15 Ways to Stop Your Cat From Biting and Attacking You
As much as we all know how much you probably love your cat, there are times when it might occasionally want to attack you (Click here for my simple solution to this & see the price on Amazon). Your cat may attack you due to several reasons, however, the most common ones are due to behavioral or medical issues.
Whatever the case may be, the end result will be you getting scratched or bitten which is never pleasant. Not only can is it extremely painful to endure, it exposes you to the risk of catching a disease from your cat.
This aggressive behavior can become a really big nuisance if left unchecked. Knowing the reason for the cat attack and what solutions can be used to remedy the problem at hand will go a very long way in improving your interactions and relationship between you and your feline companion.
Another one of the most common behavioral issues most cat owners experience is biting (click here to see why your cat is biting and kneading your blanket). In fact, some experts go as far as saying that this problem only comes second to inappropriate urination.
This is largely due to the fact that personality traits vary in cats as much as they do in human beings, maybe even more in some cases. The experiences your cat had when it was young has significant bearing on its aggressive behavior later in its life.
But, the greater cause when concerning the problem of aggression is genetic diversity. Many cat owners will just go on to accept their cat's unique temperament issues, however, there are others that will find that aggression intolerable and will seek out ways on how to remedy the situation.
This aggressiveness can prove to be a really big issue for the cat owner involved. Herein below are 15 ways to stop your cat from biting and attacking you. Let's take a look.
1. Understand the Reason for the Aggression
Cats are generally predatory in nature, especially when in the wild. When your cat is constantly stalking, biting and/ or attacking you, it might be looking at you as prey during these moments. You may not be able to see this yourself since your practically ten times its size and its owner to boot, however, even if it's only your ankles your cat is attacking, it may be doing that to showcase its natural predator instincts.
Another reason why your cat could be constantly attacking you is because it may lack environmental stimulation or enough toys to keep itself busy. Basically, your cat may be bored. If this is the case, providing your cat with an adequate amount of interactive play time could solve all your problems.
Also, when your cat is still a kitten try not to let her pick up some of these behaviors because it will normally carry them into adulthood thus causing this whole mess all together,
2. Learn to Read Cat Body Language
Sometimes, during play time with your cat, it may be hard to spot the difference between attack behavior and normal play behavior. If you look closely you will notice subtle clues provided to you by your cat that will tell you whether its intentions are harmful or playful.
For instance, if it is in a playful and bright mood, your cat will hop sideways, pounce, open its mouth halfway, arch its back and all of this will be done without making too much noise.
When the cat is approaching attack mode, it will start spitting, growling or hissing during your play time. It may also begin to attempt to grab and bite your hand. You may notice its pupils dilate, tail swishing back and forth, and its ears flatten.
If you notice it stalking you when you're not playing with it, you can be fairly certain it's trying to attack you.
3. Understand What Redirected Aggression Is
When it comes to cat aggression, redirected aggression is one of, if not the most, dangerous types of aggression. This is because attacks caused by this kind of aggression can be very frightening and damaging, and the bites are normally uninhibited.
Redirected aggression is when your cat's aggressively agitated and aroused by a person or animal it can't get its paws at. So, when the agitation trigger is unreachable, it resorts to lashing out at someone or something that approaches it or that is nearby.
This is why some cat owners tend to describe this as 'out of the blue' or unprovoked aggression. An attack that is borne out of redirection only occurs when the agitated or aroused cat sees someone close by or is directly approached.
It usually won't go looking to attack someone. It is not an intentional nor is it a malicious type of aggression. It is basically a reflex that happens automatically without too much thought put into it.
This is why you're usually advised never to try approaching an aroused or agitated cat showing offensive and defensive aggression postures or break up a fight between two or more angry cats.
4. Understand Non Recognition Aggression
Non recognition aggression occurs when your cat is inexplicably aggressive toward another cat in your home, or wherever, after having been separated.
This normally happens after one cat has spent some time in a certain boarding kennel or when it has been on a trip to the vet by itself. This type of aggression can lead to some very vicious attacks directed towards each other, and it may not stop there because this aggression can sometimes be redirected toward the humans in the home or other people that happen to be close by.
This unique behavior that seems to only affect cats and not dogs has not yet been completely understood. Even expert veterinary behaviorists still have a lot trouble with it.
All cases are usually different when it comes to this, but in most, the behavior escalates to ongoing cat feuds which could eventually lead to the permanent destruction of their relationship if the situation is left unchecked.
5. Understanding Territorial Based Aggression
Most animals strive to keep out or expel other like animals from their territory, and your cat is no exception to this. Both females and male cats are territorial, however, males, compared to females, defend larger territories.
Territorial aggression in cats is normally directed toward other cats. But, that aggression can sometimes be directed toward humans and dogs as well. It can choose who it wants to show its aggression to, for instance, when it shows one person in the house and it doesn't show another or when it targets a particular cat and not another.
Cats usually mark their territories by urine spraying, chin rubbing and patrolling. When the boundaries of their territory have been breached, while showcasing offensive body positions, they may chase, stalk or even ambush the intruder that has been targeted.
The offensive body postures are usually accompanied by threatening sounds which includes the likes of growling, swatting, hissing and so on. Some cats immediately give an aggressive chase while others will take their time and stalk you in a slow and steady way.
The perceived territory of your cat could be a particular part of your house or the whole house entirely. Some other areas could be the block, yard, or the whole neighbourhood in general. Some common territoriality triggers could be the introduction of a new cat to the home or when your kitten reaches sexual maturity.
6. Understanding Maternal Aggression
All mothers in the animal kingdom have the instinct to protect their young ones from potential danger, be it a cat, dog, or even a human being.
Maternal aggression can happen when the queen, which is another term for a mother cat, while in the company of her kittens is approached by other animals or people she may perceive as being threats to her and her kittens.
However, this type of aggression is usually directed toward other cats and not humans, but, it can be directed to people from time to time depending on certain circumstances.
Queens tend to be very aggressive when it comes to upholding the safety of their young ones, especially in those few days after birth. It's for this reason you should try as much as you can to avoid handling the kittens during those first few days after birth.
7. Understanding Dominance Based Aggression
Most cats rarely treat their owners like other cats in the home and don't usually try to dominate them in a hierarchy or peck order. However, the cats that do treat a human like another cat and attempt to dominate the said human, you'll notice that cat hissing or growling whenever you move them or try to join them wherever it may be sitting.
Some will start displaying typical aggression signs such as spitting, hissing, flattened ears, dilated pupils and tail switching, as well as blocking doorways. These aggression signs between cats are often very subtle and most cat owners tend to write them off as play.
Cats that are generally dominant are usually very territorial as well. And the fact that it takes them about two or so years to reach social maturity mean that this is a behavioral issue that can sometimes occur pretty late in their lives. The best solutions to this problem are to withhold treats, attention and love until your cat is relaxed and mellow. Try to avoid punishing it because that will only help make the situation much worse.
8. Stimulate Your Cat Mentally
When you keep your cat mentally stimulated it helps keep it from getting bored. One of the best ways you can do this is to provide your cat with environmental stimulation.
Keeping the cat occupied while in its environment will mean that it will probably want to spend its time doing other things rather than attack you.
One of the best ways to increase stimulation in its environment is to provide your cat with a large variety of toys it can play with. Also, make sure you keep switching them out regularly.
This will ensure it stays interested in all the toys at any given moment. You basically just have to make sure the cat isn't playing with the same set of toys over and over again.
Sometimes throw in a small empty cardboard box so the cat can have new things to explore. Do this on a regular basis as well. Puzzle feeder toys are examples of some excellent mind stimulating objects you should consider buying for your cat. It usually keeps them well occupied most of the time.
9. Avoid Using Your Bare Hands as Toys
Wiggling your fingers back and forth in your cat's face may seem like a convenient and very innocent way of enticing your kitten to play, however, it usually sets a very dangerous precedent. If you're doing this, what you end up communicating to the cat is that it's okay to bite human flesh.
Even though the bites and scratches (Click here to see how to stop your cat scratching your walls) don't seem to hurt you at the moment, they definitely will once your kitten grows into a full adult. Your cat should also not engage in that type of play with the elderly people or children in the house for it would most certainly lead to injury.
Consistent training messages should be conveyed all throughout your cat's life. So always fight the temptation of using your feet, hands or any of your other body parts as cat toys. If you want your cat not to bite you when it gets upset, then you'll have to start teaching it early on that biting human flesh is definitely not okay. Keep your messaging as consistent as possible.
10. Avoid Punishing Your Cat
An important thing that many cat owners don't know or merely tend to forget is that cats generally do not respond well to punishment.
Physically hitting, punishing, tossing or pushing your cat away once it displays some form of aggression will not work with cats. Also, yelling will definitely not work either.
All this does is it will make your cat wary and fearful of you whenever you take the option of punishing it. It even confuses the cat sometimes.
The cat usually doesn't know you're punishing it for because in most, if not all cases, the punishment normally comes after it has done whatever it wasn't supposed to do.
Physical punishment often raises the reactivity of your cat which means that the simple play aggression it displays could possibly cross over and change into a much more serious type of aggression. Punishing it can also make your cat very defensive all the time.
11. Reward Your Cat at the Right Time
Try to always reward your cat for its good behavior. Cats tend to repeat behaviors that usually have positive outcomes. Whenever you give your cat a lot of positive reinforcement whenever it does something you consider the right thing, for example, gently playing with you or instead of biting it cuddles and snuggles with you, then your cat will always tend to do that particular thing.
Keep in mind that this positive reinforcement technique only works when your rewarding the cat after it has done what you consider to be the right thing or during its good behavior.
This is sort of tricking your cat's mind into forming an association between the reward and the good behavior. Doing this early on, while it's still a kitten, ensures that your cat will keep this good behavior all throughout its life. A reward can be any treat your cat enjoys eating.
12. Buy Some Toys to Stimulate Your Cat
Encourage some healthy play time by providing your cat with a wide variety of safe cat toys it can play with. To determine the specific preferences your cat may have when it comes to toys, you may have to experiment a bit.
However, most cats generally enjoy playing with lightweight balls, furry mice (click here to see if you can feed your cat mice) and other average sized things that will allow to being easily batted around. Encourage the cat's enticement by strategically placing these toys and objects all around the house.
Don't just leave them in one large pile in the corner of a room. Have them peeking out of open boxes, paper bags or such things like that. Having to look and struggle to get the toy will help keep them interested as well as excited.
Additionally, avoid using these toys to play with your cat. An excited cat will easily mistake your finger for a toy and could possibly end up causing you serious injury.
13. Log Attacks to Measure Improvement
Keeping a record of all the attacks directed toward you by your cat will help give you a good understanding of the times and situations your cat is most likely to pounce and attack you.
For example, when you notice its way of waking you up in the morning is by having a small bite at your ankles or each time you decide to interact and play with it a little it becomes aggressive.
When you learn to anticipate the times your cat is most likely going to attack, it allows you to adequately prepare for that situation which usually entails attempting to redirect the cat's attention using something like a toy so that it can forget it wanted to attack you in the first place.
14. Book in Some Play Time with Your Cat
Try scheduling a daily interactive play time session with you feline companion. These sessions should last for an average of about ten minutes or so and should take place whenever the mood of your cat is playful.
If you can, schedule for two of these interactive play sessions per day. Spending a significant amount of time with the cat will grant you the opportunity of teaching it not to bite/attack you and may also possibly help you address one of the issues that is causing it to constantly attack you.
Dangling toys or pole type toys, both of which can be acquired at your local pet shop or made at home will provide a safe distance between your hands and feet and your cat.
Toys of this nature will also help foster your cat's natural predatory instincts without putting you in any danger of suffering any injuries caused by the cat.
If wrestling is what your cat loves to do, then a stuffed animal toy is the most ideal object for this type of situation, especially if there just still kittens. The best size animal toy is one that is about the same size as your cat. One that is similar in size is an animal toy your cat will enjoy spending a lot of time wrestling.
15. Work Closely With Your Vet
A medical check up is vital for all cats that display aggressive behavior. The cause of some cats aggressive behavior could be due to a particular medical complication or condition.
Aside from acute pain conditions, cats that suffer from thyroid abnormality, orthopedic issues, cognitive dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction, sensory deficits and neurological disorders can display increased aggression and irritability.
Cats that suffer from confusion and insecurity could be geriatric cats which, in turn, could explain the cat's aggressive behavior for most geriatric cats tend to be slightly aggressive. Only a vet has the capability of diagnosing such medical conditions and that's why it's important to work as closely as you can with your vet.
Certain medications have been designed to alter your cat's mood eventually making it much less aggressive. Only a vet can give you access to some of these medications.
Another contributing factor that most people do not know or forget to think about is your cat's diet. The food your feeding your cat could be the cause of its aggressive behavior.
Try and watch what it eats. All in all, if it's a medical complication that is causing this increased aggressive behavior then without the help of a vet, you might not be able to fully remedy the situation.
It can be very annoying as well as dangerous when your cat is constantly trying to attack or bite you (click here to see why your cat might be attacking houseguests). However, don't be too alarmed because it's something that you can totally fix.
You just need to learn the right things to do and start practicing them today. Hopefully, this article on 15 ways to stop your cat from biting and attacking you have been your first steps to complete enlightenment.
Try out one or more of these methods above and everything should go back to normal.