Stop Your Cat From Biting

Marcy Z. has a cat named Icing who bites her sometimes.  Marcy writes:

She bites me every now and then when we’re playing but the bites happen mostly when she seems to want something. Like when I’m not doing what she wants. I know it’s sorta funny but I’d prefer Icing not bite at all. is there anything I can do?

Marcy, each situation is a little bit different, but they all include one thing.  You.  Icing is there with you because she enjoys being with you and having you close by.  We're going to use this to persuade her to stop biting.  How?  Read on.

Most kittens learn early on that biting is only okay within certain boundaries.  Some cats, however, don't get the message.  Maybe they're weaned too early or have a mother who is less than attentive to such things.  However, it's not too late.  It's now up to you to gently communicate to Icing that her bites are not acceptable. 

Whenever Icing bites, even if it's not a hard bite, get up and leave the room.  You want to let her know that the one thing she wants the most - YOU - will be taken away every single time she bites.  Don't do it in an angry way.  Just be casual and go about your business, but ignore her for at least five or ten minutes.  Slowly but surely she should start to get the message.

It's important that you never punish Icing for her behavior.  Besides the fact that it's cruel, physical punishments simply do not work with cats.  The cat will never associate the punishment with their actions.  Never, under any circumstances, strike a cat.  If you do, all the cat will learn is that you're crazy and aggressive and you should be avoided at all costs.

Another way you can help Icing is by never, ever using your fingers as prey objects during play time.  That means not letting her chase your hands under the covers and not letting her "wrestle" with your hand.  Always use a toy as her prey, not your hands.  You also want to be wary of the belly trap!

Marcy, you may not be able to stop her from biting completely.  Bites are one of her many ways of communicating with you.  Sometimes she bites to tell you to stop petting her or to warn you off.  In those situations, she'll probably continue to bite on occasion.  It's up to you to read her body language and back off before she has to bite.

If you're consistent in your interactions with Icing, you should see steady improvement over time, but it will take time.  We're confident that you can get Icing to curtail her biting.