Cats are playful creatures and they sometimes play rough so you might be asking yourself is cat biting a sign of affection or do they do this as a form of defense? For cats, bites provide a unique form of communication so let us find out more about what they are trying to say.
Rough play is pretty common for cats and when they are young they can’t really tell the difference between a gentle bite and a rough one. This kind of activity is very important in the developmental stage of their life and the learning experience can lead to some cases of biting too hard but in the end it will teach them a new way of communicating.
Biting and Scratching Behaviors
Cats are quite predictable once you get to understand them and they always have a reason for their behavior so if they scratch or bite something you should think about their motives for this. The two main reasons are either as a form of play or as a defense and both of them are very normal behaviors for cats.
The instincts of the cat are to give little nips when they feel overexcited or overstimulated and they can also have the tendency to do this when they feel a strong connection to a certain person. You have to decipher each behavior according to the scenario since the same acts won’t mean the same thing in different circumstances. If they will grow tired of you petting them they might want to let you know this through a little nip but in other moments they might feel playful and the bite will mean “Hey you! Come play with me.”
Even if they were domesticated, cats remain predators in their instincts and feel the need to manifest their hunting skills in some way. A petting session can become too much for them and they could resort to scratching and biting to show that they have had enough. It might seem confusing for you but there are some warning signs that you should read since the cat will try to tell you this. If they stop purring, their eyes are narrowing, the skin is rippling or the begin growling and moving then you should stop.
Most often the sudden changes are caused by over stimulation but they might also get startled or frightened for some reason and in that case their instinct is to become defensive. One strange noise or someone entering the room and catching them by surprise is enough for you to get some scratches.
If your cat ends up biting you a bit too hard for your taste then stop the behavior that you were doing since it was probably that thing that made them anxious. Treat the bite wounds immediately since there is a lot of bacteria in a cat’s mouth and since their teeth are so sharp they can end up really deep beneath the skin so wash the area well and use disinfectant. If a child gets bitten it is probably best to see a doctor to ensure that there are no complications.