Does your kitty sometimes ignore you when you call her? Does Fluffy have a habit of smacking you in the face to wake you when she wants breakfast? Cats may be small, but they pack a lot of personality—and sometimes a good amount of sass—into small packages. They also have a habit of, well, attacking us. What’s that all about? A Portland, OR vet discusses cattitude in this article.
Cats are probably the only one of our animal companions that bite us just for fun. They also sometimes give ‘love bites’ out of affection. (This can understandably be a bit startling for people who haven’t spent much time with kitties before.) It can also sometimes be hard to tell if Fluffy is being playful, actually being aggressive, or perhaps just being a brat. If your furball only bites lightly, or bites when she is clearly feeling frisky, she’s probably just playing. Some cats may lightly bite their owners as a message, as if to say ‘Hey! I want breakfast!’ or ‘Don’t pet me that way!’ If your kitty is really angry, she may flatten her ears, hiss, and/or growl, and she’ll bite and scratch hard.
What do you do if your furball attacks you? Nothing, really. If you yell at her, you’ll just scare or anger her, which may only make things worse. Tell your feline friend ‘No’ in a disapproving tone. You can also clap your hands or blow in her face. Then, just walk away and ignore her for a while. This essentially puts Fluffy in a kitty time-out. Do this every time she bites, and she’ll likely get the hint. If that doesn’t work, try putting taste deterrents on your hands. You can also just tell your feisty pet to put her claws away. If none of these things work, consult your vet.
It’s important to understand that cats have a need to practice pouncing, biting, and scratching. This is instinctive for all predators. It’s cute when kittens do it, so many people don’t address the issue until they find themselves with a full-grown adult feline that treats them as a giant cat toy. Nip bad habits in the bud! (Also, make sure Fluffy has plenty of real toys.)
Please contact us, your Portland, OR vet clinic, for all your kitty’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!