Why Do Cats Bite Each Other’s Necks – What It Means


Have you ever watched your cat or other felines interacting and observed neck biting? This can be alarming to anyone who witnesses this behavior and likely frightening if it takes place in a home or enclosed space.  Even if you have never observed this behavior firsthand and curiosity is knocking, you may be asking yourself, why do cats bite each other’s necks?

Cats bite each other’s knecks because they are playing or fighting. Cats also bite each other’s necks when learning how to hunt efficiently and preparing for adulthood. In some cases, an unneutered male cat will demonstrate this behavior onto other cats, whether to mate or to assert his dominance.

In this article, we will explore why cats bite each other’s necks further and look at how to change their behavior. We will also be answering some common questions and providing other points to keep in mind when it comes to cats biting each other’s necks.

Reasons Cats Bite Each Other’s Necks

There are five main reasons why cats bite each other’s necks. This is most commonly seen in kittens as they are learning and practicing their kill techniques. This behavior has also been observed in cats while grooming each other as well as during mating rituals.

Cats Are Learning To Hunt Prey

As kittens mature, they learn through interactions with other cats and kittens how to behave and hunt their pray. Many times this can result in eliminating their prey.

Biting the neck is the most efficient way to bring down their prey, and in turn, eat another day. It’s more effective than clawing, scratching or even tackling.

Cats learn from watching their mother, and if they are in a clan, they learn from watching mature adults kill prey in this manner. It truly is passed down through generations of cats and part of their instincts.

Practicing keeps their hunting skills sharp. While a house cat doesn’t necessarily need to have these skills, its okay to let cats be themselves and work through these behaviors, as long as things don’t get out of control and injuries are avoided.

Your Cats Are Playing

Biting each other’s necks is a rough play that is commonly seen in young cats and kittens. Often accompanied by high-pitched meows and light hissing.

Domesticated cats do not fully mature until the age of two. They truly are adolescents and behave as such.

Kitten play behavior can mean jumping, stalking, clawing, and biting-all of which are crucial skills for the future. Cats and kittens often play head-to-head, and this leaves much room for neck biting.

If you are worried about the neck biting behavior, it may be a good idea to monitor your cats. If you see the biting turn into a fighting match, stop it immediately. Also, if you see the wounds are deeper than what is normal, it may be time to get involved and limit those play sessions.

Cats Are Fighting

Biting each other’s necks is a critical move, especially if one cat wants to “beat the other guy.” Usually, cats prefer to move in forward motion, so the attacker will usually lunge forward, biting the other cats’ necks in a move to demobilize the opponent 

Cats Are Mating

Cats biting each other’s necks is commonly observed when mating occurs. This behavior protects the male by slight paralysis from an attack by the female cat or queen.

Kittens have an instinct to remain still when their mothers pick them up and move them by the scruff, and adults still maintain this slight instinct. It is also believed to stimulate the queen to release her eggs as cats are induced ovulators.

Cats Are Establishing Dominance

Cats biting each other’s necks is ordinary in displays of dominance. When a new cat enters a home, the existing cat may use this technique to assert his/her dominance over the newbie.

As cats are highly territorial beings, any new cat intruding on established territory may be put in place by the established cat. This behavior has been observed in homes and outdoor areas in which the cat has claimed as territory.

Is It Okay For Cats To Bite Each Other

Yes, it is okay for cats to bite each other. It’s a normal activity and something to be expected.

It is common for young cats and kittens to bite each other for play or as mock fighting. To be sure that the cats are simply playing, you won’t hear any growling, hissing, or shrieks. Often, the playing cats will alternate roles of the attacker, and you can observe the previously bitten cat now exhibiting biting behaviors. 

Why Do Male Cats Bite Female Necks

A male cat bites a female cats neck to hold them in place, mostly during mating.

In cat romance, male cats will often bite the female’s neck. This can be to hold the female in place by slight paralysis to protect himself from a spontaneous attack on her part.

Another reason can be that because cats are induced ovulators, this bite on the nape of her neck can also release hormones to stimulate her eggs to be released. In neutered cats, the memory or urge to mate can lead to mating frustration and displayed neck biting.

Why Does My Cat Bite My Other Male Cats Neck

Cats biting each other’s necks can be a memory of bachelor days to relieve the mating frustration in male cats.

This behavior has been witnessed in other living cats, plush cats, and other cat-sized objects. It can also display dominance as cats have a strict hierarchy, and rifts within this order tend to disturb the peace quickly. 

Why Do Cats Bite Each Other’s Necks While Grooming

Cats bite each other’s necks for many reasons, but the main reason to do so while grooming is overstimulation.

The cat cannot communicate with words as we do, so to tell the grooming cat that he has had enough, he may bite. This is the same type of behavior you may witness if you pet your cat for longer than she likes.

How To Stop Cat From Biting Other Cat’s Neck

If you want to stop your cat from biting another cat’s neck, it is essential to redirect the offending cat’s attention.

If you can see that the biting cat is becoming agitated with another cat, you can distract him with his favorite toy or a treat. If you cannot redirect the behavior before the attack, you mustn’t reward biting behavior with treats or attention after. 

Cats are creatures of habit, so the more you impact the scenario, the less likely you’ll see repeat biting behavior. You may also want to look into clicker training so that you can quickly change your cats behavior patterns.

Things To Consider

When it comes to cats biting each other’s necks, there are many things to keep in mind. Punishing cats has shown to be ineffective as well as possibly establishing resentment towards the punisher.

Rewarding positive behavior can shape the cat into a model citizen and reduce the chance for unpleasant behaviors to present themselves. There are many factors to consider when neck biting is present, and each factor needs to be examined individually and the involved cats.

Silent interactions are generally positive and playful, while noisy interactions can indicate more severe warnings. Watching body language can prove helpful, as well as understanding cat behavior. Age is also a typical explanation for many atypical attitudes. 

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