Why does my cat bite me?


As you well know, each cat is unique. His character and personality determines his behaviors and the relationship with you that, although it is based on affection and pampering, can lead him in some cases to develop unexpected behaviors.

Cats, due to their hunting instinct, are accustomed to biting each other since they live with the litter, and that predisposes them to continue developing this behavior when they are adults.


Surprisingly, the motive is not always associated with aggressiveness. There are different reasons why your cat can bite you. We explain the main ones:

1. Because he wants to play

If since your cat was a puppy you have allowed him to nibble your hands with his sharp teeth, he will interpret that he can continue to do so when he grows up. Avoiding this behavior from an early age is essential to correct it. Ideally, you incorporate toys into your game routines, because in this way you will stimulate your hunting instinct without putting yourself in danger.

2. Because he doesn't want more pampering

Watching your cat can help you determine what kind of petting you prefer, at what times and how often. If you are caressing it and detect that it is restless or irascible, it is better that you do not continue touching it and ignore it. Surely, when you least expect it, he will look for you again to receive more caresses.

3. Because he loves you so much

Although it seems incredible, your cat can bite your hand or another part of the body as a sign of affection and excess of love. In this case, fix your teeth gently on your skin, avoiding damage. Now, if due to circumstances, as a baby, you have not been able to develop this behavior with your siblings, it is likely that you have no control over the bite and end up hurting you.

4. Because you are afraid or feel intimidated

Cats are very prone to stress in situations they do not control. The changes, or the presence of other felines in their territory, encourage their restlessness and condition them to attack or bite. Keep these aspects in mind, and if you are exposed to any of these situations, discuss it with the veterinarian. He will provide you with the guidelines to follow to minimize this behavior.

In any case, whatever the reason, if your cat bites you, avoid jerking your hand away. Try to distract him with a toy and move away little by little but without rejecting it.

Discover the character of your cat

Each cat has a specific and unique personality, for this reason, not all cats will appreciate the same gestures or they will respond the same to a social communication either with us or with other people. You must strive to understand what he likes and what does not, how you should touch him and what are his favorite areas of the body.

Bites before a social interaction

While we find cats that love endless caresses in the ears or on the back others will detest them. Is this your case? You must learn to communicate with your cat and interpret if he is angry or just a warning to stop touching him this zone.

If you find yourself relaxed, stroking your cat, and suddenly it bites your hand, it is that something does not work well: you have overloaded it. In such a situation, it is best to remain still and wait for the cat to divert its attention to something else. Stop caressing him and try to maintain a calm and quiet situation.

It is important that you look at your cat's body language, especially if it tends to nibble without warning, if we pay attention we will know if the cat is really angry or is simply an unimportant warning to stop bothering you.

Bites during the game

Many people teach their kittens to play very actively with hands, toys and many other objects. If we reward this behavior, especially with our hands, we will be encouraging our adult cat to show off in the future without repairing whether it hurts us or not.

If we have not been able to avoid it and currently our adult cat shows this behavior during the game we must try to change that reality. To do this we are going to Always start using toys, never hands, an action that we can reinforce positively through treats and snacks for cats.

Some toys such as feather dusters or rattlesnakes divert a lot of attention from the cat because of its appearance or sound, this process begins with them.

Bites of affection

Maybe we have a wonderful relationship with our cat, maybe that's why you ask yourself "Why does my cat bite me?" It is simply love.

We may not have experienced it before, but sometimes cats often nibble on our legs, arms and hands in a situation of happiness for them: when we put food on it, when we caress it etc.

They are usually mild bites, which do not produce pain (although if the cat is very excited we can feel some pain.) And usually occurs as a result of a great intensity that they want to express. Given this situation we must reduce the intensity of the caresses and even stop. As well We will reward the affective game without bites through snacks for cats, this way you will learn faster how you want to behave.

Bite out of fear

The cats they can bite if they feel scared, threatened or in danger. Although they usually use nails, bites are also a tool they love to use. Identifying a scared cat is frankly easy: back ears, snorts, stereotypes etc.

Other situations

There are cases in which we are not able to identify Why does my cat bite me? That is when we must turn to a specialist such as ethologists, veterinarians specialized in animal behavior.

It is important to know that an aggressiveness problem should be fixed as soon as possible, especially if we never know if our cat is going to attack or not. Even if it is a small animal, it is capable of harming us, do not let time pass and solve it quickly.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my cat bite me?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.

When biting is a game

As we know, cats are hunting animals and, from a very young age, develop behaviors aimed at becoming a perfect predator. Among these activities are bites, as part of the development of their usual hunting behavior. The kittens will play with each other to become prey and predators.

These first weeks of life are key to the socializationThat is why it is so important that they be spent in the company of their mother and siblings, at least during the first two months of life. The games between them and the cat mom corrections They will help the cat learn how far it can go and what force it can print on its bites.

When the kitten happens to live with us, he may want to repeat these games and this may explain why the cat bites us when we caress him since, for him, the mode will be activated "hunting game". If this happens we should divert their attention and always use toys to interact with it, thus avoiding that we take our hands, fingers, feet or even legs as potential prey.

Bite as warning

Other times our cat greets us and approaches us rubbing its head against our body and / or purring. Our normal reaction will be to return the caresses and, therefore, it causes surprise to any caregiver and is the usual question why the cat bites us when we caress it.

We must know that, although it is true that our cat is asking for caresses, you can get tired of them right away and your way of saying it is going to stop us with a bite, generally small, warning. Other times he will stop us with his leg, stopping our hand or giving us a slight blow. Although we find a disconcerting behavior, the truth is that it is very likely that our cat has been telling us to stop in our caresses, but we have not identified your signs.

Some may be the following:

  • Ears folded back, like the rest of the head, which will move away from our contact.
  • Restless tail movement, which will be elevated.
  • Try to get rid of us.
  • In general, discomfort, our cat will not be relaxed, rather his condition will be alert.

If we observe any of these behaviors we have to stop stroking it since, if we persist, we will take a warning bite or a blow. Let's see, then, in which parts of the body it is safer to pet a cat.

Caressing area

In the first place, neither with a cat nor with any other animal, we must force the friction. Let us always let it be the animals that come closer to us. Forcing them can explain why the cat bites when I stroke it.

If you look at these cats, it is easy to see that they show us their love by rubbing against us, especially the sides of the head. In this way it releases some "appeasing" hormones They provide a pleasant feeling. This is going to be your favorite place of caresses.

The rest of the body behaves as follows:

  • Upper part of the head and neck: this area, like the sides of the face, is very receptive to caresses. Our cat will accept the contact willingly, yes, we have to stop at the first symptom of discomfort.
  • Loin: the caresses that run through the spine are also well received, especially if we gently scratch the area of ​​the tail.
  • Paws: cats do not usually like to have their feet or feet touched. Better avoid doing it if we don't know the pussycat.
  • Belly: danger zone. Even the most cuddly cat can stir if we insist on stroking this part, since it is especially vulnerable. Touching her belly is synonymous, almost certainly, of bite, even if only for warning.

Thus, let's respect these indications, especially if it is an unknown cat or newcomer. We both must get used to it little by little and, of course, we have to stop touching it at the first sign of discomfort.

The love bite

But sometimes there are cats that use the bite as another "loving" communication form. Thus, the answer to why our cat bites us when we caress it may simply be that it is its show of affection. In these cases the bite is made "without teeth", that is, it would be rather that our cat "takes" our mouth, fingers or even our nose, delicately and gently, without harming ourselves. Your attitude will be relaxed and friendly.

When the bite is a danger

In some cases we can explain why my cat bites me when I stroke it as the result of an assault, directly. These cats they don't tolerate caresses and react by biting, especially if they are in circumstances where they cannot escape and hide, as would be their first choice.

Many times this situation is the reflection of a great fear that the cat has before humans and could be the result of a poor socialization or of a bad experience. That is why we have said that it is important to respect the distances that the cat is going to impose and never force him to contact, nor, to scold him if as a result he bites us. In these cases, if we want to pet the cat, we must start calmly. Serve the following steps as a guide:

  • Let it be the cat who approaches usFor this we can help with a prize, such as a food that you especially like or a toy.
  • Caress gently and slowly, without sudden movements, the sides or the top of the head, only a couple of times. If the cat is receptive, what we can see if it stays calm, we will increase the time of caresses progressively, day by day, without hurry and without forcing.
  • Once the previous step is well accepted, we can continue stroking it by sliding the palm of our hand over the spine, crossing the spine.
  • Remember that a cat may want to sleep in our lap and yet not accept petting. Let's respect it.

If, on the contrary, an attack is triggered, we must follow the following steps:

    If the cat has caught our hand or arm we must release firmly but without abruptness, since a violent pull can trigger another attack. We can say, at the same time, "no", with tranquil>

If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my cat bite me when I stroke it?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.

Why does my cat bite me?

Regardless of how old your cat is, it is very important that you know that it does not have to be aggressive, bite or hurt. Aggressive behavior should be avoided. If your cat starts biting while playing, you should modify that habit. However, don't scold him, instead of discouraging him, that can reinforce his unwanted behavior.

You better use a wand or a piece of string to give an exit to the aggression. Do not yell at your cat either, because after that kind of reaction, he may feel fear.

Don't forget that he is not biting because he is bad, he does it because he feels he has no other choice. From his point of view, all other forms of communication have failed and he had no choice but to communicate that way, biting.

There are other reasons why a cat can bite. Sometimes, an animal simply decides that it has had enough fun for that day. Children can often cause this type of response. The same happens when you start stroking it and, really, he doesn't want that attention.

What to do if my cat bites me?

Instead of challenging him, he reinforces the acceptable, gentle play, in addition, Reward it with a tasty treat and avoid chasing hands or feet or pouncing on you, as this will make the problem worse.

On the other hand, Remember that always, before stroking it, you should bring your hand towards your nose so that it can recognize your smell. That rule is basic, especially in animals with which you don't have much closeness.

Applying too much force or speed when stroking it or doing it in the wrong place can cause some cats to bite or scratch. Therefore, you should always do it smoothly.

Finally, there is always the possibility that your cat has a medical problem and that discomfort is bothering him, to the degree of causing that type of aggression. So, it is always good to consult with a veterinarian to determine if there is a physical cause.

How to improve your cat's behavior?

Interpreting your cat's mood is not that simple. Maybe your pet approaches you to play and you think he wants you to pet him, that's when a difference and aggression can occur.

To avoid such differences, it is best to learn to read your cat's body language. There are many clues that can help to avoid a bite.

Some body language signals that indicate that your cat is reaching its tolerance level are:

  • Stop purring.
  • Tail blows.
  • His skin twitches.
  • Change your body position.
  • Growls.
  • His ears are crushed against his head or put in the form of an airplane.
  • His pupils dilate.

When you are stroking your cat, so that he feels more comfortable, it is best to pay attention to his tolerance level, so that you can anticipate an attack. Have you ever wondered what part your cat likes to pet? Many cats like to be stroked the back of the head or neck.

However, don't overdo it, remember that some areas can cause you too much stimulation. When he reaches that point, he will surely show you that he no longer wants you to care for him. Do not forget that cats are very independent.

Lastly, remember that aggressive behavior can be modified, but everything requires patience, and more when talking about cats. Then, reinforce games that are not aggressive and try to interpret your cat's body signals to avoid bites or scratches.