Catty for all the Right Reasons

One of the primary reasons I adore cats is for their sneaky, catty behaviors. BUT when I say catty, I do not mean your cat will judge you based on the raggedness of your outfit, lack of makeup, the way your voice sounded when you said a particular word, the amount of ice cream you eat, an enormous zit, and so on. Oh, quite the contrary. My cats tend to want to snuggle more when I am at my leggings-big sweater-no makeup-big bowl of ice cream-blanket-reality tv comfiest. And I love that about them!

On the other hand, do not get me wrong, there is some trigger in their precious little brains that should have a name like “lickety split bite” or “attack now” or maybe “get ’em.” You ever experience that moment when you think life cannot possibly get any better? My cat is snuggled up to my chest, purring. I am petting him and he is happy and we are best friends, la la la. And then BAM! Something changes and you are now the victim to an intense bite from the sharpest of sharp teeth one could ever imagine.

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My precious Gandalf just prior to attack mode. Look at those sweet, irresistible eyes!

They appeared to be over the moon with happiness, maybe even drooling about 5 seconds before the strike.

Okay, confession. Sometimes, I intentionally tickle Captain’s belly to spite him and see if he will start gnawing on me. He still loves me, I think. But I am not talking about those particular settings.

So why does this happen? Why do they turn a switch from snuggle buddy to ultimate destroyer of human flesh?

Of course this is a topic that has been discussed before and does not necessarily end with an exact answer. So, let’s look into some of the possibilities.

  1. Your cat is just out to get you. Likelihood is not high. After all, you feed him, right?

  2. Instincts. Suddenly, your hand looks like a mouse or a tiny bird and yum! I mean, your cat is not dumb so I guess this is also not that likely. Although, it could be pretty likely, depending on the kitty, that petting turned into playing.

  3. Personality and background of the particular cat play a role in how they handle human interaction. Pretty likely.  We see this is true in other areas, such as with the way they feed or cover their litter clumps.

  4. VCA Animal Hospitals, as well as other veterinarians, state that a large possibilty of this behavior is due to the cat just being done with human affection/being touched. This is quite likely. Think about it. Your cat probably gave you a warning sign or two but you had no idea it happened and to clear things up a stronger, more violent, warning sign was used. Perhaps his tail started twitching just a little harder or he gave a not so satisfied meow. The warnings are often there but do we see them? (http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/news/pet-news/why-does-my-cat-bite-me-when-im-petting-him/495)

So how do we fix it?

First, try to recognize warning signs when loving on your furry friend. Never assume even the friendliest of cats won’t bite you. But also, don’t live your life terrified of every cat because that would be quite a despairing way to live.

Study your cat. Try to understand which parts of his body are a no-go section for petting. And also watch for changes in mood; you may be misinterpreting your kitty’s mood swing.

I recommend investigating further with your vet if you feel necessary.  Perhaps, Fluffy doesn’t like her neck petted because she has a sore bothering her that you did not see or feel below her thick, flowing fur. Also, your vet probably has more advice on the topic.

 

 

Remember, if skin is broken, more than a scratch, from a cat bite, it needs to be seen by a doctor. This includes bites by your own cat. The bacteria can lead to  some pretty serious infections. I have had a hand swell up, still have a tiny scar, from a time I took my own kitty to the vet in high school. Miss Bell definitely had a unique personality but at this time she felt ill and did not want me assisting in sitting her on the examination table. I did have to get a vaccination as a precaution.

Be aware of your cat’s body language!

Why do you think cats get catty and bite during pets? Do you agree with many veterinarians? I’d love to hear your thoughts. But for now, I think I will pet this kitty sharing a pillow with me until we both fall asleep.  Happy reading! Thanks for stopping by!

 

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