Cats are common household pets; they are domestic animals which makes them easy to train. Wild cats exist as well, but in this article, we will concentrate on domesticated cats. Before you get a cat as a pet, you must understand how to relate well with your cat, so you can avoid having unpleasant incidents.
Cats bite when they feel uncomfortable when trying to assert dominance and when they feel threatened. You can prevent your cat from biting you by providing it with a chew toy to bite on and handle them carefully and not aggressively.
Understanding cats and how they behave is important, but you should also learn how to handle them safely so that they don’t exhibit aggressive behavior.
Why Do Cats Bite?
Although cats are friendly, they can also exhibit aggression to their owners by biting them; this is why it is imperative to understand why a cat would bite you.
Adult cats and kittens bite for different reasons. Kittens usually learn by interacting with their mothers and other cats, but when taken away from their mothers at a very little age, they miss out on much essential training for their survival.
So, when you buy a kitten as a pet, it can bite you because it does not understand the harm its teeth and claws can do. It is therefore crucial for owners to train their cats. But, unfortunately, the fact remains that, despite being trained, some adult cats still bite people.
When a cat feels threatened by one’s action, it feels the need to protect itself and does so by biting the person handling it. Similarly, cats bite when they do not like what humans or other animals are doing.
Cats also bite when they demand attention from their owners, so rather than meowing, they bite or nip whoever is holding them. Similarly, cats can bite when they are trying to communicate with their owners; for example, if a cat wants to play, it will nip its owner and try to lead him or her to an activity.
What Can You Do To Prevent It?
Although it might make you think twice about getting a cat, there are things you can do to prevent your cats from biting you.
Identifying why a cat will bite you allows you to know how to prevent it from doing so. As a pet owner, you don’t want to have an untrained wild cat as a pet, so training is one of the best ways to prevent your cat from biting you.
When a cat receives mixed signals, the training may be less effective. This is why when visiting family or friends, they must follow the rules for treating your cat so that it still receives proper training.
You must also make sure that you do not allow the cat to use your body as a toy when you are both playing. It would be best if you do not let your cat play with your fingers and toes so that it does not think it is a chew toy.
Providing at least three toys for your cats helps in preventing them from biting you. When your cats have lots of toys, they do not get bored quickly. When your cat is bored with one toy, it can turn your fingers or toes as a toy and bite it.
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You also have to make sure your cats see your clothing as an extension of your skin so that they can understand that your clothing is off-limits to their mouths and paws. Again, doing this makes you safe as the cat might not know when biting your skin instead of your clothes.
It is of utmost importance that you do not engage in any form of physical punishment with your cat. Doing this can make the cat more likely to fight back, which can cause it to attack and bite you as a form of protection.
What Does It Mean When A Cat Bites You?
Cats can nip at you as a form of affection or when trying to communicate with you. It would be best if you did not mistake a cat’s nip for a bite. There are also defensive and fearful bites that may cause harm to the body.
In most cases, a cat bites you when it is in a defensive mode due to something you have done or are doing to the cat at the time. For example, a cat will become defensive if you do something to it that makes it feel uncomfortable or causes pain.
When a cat bites you, it can also be a result of fear. So, when you are trying to do something to the cat that it is not used to, it might get scared and bite you because it is trying to protect itself from what it regards as danger.
When you are petting your cat, and it bites you, it might also be because you are petting the cat in an uncomfortable part of its body, so biting you tells you that place is off-limits and it feels unpleasant.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Bites You?
You must tread softly when relating with a cat; it could be yours, a friend’s or neighbor’s cat, or even a stray cat. The reason is to prevent yourself from getting bitten by the cat.
Different bacteria can be contracted from a cat’s bite, bacteria like aureus, Pasteurella multocida, Staphylococcus, and campylobacteriosis. A cat’s bite is dangerous because the bacteria released can cause tissue infections.
A wound from a cat bite will be swollen, red, and painful. The infection can spread to the tissues surrounding that part of the body, and it will cause a condition referred to as cellulitis.
The infection can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood, causing blood poisoning (also referred to as septicemia). A person bitten by a cat may have flu-like symptoms and fever, and in rare cases, it can lead to death if not adequately treated.
When a cat bites you, you should swiftly take these actions to prevent the spread of bacteria in your body tissues.
- Wash the infected area under running water.
- Please avoid using strong disinfectants or other chemicals; they can damage your tissues and delay the wound from healing.
- Clean the wound with a mild salt solution, mix a teaspoon of table salt in 500 milliliters of water.
- You can also apply an over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic cream instead of a mild salt solution.
- You can control the bleeding by using an absorbent bandage to apply direct pressure to the wound.
- Elevate the wound above your heart to prevent infection spread and swelling.
- See a physician as soon as possible. If not properly treated, a severe infection can develop within 24 to 48 hours.
After examining the wound, the doctor will determine the most suitable and appropriate way to curb the infection. Most likely, your doctor will clean the wound, apply antibiotic ointment, prescribe an antibiotic if there is an infection, and give you a booster shot.
How Do You Discipline A Cat For Biting?
Every creature can be trained, domesticated and wild animals included. For example, when a cat misbehaves by biting a person, it can be disciplined. As surprising as it may sound, even wild animals discipline their young for misbehavior.
However, in disciplining a cat for biting, you should be aware of some facts. One of such facts is that a cat is very different from a dog. So, the methods of discipline are very different. An effective way of disciplining a dog might only end up making a cat angrier.
Hence, it would help if you learned the appropriate ways to discipline a cat. If you have kept dogs as a pet for a long time and are just having a cat, these methods will be very strange to you.
Reinforce Good Behaviors
Cats are one of the few animals that do not learn from punishment; instead, it gets them angrier. So if you have a cat that bites and you want to discipline it, an effective way will be to give it a treat for good behavior.
The cat will notice that it gets a treat every time it behaves and gets nothing when it misbehaves. The cat will learn to adjust with time and put on good behavior. Ensure you reward the cat every time it behaves well.
Remove Your Attention From The Cat
Another effective way of disciplining a biting cat is to ignore it. Do not give the cat attention, and it will be forced to behave itself. Instead, focus on other things when you notice the cat is seeking your attention, especially when it just misbehaved, like biting a person.
Use A Water Spray Bottle
Every cat dislikes being squirted with water, except maybe when they need to go hunting and their prey is in a pool of water. Nevertheless, if a cat just bit you, a quick spritz at the cat will make it realize the bad habit. After the cat has been spritzed with water a few times, it will deter bad behavior when it notices you reaching for the spray bottle.
Lock The Cat Up
Locking up a cat for biting is an effective way of disciplining it. Lock up the cat in a room without anybody in it for about 30 minutes if it just bit anybody. When you allow it back outside, you will notice a new attitude.
Cats are fantastic pets, and some people claim that having a cat is more therapeutic than having a dog as a pet. Either way, cats are fun animals, and you will not regret keeping a cat as a pet.
Nevertheless, cats can be aggressive when annoyed or irritated and may resort to different ways of venting their anger. It can be by biting, scratching, meowing, or just laying around lousily. Therefore, it would help if you endeavored to understand your cat first before deciding on the best training to give it.