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Neck bite in cats: instinctive cat behavior


The neck bite in cats is an integral part of their instinctive behavior. As a rule, it fulfills four tasks: transport of the offspring, mating bite, combat bite and killing bite. The cat mother uses the neck bite to bring her kittens to safety - Shutterstock / Rita Kochmarjova

Apart from the killing bite, the bite inhibition always comes into effect in the neck bite. This means that cats know exactly how and where they can bite their necks without fatally injuring the other animal.

Kitten transport with the neck bite

If little kittens are curious to go on a tour of discovery, it can happen that they get lost. They then call for their mother, who comes to collect the kittens. To transport them, the cat mother gently bites the kitten's neck. The bite is then like a signal that triggers the kitten's reflex to completely relax their muscles. You can then no longer move and the cat mother can bring her offspring to safety without the baby being accidentally injured by a wrong movement.

Caution! Cats instinctively control the neck bite to transport the young animals, but humans cannot know exactly where to reach so that nothing happens to their pet. If you want to hug or lift your cat, never touch the back of your cat, it could hurt or cause pain.

The neck bite as a mating bite in cats

When mating, the neck bite is used so that the hangover can hold on. In addition, the cat inevitably comes too close to the cat during mating, so that the cat can consider the mating request as an attack. The cat bites her neck gently so that she stays still and does not drive him away with paw strokes because he has disregarded her need for individual distance.

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Neck bite during hangover fights

The neck bite is also used in territorial fights between hangovers, but then less tenderly than in the case of a transport or mating bite. However, the hangovers usually take care not to injure their rivals fatally. After all, they just want to keep the intruder in his place and not kill him. If your cat returns frequently from his exits with injuries, he probably has a competitor in the neighborhood who is contesting his territory. This can be remedied by castration - this does not prevent all territorial fights, but at least the frequency is reduced.

Deadly bite for the prey

Have you ever seen your cat bring prey into the house? Often the captured mice or other prey are still alive and the cat plays with them for a while. If she has enough of it, she breaks the prey's neck with a strong, targeted neck bite. That sounds brutal, but this way the prey doesn't have to suffer long and dies immediately.