Q: I have a cat who bites me when we play. I love her dearly but can I teach my cat not to bite?
A: People often ask me this question and yes, I think you can turn this around. You must change your interactions with your cat. When your cat nips or bites it usually means she wants to tell you she has had enough of whatever you are doing. Our cats like to give and receive affection — but always on their terms.
One friend adopted a rescue cat named Lady, a sweet and loving cat. This cat bites occasionally, so I asked my friend under what circumstances this happened. She said it was when she played aggressively with her cat or petted her for a period of time. I told her the cat was saying, “I have had enough please,” and advised her to watch the cat carefully. Cats send out signals like a switching tail or angry look and for many, less is more. Once my friend started petting the cat on her terms – a few gentle strokes – the biting stopped.
Cats love playful interactions, and most cats can’t resist fishing pole toys. They are great fun and really give cats a good workout. Plus, your hand will never become a target.
Let your cat calm down after playing. My friend has begun to do this with Lady. She has regular fun with her many fishing pole toys and then chomps down on her new overstuffed catnip toy, which she gets after each playtime.
Cats can also bite out of fear, which is perfectly understandable. If your cat bites in an aggressive manner without any apparent simulation, however, then that could indicate a medical problem. Consult your vet if it lasts for any length of time.
As always I welcome your comments and stories and please make sure you provide plenty of cool, fresh water for your cats during the summer months.