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Why Does My Cat Lunge At Me And Bite? (Ravenous?)

If your cat is randomly lunging in and biting you it is likely that you are shocked and wondering why this is happening…

Why does my cat lunge at me and bite?

The most common reasons for your cat to lunge and bite you are wanting to play and getting too rough, status-related aggression,  or just wanting your attention. There are others, but these are highly likely. It’s important to learn how to manage a cat like this to avoid getting hurt and provoking further attacks.

Use these to distract/prevent your cat from biting you:

Description Image My Rating
01. Interactive cat toy (My Best)
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5 stars
02. Cat Tree with Platform
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03. Feliway Plug-in Diffuser
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4 stars

So, now you know. But, what can you do to prevent this from happening in the first place? What should do right after it’s happened, in the heat of the moment? Should I be worried if my cat bites me? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

6 Top Reasons your cat will lunge at and bite you:

Why does my cat lunge at me and bite?

A scary/angry-looking cat with teeth shown.

Earlier I briefly mentioned the three main reasons why your cat may lunge and bite you. Therefore, in this section, I will provide more detail about each one to help you:

01. Status-Related Aggression

This type of aggression is a way for your cat to dominate their chosen situation. For example, if you decide you want the cat off your couch, so you can chill, it may lunge and bite you. Or, if you remove its favorite cat toy, it might go into a big hissy fit.

These are examples of status-related aggression and a potential reason why your cat is acting like this.

02. Playing rough

Believe it or not if your cat attacks in this way it may be a way for it to playfight with you. I get it, after you have felt its teeth sink into your flesh, the chances are you won’t consider it a game, and that makes perfect sense.

But, in your cat’s mind, it may well be a game that is, in your opinion, going too far right now. Some cats, especially younger cats, or kittens, struggle to find boundaries sometimes.

03. Want your attention

If your cat is struggling to get your attention it may attack like this. This could be because it feels that you have been neglecting its needs or are just out a lot and lacks quality time with you.

If this is the case, the good news is it can be fixed. And, all it will need from you is some quality time to get it feeling loved again.

04. Feeling defensive

It’s never a good idea to corner your cat if you don’t yet have their complete trust. The same applies to simply ‘scooping them up’ when you feel like playing with them or spending some time together with them on the couch. For some cats, feeling corners or forced into affection can put them on the defensive.

Your best remedy for this is to always get them to come to you using calling them or treats so that you can let the cat decide if it’s okay for you to handle them.

05. Redirected aggression

If your kitty has just been wrestling with another cat or dog in the house, then they might still be in a mental mindset for fighting.

This can occur if you are trying to separate your cat from the other animal and quickly calm them with attention, as they simply don’t ‘change gears’ immediately and are likely to take it out on you.

An offered treat and a soothing voice – with a little space in between you – is a better way to calm your cat when they are riled up and still looking for a fight.

06. They are feeling pain

When your cat lunges at you and tries to bite, this can be a warning sign that they are actually in pain. This is especially the case if your cat is normally very easy-going, so consider this possibility and bring them to the vet as soon as you can to rule out any health problems.

It might just be as simple as your cat trying to avoid touch because it hurts them and trying to bite you sends that message as clearly and directly as possible.

What should you do if your cat lunges and bites you?

If your cat is lunging and biting you it is best to step away from the situation. This is to show your cat, clearly, that you are not happy with their actions. This may sound soft, but trust me shouting or trying to meet their aggression head-on rarely works.

In most cases, this approach can make the station worse. The idea here is to de-escalate the situation and make your cat understand you are not happy.

It’s also important not to buckle and start cuddling your cat right after, give it a good 10 minutes to starve them of affection and make them understand they have been naughty. The idea is, in time, it will learn to calm down the intercity or face this response again.

How can you prevent your cat from lunging and biting you?

Why does my cat hiss at everyone but me?

An angry-looking/scary cat with its teeth exposed and mouth open.

Now that you understand why your cat has done this and some strategies on how to deal with it in the heat of the moment I will move on. In this section, I will explain some tips to help you prevent this from happening in the first place:

01. Avoid over-petting

You may be tempted to pet your cat to show it love, which is fine, but you will need t make sure you do not overdo it. The reason is some cats can get overstimulated and respond with this type of aggression that you have seen.

So, look out for body language to check if you are going too far with it.

02. Avoid confrontation

To stop backing your cat into a corner, so to speak, avoid situations that may cause confrontation. For example, do not yank away its favorite toy, or boot it off its favorite seat in the house.

Instead, be tactful and try and be as friendly as possible. Also, rather than moving something from them, or trying to grab it, try and divert their attention instead (more on this later).

03. Redirect their focus (e.g. Toys)

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Using a cat toy is a good way to redirect your cat’s focus. This can be a simple toy that will grab its attention, and take it away from the hostility of the moment.

It is also good practice, to avoid these aggressive acts, to not encourage your cat to playfight with your hands. It may seem fun at the time, but some cats struggle to find the balance of gameplay and inflicting pain on their owner.

04. Train them to use a cat tree

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Cats may lunge at you because they do not have enough activities, especially if they are indoor cats. In this case, you can simply use a cat tree to keep them entertained and help them to calm down.

05. Calm the environment

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Another technique to help prevent your cat from attacking is by calming the environment it lives in. This requires some cat pheromones. This can be deposited into your home using a simple diffuser (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) that plugs into the wall and spreads the vapor around your home.

When this happens your cat’s mood can be improved which makes it less likely to launch an attack or bite you.

Could your cat attack because of pain?

Some cats may attack you because they are harboring some pain. It may not always be obvious that your cat is in pain, by the way. Why? Because some cats hide it very well. This makes it difficult to understand their motivation for attacking sometimes.

If this is the case then you need to identify the root of their pain and get them some medical assistance as soon as possible to help them. And, also to help you by stopping these random attacks. Should I be worried if a cat bites me?

If a cat bites you it should be taken seriously. Although it may seem like a small bite it does not mean that it won’t get infected. If this happens, getting infected can turn nasty within 24 hours from the bacteria that has seeped into your skin from the open wound.

If there is any doubt it’s worth discussing it with your doctor or vet as soon as possible to get their advice.

How do you tell if your cat respects you?

You can tell if a cat respects you by the way they react when they are instructed to do something. If your cat simply ignores you, it’s not a good sign. There is a difference between respect and love, in this context.

For example, your cat could snuggle up to you, purr and brush against you, lay in your lap for petting, etc. And, it could still then ignore you when you ask it not to do something, are you with me?

Cats can be complex sometimes and to make matters more challenging, it’s not an overnight process to gain their respect.

Could my cat lunge at me out of fear?

Cats can lunge out of fear. This may happen when the cat is forced into a corner, theoretically speaking. This means, they may give you somebody’s language to suggest they are uncomfortable, and if the behavior persists, they may lash out of fear.

This is why some cats may not respond well to your dad, or other family members, they cold fear them, but they may persist in approaching them, for example.

Could I be my cat’s prey?

Theoretically, you could be your cat’s prey. This is because they often practice hunting by playfighting and lunging in with these random attacks as a way to simulate a hunting experience.

And, to make matters worse, if you appear scared, or even run it will make them think it’s part of their game scenario and make them continue.

How do I teach my 3-month-old kitten from lunging & biting?

Tiny kitten meowing loudly.

Tiny kitten meowing loudly.

The best thing to do is to discourage aggressive behavior by refusing to continue playing whenever your cat gets rough. You can even get up and walk out of the room, returning in a few minutes and waiting for your cat to come to you, rather than the other way around.

When your cat comes to you, you can give them the treat to show that everything is good between you, but whenever they get rough during play then you need to ignore them again for a few minutes. Over time, they’ll make the connection that playtime is going to stop whenever they bring their teeth and claws into it.

Just be patient, as this can take a while.

How can you discipline your cat for lunging and biting you?

Don’t discipline your cat for biting. Your cat won’t understand why you are angry, in the first place, and the second place, it’s just going to evoke a ‘fight or flight’ response, so that your cat runs away or attacks you again, even more aggressively.

Disciplining your cat can erode their trust in you and the better approach is always going to be refusing to play with them when they get rough and if it comes to them trying to bite you outside of playtime, consider if you’ve cornered them or if you’ve been scooping them up later without warning.

If neither of these scenarios applies, then bring your kitty to the vet – the biting might well be an indication that your cat is hurting and this might be the reason that they are reacting so violently at the thought of being touched or handled.

What signs can you look out for before a cat attack?

Cats speak all the time, but not just vocally, and so it pays to know a little about their body language.

With aggression, signs that your cat is about to launch at you may include holding their bodies very stiff, briskly and sharply wagging their tails back and forth, and if you see tucked-back ears then this is a definite red flag.

Keep an eye out for these behaviors and give your kitty a little space if you see them. If the behavior is frequent, then consider also a checkup at the veterinarian’s office to rule out any injuries or illnesses that aren’t readily visible to the naked eye.

Lindsey Browlingdon