A: Cats like to play, especially young cats and kittens. Playing and play-fighting are an important part of a cat’s development. Because play behavior usually simulates hunting skills for cats, it often takes the form of a pretend attack. That’s why some play sessions may result in your cat attacking your hand or some other place on your body. Cats may also bite if the cat has had enough petting, or some temperamental cats may bite for no obvious reason.
Biting should be discouraged. Sometimes you may be tempted to “wrestle” with your cat or kitten, allowing it to bite or claw at your hand, because it doesn’t hurt you very much and it’s fun for both of you. However, doing this reinforces the idea that biting is OK, and your cat may later end up biting other people, or biting you when you don’t think it’s playtime. You don’t want your cat to grow up thinking that hands are toys. Whenever your cat bites, disengage immediately. If you’ve been playing, stop the play and walk away. This tells your cat that biting is a bad move, and doing it will stop the fun time. You may also wish to gently but firmly say no, or clap your hands to signal that your cat made a mistake. Don’t shout or scare your cat.
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