Do cats play bite?

Play biting is a behavior that is commonly associated with dogs. Dogs, especially puppies are very playful and boisterous animals. Rowdy playtimes with littermates include wrestling and a lot of play biting. Mouthing or play biting is noted in cats too. Although cats are not as rowdy as dogs during play times, cats are also known to play bite.

Cats use different parts of the body to communicate. The mouth and the teeth are used by cat to discover their environment pretty much in the same way humans use the hands. The mouth, the teeth and the tongue are very important tools for cats not only because of their predatory nature but also because the mouth and the teeth are used to communicate with their human friends. How many times have you felt the cat’s sharp teeth on your fingers while you are petting the pet? Cats have the inclination to give the ankle or the wriggling big toe of the owner a nip. The biting can be the cat’s way of telling the owner that it is already dinner time. It is also possible that the bite is aimed to get the owner’s attention. This kind of bite that does not draw blood or brake the skin is called play biting or mouthing. Cats have to hone their natural hunting and fighting prowess but they have to learn bite inhibition as well. Similar to puppies, kittens would have wresting and matches with littermates. These rough play sessions are the cats’ bite inhibition training. Kittens learn from the mother cat the proper use of their mouth and teeth. Kittens learn how and where to sink the fangs to kill the prey instantly. Kittens also learn how to bite without hurting the opponent (in the case of wresting match with other cats) and the human friends during play time.

Play biting is a part of the training that makes cats ideal pets. During the jaw wrestling match between littermates, the mother cat would growl when one kitten becomes too aggressive. The mother cat may even use the paw on kittens that have gone too far with the mouthing. What happens then to kittens that were orphaned or separated too early from the mother cat and littermates? Play biting is a part of the cat’s social skills but cats that have not properly learned the hows and whys of play biting may find it difficult to practice bite inhibition. It is no joke to be at the ends of the cat’s sharp teeth. It is necessary to make the cat understand that biting, even if done during play sessions would be painful. Cat owners have to make the pet understand that this kind of aggression is not allowed. Owners must never allow the cat to use the foot or the hand as toys. Cat owners sure do form strong bonds with the pet thus the kitten’s inclination to take little bites can be considered as cute. The kitten though would grow up. These bites would not be considered cute if delivered by the strong sharp teeth of fully grown cats. Cat bites can be a real concern especially if the pet is not updated with its shots and it is allowed to roam outdoors. The cat’s inclination to play bite has to be managed. Fortunately, cats can be trained. A firm NO! given to a cat that bites is one way of making the pet understand that bites will not be tolerated. The pet that tends to be too rowdy must be ignored. Cats are intelligent animals. The pet will eventually realize what is appropriate biting and what is not.

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