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Why Does My Cat Bite Me When She Hears Kittens?

If you have noticed that your cat seems to bite you when it hears kittens you may be baffled, and wondering why this happens…

Why does my cat bite me when she hears kittens?

The sounds may be just overstimulating your cat. They recognize kitten sounds, of course, but they can’t smell or see a source for them – it puts them a bit on edge, and that could be why your cat is biting you.

Try to put yourself in your cat’s place for a moment and imagine if you were hearing crying human babies and couldn’t find a source for the sound. You’d be worried (and perhaps a bit frightened) and certainly on edge as well!

Do cats understand that their bite hurts?

Tiny kitten meowing loudly.

Tiny kitten meowing loudly.

Not all cats know how painful their bite can be, as this is something that they learn from their littermates and mom. When weaned too early, kittens have to learn this on their own and their new owner will likely be in for a painful surprise.

Don’t worry – you can certainly teach your cat when they are biting too hard – just pull back your hand and say ‘oww’ when your cat bites you and immediately stop playing. After a few minutes, you can play with your cat again but if they bite, then repeat the process.

Over time, your cat will understand that the biting is hurting you and you should notice a difference.

Are cats protective over their kittens?

It depends on the cat. Some cats will be perfectly fine with letting you handle their kittens, though in that case, you should be careful – a 2 – 3 week old kitten needs to eat every 2 -3 hours, so keep any handling brief.

Other cats, however, may not even like you being close to their kittens and this is something that you’ll need to respect. One thing that can help sometimes is making a new nest for mom, in the quietest portion of the house.

Often when the mother is overprotective, her nest might be somewhere that a lot of people pass through or which is simply loud, like the living room.  A quiet spot where mom feels less stressed might well make a difference, but if it doesn’t, then you’ll have to wait until mom feels that her kittens are ready to be more social.

Why does my cat bite my phone when I play cat sounds?

Usually, this is a sign that your cat wants attention or that they view your phone as some kind of weird toy. They know that it’s making cat sounds, but it smells like plastics and metals.

While your cat doesn’t know the why of it, they know that you are holding it, so they’re probably also suspicious about what you’re up to!

Do cats know kittens are kittens?

Yes, your cat knows quite a bit about those kittens, and not just that they are young cats. When you see a cat smelling another cat’s bum, for instance, your cat is collecting useful data.

However obscene ‘bum sniffing’ seems to us, for cats it can give them a basic health profile of the other cat and they can even tell your cat if they’ve related through ‘phenotype matching’. While scientists don’t fully understand it, we know for a fact that cats can do this, just not the specific information that they are getting.

If your cat doesn’t recognize a kitten by sight, they know exactly what they are smelling – just don’t expect them to like it, because new kittens aren’t as cute to your cat as they are to you!

Do cats get jealous of kittens?

A black and a white kittens side by side.

A black and a white kittens side by side.

Some cats do get quite jealous of a new kitten and it’s something that you will need to be very patient with. This happens quite commonly with cats that are used to living with one or two people on their own, but any cat may feel threatened with a new cat being pushed into ‘their territory’.

Some fighting may occur, but if the bites are not breaking the skin, then don’t worry too much, just make sure that all meetings are supervised. For the first introduction, you should also use a crate. This lets your cat get close enough to sniff the kitten, without being a danger to it.

Usually, a cat will adjust to a new kitten within a week or two, but a small percentage of cats take even longer, or might simply learn to ‘tolerate’ the other cat and never become friends. You’ll just have to wait and see what both cats finally decide on.

Why does my cat bite me gently while purring?

Cats don’t only purr when they are happy – it can also occur when your cat is stressed. For instance, if you are petting your cat and they are purring, but then give you a short nip that doesn’t pierce the skin, then they are simply asking you to ‘stop’ because they are feeling overstimulated.

Cats do this to other cats as well, as a bite the only pinches get across a pretty clear message, though aside from saying ‘stop’, you might even run into cats that like to ‘chew’ on you.

This phenomenon seems a little weird until you understand it, but if they are giving you little bites and moving their mouth forward or to the side (like eating corn on the cob), then they are grooming you and this is quite a normal thing for cats to do as well.

It feels a little strange but don’t worry, there’s a lot of love behind it.

How do you tell if your cat is giving you a love bite?

Watch your cat’s body language. A cat that is stressed or upset with you will flatten their ears, often staring into space, and you might even get a growl or two. Watch for tail twitching, as well, as this can mean that your kitty is on the warpath.

If your cat stiffens, but only as a means to get you to ‘hold still’, then this is a little different. You are being groomed! Just relax in such a case and let your kitty do it. Finally, if your cat seems relaxed and is just giving you the occasional nip, then this is just a love bite.

It takes a while, but once you get used to your cat’s body language, you’ll be able to tell – just watch those ears, tail, and body posture. Cats tend to broadcast their intentions quite clearly when you look for them.

Do cats prefer female voices?

A study from the University of Vienna’s ‘Konrad Lorenz Research Station’ found that many cats seem to prefer female companionship to that of males. This could be from the softer petting or vocalization of a human female, although a similar study from Discovery News found that women simply tend to spend more time with their cats.

Ultimately, it will depend on the cat and their personal experiences, though. Rescue cats are a very good example of this. Some have had a bad experience with male or female owners and they will be biased against that gender. Some cats panic or get excited when they hear children’s voices.

Bias or not, once a cat loves you, it’s a bond that keeps growing over time, so if you spend a lot of time with your kitty then they’re going to spend a lot of time with you. It’s as easy as that!

Why do cats hate it when you sing?

Don’t take it personally if your cat doesn’t like your singing, because everything that you can hear sounds very different to your cat. The world around us is meant for the human auditory range, and while we can hear up to 20,000 Hz, as we get older than we generally settle into a 12,000 – 15,000 Hz range.

Entertainment options, especially TVs and stereos are geared to take advantage of this and they do neat tricks for human hearing, but your cat has a range of hearing that can be a little over 3 times higher than yours – up to 64,000 Hz!

That’s a big difference in range, so many things will sound different to your cat, and this includes your singing voice.

Lindsey Browlingdon