Owners are to blame for cat’s problem scratching

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

A cat who bites or scratches when in pain, frightened or forced to do something she does not want to do doesn’t have a behaviour problem, she’s acting like a normal cat.

Problem biting or scratching is usually a learned habit or miscommunication, both of which can be corrected over time.

Cats have very sharp teeth and many bacteria in their mouths which are particularly infectious to other cats.

Many kittens learn to use human limbs as toys, climbers and scratching posts.

Many owners are surprised to learn that they are the ones that have taught their young cats these bad habits.

There are some rules to follow.

Never allow or encourage a kitten or cat to play with your bare hand or foot.

Never think you can get around the first rule by wearing protective gloves.

There should always be some appropriate cat toy between your limbs and your cats teeth and claws.

Anyone who has owned a tomcat will know what a problem cat bites can be to other cats.

Cats have very sharp teeth and many bacteria in their mouths which are particularly infectious to other cats.

Cats are usually bitten on their front legs, base of tail or face depending on whether they were in attack or defence.

It is amazing that cats in the same household seem to have horrendous fights but rarely result in injury because they hold back as they are usually play fighting.

Bite wounds may heal by themselves but many will require treatment.

Abscesses may require lancing by the vet and if the cat is off colour or off its food then the infection will have caused a septicaemia, a resulting infection that will circulate round the body and settle out in other organs such as heart or kidney.

In such a situation then a significant course of antibiotics is essential.

Cat bites can also transmit diseases to other cats such as FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus).

To help control the spread of such diseases it is important to neuter cats to prevent fighting.

Cat bites can also be a danger to vets and owners causing bacterial infection or cat scratch fever.