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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18306
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My last cat tended to bite people's ankles and it seemed out

Customer Question

My last cat tended to bite people's ankles and it seemed out of the blue bite me and other family members in the hands, arms, and feet. He unfortunately died after being run over by a car last October. I say all this because I am looking for a new cat now, and I want to know what I can do to prevent this type of behavior. Do I need to look at certain breeds or can friendliness towards other humans and not biting hands and feet be trained? It rarely seemed that my previous cat was being mean.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Now as you noted, none of those behaviors were malicious on your last kitty's part. All of them are behaviors associated with how cats play with other cats. It is not an uncommon issue to see if a cat develops the misconception that they can play with people in the same manner as they would another cat. Furthermore, this often becomes a life time problem if owners do not redirect the behavior right away (letting it become habit) or encourage play using their hands/feet.

In regards ***** ***** that are prone to this behavior, it isn't usually associated with a breed. That said, we do tend to see the Siamese and similar breeds more likely to misinterpret how they can interact with an owner. Otherwise, it is more a habit developed from nurturing. Cats that were hand reared (and thus already have a blurry line between human and cat) or allowed to play rough with people in the first 8-12 weeks of life are the most likely to behave in this way through life. As well, cats without feline companions their own age or those kept most indoors (therefore having reduced environmental stimulation) also tend to be prone to this type of behavior. And while we can retrain cats at any age, it is always quite a challenge (since its a natural behavior misplaced instead of something wrong), therefore we'd want to avoid the above if possible to avoid future unappreciated behaviors as your last wee one had.

So, it is a case of getting the right idea and right approach to play in their heads from the start if we want to avoid breaking this as a habit in a cat's later life.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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