Why Cats Bite?

Very often fear, your cat is sick … sometimes play although aggressive cat behavior can be unpleasant and downright scary … it is usually (but not always) – normal behavior. Feline aggression is a behavior designed by nature to ensure survival … a mad looking cat is usually only acting instinctively. The good news is … angry hissing kitten Aggressive cat behavior – biting and scratching – can often be predictable and controllable, a simple matter of cause and effect. Like us, cats have different personalities and temperaments. Sometimes temperament is a matter of heredity or how early and well your cat was socialized as a kitten. Perhaps a disturbing or abusive experience, completely unknown to you, comes into play. Begin by understanding the reasons why cats bite and scratch

  • Does your cat have an injury? Is it sick?
  • How is your cat perceiving his environment?
  • Is he or she feeling threatened … experiencing fear
  • Or did a child just give him the mother of all bear hugs?

Secondly,

  • Know and recognize cat body language and vocalizations (cat sounds)
  • Cats do communicate with us … but in their own language…

Before your cat slips into an aggressive mood and delivers a scratch or bite he or she will usually provide you with plenty of clues. By being observant and acting quickly, you can often control the situation and prevent your cat from biting or scratching. Some signs are obvious and others easy to miss.

Why Cats Bite
Why Cats Bite

What you will see:

  • Its tail is twitching … and if very aroused … lashing from side to side
  • Ears are turned back or flattened (to protect them should it have to fight)
  • Its fur puffs up (to make him look bigger)
  • The cat is staring
  • If threatened the pupils of its eyes are enlarged (it can see better)
  • He or she crouches close to the ground, ready to spring
  • It bares its teeth

If you pick up on these warnings, then it is probably is a good time to remove yourself … and the trigger (reason), if you can identify it, from the immediate area, The best solution … simply step aside … a big step … or just leave.

Allow the cat to escape. If it’s your cat, let it calm down. Wait until he or she comes to you.

Some Reasons Why Cats Bite

Is your cat sick or hurt?

Any sudden changes in habits or behavior are often an indication that your cat has an illness, injury or some other source of discomfort. Cats instinctively hide any signs of being sick or in pain. Cat showing signs of aggression flattened ears, and razor sharp teeth. Angry looking cats are often just scared cats. When afraid, they can act as we do – fight or flight. Cats, if given the chance, would rather run off than stay and fight. Create space between you and your cat. Make it easy for your cat to leave. Move away and clear a big path so your cat can leave the scene.

Redirected aggression:

People do this too, probably a lot more often than cats. Simply put, your cat cannot direct his aggression (defensive, territorial or other) to the target or trigger. So, instead, he lashes out at innocent bystanders – people or other animals. Maybe he or she saw or heard – what it considers to be – threatening gestures or sounds.

Repeated aggressive cat behavior:

Cats can make secret associations with a triggering event such as a certain scent, a resemblance to a person or thing … which could catapult your cat back to another scary space and time that it remembers and the aggressive behavior, will suddenly be repeated.

Defending their territory from other animals:

By nature, even domestic cats are territorial – whether their territory is a favorite chair or a large outdoor area. A cat’s instinct will kick in. In the wild, survival depends on the ability to defend hunting grounds, to feed and protect their young. I have multiple cats and even though they all get attention, my huge Maine Coon picked on my gentle Sunny man. I had to be very sure they were separated when I was out and at night. If you need more help … Uncontrolled, severe aggressive cat behavior or attacks can be a serious threat to humans and other pets. Do take your cat to the vet to eliminate any medical causes for the aggressive behavior. Your vet may prescribe mood stabilizers and/or refer you to an animal behaviorist. Both can be very helpful.

Remember:

  • Know the warning signs (that includes family and guests)
  • Don’t hit or punish your cat. Cats do not understand the concept of punishment. They only know that you are treating them badly and they don’t know why. The end result will be a fearful animal, who will display further aggressive behavior, and justifiably so. It’s a lose – lose situation, and most importantly, love your cat and it will love you back.

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