LifestyleWhy your cat bites: Understanding feline affection and instincts

Why your cat bites: Understanding feline affection and instincts

These behaviors of the cat should raise a red flag for us.
These behaviors of the cat should raise a red flag for us.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Aleksandr Vaynshtein

7:04 PM EDT, July 9, 2024

Cats walk their paths. However, certain behaviors can be quite easily interpreted. One of them is nibbling on our hands when we try to pet them. There are several reasons for this "attack."

Cat owners know that these four-legged animals are unique individuals. However, specific behavioral patterns can be noticed. A relatively common behavior of cats is nibbling on our hands while being petted. This one gesture, however, has several explanations. It's worth knowing all of them, as it's not always a sign of aggression from our pet.

Why do cats bite their owners?

Very often, cats decide to "attack" their owner when they lose their alertness and are suddenly jolted out of relaxation - in other words, their instinct kicks in. Sometimes, they simply don't feel like receiving affection, for example, because of overstimulation. If we see that the animal lays its ears back, tenses its muscles, or dilates its pupils... it's better to leave it alone.

Instinct can also kick in for a cat in another case. If the pet was playing alone or with us and we suddenly wanted to pet it, it's very likely it would pounce on our hand with its teeth because it’s still in a play phase. Sometimes, it happens the other way around—a bored cat that hasn't released its tension will tease us to let off some built-up emotions.

It can also happen that our cat responds to attempts at affection with biting for another, more alarming reason. It probably feels pain if it attacks us when we touch a specific area. In that case, observe the animal, and don't hesitate to visit the vet and inform them of your concerns.

How to deal with a cat that bites?

If our four-legged friend's "attacks" bother us a lot, it's good to seek the opinion of a behaviorist. A behaviorist will likely suggest exercises and games to overcome these difficulties and teach our cat how to handle emotions.

Every cat has a different personality. Maybe we've encountered an individual who simply doesn't like being petted. It's better to let the animal keep its habits.

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