Although most cat owners adore their pets, they may still be mystified by certain cat behaviors. A cat’s tendency to bite another cat is one such behavior.
While it is natural to initially attribute this behavior to aggression, there are other possible explanations for cat biting.
Fortunately, this behavior doesn’t necessarily reflect a poor ability to socialize with other cats. Actually, the complete opposite may be true.
However, understanding the reason for your cat’s biting behavior can be difficult unless you also pay close attention to your cat’s demeanor.
Why Do Cats Bite Each other?
While aggression is one possible explanation for this behavior, cats may actually bite each other out of love rather than hostility to groom each other. Kittens may especially have the tendency to bite each other during hunting practice. In other cases, biting may also be included as part of a cat’s playfulness during socialization.
Cat Biting Behavior Can Be a Form of Aggression
Cats instinctually compete with each other over resources.
Sure, you may very well put out enough food to satisfy all the cats in your home, but they may still continue to fight over the food bowls, especially if you don’t use individual bowls for each cat as they can detect each other’s scents.
Additionally, cats can be very territorial and may fight with each other over areas in the home or for your attention.
Male cats who are unneutered can become extremely territorial and aggressive regardless of whether a female cat is present.
For instance, if a stray cat wanders onto the property or you bring a new cat into your home, an unneutered male cat will instinctually attempt to protect his territory by attacking the intruding cat.
Spaying and neutering your cats will likely help in curbing their aggression and territorial biting behaviors.
Cats May Bite Each Other During Grooming
Most felines are very meticulous in their grooming habits.
Although they are very independent and handle much of their self-care routine on their own, they can still experience difficulty in grooming those hard-to-reach places.
While it’s perfectly natural for a mother cat to groom her kittens, when older cats reside together in the same household, they may also lick and even bite each other in an effort to assist one another with grooming.
The behavior of mutual grooming leads to the development of stronger bonds between your cats, reduces their stress levels, feels pleasant, exerts dominance, and can even improve their overall health and well-being.
OK, so that may explain the licking part, but where does biting come in?
When your cats gently nibble each other, it may be to simply alleviate fleas or act as the equivalent of a massage, but when one cat suddenly bites the other cat in the process, it’s usually their way of saying, “Enough! I’m done!”
Cats May Bite Each Other to Practice Hunting
Although hunting is unnecessary for domesticated cats (unless they are feral), it’s still a part of their instincts.
While you may feed your cats high-quality pet food, they will still go after mice, lizards, and birds, and not because they are hungry. Hunting is a natural and instinctual behavior for felines.
It is especially common for kittens to practice their hunting skills prior to leaving their mother’s side.
Their practice may involve pouncing on other members of the litter and then biting their pretend prey. However, there’s no need for you to be concerned about this behavior.
It’s highly unlikely that the kittens will accidentally harm one another during their hunting games.
Chances are that the mother cat is still present and observing her litter’s behavior, and she’ll intervene if necessary.
Hunting practice is rarely an explanation for adult cats biting each other.
As cats grow older and leave their mother, they’ve likely already acquired their hunting skills and will utilize them to leave a surprise mouse on your doorstep rather than bite other cats, but their age may not necessarily prevent them from continuing to occasionally play with other cats.
Cats May Bite Each Other When They Are Playing
Yes, sometimes when cats bite each other, they are just playing. While this scenario is most common with kittens, older cats will also play occasionally when they are socializing with other cats.
Most of a cat’s playtime consists of pretend aggression, such as chasing one another, pouncing, and biting. They’re just doing it out of fun.
However, you are going to need to pay attention to your cat’s demeanor and other behavioral cues to tell the difference between aggression and playing.
If a cat’s biting behavior is attributed to aggression, the biting will be accompanied by the arching of your cat’s back, hissing, and growling.
When your cat is simply being playful, they won’t exhibit these additional behaviors.
When the biting occurs in conjunction with grooming, it’s the equivalent of you telling your partner that the back rub is over, and once again, your cat won’t display signs of aggression.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Cats Bite Each Other
What Happens When a Cat Bites Another Cat?
If the biting occurs during playing or grooming, usually the bite will be relatively gentle and not cause any harm. However, if your cat is bitten by another cat during the course of a fight, it’s possible for bacteria to enter the wound and cause an infection, so you may want to schedule a veterinary appointment.
Why Does One Cat Bite the Other’s Neck?
Although there may be several explanations for this, it could be the result of a spayed female cat rejecting the advances of a male cat that’s unneutered, which could trigger aggressive sexual behavior.
How Can You Tell The Difference Between Felines Fighting or Playing?
When cats have a more relaxed posture and ears that are pointing forward, that means that they are just playing. However, if their posture is rigid with an arched back and their tail begins to puff out, that signifies that they are actually fighting.
Cats can bite each other as a sign of aggression, but it can also symbolize affection or mere playfulness.
However, you can gain a better understanding of your cats’ biting behavior by paying attention to demeanor and body language, so that you know when to intervene and when to let them just have a good time.