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Published: Jul 19, 2012

Most people who have played with a cat have experienced biting at one point or another. Even if the bite didn't break the skin (and it usually doesn't), this behavior can be unsettling for owners. Cats may bite for a number of reasons, but most often it is the feline's way of telling you to stop what you are doing because she doesn't like it.

As many cat owners know, felines love to give and receive affection, but it must always be on their terms. That means if you make a move the cat does not approve of, she will tell you with her teeth, reports. However, biting or other aggressive behaviors can also be a sign of pain in cats. If your cat is uncharacteristically aggressive or resisting being handled or picked up, you should consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for this behavior.

Punishment is almost never the answer to cat behavior problems. Any sort of punishment will likely lead to fear, which can actually increase aggressive behaviors, not end them. Instead, owners should walk away from their cat when she starts biting or play attacking, VCA Animal Hospitals reports. It is also important to provide cats with enough toys it can bite or attack, as they are predatory by nature and need an outlet for this instinct. If your cat tends to bite during play, opt for toys with a long stick attached, so the cat can distinguish between the toy and human.