Cats maintain a strict grooming routine, so their guardians are not usually alarmed to see them carefully lick every corner of their body to remove dirt, impurities, and dead hair. However, it is important to be aware of possible changes in this hygienic routine of felines, especially if they begin to bite or lick themselves with great intensity.
It is important to highlight that each feline is a unique and singular individual, so each behavior can have different meanings and causes. This may depend on the routine, environment, education, and health status of each individual. In this Best Pets Lover article, we will solve your doubt about Why does my cat bite itself, explaining different causes and also talking about the treatment necessary to solve it.
You may also be interested: Why does my cat bite and kick?
Why do cats bite?
Cats bite for two main reasons:
1. As part of the hunting sequence, which includes 1-stalking the prey, 2- chasing it, 3- capturing or charging it, 4- biting it, 5- killing it, and 6- eating it.
2. As a self-defense strategy when they feel threatened
Within the first point, the reason why some cats bite while playing would be included, since the game is, in part, a “training” for real life. In other words, many of the behaviors of the game are part of the predatory sequence that later makes the survival of the cat possible if it lives in the wild. That’s why most cat toys encourage movement and hunting. But of course, one thing is to understand why cats bite and quite another to understand and accept that they do so when you caress them.
The cat bites everything: what it means and why it does it
Nothing that passes through its nose should go ‘unpunished’: if the cat gets into its mouth and tastes something with its teeth, this is probably its way of getting to know the world around it.
Have you ever heard of feline body language? It is not always easy to understand why the cat adopts that behavior or has that particular attitude, but with time everything will seem more understandable.
It is not certain that it is always something negative: sometimes he even bites for fun and to communicate his desire to spend time with us. It is obvious that the cat has a hard time understanding how much force to use in the bite: it is up to us to teach him that there are also other ways to have fun, without using his teeth!
You may want to train your jaw or vent your inner discomfort when you feel distressed or scared. In short, to understand why a cat bites, it is necessary to evaluate the context, to have a clear idea of the cause.
The cat bites itself: what it bites and why
The underlying cause of the cat’s self-biting behavior is closely linked to the area of the body where the feline unleashes this irrepressible urge. If it is the legs, the cause may be pain or injury, if it is the tail, it will have another meaning, and so on. Let’s see where the cat bites and why.
The cat chasing its tail is a very common event: on the other hand, what stimulates a predator more than an object moving right under its eyes? It doesn’t matter if that thing is attached to his body! The causes can also be different, such as:
- inner discomfort (stress in the cat)
- It’s stereotypical behavior.
- it hurts and you want to relieve the pain,
- wants to be the center of attention.
Usually, it is the pain in and around the mouth that causes them to bite. It could also be gum or tooth discomfort and the only way to get relief is to bite down.
Diseases of the mouth of cats can be caused by caries and more frequently by tartar: any risk can be avoided with correct and constant oral hygiene, or by offering the cat the opportunity to clean its teeth of food debris even by chewing a good catnip.
What does it mean when your cat bites the different parts of its body?
Cats act in strange ways and can vary between each cats since they all have a different character, however, your cat suddenly begins to bite and this habit begins to be constant.
You need to start taking certain precautions, depending on where you start biting you can determine the possible causes, cats commonly bite themselves in the following areas:
Why is my cat biting its tail?
If you are the lucky guardian of one or several felines, you probably already know that they love to chase their tail. This behavior is quite common among cats, who retain a powerful hunting instinct and express it in their daily lives as an innate part of their nature. Of course, your feline must also have an enriched environment where he finds toys and accessories with which he can exercise his instincts and his cognitive abilities, not always resorting to his tail to have fun for a while.
However, you should be aware of your cat begins to repeat this behavior with great intensity or frequency. If your cat bites his tail very frequently or intensely, he may end up self-mutilating and causing wounds that can become infected and lead to an infectious process in his body. In addition, it will be essential to identify the cause of this behavior to control or correct it, preventing the kitten from continuing to hurt itself.
Once more, we underline that main an appropriately prepared proficient will want to arrive at a precise determination, in the wake of looking at every person, their side effects, and their condition of wellbeing. Then you can prescribe the most appropriate treatment. The figure that can best assist us is a veterinarian accomplished in ethology.
But surely you still want to know why my cat is biting its tail, correct? Underneath we will audit probably the most widely recognized causes that make sense of the presence of this way of behaving:
- Boredom or stress: If a cat lives a sedentary routine and does not have an enriched environment, it will probably show symptoms of stress and/or boredom. Then, he can start to develop certain negative behaviors in an attempt to burn off energy, release stress, and improve his entertainment, such as biting himself or chasing his tail continuously. Other things can stress cats and lead to this type of behavior, such as sudden changes in their environment, a house move, the introduction of new people or upgrades in their current circumstance, and so on.
- Parasites or health problems: Organic causes can also explain why a cat bites itself or bites its tail. Fleas, ticks, or mites on your skin and fur can cause significant discomfort. In this situation, we will see that the feline nibbles its tail, yet in addition scratches unnecessarily, causing wounds and losing its jacket. Other normal reasons are food sensitivities and certain sicknesses. It will be essential to take him to the vet.
- Demand for attention: if you don’t set aside a particular time to play and show affection to your feline, and/or spend long days away from home, your cat is likely to feel lonely and try to get your attention. He may start engaging in hyperactive and anxious behaviors, such as running and jumping around the house. If we ignore him, he will begin to engage in behaviors of greater intensity, including aggressiveness, even if this implies a negative consequence on our part. In the most extreme cases, when the feline is ignored, self-mutilation can occur, in this case, while tail chasing.
- Stereotypies: we are talking about repetitive and constant movements. They usually appear in serious cases of lack of animal welfare, such as overcrowding, phobias, high levels of stress, problems in the environment, animal abuse, etc. In these cases, the feline nibbles its tail ceaselessly, monotonously, and continually. Assuming you have taken on a cat and you notice that it shows generalizations, go ahead and counsel a veterinarian who worked in cat ethology and conduct.
Why is my cat biting its paws?
In general terms, the possible causes of why a cat bites its paws or licks them excessively are practically the same as those that can cause a cat to chase and bite its tail. Stress, boredom, the presence of external parasites in their legs, pathologies that affect their limbs or their mobility, allergies, and the desire to capture the attention of their owner are a portion of the perspectives that can make sense of this catlike conduct.
But when it comes to the legs, we must also consider the possibility of the existence of injuries, cracks, traumas, or the presence of sharp objects or foreign bodies between their fingers or on their pads. In general, cats that have access to the outdoors are more likely to injure their paws, walk on uneven ground, and thus step on sharp objects. However, this can also happen with cats that live indoors after a domestic accident, such as the breakage of glass, a plate, a cup, an ornament, etc.
If your cat bites his paws or licks them very intensely, we advise you to check them immediately to see if there are wounds or stuck objects or if his skin is dry and cracked. If you notice any superficial wounds of low complexity, you can follow our tips to heal wounds in the paws of cats. But if you observe a deep wound, the presence of foreign or sharp bodies, as well as if you detect bleeding, the ideal is to go to a veterinary care center urgently.
Why is my cat biting its tongue?
This behavior is not very common among cats, so their guardians often worry when they identify it in their kittens. In general, a cat bites its tongue when it feels discomfort, itching, or pain in the mouth, especially in the teeth or gums. These oral discomforts almost always derive from inflammatory and progressive processes, such as gingivitis and periodontitis in cats.
Unfortunately, oral diseases in cats are much more common than we would like them to be. The vast majority of dental problems derive from the formation of tartar between the teeth and gums of felines, so they can be easily prevented by adopting proper oral hygiene with regular brushing.
At Best Pets Lover, we want to help you take care of your feline’s oral health, for this reason, we have prepared a special article in which we show you how to clean your cat’s teeth step by step.
Suppose your cat begins to bite and scratch itself very intensely all over its body. In that case, it may be due to the presence of an animal that is bothering your feline’s skin, such as a tick or flea, so you will have to start buying some medication and shampoo that is specialized to eliminate any tick and flea found on your animal.
You may also be interested Home Made Ice Cream for Cats
Another reason why your cat begins to carry out these anxious and aggressive behaviors is due to some disease or allergy that it is carrying and that at the same time is bothering it, the most advisable thing, in this case, is that you go immediately to a veterinarian so that you can make a prescription with the necessary medications to start solving this problem in your cat.
How to prevent my cat from biting itself?
As you have seen, there are many reasons why a cat bites itself and, regardless of the specific cause of this behavior, it is essential to prevent it to preserve the physical and emotional well-being of our cats. Likewise, before the appearance of the same, we must go to a specialist in feline behavior. In no case will we apply guidelines or use medication to try to solve this problem.
How to keep a feline from gnawing its paws, hair, tailor tongue?
To accomplish exciting anticipation, we should focus on the next everyday rules with our number one cats:
- Offer adequate preventive medicine to your cat throughout its life, respecting its vaccination schedule and its periodic deworming, in addition to providing it with complete and balanced nutrition. We remember that the idea is to make preventive visits to the veterinarian every 6 or 12 months.
- Maintain optimal oral hygiene, regularly brushing your cat’s teeth to prevent the accumulation of food debris between their teeth and gums, which causes the formation of tartar.
- Enrich your cat’s environment by providing intelligence games, toys, and accessories that allow him to exercise his body and mind, expend energy, have fun, and combat symptoms of stress and boredom.
- Offer a positive environment, where your cat feels safe and free to express its physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills. It is also very important to establish a daily play routine with your cat and avoid sudden changes in their environment and/or their habits, since cats stick to their routine to feel safer and not expose themselves to risks unnecessary, being able to maintain more balanced and sociable behavior.
- Regularly check the legs, fur, mouth, and tail of your feline to detect wounds, parasites, signs of inflammation, or any indication of abnormalities in its body. Ideally, your feline should get used to these revisions from puppyhood, always using positive reinforcement to encourage it to incorporate new habits into its routine and better accept this type of manipulation.
How can you prevent your cat from biting itself?
Regardless of the reason that causes it, start acting to preserve your well-being and physical and emotional health, when you notice any symptoms of stress or anxiety and see that your cat begins to bite, it is recommended that you immediately visit a specialist veterinarian in feline behavior.
You must begin to carry out the appropriate prevention to prevent your cat from continuing to injure itself or suffer from some emotional problem, so you can follow some of the recommendations that we will show you below:
- You should go to a veterinarian preventively every 6 months or annually. And if you need medication, he will prescribe it for you.
- Try to maintain good oral hygiene in your feline, since normally the food it eats gets stuck between its teeth and gums, which in the long term could cause tartar formation.
- It is also recommended that you provide your cat with various toys and intelligence games so that they feel satisfied and happy and can also stimulate their instincts, and exercise.
- Do not make abrupt or sudden changes in the cat’s environment or in the habits that it normally did, since cats normally try to adapt to the place and perform a routine to feel more secure, and maintain their sociable and balanced behavior.
- Carry out constant check-ups of the whole body, making sure that they do not have any wounds or discomfort in any part of the body, or that they have animals such as ticks, it is recommended that you do this check-up regularly from an early age so that they can incorporate it into their routine and feel comfortable. calmer when you check them.
Is anxiety something harmful in animals or normal?
Anxiety in animals, especially cats, can have a negative influence on the cat’s health, producing various diseases and aggressive behaviors. Anxiety in cats occurs when the cat is dissatisfied with something in particular in the environment or detects a certain danger in the environment, which causes it to remain constantly on the alert to fight or escape.
You may also be interested in Cat Ice Cream: 5 Recipe Ideas
Sometimes it is normal for the cat to have this behavior on occasions, the real problem is when it maintains this anxiety for a very long time, making it pathological.
Long-term anxiety can increase the chances that your cat will suffer from certain diseases, it can constantly lower its defenses due to the continuous stress they suffer, which can cause diseases such as fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, infections, and even in the More extreme cases could cause anorexia since due to the same anxiety the cat stops eating properly.
How do you know when you should take it to the vet?
If despite everything you see that your cat continues to maintain the habit of biting or scratching itself intensely all over its body, it is important that you go to a veterinarian, in case you have already carried out all the recommendations given above, and you have no more resources to be able to solve this habit in your cat.
Or you can also choose to take your cat to a veterinarian at the first moment you notice that he is starting to have strange stress behavior or start to bite himself, to prevent more serious injuries or diseases that can be lethal to the feline.