Four ways to stop a cat biting and scratching

Commonly used as a way for cats to communicate with their owner, there’s nothing more frustrating than spotting claw marks where they shouldn’t be. Furniture, clothes and even your skin can be a prime target for scratching or biting – even when your cat is fully equipped with scratching poles and toys to exercise their claws!

Whether you have an issue with your cat scratching furniture or they’ve simply caught your skin at playtime, you may want to explore different ways to stop your cat scratching.

In this guide, we’ve shared the four ways that you can stop your cat from biting, along with the reasons why they may be showing the behaviour more than usual:

Why does my cat bite me?

Usually, cats use biting as a way to show aggression. Whether they’re reacting to an unfamiliar scent on your carpet or communicating that they’re in pain, it’s important to look into the habit and investigate what they’re angry about.

Cats may also bite if they’re being petted. Some animals prefer to be left alone and may become irritated by constant stroking. If this happens, you should stop stroking your cat immediately and allow them the chance to move. Then, wait until they approach you again before giving affection.

That being said, some cats bite or scratch to simply get your attention. They may also do it by accident when they’re playing indoors.

How to stop cats scratching

If biting or scratching is becoming a pet peeve, it can cause problems for everyone in the home who are left feeling hurt and wondering, “why has my cat scratched me?”. The following techniques can be used to minimise and prevent the behaviour:

Don’t show aggression yourself

When trying to stop your cat from biting or scratching, remember that showing aggression yourself could worsen the problem. Hitting, shouting or punishing your cat could confuse them and have an adverse reaction, so try to keep your temper when training your cat to stop biting.

Try to understand their behaviour

You should also think about the reasoning why your cat is showing signs of aggression. For example, if your cat bites when they’re being stroked, they may be trying to tell you that they don’t like it.

Remember that pregnant cats, mothers or pets with an illness may be more aggressive than others.

Use toys to distract them

If you play with your cat indoors or they don’t have access to an outdoor playing space, they may use biting and scratching as a way to entertain themselves.

In this case, consider using toys to distract them. You could offer strings, toy mice or light-up lasers to take their mind of scratching or biting. This will also allow you to play with them at arms’ length, preventing them from injuring you!

Cat playing with a toy

Consider neutering your cat

Cats may bite or scratch to mark their territory, especially if you’re living in a multi-pet household.

Research has shown that non-neutered cats are more territorial and even though this doesn’t directly relate to being more aggressive, neutering or spaying your cat can help prevent the irritating habits.

If your cat has bitten or scratched you, it’s important that you seek medical attention as you may have caught an infection. If your cat is biting themselves excessively, it could signal an underlying health problem and you should contact your vet for advice.

Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


Need cat insurance?

Cat insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your cat gets injured or falls ill.


We know pets

Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £8.5 million to more than 800 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.