Mind of Your Cat

August 2008 Issue

Does Your Beloved Cat Bite?

This behavior can be dangerous, so it's important to understand what's behind the aggression.

It is safe to say that most people live with their cats without much concern about getting bitten. Alas, cats have been known to try to bite veterinarians and animal handlers. Frightened animals bite. But why do cats sometimes bite the people they live with? At times, the motivation for aggressive behavior is clear. Yet there are also situations where aggression is just plain difficult to understand. Cats may behave aggressively during procedures such as grooming or nail clipping. A certain degree of restraint is needed to perform these manipulations. Since cats feel trapped when restrained, they may struggle or bite. It may be possible to prevent the development of fear related to handling by conditioning young cats to accept gentle restraint. Early introduction to grooming may be paired with treats.

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