensive mode or trying to signal an action.
It is very rare for a cat to launch an attack out of nowhere, it’s more probable that you incited them to act defensively in one way or another. It could be by unnecessary petting or even simply wearing scratchy clothes. If you study and understand your cat’s behavior, you can avoid being bitten altogether.
- Understand your cat’s body language. If they begin to seem disturbed by your petting – just stop. Dr. Terri Bright suggests that cat parents should assess when their cat bites. If a cat bites during play, try playing more calmly with your pet.
- Take pauses between petting and assess their interest. If the cat rolls over or purrs, it is an encouraging sign to keep petting. However, if a cat nibbles gently it can be a sign to stop.
- Before a cat launches into an aggressive mode, they usually show some warning signs. Flattening ears, twitching tails, etc., are all such examples. If your cat begins to show signs of intolerance – stop the interaction.
- Always allow the cat to approach instead of the other way around. Don’t startle them in their sleep or during playtime. The lesser they feel alarmed by you, the better their behavior becomes.
- Only pet areas your cat likes to be petted on. Cats generally don’t like tummy rubs and petting around their tails. Try petting areas such as around the ears and chin.
Cats are prone to biting; whether it be because of their playfulness, predatory instincts, or fear. However, with the right mind and a lot of love, it can be quite easy to control and discipline your cat not to bite. Learn to understand their behavioral patterns; how much petting they like, and what kind of play best stimulates them. Try to cater to their needs of stimulation and activity while actively avoiding interactions that bring out the scary (but kind of cute) beast in them.