Why does a cat bite after petting

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Why does a cat bite after petting

Updated Jan 14, 2010

cathy2A readers says, “Sometimes when I pet my cat, he starts twitching his tail and then bites my hands. This is very distressing for me. I love him, but it really hurts me when he does this. Am I doing something wrong? How can I make him stop?”

This is actually a very common behavior. Your cat is not intentionally trying to hurt you. He just has a low threshold for stimulation. Some cats can not handle being petted over and over again. In response to the stimulation, they tighten their muscles, twitch their tails, and bite the hand that loves them.

The key is to pay close attention to your cat’s warning signals. As soon as the tail begins twitching — even just a little bit — stop petting him and let him settle down again before resuming contact. Once you learn to read his body language, you will be able to stop petting long before he bites.

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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