Stop Cat from Biting Problem – Reader Needs Help!

Cats bite. Just like their wild ancestors, domestic cats are predators. And predators have strong instincts and… sharp teeth. Pet cats can develop a habit of biting for multiple reasons. Understand why your furry friend bites and follow a few tips and advice, and you can stop cat from biting once and for all.

Seal Point Ragdoll Cat Samuel love biting Cynde - Ragdoll Cat Biting Problem
Samuel love biting Cynde

A reader reached out for help about her kitten. I gave her some advice, but I thought that our wonderful community might be able to help even more. So, meet Pat and Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby, and their problem how to stop cat from biting.

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Ragdoll Cat Biting Problem – Reader Needs Help!

Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby Ragdoll stop cat from biting laying down on the floor on her back
Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby

Pat wrote me about her Ragdoll cat, Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby (Ragdoll of the week November 1, 2010), who has a slight biting problem. I offered to post it on the site so that other readers might offer insight. Please read below and offer suggestions for Pat:

I have a wonderful female Ragdoll, that I adopted 3 yrs ago. She was actually about 2 yrs old when I adopted her….. 

She loves to be scratched around her neck/collar area but doesn’t like to be petted more than that and will quickly turn and try to bite me. I’m used to her behaving like that, but I don’t understand why she does it. She loves to sleep stretched out on her back but doesn’t like her belly rubbed (which most Ragdoll’s love).

Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby Ragdoll looking down from her cat tree
Kitty Kitty Baby Baby

I’ve wondered if other Ragdolls do this?  Other than the biting, she follows me around like a puppy, jumps on my lap, and strangers’ laps as well… she’s very social, running to answer the door, and is curious about anyone that visits.  I’m just concerned about the wanting to turn and bite?”

Pat

My reply: “I would think something from her previous experience causes her to bite.”

Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby Ragdoll laying on the carpet looking gorgeous
Kitty Kitty Baby Baby

Pat: “I adopted her from Cathouse on the Kings, where she hung out with all kinds of kitty’s.

She is so very loving but has that urge to whip her head around and bite, not a vicious bite, but a bite, nonetheless. 

I believe you are right about a previous experience.  Sometimes I wonder if she were injured on her tummy, so she’s sensitive there.”

Please offer insight to help Pat with Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby’s biting problem.


Cat Biting Problem – How to Stop Cat from Biting You?

When cats bite their humans, there can be plenty of reasons for it. Kitten bites may look cute, but when adult cats bite, they’re painful. 

Cats usually bite when they’re: 

  • Afraid of something
  • Need attention
  • Show their dominance. 

But it’s essential to find a solution for the cat biting problem and to stop cat from biting you. However, before you take any measures, it’s necessary to understand the reason why do cats bite?

Why Does Your Cat Purr and then Bite You

5 Reasons for Why Cats Bite

As mentioned earlier, there can be different reasons for cat biting. 

For example, kittens bite when they face socialization issues. In contrast, older cats chew for various reasons. 

Moreover, when you adopt adult cats, they’re mostly well-trained and well-mannered. On the other hand, it’s not the case when you adopt a kitten. 

Milo loved by Angela Why Does Your Cat Purr and then Bite You IMG_4212
Angela writes, “This Milo. When he’s in a really amorous mood, he’ll bite and suck on my finger. Love him to pieces.”

But the good news is you can stop cats from biting by starting training at an early age. Some common reasons for cat biting according to Hartz are given below:

1. Stop Cat from Biting as a Response to Threat

Most adult cats bite humans when they’re afraid of something. They do this in response to threats.

2. Stop Cat from Biting as a Response to Unwanted Behaviors

Our pets do not love all the actions we perform. 

For example, when you touch their tummy, they start biting because it’s the sensitive part. Avoid touching their sensitive parts whenever you get such a reaction from your cats.

3. Stop Cat from Biting When It Needs Attention

Cat chewing on plastic bag
A cat chewing on a plastic bag.

Mostly cat bites are a way of communication. Cats chew when they need attention. So, for example, if she wants to play with you, but you’re not responding, she will start biting you.

4. Stop Cat from Biting as a Response to Lack of Socialization

If you have a kitten and she bites you, it might be due to a lack of socialization. Baby kittens are not well-mannered or well-trained, so by starting early training and socialization, you can end the cat biting problem before it even started.

5. Stop Cat from Biting Due to Pain or Anxiety

Cats bite their owners when they’re in pain. They do this when you ignore the cat’s body language and vocalization. 

Anxious cats often bite their owners. So, you need to find ways to overcome anxiety in cats.

In older cats, arthritis may be causing them pain unexpectedly, especially when you pet them. This might lead to a bite. If you notice changes in your cat’s usual behavior, contact your vet immediately.

How to Stop Cat from Biting? 12 Ways That Really Work

Remember, you can’t stop your cat from biting at all because it’s a part of their natural behavior. But the following practices can help you prevent any unnecessary biting. 

Before you follow any practice to stop cat from biting, make sure you take into consideration your cat’s age and feline behavior in general. 

It is possible to influence your cat’s behavior and to stop them from biting and scratching by following the suggestions below:

1. Maintain Consistency

When cats get different messages and instructions from the different family members, they don’t understand which rules to follow.

Moreover, when visitors use different commands to communicate with your kittens, it will not be easy for you to ask your cats to follow your orders during training.

So, if you want to stop cat from biting, there should be consistency in the responses, messages, and commands you teach your cats. 

2. Teach Them Early

Another way to stop cat from biting is to teach them early. You need to follow this practice for both kittens and adult cats. 

First, teach them how to behave when they’re around humans. Then, you can allow your kitten to play with children. Training them from early on will help your felines to get rid of behavior issues like biting.

3. Get Interactive Toys

Charlie Working on getting treats out of the Dog Brick Interactive Game
Charlie Working on getting treats out of the Dog Brick Interactive Game

If you want to know how to stop the cat from biting, you should try bringing in interactive toys in your playtime. These toys can help your cats to bite them. You don’t want your cat to get bored, so we make sure they have a variety of toys, anyway. 

Nowadays, you can find plenty of toys that dispense treats. It’s the best way to encourage an interactive playing environment. 

Moreover, you can reward your cats with these dispensing toys by finding the right one for your cats.

4. Don’t Allow Your Cats to Play with Your Body Parts

It looks cute and funny when cats play with you, but it can turn out to be the worst experience when they start biting you.

Cats mostly bite bare:

  • Hands
  • Ankles
  • Toes.

And it’s definitely not a pleasant experience to have your cat attacking your ankles when you got up at 3 AM for a sip of water.

Therefore, avoid offering your hands to cats for play. So, if you want to stop cat from biting, ensure that you follow this practice. 

5. Distract Your Cat to Stop Biting

When cats bite you, start making a loud noise and get out of the way.

Remember, distraction is better than punishment. When you punish your cat, it can lead to behavior issues. The best practice is to praise your cat for playing with soft paws. 

6. Play With Them

Cats love to sleep and do it for almost 16-20 hours a day. But when they wake up, they are full of energy.

Experts recommend playing with your cat for at least 10 minutes daily. You can specify playtime and play with your cat each day. 

When you play with your cats, they’ll try to bite you. Kittens mostly do this when playing with humans. Don’t punish them. Simply turn away from the scene or interrupt playing with them to stop cat from biting.

7. Train Your Cat

If you’re still wondering how to stop cats from biting, follow this practice for good results. When you get back home in the evening, your cat might get excited and welcome you by attacking your feet and hands.

You can train your cat by teaching her different commands like:

– Stop cat from biting by asking it to sit down:

– Stop cat from biting by asking it to lay down:

Encourage this behavior by offering delicious cat treats for a job well done. Early training can help you stop cat from biting.

8. Never Punish Your Cat

When you punish your cats, it can make them more aggressive. Moreover, they fight back to protect themselves.

Therefore, the best approach is to:

  • Show affection
  • Use positive reinforcement
  • Never get angry with your cat.

For example, walk away from the room instead of shouting at your cat. Polite behavior can help you stop cat from biting.

9. Fix Medical Issues

Sometimes cats can bite humans when they are in pain.

Unfortunately, cats don’t let their owners know when they’re in pain. But when something is wrong with their health, they may start biting.

So, whenever you notice any behavior change, it might be due to some medical issues. Take your kitten to the vet or cat behavior consultant immediately. 

Sometimes, the issues can be fixed with medication, but when they get worst, special treatment is required. 

Veterinarians can suggest the best treatment according to your pet’s condition. But the good news is that by fixing the health issues of your kitty, you can stop cat from biting.

10. Understand Your Cat Needs

If you want to stop cat from biting, ensure that you understand your pet’s needs.

When cats are stressed or need something, they start:

  • Hiding
  • Biting
  • Growling.
  • Hiding
  • Biting
  • Growling.

So, try to figure out why your cat is showing this behavior. If you fail to do so, immediately contact a behavior consultant or vet for help.

11. Provide Your Cat With a Safe Spot

When we handle cats in a rough way or in a way they don’t enjoy (this usually happens with young children), the cat body language may start showing you warnings about upcoming aggressive behavior.

Stop interacting with your cat immediately, if she’s:

– Quickly turning his head toward a person’s hand

– Twitching or flipping his tail

– Flattening his ears or rotating them forward and back

– Restlessness

– Dilating pupilsvia ASPCA.org

Then, cats usually start showing more physical signs of their irritation, such as:

  • Retracted whiskers
  • Hissing
  • Ears sideways or back to the head
  • Scratching
  • Growling
  • Etc.

If you don’t interrupt the act that’s triggering your cat, they might start biting.

The best approach is to provide a safe spot for your pet to stop cat from biting. Don’t let your guests and visitors bother your feline friend or you might provoke unwanted behaviors. 

12. Take Your Pet to Vet

A cat carrier on a veterinarian's table

If, after following all the practices mentioned above, you’re still struggling to stop the cat from biting, then it’s time to visit your vet

If the situation worsens, only the vet or behavior consultant can help fix biting or other behavioral issues in cats. A timely visit to the vet can prevent the problem from getting worst.

How to Treat a Cat Bite?

Cat bites might be contaminated with nasty bacteria. Not treating them can lead to an infection. 

Here’s some valuable advice you can follow to treat cat bites:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with an iodine solution.
  • Use a syringe to irrigate the wound.
  • Carefully examine the wound for teeth fragments.
  • Don’t let the situation get worse and visit the nearest clinic or care center to get an antibiotic prescription or stitches if needed.

Wrap-Up on How to Stop Cat from Biting

First of all, you need to understand the reason behind the cat’s biting behavior.

As mentioned earlier, cat biting can have different reasons. And they require different solutions.

You can positively influence your pet’s behavior and stop the cat from biting by keeping in mind different practices like:

  • Understanding your cat’s needs.
  • Training your cat
  • Grab interactive toys
  • Playing with your cat 
  • A combination of the ideas from the list.

If nothing works, it means you need to take your pet to the vet for a detailed check-up.

Have problems with a Ragdoll kitten biting and being wild? Check out this discussion on our Facebook page to learn more.

Stop Cat From Biting: FAQs

Why do cats bite their owners for no reason?

When cats don’t want humans to touch them, they start biting. 
So, for example, when you touch their sensitive parts, it leads to overstimulation, and they start biting you. If you want to stop cat from biting, make sure that you stop this interaction.

Should you punish your cat for biting?

No, you shouldn’t do that. Instead, the best method is to walk away or distract your cat.
Punishing your cat for biting can lead to behavioral issues. Moreover, the cat might get aggressive, which will make it even more difficult to stop cat from biting.

At what age do cats stop biting?

Kittens bite more than adult cats. But luckily, this biting behavior decreases as your cat ages. 
Kittens mostly bite humans while they’re teething. You can’t stop biting entirely, but you can reduce or prevent it by following the practices mentioned in the post above.

What should you do if your cat bites you?

If your cat bites you, make sure that you: 

1. Wash the wound.
2. Clean it with a towel and 
3. Apply pressure to stop bleeding (if necessary). 

If the wound seems more serious to you, visit the nearest clinic and ask for medical attention.

Should I scold my cat for biting?

Whenever cats bite you, scold them with a firm ‘No’ and clap your hands. Prove your dominance by staring at them. Avoid shouting at your cat. 
And remember, physical punishment is never a good idea

How to discipline a cat for biting?

The best way is to train your cat at an early age.
Yelling, shouting, and punishing your cat usually leads to a situation where you’re angry and your cat is frightened. Angry people shout and frightened felines bite.
Instead, provide them with interactive toys and play with your cat daily to stop cat from biting.  

How to train a cat not to bite or scratch?

There are different ways for training your cat not to bite or scratch furniture. 

1. Bring toys and scratch posts for them, if they like trees. 
2. You can also redirect them to another activity. 
3. You can ignore this aggressive behavior, and they will quit biting and scratching after some time.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your cat

Did you enjoy learning how to stop cat from biting? We have more interesting articles for you:

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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42 Comments

  1. I “saved” my rag when he was abandoned (owners moved out and left the poor kitties behind). I have no idea what kind of life he previously had, or what kind of owners he lived with.

    He came with serious issues, the meowing every 2 hours through the night (he was previously an outdoor kitty, but we trained him to be solely indoors), the aggressiveness (biting and scratching and attacking). I was sure he was just plain nuts, one moment purring and without any warning (that i can see), he attacks multiple times and draws blood while i am petting or just reading a book/napping. So much for “all rags are sweet natured” in this cat!

    It has been more than a year since we adopted him and if it helps these are what helped me:

    – Don’t give up on your kitty! They will get better sooner or later! My vicious kitty is now so so much better! It just takes time and oodles and oodles of patience. Every kitty is different and it will take a mismash of whatever you read online to help 🙂

    – Like many of the readers said, Jackson Galaxy’s Cat from Hell really, really, really helps

    – Don’t show fear; be firm!

    – Many kitties don’t like to be pet on their tummies (mine certainly doesn’t and he showed me good… Haha~)

    – I don’t know if this is silly, but my cat and i have have this system, i will only pet him if he is sitting and he boops the finger i extend to him. He gets 2 stokes with every boop and if he wants more, he will boop my extended fingers again. I know to stop when he stops booping my fingers. So no over stimulating. He has me trained well :p

    – be firm when you say NO! and walk off. If the bites get serious, try putting some coins in a tin can or having a bunch of keys with you and shake it for serious bad behaviour.

    – i do not allow “love bites” or “attention-seeking bites” as my kitty is aggressive enough. His “love bites” & “I want attention now! bites” are brutal and always draw blood and once he gets his teeth or claws in, he sinks them in deep and refuses to let go. I was advised to when the kitty does his “love bite” and refuses to let go, to (despite the pain) put some weight into the bite (as in push back). This will cause discomfort and kitty will release, followed by the tin can/keys rattling and a big NO!

    – Always reward kitty for good behaviour (like if kitty allows to be pet a little more than previously; kind words, a pat or two or a little treat, etc);

    – be the “Pay master”. Be the one to feed kitty at specific meal times so kitty associates you with food (to re-enforce that you hold the good things in life, food 😉 and is more likely to “listen” (insofar as much a cat “listens” ;)) to you.

    – If the kitty has attacking issues (like mine has) i find that playtime with a wand and balls (away from your hands and feet!) really really helps. Just keep going at it and wear the kitty out (also helps with night meowing!). If the kitty tries to turn your fingers/toes/ankles as part of the game. Stop, stand up and move away slowly (if you run off, you become prey and open to more attacks). If kitty chases still thinking is a game, the keys/tin can is very useful. Only resume play later (about half an hour or so later) in order for it not to be a reward. Also consider clicker training and puzzle toys to keep them occupied and “hunting” everything but you.

    Hope this helps!
    My kitty is still a work in progress, but i am sure we will get there with one day him being the perfect rag (as stated in those articles….) that friends and family can cuddle without fear of being bitten or scratched!

  2. Patti Johnson says:

    Interesting post, Jenny! I believe that Pat’s beautiful girl is doing the “I’ve had enough, thank you very much.” type of love bit. Not a hard bite but firm enough to get your attention to get her point across. Our Miss Pink Sugarbelle (who is so very gentle and loving) also gives those kinds of love bites when she’s being petted too long in one place (especially on the back of her neck area). (Now you can pet/scratch her forever above her tail and she’ll never complain…lol) Every cat I have ever had displayed this behavior, too. I also agree that her belly sensitivity may be associated with pain/injury or just a bad experience when she was younger.

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  3. DezizWorld says:

    Me too is a Ragdoll that doesn’t much like meez belly rubbed. Mommy has had me since me was 3 weeks old, so most likely not something from meez past. And me used to do the bitey and on occasion me furgets meez manners and will again. Mommy was in rescue and a vet tech fur lots of years many moons ago and learned to treat kitties the way other kitties would. When me tries a bitey, mommy gently bites meez ear. Not sumfin’ me likes much, and therefur, me ceases and desists. Mommy sez, don’t hurt your kitty, but let them know you’re there and biting hurts. Good luck to you all. As fur belly rubs…me only likes those in da meownin’ and at night when weez goin’ to bed and gettin’ up.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi da Doll and her sisfur Lexi da Mau

  4. I have an adopted ragdoll (he), approx 3yo, and a domestic short hair (she), approx. 14 mths. Everyday, my ragdoll waits for her to come out of my daughter’s room. When they get together, the shorthair JUMPS on the ragdoll, and they start rolling around, biting each other. They are NOT fighting, though it looks like she is a tasmanian devil. I really believe it is their mode of playing and connecting. If she gets too rambunctious, he will give her a warning growl, and she backs off. Then she’ll curl up next to him and go to sleep. Maybe this is what your raggie is doing. He’s trying to release energy and have playtime. If you don’t have a chaser cat toy, those are also really good to have. Hope you find your answer.

  5. Oh no!!! I have had many cats and have always had similar experience. That is why I decided to get Ragdolls. I got two litter mates and they wrestle and fight with each other, but have NEVER bitten or scratched me or my husband. Our breeder told us to make sure we NEVER played rough with them when they were kittens. Every other cat I have owned when they were kittens we played “mouse” games with our hands. We hid hands under covers, etc., she said this would encourage them to play with us that way. She must have been right because we did not do that and everytime they have even looked like they would bite or scratch, we have told them NO. They are about 1.5 years old now, and are the most gentle cats I have ever seen. It might also help that they have each other. I had a poodle for years and our boy Leo asks just like her!!!!
    I feel your pain but think it is unacceptable that he is biting your kids. Maybe you could try putting him in a “time out” type situation everytime he does this. I am sure you can break him of this with consistent training…
    I don’t think it is normal for Ragdolls to act that way…..
    I wish you luck!!!!

  6. I just don’t get it. This is our second ragdoll we’ve purchased from a breeder. Our first darted out our front door only to never be seen again. Both have been males. Our cat now is neutered but not declawed. He’s very large for a 2 yr old cat. He not only bites us when being pet but will actually hunt down my kids and attack them. My son was sitting on the floor looking at books the other day and Marley just completely attacked him out of nowhere! He bit his face pretty bad. I feel awful when this happens and am not sure wat to do to prevent this. He wasn’t even being provoked. I know he loves us. He’s always right where we are but if something happens that’s not on “his terms” he lets us know real quick. What’s the deal with this breed of cats?? This does not line up with everything I read on the Internet about ragdolls when I decided to get one.

    1. Jeanine Risk says:

      I am having the exact same problem with my male ragdoll. Has yours improved at all? Did you find anything that worked to stop this behaviour?

  7. Diane Fischer says:

    Dear Pat,
    My previous message was meant for Rosemary and Button, not Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby. I’m sorry Pat and I hope you’ll forgive my mishap. And Rosemary, I’ll be happy to speak with you if you choose. Just email your number to diane1445@gmail.com.
    Thank you all.
    Diane

  8. Diane Fischer says:

    Hi Pat,
    I had a serious problem with my Ragdoll Cici and with lots of research, patience, training and my trips to the clinic for infections from her bites, I have a success story. I have so many suggestions and would be happy to speak to you in person as there is so much information I would be willing to share with you. If you email me at diane1445@gmail.com and send me your number I could call you. Cici and I are best friends and I continue to address her biting, but it’s rare now. I hope you find the best solution for you and Kitty Kitty, Baby Baby. Diane

  9. Rosemary Sheen says:

    So glad I found this chat forum. It seems like our BUTTON is not the only – biting, not floppy, not lap cat, whinging meowing, not indoor kitten in the world! LOL

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