information DOES NOT replace professional veterinary care. It is
intended solely for educational purposes. Your pet's medical condition
should be evaluated by a veterinarian before implementation of any
medical or husbandry changes. If there is a potentially life-threatening
emergency involving your pet, take your pet to a veterinarian or
veterinary facility IMMEDIATELY.
asks "How do I get my cat to stop biting me?"
Hi Edith, I
am sorry that you are having trouble with your cat! Biting behavior
can occur for several reasons so more information about when the
biting occurs, the cat’s history, health and environment would
all be needed to try to identify the specific cause your cat’s
Of course the
most important thing is to avoid injury to yourself and others.
If you have been bitten or scratched you should consult your physician
at once since these wounds can be serious and may lead to infection.
An unvaccinated cat with possible exposure to Rabies that is displaying
unprovoked aggression toward people should immediately be reported
to your veterinarian or local animal control authority.
Some cats and
kittens play too roughly. Kittens who grow up without feline playmates
may not know the difference between play and what hurts. People
should not encourage rough play with cats. Rough-housing that might
be fun with a dog usually leads to claws and teeth with a cat! Non-contact
games are a good way to teach appropriate play – chasing tossed
toys (some cats will even retrieve!) and “fishing rods”
with a toy or feather on the end are always fun!
Cats that become
overstimulated while being petted or stroked may bite, or bite when
the petting stops. It is important to know the cat, read its body
language and to discontinue the interaction before it reaches that
point. Keeping petting sessions short and redirecting the cat’s
attention to a food treat or a tossed toy at the end of the session
may create a positive endpoint to the interaction. Some cats are
sensitive to certain kinds of touch - such as stroking on the back
or rubbing the belly – avoidance of these areas is then indicated.
predatory behavior, stalking people or attacking as they pass can
be a problem. A bell on the cat’s collar can help you keep
tabs on him to avoid an ambush and a spritz with a water gun or
a loud startling noise (shaking a can with coins inside) may work
to divert an attack. Here again, non-contact games may provide an
outlet for your cat’s hunting impulses. Cats may also display
aggressive behavior as a response to environmental stimuli or fear.
Identifying the trigger is vital to addressing these problems.
In all cases
it is important to consult your cat’s veterinarian who can also check for possible medical causes of aggressive behavior
– for example: cats with pain may react when touched or a
cat with a metabolic or neurological disease may exhibit abnormal
behavior. Your veterinarian can best advise you on your cat’s
problem and can arrange for a referral to a certified veterinary
behaviorist if needed.