Why do cats bite? Are they doing it out of love or aggression?
Cats are adorable — but their nails and teeth can cause a lot of pain. That is why you have to be careful. You have to learn the answer to the question, “Why do cats bite?”
Why do cats bite?
Cats bite in order to assert their dominance or respond to a threatening behavior.
If your cat bites you whenever you try to hold them or go anywhere near them — and is not doing it in a playful or loving way — then they are trying to show you who is boss. They are trying to make you back down and accept their dominance.
However, biting is not always a vicious behavior. Some cats will use it as a form of communication. Instead of meowing, your cat might give you a gentle bite on the hand to let you know they want food, they want to go outside, or they want you to change their litter.
Your cat might also give you ‘love bites’ when they are feeling overstimulated. This happens when you pet your cat for too long or pet them in the wrong location.
Even though getting pet feels good at first, if it happens for too long, then it can start to hurt them. Instead of running off to let you know they are finished with their affection, they might bite you to get their point across.
How do you stop a cat from biting?
If your cat is biting as a way to ask you for something, then stop responding to the bites. Don’t give them food if that’s what they are searching for and don’t open doors for them if that is what they are hoping you will do.
Discourage their biting, and at the same time, encourage other behaviors so they will rub against your leg or meow in the future instead of biting when they want something.
If your cat is a male and biting out of anger, then consider having them neutered to make them less aggressive. Otherwise, you should speak to them loudly when they are misbehaving to show them you are actually the dominant one.
As with any bad behavior, you should also punish them whenever they bite by spraying them with a water bottle or giving them a light swat with a newspaper. However, when they are good, make sure you reward them so they realize they are doing the right thing and will continue the behavior in the future.
Whatever you do, make sure you are consistent, because if they get away with a certain behavior half of the time, they are not going to change it. You have to stay consistent.
How do you heal a cat bite?
Your cat might look harmless, but they have strong enough teeth to penetrate tissues, ligaments, and tendons.
If your bite is really bad, then make sure you visit a doctor within eight hours to lower your risk of getting infected, because cat bites can introduce bacteria like staphylococcus, streptococcus, or pasteurella into your body.
When a cat first bites you, press on the wound to flush out the bacteria. Then you should wash the area with mild soap and water. After that, apply an antibiotic cream and wrap yourself in a bandage.
For the next few days, keep a close eye on your bite. If you experience any redness, swelling, increased pain, or a fever, then visit a doctor. They might give you a booster shot and stitches to heal.
Even though your cat probably never meant to hurt you, you are better safe than sorry.