After a long day at work, nothing beats being able to spend time with your cat. Whether your cat loves a lap, some playtime, or is a little more balanced, that bonding time is precious. If your cat is biting you more frequently, this can be especially difficult when you want to hang out together. In most instances, this inappropriate behavior can be changed fairly easily. The Refined Feline has gathered a list of 6 ways to help get your cat to stop biting.
#1: Implement A Safe Space
Most cats enjoy having their own space as well as what they share with you. They may love the couch as much as you do, but still, yearn to have an area to themselves. Even if your cat isn’t a “scaredy” cat per se, they can get startled easily and need a hiding spot. If they don’t feel like they have anywhere to run to, they may feel the need to bite instead. You won’t need to provide a huge, separate living space, but having a designated space with modern cat furniture will help. To give them a sense of security, putting a couple of hidden beds in a bedroom or a corner can help your cat to stop biting. You can also pick a few more quiet places around your home for some additional beds or a small cat tree that they can run to if necessary.
#2: Find Out What Scares Them
The root of most biting behaviors is going to be fear-based in your cat. When there’s a new situation or sound, a cat’s “flight or fight” instinct kicks in. And when they can’t escape this situation, they may pick the fight instinct more often than not, which usually ends with biting. With this in mind, the last thing you should do is punish your cat for simply relying on its instincts. But what you can do is find out what keeps triggering this response in them. Are people being too loud in the house? Do doors get closed loudly on a daily basis? Major holidays like July 4th can be particularly scary for all pets. Random, loud noises can be very shocking to an animal, especially since they don’t know why it’s happening. This can make any well-rounded cat feel defensive, but there are steps you can implement to get your cat to stop biting.
A cat’s sense of hearing is more refined than a human’s, so they’re going to hear every sound amplified more. If you’re playing music at a regular volume, it may sound like a concert to your cat. Seeing your house from a cat’s point of view can help you find any startling or scary sights and sounds. Maybe the cat’s litter box is past the loudest room in your home, causing a stressful situation for them every day. Maybe there are a lot of loud trucks traveling down your road and it is setting them on edge throughout the day. Being more aware of these situations can help calm your cat, who may be trying to hide how scared they are. See what you can change at home, if anything, so you can give your cat a less fearful and more peaceful home.
#3: Adhere to a Routine
Most cats prefer a routine and actually crave it, just like dogs and people. Routine helps to establish balance and knowledge so your pet knows what’s going to happen. This will help your cat know what to expect, creating less fear overall in certain situations. When the UPS delivery guy keeps making deliveries, or the family keeps stopping by, these activities decrease that balance. This may lead your cat to feel fearful and may cause them to bite. Your cat though can rely on those safe spaces for comfort, alleviating these interruptions. This can also help give them the confidence to venture out during a party and get comfortable with new activities.
Your cat can become overwhelmed when experiencing new events, so go slow for them. Show them they don’t need to be scared by giving them treats to reinforce that these are positive experiences. Having your friends and family put down treats when they arrive can also show your cat that new people are good. You may want your cat to get used to the new events quickly, but don’t force them to come out and interact with people. Go at their pace, even if it is slow, to help them feel comfortable and less likely to bite.
#4: Honor Your Cat’s Boundaries
There are some rules that people are responsible for, even when it’s up to the cat to feel comfortable in most situations. One important rule is to teach children how to properly interact with cats, and of course when to leave them alone. A lot of biting can be from children not picking up on some subtle clues from cats. There are some cats who will be more patient with children than adults, but they will still need a break. Adults may even require a slight tutorial on how your cat reacts if they haven’t been around with cats previously. It’s all too easy to keep petting a cat and not notice the flick of their tail, or their ears flattening. To further prevent any potential bites, let your guests know when to stop petting or interacting with your cat.
When a cat is getting near non-stop attention, overstimulation can often occur in these situations. Most friendly cats want to be front and center in a party, getting all the attention all at once. Sassy cats won’t simply turn and walk away when they become overwhelmed by the number of pets they’re getting either! Your cat will probably react with a swipe or a nip on the hand to say they’re done with pets. Your guests may not see this coming, so give them any guidance that may help.
#5: Discourage Play Biting
You may not be aware of how you are potentially encouraging bad behavior, which can increase bites. If you use your arms and hands when playing with your cat, this can encourage biting that’s unprovoked. An easy and great way to get your cat to stop biting is to simply not use your arms and hands to play-wrestle with your cat. This makes your cat believe that biting and other inappropriate behavior is acceptable, which will only cause issues down the road. It’s best to only use cat toys from the very beginning to get your cat to stop biting your skin and encourage better behavior overall.
#6: Don’t Bore Your Cat
And of course, your cat may just simply be bored at home. They may know that biting is inappropriate but because they’re bored, they do it anyway to get a reaction from you. The boredom may stem from loneliness or not having enough playtime throughout the day. Try out a few activities and add certain toys to your home to help nail down where the boredom is coming from exactly. If you have a single cat at home, they may prefer having a friend to play with. Keep in mind that introducing another cat is a big deal for you and your cat. Be sure your cat would welcome a furry sibling into the home, and make sure to introduce them slowly.
Improving Your Cat’s Biting With These Tips
No matter how you approach decreasing your kitty’s biting, remember to be patient with them. A cat’s world is vastly different from ours and they may be slow to learn or change their behavior. It may take time to get your cat to stop biting and get the improvements in behavior that you want. But know that you’re following the proper steps to give yourself and your cat a calm, bite-free living environment.