Why Does a Cat Bite the Hand that Feeds It?

cat bites hand that feeds it_Allivet

If you have ever raised kittens, you know they love to hunt, pounce and bite.  It is in their nature because cats are natural born hunters. They have a strong instinct to hunt and kill their prey. The instinct is so strong that they like to pretend hunt with their siblings, mom, and humans too.

At a certain point, the mother cat teaches her offspring when and whom to bite. When kittens start to interact with humans, they are not sure how to relate to us so they do what comes naturally. They claw and they bite us.

While this behavior might be cute when they are kittens, it could turn out to be troublesome as a cat grows older. Especially, if there are young children around.

Three top reasons why cats bite and how to stop it:

  1. The “I’m Really Angry” Bite: when a cat is seriously annoyed or if it feels threatened it will bite. However, the biting is a measure of last resort. Usually, a cat will give warning signs such as hissing, growling, tail twitching and/or flattening its ear and drawing them back. If your cat starts to display these behaviors you know a bite is forthcoming.
    How to Stop the Biting: this one is fairly is easy to stop. Since an external threat is the cause, by stopping the perceived will stop the biting.
  2. The “I’m Tired of Playing” Bite: when a cat is tired of playing with its siblings, mamma cat, or human, it will give gentle warning bites. Something as innocuous as petting, brushing or just being held can cause a cat to issue out a warning bite. This bite means, “I’ve had enough”.
    How to Stop the Biting: similar to aggressive biting, once the behavior that is causing the agitation stops, your cat will stop biting. Warning bites are just a cat’s way of communicating that they do not approve of a particular behavior.
  3. The “I’m Just Playing” Bite: this type of biting is most common with kittens. It is part of a kitten’s learning process. Play biting needs to be discouraged as soon as possible. Once a cat thinks it is okay to play-bite a human, it will carry the behavior into adulthood.
    How to Stop the Biting: the best way to stop play-biting is to it nip in the bud. As soon as your kitten starts to bite you, discourage it. If your kitten starts to bite your hands during play time, stop the activity. You can yell “stop it” or clap your hands loudly. If repeated often, the kitten will catch on and know that it is not supposed to bite. You can also try giving your cat treats as a reward for not biting. Refrain from physically punishing your kitten. This form of behavior modification will provoke an attack since the kit will think it needs to defend itself.

To sum it up, cats bite when playing, when annoyed, and as a last resort when they feel threatened. In most cases, once the action that is causing the agitation stops, a cat will typically stop biting. Kittens like to bite as part of their play. However, this behavior should not be permitted when kittens play with humans because they will carry it out into adulthood. A sharp noise such as a clap or a yell can dissuade a kitten from biting humans.

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