Why Do Kittens Bite?
Firstly, let’s clear the air, kitten biting is a totally normal part of any cat’s kittenhood. Cats are a predatory species, so things like pouncing, scratching and biting are all ways that kittens practice these predatory hunting skills. Predatory play starts from around 2-4 weeks of age and continues to around 9-14 months of age, at which point your cat will officially be an adult. You can check out our blog on when do kittens calm down for a full breakdown of a cat’s life stages.
Here are some other reasons why kittens bite:
Like hooman babies, kittens are born with cute gummy smiles. Their baby teeth only start to come through at around 3-6 weeks which then make way for adult cat teeth between 3-6 months. Don’t expect to find too many kitten teeth around the house for the kitty-cat tooth fairy though, as they’re usually safely eaten with their food. At these points you can expect a spike in biting and chewing as they do this to cope with the pain of kitten teething.
They’re Playing and Testing Boundaries
Playfighting is a normal part of kittenhood. Kittens will commonly pounce, tackle and nip their little brothers and sisters during play as they practice their predatory skills. As they do this, they learn what is and isn’t acceptable either by the odd hiss from their mother or squeal from their brother or sister if the nip was too hard. If you’ve adopted a kitten by itself they may not learn these boundaries and might continue to bite whilst playing for longer than kittens that have been adopted together.
They’re Bored or Attention Seeking
Another answer to “why do kittens bite?” is if they’re bored or seeking attention from their pawrent. If you’re not enriching your cat’s life through kitten toys and playtime, they’re more likely to get bored and blow off steam in destructive ways. Biting you or clawing and chewing on those expensive curtains you just put up may be your kitten rebelling and crying out for attention.
They’re in Pain
If your kitten is acting more reclusive, fatigued, or biting you when you go to touch them, this may indicate that they’re in pain. If this is the case get them checked out as soon as possible by your local vet.
How Do I Stop My Kitten Biting Me?
Now that you know some of the answers to why do kittens bite? Let’s dive into some of the ways you can stop your kitten from using your toes like a chew toy.
1. Set Aside Regular Playtime
Ensuring that you set aside at least 30mins of playtime per day for your kitten is a great way to curb kitten bored and destructive habits such as attention-seeking biting. Ideally split in two 15 minute blocks throughout the day. Using wand toys, laser pointers or even ping pong balls are great options for kittens to practice their predatory urges and take the focus off biting you!
2. Reward Good Behaviour
After you’ve played with your kitten and let them bite or pounce on their favourite toys, reward this good behaviour (of not biting you) with a healthy kitten treat or delicious meal to provide positive reinforcement and also satisfy the experience of eating after a hunt.
3. Set Boundaries
In their litters, kittens would learn boundaries from their brothers and sisters and mother. If they bit their littermate too hard, a yelp from their sibling or hiss from their mother would indicate that they were being naughty. You too can either make a yelp or short hiss sound at your kitten to indicate that biting you is a no-no. End playtime immediately if your kitten starts getting rough and calmly walk away. This will reinforce that biting isn’t acceptable.
4. Provide Chew Toys or Chew Treats
Providing your kitten with safe chew toys or chew treats are great ways to redirect their biting from you, particularly if you know that they’re teething. Our Gnashers Cat Dental Treats are perfect for kittens over the age of 3 months to help with teething, whilst also rubbing off plaque keeping their teeth pearly white and breath smelling fresh.
5. Consider Adopting a Second Kitten
Adopting two kittens together isn’t just great for doubling up your kitten cuddles, but it can also help your kittens adjust quicker to appropriate behaviour. Kittens teach each other what kind of play is and isn’t acceptable, allowing them to become better-adjusted cats in adulthood. They also play with each other, wearing each other out so they have less energy to pounce and nip on your toes when you enter the room.
So there you have it. The answer to “why do kittens bite?” is a complicated one, but with a little dedication and a whole lot of patience, your kitten is sure to outgrow this habit.
If you’ve recently adopted a kitten and are looking for a complete natural kitten food that’s soft on tummies but packs a punch on nutrition, check out our range of delicious dry and wet kitten food. We add powerful prebiotics or probiotics to all of our kitten food, to keep their digestive system healthy and poops pretty for an easy clean up of the kitty litter.