Cats are territorial species born with sharp tooth and talons designed to hunt, catch prey and defend their area.

When a cat is fearful, defensive, aroused, or harassed, it could rework from a loving pussycat to a ‘panther’ in a matter of seconds biting and clawing their method out of a state of affairs.
Training a cat to not chew is difficult, requires information of regular feline physique language, right identification for the biting behaviour along with loads of endurance and perseverance. Don’t count on speedy outcomes.

Why Cats Bite?

Although cats are affectionate and sentient, they’re emotionally motivated by constructive and destructive emotions. Each cat responds in a different way to occasions or stimuli, at all times on the guard ready to defend their territory from predators and whoever they understand threatening.

Let’s consider essentially the most recurrent the explanation why cats chew!

Fear, Anxiety, and Stress

Most frequent biting and aggression is due to activation of the fear-anxiety emotional system.

The fear-anxiety system is triggered when a cat perceives a menace to particular person or useful resource security. When the stimulation is intense, cats have a tendency to flee or evade the state of affairs, with weaker stimulation, cats are likely to show freezing behavioural reactions (stay extremely quiet and often vocalise). If they’re unable to keep away from or inhibit the concern/nervousness, a cat could reveal the battle response by shifting to a defensive assault.

The defensive response manifests initially as a warning by way of hissing, growling, and spitting, then will escalate to scratching and biting. The severity will depend on the person, it’s earlier experiences through the socialisation interval (2-7 weeks of age) and/or destructive dealing with expertise.

Certain cats study that performing aggressively works properly when makes an attempt to flee or conceal had been unsuccessful. Once this behaviour is bolstered by folks pulling away or withdrawing their hand, the cat learns that this may be an environment friendly technique and can resort to this method quickly when it predicts threatening conditions or occasions.

Lastly, when the fear-anxiety system is ready in movement a cat is often hyper-vigilant, scanning consistently the setting for stressors due to this fact the slightest sound or contact can startle them.

Pain And Disease

Animal ache is a distressing sensory encounter correlated with comfortable tissue harm or emotional prevalence.

Pain, discomfort, trauma, and illness alter a cat’s temper negatively, decreases the need for bodily contact moreover reduces general tolerance threshold equally will increase aggression and potential for biting.


Frustration is attributable to a cat’s failure to acquire sources, preserve management of them or the state of affairs, defend its possessions and territory. Most frustration instances happen when a cat can’t get speedy entry to meals, proprietor consideration, entry outside, is locked inside a particular a part of the home or caged at a vet clinic.

A cat will solicit consideration by extreme loud meowing, pawing, excessive rubbing, pacing, and damaging behaviour. If he/she doesn’t receive what they need or the price of the reward is lower than anticipated, the frustration system will intensify with a larger stage of arousal subsequently behavioural responses will precipitate the moggie resorting to hissing, biting, and scraping.

Expression of frustration by way of redirected aggression in the direction of the proprietor or close by pet in a type of swiping and biting is widespread, usually elicited by the presence of one other cat seen from a window unable to defend its territory.

Misdirected Predatory Behaviour

Biting is an instinctive behaviour that’s a part of play and predation.

A cat that’s prevented from looking prey or play with applicable toys, could exhibit predatory behaviour towards sprinting objects like an proprietor’s limbs and fingers. The cat’s arousal and actions intensify when a cat guardian abruptly strikes and screams inflicting the chew strain reflex to extend leading to unintentional critical punctures.

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Petting Induced

A cat could implore the proprietor’s consideration, then will cease the interplay with biting or clawing due to overstimulation from being touched in weak physique elements or for an extended length.

How to Train Your Cat Not to Bite

Like most cat coaching, it’s best to coach a cat to not chew after they’re nonetheless younger. Establishing good habits at an early age is significant.

Set up for Successful Cat Training!

Successful coaching ought to begin when your cat is calm, quiet in a well-recognized setting since fearful cats are extraordinarily delicate and can flee from any noise, menace, or insecurity.

Your cat’s character and temper ought to be considered since nervous kitties have a tendency to seek out new objects and experiences intimidating.

The chosen space should be freed from distractions (i.e. people, children, pets, meals, smells), include a water bowl, litter tray, and a retrieval spot (i.e. field, tunnel, cat tree) to cover or calm down after they’d sufficient.

The coaching technique, rewards (i.e. meals, toys), props (clicker, goal stick) size of the session (about 3-5 minutes) ought to be tailor-made to your cat. Food reinforcements ought to be tiny of excessive worth with classes in between mealtimes when your cat is hungry.

Toys should be wand or rod-type toys with feathers since they are often swept quick alongside the bottom, imitate prey motion, and, maybe most significantly, present distance out of your fingers and toes. This reduces the prospect of being bitten for the reason that cat can claw and chew into the attachment as a substitute of you!

Furthermore, it’s important to think about earlier antagonistic experiences particularly in the event you’re making an attempt to change your cat’s emotional state to a constructive one since such coaching takes an prolonged time requiring a gradual tempo.

Lastly, costume in thick pants, lengthy sleeve garments plus closed-toe footwear to minimise damage from potential clawing or biting.

Training Methods

There are a number of recognized strategies for coaching cats to cease biting.

It’s crucial to analyze the underlying reason for the biting or set off to set your cat for fulfillment earlier than making an attempt any of the strategies described under.

Method 1: Behaviour Modification – Desensitization and Counterconditioning (DS/CC)

Use behaviour modification strategies of desensitization: a course of by which diminishes emotional reactions to aversive or destructive stimulus after frequent publicity to it and counterconditioning to help your cat to affiliate the scary stimulus with a constructive expertise.

Here’s an indication by Dr. Sally Foote of counter-conditioning a cat to petting and dealing with by pairing it with meals. The petting is related to issues the cat enjoys in short bouts being conscious of delicate areas on the cat’s physique whereas observing for escalating pleasure.

If your cat is fearful and lashes out at strangers, use DS/CC by pairing their favorite deal with with seeing the stranger first from a distance then step by step lowering the space by repeatedly feeding their favorite meals as soon as they’re relaxed inside the presence of that individual.

The stimulus must be repeated over many classes till your cat modifications their notion of the stranger to a constructive one.

Please seek the advice of your veterinarian or a cat behaviourist in the event you’re having difficulties implementing DS/CC.

Method 2: Clicker Training

Clicker coaching is principally used to show new behaviour by using a clicker sound instantly as your cat performs the desired behaviour and rewarding it.

For occasion, in case your cat bites to seize your consideration, train them to ‘ask politely’ by coaching cues like ‘shake’ or ‘high-five’. As lengthy as you stay constant and solely reinforce constructive habits, your cat will study that contact works, however biting doesn’t.

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Ultimately, you wish to train your cat wholesome methods of interacting with you.

Method 3: Target Training

Like clicker coaching, goal coaching provides the cat an applicable habits to attempt to do relatively than the issue behaviour by utilizing a goal stick the animal touches, then you definitely mark the behaviour by clicking and offering a reward for the constructive reinforcement relatively than swatting and biting.

Learn how Kate Luse solved Abbie’s concern aggression making use of a goal stick.

Method 4: Teach Correct Play with Appropriate Toys

To tackle misdirected predatory behaviour; introduce kittens furthermore redirect grownup cats onto inanimate objects (often known as object play) relatively than tantalize them by wriggling fingers or toes.

Object play refers to objects like ping pong balls, jingle toys, wine corks, scrunched paper ball, pasta shells, which can be batted, chased, pounced and grabbed with tooth and/or nails. Keep few in your pocket and toss them away simply earlier than your kitty decides to nip on you, distracting them offering you with enough time to maneuver away.

Don’t deny your cat this play alternative because it expresses pure predatory behaviour while decreases the need to chase and assault your limbs.

Appropriate play ought to equally embody an extended wand sort rod the place a person makes use of a pole with quick sweeping motion, attractive the cat to chase the feather, string or comfortable object on the highest of the stick which retains fingers and toes out of attain.

Avoid this frequent mistake of luring your cat to play with a tiny toy in your hand since your cat could regard your hand as part of the toy, attacking it after you stopped enjoying.
Lastly increase frequency of play, introduce puzzle feeders and outside exploration.

Method 5: Reinforce Positive and Calm Behaviour

Inadvertently pet mother and father reinforce consideration searching for behaviour by giving a cat one thing it values (deal with, petting, consideration), as a substitute it is best to solely reinforce constructive behaviour.

Initially the behaviour will get worser earlier than it turns into higher, nevertheless in the event you stay constant, it is best to discover enhancements inside few days of ignorance, that is also known as extinction burst.

Training a cat to stay calm may help minimise redirected aggression, scale back stress and construct confidence. To alter a destructive behaviour, reward the behaviour you need like sitting quietly or train ‘Go to mat’ cue utilising a towel, mat or any flat merchandise that could be carried round.

Training ‘Go to Mat’ encompasses reinforcing and rewarding your cat to return to her ‘calm’ place with the target of encouraging this cue to cease confrontation with different pets and maintaining them relaxed.

Method 6: Cat Owner Education

This technique resolves petting induced biting because it operates on altering your behaviour relatively than the cat’s.

Learn to learn your feline’s physique language. Concentrate on the place your particular person cat likes being petted (often on prime of the top and chin, typically on the again) and restrict patting to those areas.

Next, assess how lengthy they like being stroked equally in the event that they like gradual or quick caressing or one thing in between, lastly stop contact earlier than he/she shows indicators of agitation (stops purring, dilated pupils, swishing tail, stiff physique, even hissing). Ideally, cease petting after couple of minutes to keep away from overstimulation.

Importantly, keep away from selecting your cat up until they get pleasure from it!

Tips And Tricks

With the fitting strategies and strategies, you possibly can prepare your cat to cease biting and have a peaceful, cooperative kitty as soon as extra.

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It could sound contradictory and might take some time to place into follow, don’t pull your hand or foot away when your cat bites you, it’s to ensure you don’t mimic prey making an attempt to flee which can set off your feline to pursue and gnaw even more durable. Instead, baffle your cat by pushing or tapping them gently on their shoulder which can trigger the discharge of your physique half.

Drain your cat’s power by taking it for lengthy walks guaranteeing it has a number of day by day train. Agility coaching significantly for indoor cats may very well be an exquisite strategy to work out, launch panted power while assist with aggressive tendencies. Generally, annoyed ‘aggressive’ moggies ought to have unrestricted outside entry with loads of climbing along with exploration alternatives.

Never shout or punish your kitty significantly when it’s in a really extremely provoked state.

Always work with the person cat in entrance of you and alter the method or technique to suit your particular kitty.


Successful coaching outcomes are primarily based on the identification of the exact motive for the biting behaviour and the method suited to your particular person cat.

In some instances, medicine or dietary supplements can be wanted moreover to behavior modification.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you prepare a cat to not chew you?

Training a cat to not chew ought to start in kittenhood by educating it applicable play with inanimate objects relatively than dangling fingers/toes.

For grownup’s behaviour modification with the assistance of clicker along with goal coaching along with educating a relaxed or new behaviour could resolve gnawing.

Why do cats chew their house owners for no motive?

Cats don’t chew and not using a motive. Cats are each predators and prey hardwired to battle or flight consequently get simply stimulated and if there’s no technique of escape due to perceived hazard will forewarn you earlier than biting.

Learn to recognise the warning indicators of aggression earlier than an imminent assault which can be stopped or redirected with the assistance of wand-type toys earlier than the provocation.

What to do in case your cat is biting you?

As onerous and painful as it could sound, stay calm, don’t transfer or make any noise to cut back reinforcing the behaviour, simply push your cat’s physique gently until it releases your physique half.

Once your cat let goes of the hand or foot, cease interacting with them and go away the realm instantly to take care of any wounds.

What does it imply in case your cat bites you?

Playful nibbling is an indication of affection, misdirected nipping means your cat is underneath stimulated whereas deep biting is often brought on due to concern, nervousness and misery.

View Sources

Stanslaski, J. (2020). Why does my cat – Curious and odd behaviours of our feline companions. International Society of Feline Medicine Symposium (pp. 9-13). ISFM. Retrieved July 16, 2021

Helen Tuzio, T. E. (2004). FELINE BEHAVIOR GUIDELINES. (A. A. Practitioners, Compiler) USA: AAFP. Retrieved July 21, 2021

Miller, P. G. (2021, July 17). Training Cats. Barks from the Guild. (B. Magazine, Compiler) USA.

Academy, Ok. P. (2016). Why Train a Cat. USA. Retrieved July 15, 2021

Care, I. C. (2021, July 19). What do I really feel and am I okay? Emotions and their position in welfare evaluation. Advanced Feline Behaviuor for Vet Professionals. United Kingdom: International Cat Care. Retrieved July 20, 2021

Ellis, D. S. (2021, January 01). Behaviour and physique language related to frustration Lecture. International Cat Care. Retrieved July 21, 2021

Pryor, Ok. (2020, September). Train Your Cat. Waltham, Massachusetts, USA: Karen Pryor Academy. Retrieved July 26, 2021


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