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Cat Bites - A Love Hate Relationship

Cat bites come in all shapes and sizes, from those cute bites that turns me into Luther Vandross cause its never too much, to those bites that stem from true aggression.

Cats are very enigmatic creatures, their actions aren’t black and white, there is a lot of in-between and it is important to keep your eye open and be aware of these situations; this will help you deduce their intentions.

Our goal at Inventor Cat is to provide you will all the knowledge you need to understand what each cat bite means and why they do this. So you’re not left thinking that it’s all about 'treating you mean and keeping you keen.'

Biting in any form (other than aggressive) is very important in the development of a kitty. Using their mother and their littermates as their notebooks they are learning to communicate to one another. As innate predators, they play bite with their mother and litter mates to acquire vital hunting skills. This behaviour is crucial for their mental wellbeing, so make sure to encourage this play behaviour.

Alongside that, make sure to teach your cat the meaning of ‘no’, just like their mother would. If things start getting too much when you’re playing with them using your hand for example, use “no” which will help to prevent encouraging aggression, then use one of the wide variety of toys available to allow your cat to get that winning "kill". You can even teach them a word that means they’re going to get their favourite toy. Make sure they get that "win” and it will remove any frustration your cat might get from the over-stimulation. Praise them for getting the “win”.

When you want to finish the play session, go for the same routine so that your cat knows that its coming to an end. I would usually let my cat get the “win” after a few minutes of playing, then give him a couple of strokes, congratulating him and closing the session with a word.

Biting can seem scary, however in most occasions cats do not do it to hurt you, they would do it gently and this is just their way of talking to you.

It is common for a cat to bite after long periods of petting. The owner may think that the biting is unprovoked however a cat is likely to give signals such as, a hard swing of the tail or ears pinned back, leading up to the ‘bite’. This is their way to tell you that they’ve had enough.

But why the bite? The bite is the shock factor. They have tried warning you with other signals to stop but you probably didn’t which is why they have to give you a much more obvious signal. After a while of petting, it can cause over-stimulation and leave areas of their fur very sensitive, continued petting of those sensitive areas hurts the cat.

Don’t ever take this personally, they are simply communicating with you in an extreme way because they felt they had no other option. Lets just thank God they aren’t a lion.

You should not punish them as they won’t understand this punishment and if you punish them physically it will only worsen their behaviour and break your bond. Make sure to be aware of signals your cat is giving you and use “no” appropriately.

Remember that your cat might not enjoy petting. Some cats may just enjoy resting on their owner’s lap but may not really enjoy being petted. It’s also possible that you are petting the cat in areas that the cat finds unpleasant, the cat will tell you, so look out for it.

A quick pointer is to keep petting sessions brief and to let your cat initiate the interaction. More pointers are included in Inventor Cat monthly e-books.

Lastly, who do you think coined the term ‘love bites’? Well cats of course!

Cat love bites occur as part of the cat’s grooming process, the same way that the mother cat will groom her kittens with small bites and licks.

I’m sure we’ve all been there - we’re in the groove, your cat is loving the petting, their giving you the slow blink kiss and then whammy! A bite from your cat and then double whammy, the heart stopper, your cat is giving you a lick. This is the ultimate sign of affection and is likely to be a tear jerker.

Obviously, the most concerning bite and the one that no one wants to be on the receiving end of is the true aggressive, intentional bite. These types of bite usually stem from intense fear, it is an extreme form of defence and will be seen most when cats are cornered without an escape route.

This type of biting will be accompanied with hissing or spitting and the cats body language would be to the side, arched back and fuzzy tail.

If a cat bites you and breaks the skin, be sure to wash the wound immediately. Look for any swelling, pain or redness that spreads. If you see any of these, contact your GP. Also again try not to punish your cat as this behaviour might worsen and seek advice from a qualified feline behaviourist.



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