Weird Cat Behavior: Biting the Hand That Pets You

Most cats will simply walk away when they have had enough attention from you.  Others, however, will nip at your hand.

This can be confusing for loving cat owners. You aren’t hurting her, just stroking. So why does she do this?

cat behavior biting

Some cats become over-stimulated very easily.  The stroking gets them wound and the bite relieves some of that tension. Others just never learned that biting was inappropriate behavior.

Warning Signs of Cat Biting Behavior

There is no consensus on exactly why some cats bite and others don’t, but there are some warning signs you can look for that may help you prevent being bit.

cat biting behavior

Watch your cat’s tail.  If the end begins twitching, this is a sure sign the cat is getting irritated.  Unlike dogs, cats do not wag their tails.

Another sign to look for is ear movement.  Every cat owner is familiar with the flattened ears of an angry cat, but by that time, it is too late and you are likely already nursing a bite.  Watch for the ears to start turning to the sides.  This is an indication your furry friend is getting agitated.  Stop stroking now and you can prevent getting bit.

Preventing Cat Bites

With cats that have a tendency to bite, it is good to follow what has been dubbed the seven-stroke rule.  Allow yourself to stroke your cat only seven times to start.  Then stop.  This is usually short enough not to create agitation.  Eventually you can add another stroke and then another, but do it slowly over time.  This will give your cat time to build up to being stroked.

Another natural way to prevent cat bites is to help your kitty deal with her anxiety by installing a Comfort Zone or Feliway diffuser (learn about the difference here) with cat pheromones in your home.

I personally use a Comfort Zone diffuser, along with Comfort Zone spray, to help reduce my own cat’s anxiety. (Full review here).

cat bites owner

Just as some people prefer not to be touched, some cats are also this way.  Learning to recognize the warning signs will help prevent anger on your part and irritation for your cat. This will make you both happier, healthier, and more zen.


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