why bite the person you like?

by Gloria
(O'fallon, Illinois)

Tillie my Maine Coon

Tillie my Maine Coon

My cat (7 yrs old) has started to bite my sister-in-law. She has always liked her and has always wanted to be petted whenever my sis-in-law comes over. But, now the last two times she has petted her, my cat has bit her. Not real bad, sort of like a play bite, but none the less it brought blood. We are surprised at her behavior and I am wondering if you coud give us some insight into this behavior?

Answer by Kate
Make sure your sister in law is not wearing any strong scents when she visits. I have seen this behaviour and often it is caused by a new perfume or strong deodorant etc.

The other possibility is that as you say it is a play bite but the cat has not learnt how hard to bite. this often happens with cats who were taken away from their litter too soon, meaning they did not get the early lessons of play fighting.

All you can do in this situation is to try and re train your cat in this regard. So when your sister in law comes over, tell her not to approach the cat but let the cat come to her. then if he tries to bite, tell her to move away from him straight away, not to look at him or to make a sound. This is a negative experience for the cat and if it happens every time he bites he will realise that this is not the reaction he wants and should stop it.

Please see my page about this process for more details here


best wishes kate

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