You can get your cat to stop biting you if you freeze your position to take the fun out of it for the cat, or you can encourage the cat to bite a stuffed toy or feather instead. Learn how to direct your cat's bite elsewhere in this free video on cat training.
Hi, this is Erin Boyle with Compassionate Pet Solutions. I'm going to talk about how to get your cat to stop play biting. The most important thing to remember is, there are lots of reasons why cats will bite. Sometimes, they bite because they're scared, sometimes because they're annoyed, and sometimes because they're just playing. It's important that you identify why your cat's biting. If you think your cat is play biting, then we're going to go through some solutions on how you can redirect that behavior. However, if you think your cat's biting for any other reason, it's extremely important that you have someone who's knowledgeable about cat behavior come out to your house and find out why your cat's biting, because there are lots of ways to deter biting, and some reasons I can use for the play biting can be ineffective or actually worse for other types of aggression. So, basically what we're going to talk about is the reason why cats play bite. The main reason they play bite is because they basically have a lot of energy. It's very natural for cats to bite. They like to bite things, they thump them, they like to play like they're attacking things. It's very natural for cats to do that, and if they don't have the proper access to things that are acceptable, sometimes they'll turn that behavior on humans instead. Something that can be detrimental is that if you encourage your cat to play bite, if you encourage your cat to play bite by playing with your hands, or trying to get them to attack you, it's really cute when they're little, but it's not cute when they get older. So, it's important to never do that. What you do want to do is play with interactive cat toys. So, something like the bird is very, very effective. It's my favorite cat toy, because it's very fluttery, and it looks like a bird, sounds like a bird, and cats love to play with it. They can practice attacking and biting the feather all they want, and that helps get out some of the energy. Sometimes, you can use toys or stuffed animals, and pretend like you're attacking the cat with the stuffed animal. That'll get them to bite the stuffed animal, and then you could let go, and they can let their energy out on that. Even their mouses that you can throw around, that can also be effective in getting their energy out. It's important to spend at least 15 minutes with your cat twice a day, ideally on a routine schedule to help them get that kind of energy out. If, for some reason, your cat does bite you even though you've tried to redirect him onto other things, there are some things you can do to help get them to stop biting. The first thing you want to do is, if your cat does bite you, if he's got your hand in his mouth, first thing you want to do is freeze. You don't want to pull your hand away, you don't want to move or in any way kind of act like a prey object. You just want to hold still. Oftentimes, just holding still will give your cat enough time to think, "Hey, this is boring", he'll let you go. And, if they do, you can start redirecting them onto the feather toy, or onto other objects that you have that will kind of act like something that they can play with instead of your hand. If that doesn't work, then you can try making a loud noise. Making a loud noise like a squeal, it's basically imitating how a cat would be if another cat was biting it. You want to make a high-pitched loud noise. Or, if you have a shaker can nearby, you can shake the shaker can, and kind of distract him away from biting your hand. Once he's released, then you want to redirect onto the appropriate outlets, but if that still doesn't work, then you can actually push your hand into him. So, as he's biting you, you're going to push into his mouth towards him instead of pulling away, and often that will kind of distract him into letting go, because not like a prey object to move towards, it's more like a prey object to move away. If that doesn't seem to be effective, then you actually have to do a scruff hold on him. A scruff hold is basically where you take the loose skin on the back of their neck, and you kind of pry their head away from you. This will often irritate cats to make them angry, but often they'll let go. So, once you've got him scruffed and away from you, pick him up, and put him on the floor. You want him to be away from you, because he needs to have a little time to cool down. If you're sitting on the floor, you want to stand up, or if he's on your lap, you want to put him off your lap. You basically want to make it clear that playtime is over, because he's done something that's unacceptable.