Your cats are chilling together when, out of nowhere, one cat leaps on the other and starts biting their neck. What’s going on? Cats have their own unique ways, and neck biting is just one of them.
If you’ve witnessed this behavior or seen it in videos, you might have some questions. In this article, we’ll explore six reasons why cats engage in neck biting and how to prevent it, especially if it becomes aggressive.
Table of Contents
The 6 Main Reasons Cats Bite Each Other’s Necks
1. Play Behavior
If you have kittens, you’ll notice their play mimicking aggressive and hunting behavior. They stalk, pounce, bite, claw, and pounce on other kittens and objects. This type of play teaches them vital hunting and communication skills for adulthood. During these play fights, neck biting can occur. Most cats outgrow this behavior, but some won’t. If two cats are playfully biting each other’s necks without aggression, it’s simply play biting.
2. Mating Behavior
During mating, an intact male bites the unspayed female’s neck. This helps hold her in place and ensures safety. While this behavior is normal during mating, spayed and neutered cats might also assume the mating stance, even with cats of the same sex. It could be a display of dominance or simply enjoyable behavior. You might even notice this directed towards toys or other pets.
3. Demonstrating Dominance
When a new cat enters the household, an existing cat may show dominance by biting the newcomer’s neck. This behavior can also occur between cats that know each other well. As long as the bitten cat isn’t in pain, it’s usually a mix of play and dominance.
4. Hunting Instincts
The neck is a vulnerable area on any animal and a prime target for predators. Cats, driven by their hunting instincts, might go for the neck when playing. Younger cats are more likely to exhibit these instincts as they learn about hunting. However, this behavior usually doesn’t cause harm or pain to the other cat.
5. Competition for Resources
Neck biting can stem from aggression over resources like toys, food, or attention. It’s a way for a dominant cat to establish territory and protect their belongings. However, if neck biting escalates into hissing, yowling, and intense fights, it exceeds play and becomes aggression. Address these behaviors if one cat guards the litter box or bites when you pet the other cat.
6. Medical Reasons
If your cat suddenly starts neck biting and displays increased aggression, it might have an underlying medical issue. Pain can be redirected as aggressive behavior towards another cat. Conditions like hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, or cognitive problems can trigger aggression. If you notice a sudden change in your cat’s behavior or mood, consult your vet as soon as possible.
Feature Image Credit: Michael Cabal, Shutterstock
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