Saturday 8 October 2011

Why do domestic cats bite?

Domestic cats bite as a defensive, protective measure when threatened and they might bite when playing as a substitute for hunting. Domestic cats also bite to kill small mammalian prey by severing the spinal cord.

Cat play bite - photo by pat00139

If a domestic cat bites you it might be a friendly nibble in play or even as a sign of affection. Or if it is a serious bite it will be because the cat is intimidated and threatened by your presence and he or she feels the need to defend him or herself. Or you may be mishandling your cat. For example restraining her for too long or carrying her in a way that makes her feel insecure.

Another occasion when a cat might bite you is if she is in pain and you pick her up which hurts her.

Another possibility is when a cat is agitated because of something that happened previously. The aggression that was directed at say another cat, is then inadvertently directed at you - transferred aggression.

Ill cats can bite. A mood swing may have been caused by feline distemper or the feline equivalent of hypoglycemia. Modern dry cat food is high in carbohydrates and might make a cat diabetic and hypoglycemic.

In general if a cat bites us we should assess what we are doing that might have caused it. Cats act instinctively so it is a reaction to stimuli in front of the cat. Premeditated, planned bites by cats for reasons such as dislike or hatred don't exist. These are human concepts.

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