3 Ways to Stop Your Cat from Scratching and Biting
It can be difficult to understand how or why our pets act in certain ways. However, when it comes to problem behaviors, it becomes necessary to act as both psychologist and behaviorist in order to curb the issues.
Cats, in particular, can be hard to understand, especially when it comes to aggressive biting or scratching behaviors. Here are three ways to stop your cat from scratching and biting, so that you and your pet can stay in harmony.
1. Provide Toys
Cats need to have toys of their own in order to provide mental stimulation, exercise, and boredom relief. Just like humans, cats can get bored if they have nothing to occupy them, so keeping plenty of cat toys on hand can keep your cat distracted from causing harm or damage to humans or personal property.
What kind of toys do cats prefer? Some of that depends on the personality of your cat, but here are a few of our picks for top cat toys:
- Scratching post. A good quality scratching post is a must for any household that includes a feline friend. If a cat has a scratching post to relieve their natural urge to scratch, they are far less likely to take out their frustration on your living room furniture.
- Toy mouse. Cats are hunters, and as such have the natural inclination to stalk their prey. A small toy such as a mouse or other little, lightweight toy, enables them to easily bat it around the floor. Your cat will have a great time, all while exercising their body and brain.
- Mouse feeders. These are a set of mice that you can add kibble to and hide around the house. Your cat will love to "hunt" for them and satisfy their predatory instincts.
- Wand/Teaser. These are very popular toys for cats, and for good reason. Toy wands or teasers usually have a variety of colors, sounds, and textures, to engage your cat's brain and get them moving. Wave the wand around and watch your cat's eyes light up - the perfect bonding activity. Laser teasers are also fantastic to get even the laziest of cats up and running.
2. Engage in More Play Time
Under-stimulated animals tend to channel their energy in aggressive ways, so providing them with plenty of playtime and exercise can help to keep problem behavior in check. Try taking your cat for a walk in the backyard (under close supervision and/or with a harness and leash), or check out the zip-able hamster style mesh tubes for outdoor jungle gym adventures. Contained and safe!
Never hit or respond violently to your cat when bitten or scratched, as this could cause your cat extreme stress, and heighten any problem behavior.
"If your cat is demonstrating biting or scratching behaviors, they might not be getting adequate exercise." TWEET THIS
3. Redirect Attention
Getting aggressive when your cat bites or scratches you can make the problem worse, so when your cat lashes out, react in a calm, firm manner. Cats often respond to volume, so tell your cat "no," and immediately redirect their attention to something positive.
Keep in mind that cats can bite during a rowdy playtime session, so if this non-aggressive biting or scratching happens, discontinue the action and start something else. For example, many cats get stimulated when you rub their belly, as it triggers hunter/prey instinct, so try to avoid playing with your cat in a manner that could encourage biting or scratching. Toy wands or laser pointers are especially good examples of ideal "hands-off" play with cats.
With consistency, patience, and the proper amount of regular exercise, you and your cat can enjoy a long and happy partnership.
Visit South Boston Animal Hospital
If you have any questions about the care and well-being of your furry friend, give us a call! Our family animal hospital in Boston has over forty years of experience taking care of dogs and cats of every shape and size.
About Dr. Natalie Waggener
Dr. Natalie Waggener has 17 years of experience in emergency work and general practice in Rhode Island, Florida and Massachusetts. She has a special interest in dentistry, wellness care and rehabilitation therapy. She is currently licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.