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Cat Biting: Defensive or Affectionate?

You’re playing with your cat, and you’re both having a fun time.

Then your cat turns around and bites you.

Is this playful or defensive? This post explains the difference.

Why does my cat bite?

It’s common for your cat to bite.

Remember: your cat is a hunter, and they are used to playing rough.


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When they’re young, they don’t know the difference between a gentle or rough bite.

In their development stage, playing is a good way for your cat to learn the difference.

Yes, they may bite too hard at times. But it’s the way your cat learns to communicate.

Cats bite for two reasons: play or defense. Let’s look at the difference.

Is my cat biting affectionate?

Cats aren’t like humans.

When they are overexcited or overstimulated, they can give you a little nip.


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Your cat will do this when they feel a strong connection to the person.

Yes, it’s a good thing.

When you’re playing with your cat, they will bite you.

This can mean ‘come here, play with me!’

Your cat purring is a good sign. This is affectionate biting.

Is my cat biting defensively?

Your cat may be cute and cuddly, but they are still a predator.

If they aren’t happy, they can hurt you.

Sometimes your cat will get sick of being petted.

Look out for warning signs, such as:
• Narrowed eyes
• Rippling their fur
• Moving around
• Growling

These are signs that your cat is unhappy.

If they bite now, it’s likely this is defensive biting.

What kind of bites are they?

Yes, your cat is confusing. That’s cats for you.


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But as you get to know your cat, you will be able to understand their behavior better.

If they bite you, think about their motivations.

Are they having fun? Or they stressed? That will give you an indication of what kind of bite it is.

If it’s defensive biting, you should stop your behavior.

You could end up having a lot of bites (and scratches!) if you don’t.

Will my cat bite me at other times?

Usually, your cat’s biting is caused by overstimulation.

But your cat could get startled or frightened.

It could be caused by a loud noise or another person entering the room.

When this happens, your cat will become defensive and bite or scratch.

This is normal. You can’t stop this behavior. Your cat doesn’t mean this, though.

It’s an accident, and it shouldn’t happen often.

Can cat biting be dangerous?

Your cat should only give you little nips.

If your cat bites you hard, it often means the situation is making them anxious.

Stop your behavior immediately.


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Your cat has a lot of bacteria in its mouth.

They also have very sharp teeth and can bite deeply.

If you are bitten badly, treat it right away.

With a deep bite, wash the wound well and use disinfectant.

If your child is bitten, take them to the doctor to make sure they aren’t seriously hurt.

What should I remember?

Cat biting can be both affectionate and defensive.

When they bite you, check for the warning signs.


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Stop your behavior if it’s defensive biting. Don’t worry, though.

Cat biting is normal and their way of communicating.

Listen to your cat, and you’ll both be happy.

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