If you have noticed your cat biting itself, you may ask yourself why it bites itself. Cat biting is a normal behavior that can have different meanings and consequences, depending on how often, how hard, and where your cat bites itself.
In this post, we will explore some of the possible reasons behind your cat’s biting behavior and help you decide when you should be concerned about it.
Let’s discuss it together!
Do Cats Usually Bite Themselves?
Yes, some cats may bite themselves occasionally as it is a part of their playing or grooming.
As we know cats have grooming habits. During grooming, it is normal for cats to use their teeth to gently nibble or bite at specific areas, especially when trying to remove dirt or tangles from their fur.
This behavior helps them keep their coats lean and can also serve as a way to relax and self-bonding.
However, excessive biting of themselves can be a cause for concern. It may be a sign of a physical or psychological problem.
Therefore, if you observe that your cat is frequently biting on its fur, it is important to consult with your vet to rule out any health problems for your cat.
3 Common Reasons Why Does Your Cat Bite Themselves?
Cats are known for their meticulous grooming, which makes them look and feel smooth and clean. However, you may wonder why your cat starts biting itself, as it seems like a strange behavior.
Here are three common reasons your cat may have bitten itself:
The Nature of Self-Grooming
Self-grooming is a natural and normal behavior in cats that helps them keep their fur clean, shiny, and healthy. Cats normally spend about 15% of their awake time grooming themselves with their tongue, teeth, and paws.
Psychological Health Factors
Stress: Cats are sensitive animals even a small change in their environment can make them anxious and stressed. In this case, your cat might be engaged in biting themselves as a way of coping with stress or as a sign of anxiety or depression.
Boredom: Cats are natural hunters and explorers. If they are confined to a drab or unstimulating environment, they may develop compulsive behavior such as over-grooming or biting themselves. This behavior is used to deal with their boredom or relieve pent-up energy.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Cats can experience obsessive-compulsive behaviors, just like humans do. Even when there is no obvious physical cause, this can appear as an overwhelming impulse to groom and bite themself.
Physical Health Factors
Skin Irritations: Cats have sensitive skin. When they come into contact with irritants such as burrs, dirt, or mites, they may bite themselves as it is the way to ease the discomfort.
Parasites: One of the most prevalent reasons behind cats biting themselves is the presence of external parasites, such as fleas or ticks. These pesky parasites can cause your cat to go crazy with itching.
They feed on your cat’s blood and cause scratching, irritation, and inflammation of the skin. Your cat may try to get rid of them by biting, licking, or scratching itself excessively. You may notice your cat biting around the neck, back, or tail areas where fleas tend to hide.
Allergies: Your cat may be sensitive to specific substances such as food, pollen, cleaning products, or even substances it comes into contact with. As a result, your cat may bite itself to soothe the allergic reaction or to remove the allergen.
Overall, the first step to helping your cat from self-biting is to understand your cat’s reasons by observing your cat’s behavior.
If you find your cat biting itself excessively, consult with your vet to determine the cause and the best treatment for your cat’s skin condition.
When Should You Worry About Your Cat Bite?
While biting often can be normal for your cat, excessively biting can be a serious matter especially if your cat was not vaccinated and becomes infected.
There are some things that you should be concerned about when your cat bites:
- Your cat bites itself nonstop until it bleeds.
- Around the bite, there is redness, swelling, or growing agony.
- Your cat might develop signs of infection such as fever, pus, or spreading redness.
- Your cat might feel numbness, tingling, or loss of function.
Therefore, if your cat has any of these symptoms, you should get them checked out for medical attention as soon as possible.
Do Cats Know Their Bites Hurt?
Yes, cats generally do have some control over the intensity of their bite and can adjust their bite force based on the situation. They can also be aware of between gentle play bites and more powerful painful bites.
However, it might depend on the context and the intention of the bite. Some cats also cannot control themselves if they have psychological and physical health as we mentioned above.
Therefore, it’s important to understand your cat’s body language and behavior to interpret their intentions and avoid situations that might lead to painful bites.
How to Stop Your Cats from Biting Themselves?
Cats bite themselves for many reasons. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to identify the cause and treat it accordingly, as excessive biting can lead to skin damage and infections.
Here are some tips you can take to help prevent your cat from excessively biting themselves:
- Regular grooming: You need to give your cat regular brushing and grooming. It is best to remove and prevent your cat from fleas and other parasites which may lead to self-biting.
- Giving environmental enrichment: Stress and anxiety in cats can also lead to biting behavior. Therefore, you should identify the sources of your cat’s environment by providing a secure place and offering hiding spots for them. In addition, playing with your cat can also help them release pent-up energy and fight boredom. However, if you don’t have enough time, give your cat toys, scratching posts also can keep your cat both mentally and physically active.
- Ignore biting behavior: Some cats may bite themselves to seek your attention or play. To discourage this habit, you should not give any reward or attention when they bite themselves. You should reject them or gently push them away until they stop it.
- Ask your vet: If your cat’s self-biting behavior is severe or doesn’t improve, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. They will provide specialized guidance and rule out any medical issues to your cat’s needs. Medication should never be prescribed or taken without a doctor’s supervision.
All in all, cats are amazing creatures that sometimes bite themselves for various reasons. They may do this to groom themselves, to cope with stress or anxiety, to get rid of fleas or parasites, to soothe skin irritations, or sometimes for no apparent reason at all.
That’s why it is important to watch your cat closely and try to understand what is causing their biting behavior.
You can help your cat by treating any physical or psychological issues that may be affecting them. If you are not sure what to do, you can always ask your vet for advice. They will know how to help your cat feel better and stop biting themselves.