It's important to stop a cat biting to prevent skin punctures and possible infection.

3 Tips to Stop a Cat Biting and Scratching You


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There are three simple steps to stop a cat from biting and scratching you, which involve a healthy mix of nature and nurture.

You can encourage healthy (non-scratching and biting) behaviour in growing kittens, just as you can make it clear to mature cats that punctures, scratch marks and pain won’t get them anywhere.

Cat scratches and bites can be nasty. Besides being sore they easily get infected, something none of us wants to experience.

Find out how to prevent – and stop – biting and scratching behaviour with three tips and this video from Dr Cath:

1. Stop a cat biting and scratching through reaction

Reaction is a superior communication tool in the animal kingdom, you just need to know what reaction says “yes please” or “no more” in cat speak. They have highly developed senses and according to research socio-cognitive skills too. So, they’re going to notice and respond to how you react to bites and scratches.

Here are the ways you need to react to cat scratching/biting:

  • Stay calm: an angry response is likely to cause confusion.
  • Use words: try words like “NO” or “STOP” in an authoritative (not angry) voice. Don’t use this word and your cat’s name together. Keep their name blame-free and only use it for praise. You can also point a stern finger at the same time and hold their gaze.
  • Leave the room: stay away until your cat is calm again (this applies once you’ve used words too).
  • Don’t touch: if you’re holding, stroking or cuddling your cat when they bite and scratch then stop touching them. If they’re on your lap, keep your hands out of reach and if that doesn’t work to calm them down, take them off your lap and leave the scene until they’re calm.
  • Move out of the way: a cat in a biting/scratching mood doesn’t like top feel hemmed in – they usually want out and quickly. If you’re blocking their path always let them have right of way.

To sum it up, the best way to halt your cat from biting and scratching is to withdraw and ignore them. Some say up to twenty minutes is a good amount of calm down time. This is a totally relatable response that says pretty much the same thing in human behaviour.

Here’s more on speaking cat, with cat body language decoded.

This kitten is learning the wrong behaviours that will later on mean the owner has to stop a cat biting.

2. Encourage good behaviour

Positive reinforcement is the easiest and fastest way to teach your pets good behaviour. It’s great for rearing kittens into well balanced cats and teaching old cats new tricks.
Praise your kitten or cat when they’re doing right by you and give them treats too. Just be sure to limit the treats as obesity can lead to diabetes in dogs and cats.

Here are some tricks and tips for positive behaviour in kittens and cats:

  • Kittens: these cute fur babies will naturally use their teeth and claws to explore, which means bonding with you can lead to bites and scratches. Encourage the right target by playing with your cat regularly using a string or feather toy. Read these tips for new kitten parents.
  • Cats: get your grown-up cat hooked on a suitable target instead of you. Cat nip in a toy (especially a moving toy) should do the trick. Praise your cat for getting stuck into the toy rather than attacking you, to boost the positive association.

As mentioned earlier, it’s best not to cuddle or feed your cat for 20 minutes after a biting or scratching episode. Even if they’ve calmed down, wait for the full amount of time to pass, or you’ll not only be condoning biting and scratching behaviour but rewarding it too!

If your cat’s target is home décor, not you, read how to stop a kitten scratching furniture.

The way to stop a cat biting or in this case scratching is to give it an appropriate target AKA toy.

3. Find out why your cat is scratching and biting

Cats bite or scratch as a way to communicate so although their claws and teeth can inflict pain, look out for what they might be trying to express. Getting to the root of the behaviour is key to understanding your cat and instilling the correct behaviours long-term.

Consider whether your cat is trying to tell you any of the following:

  • I’m overexcited. Read why playtime for dogs and cats is important. And be sure to keep them focussed on the toy target, not your hand!
  • I feel lonely. Here’s what you need to know about getting one or two kittens.
  • I’m feeling broody! Find out the pros and cons on whether to spay and neuter your cat.
  • I feel stressed and anxious: Your cat might be super sensitive to changes in your mood or household changes, like a new baby, new pet, visitors or loud noises.
  • I’m sick or injured: Older cats might lash out when they’re feeling vulnerable or weak. A cat who’s been hurt or feels sick needs to be seen by a vet.

If your cat isn’t feeling well then the chances are they’ll stop biting and scratching once they’re better. If you suspect something is wrong with your cat, it’s better not to wait to take them to see a vet and get their professional opinion.

Vet bills and third party liability

If you’re hesitant because of the vet costs and related medical bills, consider pet insurance. Our cat insurance plans are affordable and help reduce the payable fees when you visit the vet.

Find out about the many financial perks of pet insurance and know that with PD Insurance you’ll also receive third party liability cover. That way if your cat bites or scratches someone else (who doesn’t live on your property) or their pet and they need treatment, we’ll help cover your liability if your cat doesn’t have a history of violence.

Why not take two minutes to get a quick quote today?

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