Do cats bite?

Dogs have strong teeth…cats have razor sharp claws. Dogs bite and cats scratch. However, many cat owners have been at the end of the pet’s pointy teeth. Cat owners have complained about the pet’s inclination to bite. Do cats really bite? Unfortunately, yes! What is quite perplexing with this behavior is the fact that cats would even bite the owner’s petting hand.

Biting ranks second among the behavioral problems of cats. Cats are natural predators. These animals would pounce at anything that moves. Aside from mice, cats would scurry after lizards, would lunge at birds and insects. Cats, especially young ones would be very playful and curious of their environment. Cats enjoy leaping and catching make believe prey. Guess what would happen if the attention of the cat was caught by the wriggling foot of the owner? Yeoww! The cat has bitten the owner’s toe. This behavior is more common in kittens. Because the kitten is a well loved pet… one that is treated as the baby of the family, the bite would be ignored. Dogs are famed for being biters but a dog will never bite the hand that pets them. This is not so with cats. Cats are not as affectionate as dogs but these animals, like dogs, love being petted too. The only difference is that cats have the tendency to turn around and bite the petting hand. Cats are intensely territorial. A resident cat would let out a distinctive protesting cry if another cat has ventured into its claimed territory. The territory based aggression will cause the cat to bite the intruder. If the intruding cat has escaped the cat would redirect its aggression to the other pets and even to the members of its human family.

The playful biting of the pet can get out of hand until it becomes a serious concern. A cat that has the inclination to use its teeth while at play can develop an aggressive behavior. Cat bites can seriously injure people. Cat bites can get infected as well. Cat owners would have to deal with the pet’s biting tendencies. To resolve this concern, owners have to understand the reasons for the cat’s behavioral problem.

Nature intended cats to have sharp claws and teeth. Biting and clawing is the only defense cats have against predators. The teeth and the claws are cat’s invaluable hunting tools. During the learning period, kittens would play hunt. Kittens would bite and scratch each other. The queen would always intervene if the play biting gets too rough. Scientists associate a cat’s propensity to bite to being parted from the mother cat before it is ready to be weaned. Unlike a mother cat that would put a stop to a play biting that has gone too rough, pet parents would actually find the kitten’s nipping fun. Biting can be triggered by petting-induced aggression. Cats are less social animals as compared to dogs. Cats would allow being petted. At first the pet may even enjoy the attention given by the owner but the petting can be irritating and once the sensitivity threshold is reached, the cat would bite the petting hand. It is also possible that the cat that was lulled to sleep by the owner’s petting would suddenly wake up and the disorientation would cause the cat to bite. Repetitive petting causes static electricity and the pain the cat suffers from would trigger an aggressive behavior that would lead to biting.

Biting is one of the personality quirks that make cats interesting pets. The personality of the cat cannot be changed but it can be modified. A cat owner has to be perceptive to the needs of the pet to minimize its inclination to bite.