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Cat Nips: What to Do When Your Kitty Won’t Stop Biting

Cat biting leather jacketKitties may look cuddly, cute, and benign, but as all cat owners know— our feline friends have quite a bite! Cats are wild animals living in our houses and sometimes those instincts show. We may love to watch them play or “hunt” their toys, but when their prey becomes our hand or feet or computer cords, their killer instincts become less agreeable. So how can you handle a cat who likes to bite, and bite hard?

Make sure your kitty is not in pain

When a cat is in any pain at all, they can become aggressive. So if your cat has a hurt paw or an ear infection or a UTI, they may express themselves through biting. Even more common, when a cat has tooth or mouth pain they may try to relieve it by gnawing on something in much the same way as a teething child. So the very first thing to do if your cat is biting more than usual or can’t seem to stop is to take your kitty to the vet and get their health check out.

Never punish your cat

If your cat has bitten down on your hand or chewed through your computer charger, it can be tempting to throw them off of you or to swat at them or toss them back. These behaviors, though, will not help to control your cat’s actions. Cats will not put together the cause and effect and instead will just become fearful or more aggressive. If you want to get your cat to stop biting, try spritzing them with water or just walking away to make it a less fun affair.

A cat playing with a string toy

Find your cat a new way to play

If your cat is under 2 or grew up without other cats around, they may be biting or wrestling as a form of play. Young cats will play fight as a way to express energy and affection and to practice their hunting instincts. If your cat is not growing out of this phase or if they are wrestling with you in a way that is causing you pain, there are ways you can redirect this play: try entertaining them with other kinds of hunting toys or even getting them a kitty companion to play with. Two cats are always better than one!

The bottom line is that any sudden behavioral changes should be discussed with your veterinarian. Your vet won’t always be able to determine the exact cause of your cat’s biting, but they will be able to rule out worrying health changes and provide guidance on curtailing unwanted behavior.