It is normal for cats to bite even unprovoked as they are born predators. Biting serves as the cats’ way of communicating due to several reasons. Whilst some cat biting can be playful and sweet, it is important to discipline your pet cats from doing unnecessary biting.
How to teach your cat to stop biting
There is no secret or special formula on how to get a cat to stop biting. You can try these steps to lessen the likelihood of your cats from biting more often.
- First, refrain using your hands or feet when your cat starts to become aggressive. Use a wand or throw toy instead so you can still interact with your cat even from afar. The use wand or throw toys will help cats get the biting out of their system at the same time keeping your body parts away from the cat’s mouth. If these alternatives are not available, you can use a ball, stuffed toys, or long pillows.
- Second, be the boss. Speak louder when necessary but do not shout as this will signal a negative effect on your pets like aggression towards you and other members of the household.
- Be firm when it comes to reprimanding your pet. When your cat is getting aggressive or starts biting, firmly no. Cats respond to voice’s volume and tone.
- Practice replacement behavior like teaching your cat to sit instead of clawing your legs or nailing your legs when you enter the room. Reward your cat for doing a great job and punish bad behavior.
- Be consistent with your responses to avoid confusion. Make sure all family members are aware of the rules as it will be harder for you to establish what you have imposed.
- Avoid hitting your pet as this will only trigger the cat to fight back.
Although biting is a natural trait for cats especially when they are young to practice their hunt and prey skills, it is still not OK to bite. This can be dangerous to you and the rest of the house members. It is always a good idea to train a cat to stop biting at a young age.
But why do cats bite?
Cats bite for a variety of reasons. Firstly, biting is their way of expressing their natural hunting instinct. Secondly, biting is their natural way of responding to threats. Thirdly, biting is an animalistic way to assert dominance. Lastly, it can be their form of communication; if they want or need something – food, water, or if they are in pain, wanted the litter box cleaned, and more.
However, it is important to distinguish if biting is due to over-excitement during play, an expression of frustration or aggression. Avoid situations when your cat starts to show aggressive biting as this can be dangerous. Aggressive biting is accompanied by an arched posture and hissing. So, be extra careful when you see these signs.
How to care for cat bites
If your cat has become overly excited or been in rough play resulting you to suffer a cat bite, you should seek immediate care. Cat bites are dangerous and can cause serious infection. Even cat scratches and bites from kittens can introduce harmful bacteria to the body like Streptococcus, Pasteurella species, rabies, and tetanus.
Cat bites infection may manifest in an hour, so it is vital to apply first aid while on the way to seek professional medical help.
- Press the wound to flush out bacteria from the wound. Although this can cause more bleeding, it helps to force out the bacteria.
- Wash the wound with soap under running water for about 5 minutes. Then, use a clean cloth to wipe the scratch or wound dry.
- If available, apply antiseptic cream or later afterward.
- See a doctor right away for proper wound care and management. The doctor will assess the scratch or wound and will prescribe necessary medicine or will administer a tetanus shot.
And for deeper cat bites and wounds:
- Apply pressure to the wound or scratch using a bandage or clean towel to stop the bleeding.
- Follow by washing the wound/scratch with soap and clean water.
- Dry the wound with a clean soft cloth. Then, cover with a sterile dressing. However, avoid using tape or sterile strips as these will trap bacteria in the wound.
- See your doctor as soon as possible for additional treatment or procedures to avoid serious infection.
Cat bites treatment depends on the severity of the injury, so it is a must to see your doctor right away.
Now, if you are considering getting a new pet cat, remember the implications it can give you and the rest of the family. If you choose to have cats at home, always keep their vaccinations up-to-date; never leave your kids alone with your cat, your cat should have its own safe place, and never disturb your cat while eating or sleeping.
Teaching your cat to stop biting is possible. However, it takes time and a lot of effort to see significant changes in your cat’s behavior. Just be kind and patient.