How to Stop Cats From Biting and Scratching

by catfood

It could be necessary to retrain cats for habits they picked up as kittens.

Cats exhibit a variety of fundamental types of aggression-based biting and scratching behaviors, some of which can be linked to acts they picked up from their owners or interactions with them.

As a natural part of their growth, kittens learn to bite and scratch. If they are not trained at a young age, they will not recognize when it is inappropriate to use their claws and fangs.


The Hands You Hold Are Not Toys

Don’t educate your cat that your hands are toys is one of the basic commandments for human friends. When they are small kittens, you must teach them this habit and correct it. If you disregard this instruction, your body will be scarred and those small claws and teeth will eventually develop into razor-sharp “meat hooks.” When they are kittens, they won’t likely damage you, but after they are fully grown, they will think it’s okay to play rough with your hands despite having bigger and stronger jaws and claws. Hands ought to be reserved for carrying and patting. Any “mouthing” should be established early on as uncomfortable to you, even if it may not actually be painful. Once this is established, you must focus your fun behavior on other things.

Why Do Cats Scratch and Bite?

When the human companion either doesn’t understand or ignores the cat’s body language during a stroking session, the cat may bite aggressively. While some cats enjoy being caressed endlessly, others may become overstimulated for a variety of reasons and desire to quit the petting session but are unable to communicate this.

An indignant cat displays its emotions by pulling back its ears and narrowing its eyes. Waiting too long may result in receiving a bite if you don’t receive the expected tail lashing. The rule in this situation is to pay attention to the cat’s cues and halt whatever you’re doing to avoid an escalation. You can restrict or stop these interactions if you are aware of your cat’s aggressive triggers. Petting a cat too vigorously or for an extended period of time around the base of the tail may be the trigger for some cats. Follow your cat’s cues when touching them and learn what they like and dislike.


Unusual Cat Outside

When your cat sees a strange cat through a window, it could get angry and react by attacking the first object it sees nearby, which might be you or another cat. This is a classic example of redirected aggression. You’ll need to use your creative thinking to engage in this kind of behavior.

Put your cat in a place where it can’t see the unusual cat to start with. Next, comfort your cat by giving it more time to be petted and played with. When your cat is able to interact quietly, give it extra treats. In severe situations, your vet could recommend medication to make your cat feel less frightened. If you know who the cat’s owner is, you can also calmly request that they keep the cat inside to avoid instances of redirected hostility.

Medicinal Roots

It may indicate an underlying ailment if your cat develops new and odd behavioral issues, such as aggressive biting and scratching. Undiagnosed injuries, irritation from mites or fleas, hormone imbalances like hyperthyroidism, and undiagnosed wounds are only a few medical causes.

A trip to the vet is necessary if a usually calm cat suddenly and unexplainably becomes hostile toward you, particularly when being handled. Along with suggesting bloodwork, they’ll probably search for the cause of any pain or discomfort.


A rare disorder called hyperesthesia causes some cats to act aggressively or to groom themselves too frequently. This condition typically affects Siamese, Burmese, and Abyssinian cats and first manifests in cats around the age of a year. Excessive grooming and self-mutilation, abrupt and irrational anger, and in severe cases, seizures, are all signs of hyperesthesia.

Although there is considerable disagreement as to what causes it, some veterinary professionals think hyperesthesia is actually a neurological ailment comparable to panic attacks in humans, others think stress is to blame, and still others link it to a form of seizure disorder. In any case, a veterinarian or veterinary expert should do a neurological examination on a cat who exhibits sudden violent behavior (such as biting) and seizures.

Once an episode of hyperesthesia has begun, you can assist control it or disturb it by covering the cat with a towel or blanket. To assist control the seizures and other behaviors, your veterinarian may occasionally prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-seizure medicine.

Stop Biting and Scratching: How to Do It

It might be challenging to break a cat’s habit of biting and scratching when it has developed this tendency. Even though the cat sees it as playtime, you may teach your cat that you prefer not to be the target of its assaults with patience and time.

You can take a few steps to keep yourself safe from your cat’s play attacks:

  • Sculpt its claws. In order to prevent ingrown cat claws, regular claw cutting is recommended. A cat’s scratching propensity doesn’t ever require declawing, but keeping those claws trimmed can lessen the discomfort of an unprovoked attack.
  • Say, “No!” Or you can correct your pet with any other short phrase. As your “corrective” word, stick to using this one word, and use it consistently. Say it clearly and loudly without shouting. The cat may be startled by this, but it serves to divert its attention. Take advantage of the opportunity to slowly release your hand from your cat’s grasp. Don’t pull it away otherwise the cat will assume a game is in progress and seize it once more.
  • Take the cat by the snout. Only in extreme cases, if you fear your cat might continue to hurt you, should you do this. It resembles the discipline a mother cat meows at a misbehaving kitten. Pick up the cat by the scruff of its neck, transport it to a different area of the house or room, and then release it. This helps to stop the behavior and get them out of the hurtful circumstance. Once they have been corrected, make an effort to change their conduct to something more fitting.
  • Deflect it’s focus. Your cat may playfully bite your hands or feet if it’s bored and looking for something to play with. Allow it to actively engage with an interactive toy for a quarter hour. You can also point them in the direction of a scratching post or another behavior-related outlet. This satisfies the desire to not only correct them but also to provide them with a suitable outlet for their acts.
  • Know your cat. It is your responsibility to be alert to any changes in your cat’s behavior or health. Make an effort to regularly check your cat so that it gets used to you feeling every part of its body, from head to toe. After then, keep an eye out for any indications of oncoming hostility.

Your cat continues to bite

Set up a consultation with your veterinarian. They’ll probably have a lot of questions regarding the kind of conduct, the circumstances around the behavior, the setting of the home, and your approach to correcting them. In rare instances, they will request blood tests to check for particular illnesses that can exacerbate hostility. If they are unable to assist in changing the habit, they may suggest a behavior specialist.



If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.

READ NEXT:How to Stop Petting Aggression in Cats


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