Why Does My Cat Bite Me in Davenport, IA?

Has your cat ever bitten you? It’s not uncommon for cats to bite their humans once in a while. It may have been a surprise to you. No doubt you’re wondering why. Here are some common reasons cats bite and what you can do to help stop your cat from biting you.

Something Triggered your Cat’s Aggression

This type of aggression is very common for domestic cats. A cat’s natural instinct is to attack or pounce, but if your cat can’t attack an object because it’s outside,  your cat will turn its aggression towards something or someone nearby, like you. For instance, if your cat sees another cat outside roaming in your backyard, your cat will be upset. Their ears will flatten, their tail with a twitch, and they will growl. If you walk by them at that moment, they may grab your legs with their claws. The cat outside triggered your cat’s frustration, but since your cat couldn’t get to it, you received your cat’s attack and bite.

Why Does My Cat Bite Me in Davenport, IA?

Your Cat Has Preferences

Perhaps you were petting your cat, who seemed to be enjoying it, when suddenly, out of nowhere, your cat bit you. Maybe it was just a gentle nip, but it got your attention. These “love bites,” as they’re called, may be because the cat prefers you stop petting her, or she feels overstimulated and needs a break. Cats are finicky about almost everything. Usually, this is a way of communicating with you that your cat is finished with the petting session. Some cats have places they don’t like to be petted, so they’re letting you know. Pay attention to your cat’s preferences to help you avoid getting bit again and keep your cat happy.

Your Cat Has Medical Problems

If a normally calm, happy kitty is suddenly biting you, it could mean they don’t feel well. Perhaps they’re in pain or feel sick. Your cat can’t communicate but they need help, so they bite to get your attention. Medical problems your cat may be dealing with include:

If you suspect your cat is ill, contact your vet immediately so they can check your cat and get them the medical help they need.

Your Cat is Playing

Cats play bite. It’s common for them to feel bored and want to play to release their pent-up energy. Playtime for a cat is usually predator and prey-based due to their instinctive nature to stalk and attack. Your cat may see you as their prey, nipping at your feet, hands, or fingers because they move.

Your Cat Wants your Attention

Cats sometimes bite because they want attention. As soon as they bite you, you notice them. Cats learn that biting gets results. Don’t give your cat attention if you suspect this could be the reason. Redirect their attention to a toy, then walk away. Try to be sure to give your cat plenty of attention at other times so they don’t feel deprived of attention and start to bite.

cat bite me in davenport, ia

Your Cat is Afraid

Fearful cats sometimes bite when they feel threatened or scared. Other behavior that indicates your cat feels threatened include:

  • Hissing
  • Flattened ears
  • Raised back
  • Tail tucked under them
  • Swatting at you
  • Hiding

Your cat may be afraid of another cat outside or a thunderstorm. Many times cats bite their humans after a scary event because they’re still upset by it.

Your Cat is Depressed

Cats can experience depression, similar to humans. Cat depression is triggered by a variety of things, such as

  • A move to a new house
  • Baby born into the family
  • Pet parent is extremely sick or dies
  • A child goes off to college

Your cat may bite you to communicate they are upset with the changes going on in the house. Change is hard on a pet, especially if the person who left was close to them. Talk with your vet if you think your cat is depressed. They can give you medication to help your cat feel better.

How to Know your Cat is About to Bite You

You may feel like your cat’s bite was a total surprise. But, good chance your cat’s body language indicated they were going to bite you. Here are several signs a cat is about to bite.

  • Cranky type of meowing
  • Their ears are back or sideways
  • Looking at your hands, fingers, or feet
  • Skin twitches
  • Flicking of their tail back and forth
  • Eyes look elongated and narrow
  • Pupils dilate
  • Claws come out
  • Whiskers move
  • Raising their paws
  • Stiffening of their body
  • Move away and approach you

How to Stop your Cat from Biting You

Once you understand why your cat is biting you, you can begin to deal with the behavior. Here are practical suggestions for getting your cat to stop biting.

  • Never yell or hit your cat: This never helps the situation but could make it worse. Be patient with your cat so you can defuse their anxiety or aggression.
  • Try to remove any triggers: If a neighbor’s cat keeps coming into your yard, upsetting your cat and causing them to bite you out of aggression, close the curtains or blinds so your cat can’t see outside.
  • Time out: If your cat bites you, put them in another room away from you. If you do this every time they bite, they’ll begin to understand that you don’t want to be around them when they’re biting you.
  • Get your cat’s attention: When your cat bites you, try yelling, “That hurt!” in a loud voice to get their attention. Frown, or shake your head no. This body language helps your cat understand you’re not happy.
  • Ignore the behavior: It’s a painful option, but sometimes you’ll need to ignore the bite, especially if your cat is seeking attention.
  • Give your cat more attention: On the other hand, some cats bite out of frustration they’re not getting enough attention. Give your cat extra cuddles and attention, especially when you come home from work if they’ve been home alone all day.


If your cat bites you, they’re trying to communicate something. Whether they want more attention, are bored, or are in pain, it’s important to figure out what’s happening with your pet. Hopefully, these common reasons why cats bite their humans will help you understand why your cat is biting you and what you can do to stop them.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your cat, call us at (563) 391-9522 or schedule an appointment online! Here at Animal Family Veterinary Care, we are ready to help you and your pet with whatever your needs may be!

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Animal Family Veterinary Care offers an extensive range of services all in one place, so we can meet your pet’s needs in almost every situation. Our veterinarians in Davenport treat dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and a variety of other exotic species, because every pet is unique and important.