How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching or Biting You
10 July, 2012

Some cat owners complain that they have cats that scratch or bite them.  I know that Sammy scratches me sometimes when he is playing or gets in his aggressive cat mode.   I also know how to handle him when he does so.  However, if your cat is scratching or biting you for any other reason than play, there are ways to stop him or her.

As kittens, biting and scratching is an important part of their development.    A kitten and then cat’s main form of play involves biting and scratching whether the recipient is another cat, a toy mouse, or sometimes you!  And, this kind of biting is acceptable behavior for a kitten.  However, if as a cat, he or she continues to bite and scratch you, there might be some disciplinary lessons in order.

First and foremost, always trim your cat’s nails.  This will help you with the initial pain if your cat does scratch you and should be done on a regular basis for your cat’s physical health.   See my article on how to clip your cat’s nails:

Below are some tips to help you when your cat scratches or bites you:

Say ‘Ouch’ loud and clear

If your cat bites or scratches you, say ‘Ouch’ loudly and clearly in a disciplinary tone.  Then slowly remove your hand or his or her paw from wherever he has bitten you. Do not yank it away or your cat will think you are playing with him and he will grab it again.

Pick your cat up by the back of the neck

If you can grab your cat by the back of the neck and say ‘no’ , this is an effective form of discipline for your aggressive feline! It mimics the punishment given a kitten by his mother when he becomes unruly. Try to hold your cat in this position for only three or four seconds and then let him go. Your cat will probably walk away as he or she tries to recover his dignity. But he’ll remember this lesson for a long time!

Try to redirect your cat’s attention

Usually, your cat will bite or scratch you merely because he or she is bored and your hand is his or her fun toy.  If this happens, redirect his or her attention by giving your cat a play object such as an interactive toy.  Or you can just play with your cat with a fishing rod, catch the mouse, etc.

Medical Causes

Medical causes should never be ruled out if biting or scratching is a new behavior and/or pattern.  Your cat might have a hidden wound, fleas or even a hormonal imbalance. If an otherwise sweet-natured cat starts behaving aggressively towards you, especially when being handled, you should go see your veterinarian.

As we all know, every cat is different and his or her form of play and interaction vary.  My Sammy is a bit more aggressive so his scratches are a form of play.   It is important for you to really get to know your kitten or cat, so you can determine what is normal and what isn’t.  This will help you deal with not only scratching and biting, but his or her overall mental and physical health. Good luck!

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