How to stop a cat biting
The reasons why a cat bites are many and varied. To stop the habit you need to understand the different causes and recognise the ones you need to prevent.
Some cats just love to bite their keepers. Some of this biting can simply be playful, but I think we all agree biting is not the most desirable behaviour.
So Why Do Cats Bite?
There are a number of functions for cats to bite. It could be to assert dominance or to react to threats. If your cat bites you, but won’t either back down or try to play or cuddle you, your cat is most definitely demonstrating his or her dominance.
Your cat may also bite to communicate. In place of a meow, some cats nip as a sign they want something – for exeample they may want to be fed, to have the door opened, or for you to clean their litter tray. You can recognise this type of biting if after your cat bites, he or she attempts to lead you in the direction of something they want you to attend to, or he or she may just meow immediately afterwards.
To Fix Biting Behaviour
To start with apply the basic pet training principle of rewarding good behaviour and stepping away from bad behaviour. Reward or ignoring should take place immediately after a cat’s positive or negative action. This helps your cat know the cause of their reward or punishment.
Consistency Is The Key
If your cat bites to assert dominance, demonstrate you are the boss by speaking loudly. Cats do not respond to verbal commands like dogs, but they will react to tone and volume.
If you cat is male and bites consider neutering him, as he will tend to be more aggressive than a female, but will calm down when neutered.
Another technique when your cat bites, is to lightly tap him or her on the head with something like a rolled up newspaper or magazine. This will come to be seen as your dominance symbol.
If your cat is biting simply to communicate something to you, then the technique is to ignore him or her. Because the cat’s intention is to get you to do something as a result of the bite, your lack of reaction will soon have your cat trying a different signal.
To aid the establishment of a different style of communicating only do what your cat wants when he or she meows or rubs against your leg.
You Can’t Have Your Cake & Eat It
Sometimes your cat’s nibbles can be cute. Other times they are downright annoying. Unfortunately you don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing if you want to stop your cat’s biting. Your training must be unambiguous: biting is bad, and must be met with the same response every time!