Cats are affectionate and playful, but they can also be quite unpredictable. One moment they enjoy being petted and touched, and the next they are biting and hissing at you. A cat’s behavior can be difficult to decipher if you are not familiar with its body language and vocalizations. For instance, you may be confused as to why your cat would bite you when you stop petting him. Let us look at some possible reasons for this kind of behavior.
Why does my cat bite me when I stop petting him?
1. He is feeling insecure.
Your cat may be acting that way because he is insecure about something. Common reasons for a cat’s insecurity include new additions to the family, such as a baby or a new pet, or if you recently moved to a new area.
Your cat may also be insecure if he is the new cat in the house, or if he is in pain or ill. The death or removal of a companion cat or another pet could also cause insecurities in cats.
2. Your cat wants something aside from petting.
He could be biting you because he wants something else. This could be treats, food, toys, or a change of cat litter. Aside from biting, your cat may also tug on your clothes to get your attention.
3. He is overstimulated.
Your cat may also bite you if the petting has become too much for his senses. Cats usually respond by purring when you stroke or scratch them. However, it can sometimes become too much for them and they do not enjoy the petting anymore, in which case they tend to bite or nip. Inversely, they may also bite or nip at you if you stop the petting before they want you to stop.
4. He is in heat.
Your cat may become extra aggressive and bite at you when he is in heat. He may also roll around on the floor, climb on your lap, rub against your ankles and purr more than usual. If you stop providing the affection he is seeking, he might nip or bite you.
It is normal for cats in heat to manifest this kind of behavior, but it only happens every two or three months, and usually only lasts about a week. You can neuter or spay your cat to avoid such erratic behavior.
5. He acquired bad habits while he was still a kitten.
Kittens are naturally playful and may chew on your hand, but when they are older the biting and chewing can be quite painful. While this is just affectionate play for kittens, it should not be encouraged in cats, especially those of larger and heavier breeds. If your cat bites at you when you stop petting him, he may not have been taught to control the undesirable behavior acquired as a kitten.
How to stop your cat from biting you
1. When your cat starts biting, put him down.
If your cat starts to bite, put him down on the floor. If he persists with the bad behavior, put him in another room or place him inside a cat carrier for a few minutes as a “time out”. Do not reward your cat with treats, but see to it that you keep the time out short and reasonable.
2. Do not encourage your cat to indulge in rough play.
Rough play can be fun, but it could become painful when your cat brings out the claws. This kind of play teaches cats that it is acceptable to use their claws and teeth on humans. It should not be encouraged as it instills bad habits in cats.
Before the biting and scratching starts, coax your cat to do something else. Let him chase a laser light or tackle a feather toy. You can also let him chase an old sock or a small ball.
3. Give your cat a treat when it is time to stop petting.
Offer your cat treats before he has a chance to bite you. Place a treat or two a short distance away from where you are sitting, to encourage your cat to leave your lap and as a signal that the petting session has ended.
4. Take your cat to the vet.
If your cat regularly bites and nips without any reason, take him to the vet. It could mean that he has underlying health issues such as swollen lymph glands, painful ears or a urinary tract infection.
Cats are affectionate animals and they enjoy being petted and stroked. However, some cats have a habit of biting when you stop petting them. They may do this out of insecurity or because they are overstimulated; it could also be because they are in heat, they want something aside from petting, or because of bad habits acquired while they were still kittens.
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