You should never let your kitten bite you. If you allow your kitten to bite you out of aggression or play, this will continue into their adulthood.
Cat bites can be very painful and commonly become infected, so you should take them seriously and train your kitten not to bite as early as possible.
There are a few things I won’t tolerate at all out of my animals, and one of them is biting. Even young kittens need to be taught not to bite so that they never learn this behavior is okay, as it can end up hurting you or someone else in the end.
In this article, I’ll talk further about why you shouldn’t allow your kitten to bite, as well as how to train your kitten to stop biting you.
Never Allow Your Kitten to Bite You
It’s very important that your kitten learns early on in their life and their time in your home what is and isn’t allowed. Biting should definitely be on the “not allowed” list.
Even if your kitten isn’t hurting you, allowing them to bite now is setting the rules that they’ll carry into their adulthood. So, if you don’t want your adult cat biting you, don’t allow it when they’re young either.
Your kitten also may think that, if lesser bites are allowed, then biting harder is also okay. This can become very painful for you or other members of your family—and is even worse if you have children in your home.
Biting is not Appropriate Play
Your kitten should not see your hands, feet, or other parts of your body as toys. Don’t allow them to bite or scratch you in play.
Although it’s not aggressive behavior, it can still be hurtful and dangerous, and give your cat the wrong idea when it comes to how to interact with people.
Instead, let them gnaw on, chase, and bat at toys. What I find best for this is plush toys filled with catnip and wand toys that you can wave around for them to chase and jump at.
There are a wide variety of cat products on the market though, so the possibilities are endless!
You can also make your own toys for your cat or allow them to play with household items. Just ensure that they can’t break off any small pieces, as that could be a choking hazard.
Cat Bites Become Infected Easily
It’s recommended that you see a doctor if you’re bitten by a cat, especially if the wound is deep or you see signs of infection.
Cat bites are dangerous because their teeth can leave deep punctures in your skin. Since they’re also thin, the skin can then heal over quite quickly, leaving bacteria from the cat’s mouth trapped under the surface.
This is why not allowing your cat to bite people is so important. Not only do you have the initial pain, but the chance of infection that could become serious quite quickly.
The same thing can also happen when your cat scratches you, so you should be careful with cat scratches as well.
Teaching a Kitten not to Bite
Now that you know not to let your kitten bite you, you may be wondering how to stop them from doing so. This can take time, especially if you’ve been allowing the behavior until now.
Here are some things to remember when training your kitten not to bite:
Remember they’re Still Learning
First, you need to remember your kitten is still learning about the world. They’re young, and won’t always know how to interact appropriately. It’s your job to teach them this.
Try your best to be patient and not react harshly. Not only is it best for your cat, but it will also be more effective when it comes to training if you stay calm and collected.
Find the Cause of the Biting
Of course, the best thing you can do is to stop your kitten from biting you in the first place. Sometimes, you can do this by finding the cause of their biting.
Your cat may bite you because:
- They’re trying to play
- They’re afraid, or you’re being too rough with them
- You’ve pet them too long or someplace they don’t like, such as their paws, stomach, or tail
- They’re asserting dominance
- You’ve rewarded the behavior in the past
- They’re in pain or ill
If something you are doing is causing your kitten to bite, in some cases it’s best to just stop doing it. Of course, sometimes that isn’t plausible or can make your kitten unruly.
For example, if your kitten bites you when you’re trimming their nails, of course you shouldn’t give in and never cut them again. They need to get used to having their claws handled.
But if you’re teasing your cat and they bite you, this is your fault and you should stop your behavior.
In the case of health problems, you should bring your kitten to the veterinarian if you’re concerned. If touching a certain place seems to make your kitten lash out, for example, you may want to get them checked out to be sure they aren’t injured.
Of course, most biting in kittens stems from them trying to play too roughly. That is what I will discuss the most in the next few sections, along with some tips for dealing with cat aggression.
Say “No” Firmly, then Ignore
Now comes the actual teaching. When your kitten bites you, tell them “no” firmly. There’s no need to shout here, just be clear.
Then, choose a way to put distance between the two of you. You might push them back or pick them up and set them on the floor away from you. Another choice is to stand up and walk away yourself.
Personally, I like to remove the cat from the situation. You might find that when you do this, though, they try to come back toward you.
Repetition is key here. I know myself, having some very stubborn cats, that it can be annoying and time-consuming. But, you do have to keep setting them down again and again so that they learn.
You can also use this to redirect them to a toy they can bite instead. I don’t recommend immediately playing with your kitten when they bite, as they may see it as a reward. However, showing them a passive object to chew can work to both redirect and distract them from biting you.
If your kitten tries to bite you more when you touch them or is biting out of aggression, I recommend getting up and walking away yourself. Find something to do and ignore your cat for a while.
It’s important that you don’t get hurt during this process, so do what feels comfortable and safe for you.
Lastly, if your kitten is biting down and won’t let go of you, don’t pull back. This can make the bite worse and they may latch on harder as well.
Instead, push your hand further into their mouth. Be gentle but firm, so as to not hurt your kitten by pressing too hard.
This goes against your instincts, but if you can remember to do it, it should get your cat to let go. Then, you can follow the process above.
Since this is an extreme example, I would recommend you get up and leave yourself instead of touching your cat.
Redirect their Behavior
Kittens don’t bite for no reason. Often, they’re trying to fulfill an instinct or need.
A teething kitten needs something to gnaw on. A playful kitten needs to release energy. Cats have hunting instincts as well that need to be fulfilled through play.
Instead of expecting your cat to never bite anything, give them appropriate things to chew that aren’t you.
Plush toys are a perfect outlet for this behavior. Some cats will also gnaw on the corners of their scratching post or cat tower.
Alongside these things, make sure your kitten is getting enough playtime throughout the day. Every cat needs 30-45 minutes of dedicated playtime to act out their hunting instincts each day.
This shouldn’t be one long session, as both you and your cat will get bored—and it’ll probably be much harder to fit into your schedule.
Instead, break playtime into 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day. These can be before mealtimes, bedtime, or before or after you leave the house.
For kittens especially, it’s helpful to schedule playtime right before you want them to wind down for a while. Tire them out, and then they’ll be more likely to sleep during that important work call instead of bouncing off the walls!
Another kitten or young cat can also be a great outlet for playfulness and biting. Cats teach one another how hard to play fight.
So long as they aren’t showing aggression toward one another, breaking skin, or getting injured, kittens biting one another is not only okay but perfectly normal.
This is one of the best advantages to adopting kittens in pairs. It allows them to play this way with one another, so that they’re less likely to expect it from you.
They can also teach one another boundaries, so that they’re less likely to bite as hard!
I am a freelance writer who specializes in the pet industry. My full bio