As a cat lover, you might have noticed that these cute, furry animals have a tendency to bite each other’s neck at times. This habit can seem a bit fierce or intense, and maybe you’re wondering why is it that they do this. Is it a healthy, normal habit? Or can it be dangerous for them? It actually depends on the context and the situation! If you want to understand and learn more about what’s behind this behaviour, read along.
It’s just a way of playing and having fun
One of the main reasons which explains why cats usually bite each other’s neck has to do with their playful behaviour. Especially in the case of kittens and smaller cats, ludic moments are very important for their development, and they have a tendency to spend a lot of time playing. One of the ways they do this is by biting each other’s neck. In this sense, there’s nothing to worry about if you see that your young cat bites another cat’s neck. Nevertheless, we recommend you to pay attention if you perceive that this biting is a bit too aggressive or tough.
Your cat is displaying dominance
As you might probably have heard, cats are animals which usually display quite territorial behaviours. This is why when a new cat enters the space, the other cat may feel the need to impose its dominance onto it. One of the ways in which cats express dominance and territoriality is by biting on another cat’s neck.
This habit is a way of asserting their dominant role and to secure their territory. You might see this behaviour more frequently in your cat particularly if you bring a new cat to your house, and if both cats are male. Nevertheless, it can also be observed outside, in areas in which a certain cat has claimed territory.
Neck biting can also occur during mating
Another reason which lays behind the habit of cats to bite on each other’s neck is related to the ritual of mating. When you observe a male cat biting the neck of a female cat, there’s a high chance that this is because they are mating. During this process, the neck biting can be a way of having the female cat release hormones to stimulate ovulation.
Another reason that can explain the neck biting during the mating ritual can be because the cats are neutered and they are expressing mating frustration. Finally, by biting the neck of the female cat the male cat might be aiming to slightly paralyze her in order to protect himself from a possible attack from her part.
Attacking another cat
When two cats get into a fight, biting each other’s neck is also a very common behaviour. As you may imagine, this neck biting is different than the biting that happens during, for example, playing or mating. Neck biting while fighting can be risky and dangerous for your cat, and it might become injured.
It’s not always easy to tell when two cats are playing or fighting. But if you pay attention, you’ll notice the difference because the overall behaviour of the cats is fierce, aggressive and tough. You can also look at their body language. If you see that the cats puff their tails, pull their ears backwards or have the fur at their backs raised, it’s probably because they are in a fight. See if there’s scratching, howling or hissing: if you notice either of these, it is also likely to be a fight.
If you notice that your cat has a tendency to do this very often, or if you have two cats which don’t seem to get along, you can always go to your vet for good advice on what to do to work on this behaviour.
Your cat is in need of more socialization
It is well known that cats are not usually as social as other animals, such as dogs. Nevertheless, socialization is essential for them as well. In this sense, it’s important to be aware of their behaviour to see that they are not too anti-social. Cats which lack enough socialization can turn out to be aggressive with other cats. And one of the ways of expressing this aggressiveness is by biting on other cats’ necks. This is also related to the territorialism that we mentioned earlier in this article, as well as to the biting during fights.
Lack of socialization is, thus, a possible explanation to understand the reasons behind the harshness and aggressiveness of some cats. If you perceive that your cat is being too aggressive with others and that it is not social enough, you can always talk to your vet to see which tactics or methods you can implement to further improve your cat’s social skills and reduce this behaviour.
Letting out the ancient instincts
There are certain cat breeds which have predatory instincts more fixed into their genetics than others. Cats are predators for nature, and even domestic cats still have this recorded into their DNA. The Egypatian Mau, the Sphynx or the Bengal are some examples of cat breed which have the strongest predatory instincts. For these cases, the neck biting can be extremely dangerous, because it’s possible that the cat does this with the intention of killing.
If you see that this is the case with your cat, don’t panic because you can take action to correct this behaviour. Providing your cat with fun, interactive toys and making sure that it gets enough time to play and canalize its energy is a tactic that can help you with this.
Possible medical issues
In some particular cases, it is possible that the explanation behind a cat biting other cats’ neck has to do with medical issues. For example, if a cat is sick and another cat is annoying or bothering it, the unhealthy cat might try to get rid of the other cat with a bite on its neck.
Moreover, there are certain medical conditions which can change the behaviour and attitudes of cats, thus making them more aggressive than they usually are. As we have showcased in this article, it is usual that cats express their aggressiveness with neck biting.
If your cat is usually calmer and more quiet but all of a sudden it becomes more aggressive and it tends to bite other cats’ necks, pay attention to see if there are possible medical reasons to explain these behavioural changes. Always reach out to your vet if you believe that your cat may be sick.
As you can see, there are many different reasons which can explain the habit that many cats have of biting other cats’ necks. To understand why it is that your cat does this, you must pay attention to the context, the personality of your cat, its customs and the overall state of its physical and mental health. Biting other cats’ necks is not necessarily a negative behaviour or something that you should worry about.
But, on certain cases and occasions, the neck biting can turn out to be problematic and even dangerous for your cat. By further understanding the possible reasons behind this, you will be able to help your cat if it needs it. Does your cat usually bite other cats’ necks? Tell us more about it in the comments below!