Cat Bites when I'm on the phone

by Katy
(Ames, IA)

We have an approximately 2 year old neutered male cat, indoor only, who get s lots of love, attention, and has plenty of stimulation (window perches, lots of toys, a bird feeder outside one window, etc). He is noramlly a cuddly, friendly cat, but as soon as I get on the phone, he goes into attack mode. Last night, he bit me so badly that I have four punctures and a large bruise. I am 15 weeks pregnant, and was very concerned, so I went to the Dr. immediately. He also exhibits this behavior when he wants to play, but to a much lesser degree then when I or my husband is on the phone. In fact, this is the worst bite he has ever inflicted. We've been trying to break him of the behavior with a squirt bottle and exclusion (sticking him in a room by himself when he does this and ignoring him) but it doen't seem to be working. He'll be contrite for a few hours to a day, but the behavior keeps coming back. As much as we love him, I won't be able to keep him if we can't stop this behavior. I don't want any more bites while pregnant, and I certainly don't want him pulling this crap with the baby! Any advise as to why he does this, and how I can break the habit, would be much appreciated!

Answer by Kate
Well this is a learned behavior your cat has adopted over a long period of time and unfortunately this means that it will be difficult to break. I bet when he does this you bshout at him or make a loud noise of some sort and this is exactly what he is after. this noise ie shout, scream etc is seem as a positive reaction by the cat and so he has got what he wants, whereas silience and either being removed from the situations quickly or for you to move away from the situation immediately in silence will be seem over a long period of time as a negative response. He will then associate with him being patted and spoken to when he is behaving himself and with a negative reponse when he bites. I know it is difficult to remain quiet during these situations but it is essential to providing a negative response to your cat. See my page about aggressive behavior here on my site for more info.
It may take some time but it is important to remember that your cat is not being bad he is simply seeking a reaction that he interprets as a positive one. Good Luck :)

Comments for Cat Bites when I'm on the phone

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Speaker noise and Cats
by: JustWnee

In addition to the other concerned comments here, my 8 year old female Himalayan displays the same reaction when I use my speakerphone for a conversation, listen to a podcast, watch a video or play a game that has voices, sounds of any kind or music . She reacts the same with the laptop speaker as well. She will come directly to me -start to meow excessively and "kindly" bite my hands or arms. However, the television or music from my Alexis speaker does not affect her.

After doing a little research I learned that certain speaker types sound come across very distorted and irritating for their ears due of their keen and sensitive hearing. What does this say about their behavior when subjected to these speaker types? They are objectively communicating that this sound is extremely bothersome or in some hurtful.

So as cat lover -do not discipline your cat. We need to discipline ourselves by using headphones, relocate yourself or the cat to another room. This all falls in line with being responsible and respectful to our cat.

Also, NEVER should anyone EVER put a collar with a bell around a cat or kitten’s neck, that is hurtful and mean, irresponsible unintentional abuse.

my cat bites only when i am on a zoom call/phone call in bed
by: malaysian

my cat never "attacks" me (except playfully). But I realise when I am on the phone (speakerphone or not), and when I am even on a zoom call (or perhaps when I am talking a lot?) — she will want to approach me and then either scratch or bite. It's shocking behaviour. I don't think it's the noise from the phone/computer that she is annoyed at (she has no problem when I watch stuff/listen to music) — only when I am focused on talking to someone else. I don't focus on her when I watch a movie though, so could it be some jealousy thing? It is truly strange that she transforms into a frightening hunter that will hurt me.

Are you in speaker phone?
by: Anonymous

My cat does this when I am on the phone too but only when I am on speaker phone. I have come to the conclusion since they have very sensitive hearing the sound that omits from the person on speaker phone(talking) hurts her ears and the only way to get it to stop is to communicate that through biting. I try not to use speaker phone while talking to people when around her so it doesn't hurt her ears. It has helped.

Biting cat when I use speaker phone
by: Roxy

Many people have experienced this but I haven't heard the reason the cat does this.

My cat bites too when I am on speaker phone
by: Anonymous

Olvia is the sweetest little girl. My baby, but when I use the speaker phone, she comes for my legs with her mouth open. Reminds me of Jaws. Not the same thing off course. I have to remember not to do it around her. Love her so much.

My cat does this as well, but no biting ,yet
by: Anonymous

I'm relieved to hear this is fairly common, but if it's the frequency, why doesn't he do this to my husband as well?

My cat does this too!!
by: Anonymous

Congrats on your baby! Please don't give your cat up, it sounds like he has a happy, safe and loving home. My cat does this too and it's totally normal. I put him in another room before I answer my phone. I think it's possible they're like hey, give ME attention! My cat isn't trainable and he's a good kitty who isn't aware that it's bad behavior. I try to play with him as much as I can but sometimes I'm too tired. When he attacks (telling me it's time to play) I just put him in the other room. Like humans, cats have their idiosyncracies! People have newborns and cats at the same time all the time and it works out. You sound like a good owner who's doing all the right things!

Cat gets upset and attacks when I'm on the speaker phone or facetime
by: Anonymous

When I face time someone or use the speaker on my phone my cat gets upset and gets in attack mode. Tonight she swatted at me and her eyes got all funny looking. She has a very loving and sweet nature normally. Like others have mentioned, I think its the frequency/ high pitch that causes it.

Cat bites when I use my speaker phone. WHY?
by: Anonymous

My cat is very well behaved except know knowing which side of the door she wants to be on. However she bites when I use my speaker phone. WHY?

Yep, it's gotta be the phone speaker
by: Anonymous

I feel like the "response" comment really missed the mark but my cat absolutely FREAKS OUT when I play music on my phone. Just like the other comments mentioned, she butts her head against my phone with increasing strength and then resorts to literally biting my wrist over and over until I turn it off. It's bizarre because she could definitely just walk away from the noise (I mean we have a whole house...) but instead she would rather be LITERALLY as close to the sound as she could possibly be. I can't seem to find any professional or scientific information on this topic so it's really just a mystery to me why she reacts this way... hmm.

Cat biting when on phone
by: Anonymous

My cat also does this she will literally attack me and bite I'm pretty sure it's the frequency.... she also attacks me if I'm watching a video or playing music on my phone so now I just go to another room

Cats biting and cell phones
by: Anonymous

Same with two of my cats. It is definitely speaker on cell phone. I would not use around cat.

Cat bites while I'm on phone
by: Jane

I've decided that she bites only when I'm on speaker phone.

by: Anonymous

My neutered male cat also becomes very strange when I’m watching a video, using the speakerphone, or especially listening to the scanner on my cellphone. He used to go after the dog, but now he jumps on me and kneads uncontrollably. It has to hurt his ears.

by: Anonymous

new rescue cat, 3 yrs old....bites when she hears voices on other end of phone. ALSO when I whistle (Which I love to do) and when MUSIC is on tv or sterio. WHAT TO DO? So weird..

easy solution
by: Anonymous

My cat does this when I am on the phone as well. Some have postulated that the phone emits a high pitched noise that they hate. I don't know though because she also does it when I am video conferencing. I just put her in another room when I talk on the phone or over video. That solves the problem.

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