No matter how much you love your cat, at one point or another it will return your affections with scratches, bites or hisses. Most of the time this behavior is not because the cat is mean or angry, but because it has different preferences than you.
When cats play, they often use their natural stalking and pouncing instincts to capture their “prey,” the Humans Society of the United States (HSUS) reports. They will attack the toy they are playing with, so if you use your hands to play with your cat, you may find yourself heading for the first aid kit. If you play these types of games with a kitten, it will grow up practicing the same behaviors, leaving you and any guests with deeper scratches and bite marks. The HSUS recommends using a fishing pole type of toy with a cat to keep it away from your body. If the cat scratches or bites you, say “uh-uh” and redirect it to the toy. Never hit or yell at the cat for bad behavior, as it will begin to fear you. The Burlap Heart Catnip Toy offers a combination of catnip and feathers with burlap that can withstand the most ferocious bites and scratches.
Aggression during petting is slightly more complicated, and is something even animal behaviorists haven’t nailed down. Random bites after moments of peaceful petting may signal the cat’s limited tolerance for being touched or injuries. If one spot seems to elicit more of a negative response than it has in the past, consult with your cat’s veterinarian. Feeding your cat treats, such as PureBites, may create a positive association for it.
Cats may also exhibit territorial or redirected aggression. If something unrelated to you has made them angry, they may take it out on humans by biting or scratching. If you see signs of aggression in your cat, it is best to leave it alone to calm down herself, the HSUS recommends. Territorial aggression is also common in cats, but when it is directed at humans it can be dangerous. If your alpha cat thinks it owns the house, you can spray it with a squirt bottle to reassert yourself, the HSUS says. A natural essence like Comfort Zone For Cats may also help, causing the cat to relax. Comfort Zone For Cats is a plug-in diffuser that spreads a comforting facial pheromone that makes a cat feel safe and at ease.