Do you ever wonder what your cat is thinking when they spit at you? Are they angry, scared, or just being rude? Well, cats are quite mysterious creatures, and sometimes it becomes hard to read what’s going on in their mind. As they aren’t expressive like dogs, but it doesn’t mean that these mystiques are impenetrable. They do have ways of communicating their feelings and needs through vocalization, gestures, and traits. Like, they may purr or rub their head against you to tell you that either they are hungry or need your cuddle. But why spit??
In this article, we will explore the reasons why they spit at their owners and how to deal with this unpleasant habit. Who knows, maybe they are not trying to be mean, rather there’s something else behind it. So, read on to discover the truth behind the spitting cat!
Why do kittens spit ?
Spitting behavior basically indicates that your cat is frightened, or insecure. It’s one of their defensive behaviors. But compared with other traits, they spit to create distance and avoid conflict, not trying to hurt or attack.
Other defensive behavior such as hissing, scratching, biting, or growling tells that your feline is in an annoyed, angry or aggressive mood. All of these acts involve physical contact or movement. Sometimes spitting can be accompanied by those behaviors. Moreover, they can yowl or howl which sounds like a loud unsheathed meow, and it means they are in some kind of distress or pain, and looking for your help.
Spitting is not a sign of aggression or hostility, rather they are vulnerable, feeling insecurity and warn you to back off.
Why do kittens spit at their owners ?
So, why do your little kittens spit at you?? As we mentioned earlier, it’s one of their defensive behaviors. Now let’s discuss what are some specific reasons behind this behavior and explore various situations that can trigger fear or anxiety in kittens.
1. Fear or anxiety
Kittens often hiss and spit as a defensive response when they feel threatened or scared. It can also be a way of telling or showing you that they don’t want to be touched, held right now. Especially when they got abandoned by their momma cat, and you are trying to feed them .
There are some situations that can trigger fear and anxiety in your little ball of fur. For example, being in a new or unfamiliar environment, encountering loud noises or sudden movements, meeting strangers or other animals.
By the way, talking about feeding a kitten can be difficult sometimes, particularly when you are a new cat parent. If you want to learn how to feed your little baby cat properly, then click this link.
2. Lack of socialization
Another reason that can be attributed to spitting behavior is inadequate socialization during the critical period. This time is considered between 2 and 7 weeks of age when kittens learn about their environment, and develop social skills. But being separated from their mother, and littermates in early age can cause lack of socializing, which may lead to behavioral issues, like spitting.
3. Pain or discomfort
Kittens may spit if they are in pain or discomfort. When they are experiencing any kind of physical suffering, they may feel more vulnerable and react defensively to protect themselves. There are a few common health issues that can cause discomfort in cats, such as fleas infestations, ear mites, worms, urinary tract infections, dental problems, skin infections, injuries, digestive issues, or other illness.
4. Territory protection
We all know that cats are born territorial. Spitting behavior can happen when they perceive their territory is being invaded. So, to protect their region they may become defensive, and hiss or spit towards whatever that has intruded.
To address this territorial issue, it is important to provide each of your kittens with enough space, resources, and vertical surfaces (like scratching posts)in the household to establish their own territories within a shared living environment.
5. Past negative experiences
Some kittens may have been through some tough times, suffered from abuse, neglect, abandonment, violence, or loss in their previous homes or environments. These traumatic experiences may resort to spitting as a defense mechanism toward humans or other animals, resulting in spitting to keep them at a distance, or even digging their tiny claws into their owner.
To help kittens overcome past traumas, you have to build trust and strengthen your bond. Avoid doing anything that may trigger their bad memories or make them feel vulnerable. Provide them a safe nurturing environment, use a soft and gentle voice, and of course give them lots of love and care.
How to solve spitting behavior in kittens ?
Patience and understanding
The first step to solving spitting behavior in kittens is you have to be patient with them. As the great roman dramatist once said, “Patience is the best remedy for every trouble” and I couldn’t agree more when it comes to solving this behavioral issue. It’s a natural and instinctive response that kittens use to communicate when they are in fear, anxiety, pain, or discomfort. Therefore, keeping patience is the key to gain their trust and make them feel safe.
The next step is to understand the underlying reasons why your kitten is spitting at you and avoid punishing them for it. Punishing your little feline will only make them more fearful and defensive, resulting in damaging your bond with them. Instead, try to identify the triggers that cause your kitty to spit and remove or reduce them as much as possible. For example, if your kitten spits when they see another cat, you may need to separate them or introduce them more slowly and carefully.
Gradual desensitization and counter conditioning
After that, it’s time to use techniques of gradual desensitization and counterconditioning to help your kitten overcome their spitting behavior. Including exposing them to the trigger that causes them to spit slowly, and at a safe distance. So that they can get used to it without feeling threatened.
Counter conditioning means associating the trigger with something positive, such as a treat or a toy, so that they can learn to associate it with pleasure instead of fear.
Here are step-by-step instructions for implementing desensitization and counter conditioning-
- First of all, choose a trigger that causes your kitten to spit, such as an object that makes noise, a person, or other pets.
- Find a calm and quiet environment where you can work without distraction, and make sure it’s comfortable for your little one.
- Start by exposing your cat to the trigger at a low intensity and a far distance, so that they can see or hear it but not react to it.
- Observe their body language, if you think it’s making them anxious or scared move it away, calm them or distract them.
- Gradually increase the intensity and decrease the distance of the trigger, give them a treat or a toy and praise them for their positive behavior.
- Repeat this several times until your kitten shows no signs of spitting or fear.
When to Seek Vet Help For Spitting Problems in Kittens ?
Yeah, spitting behavior in cats can be solved with patience and understanding, but there are some cases that may require professional help. For example, if your kitten spits excessively, persistently, or showing other signs of illness or aggression, then consult with a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist.
Seeking professional guidance in addressing spitting behavior is indeed beneficial for your little felines. A vet or animal behaviorist will diagnose and treat if there are any underlying medical conditions that may be causing pain or discomfort in your kitten. They may also assess their temperament, demeanor, or medical history, provide you with personalized advice and strategies to modify their behavior, and help you rule out any environmental or social factors that may be triggering or reinforcing your kitten’s spitting.
In the end, it’s a common behavior among cats, especially kittens. You can help your little furball feel more comfortable and confident by understanding the reasons behind its spitting and providing a safe and stimulating environment. So why not try some of these tips and tricks to reduce your kitten’s stress and improve your bond? Who knows, Maybe your kitten will start spitting less and purring more.
We have now reached the end of our article on why kittens spit at their owners. We hope you enjoyed it and learned something new, and most importantly, we hope that it helps you have a happier and healthier relationship with your furry friend. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share the post to show your appreciation for us as well.