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Cat Love Bites: What They Mean & Why They Do It

The term “love bites” may lead you to believe that cats are biting out of love. However, this isn’t always the case. Typically, these bites occur while the cat is being loved, but that doesn’t mean that cat thinks you like being bit. Your feline knows the bites are uncomfortable, and that’s kind of the point.

Cats will bite while being petted for many reasons. Your cat may be over-stimulated, leading to them biting you in an attempt to make you stop. Cats do like being petted, but it is possible for them to have too much. Cats may also “bite gently” if they are sore, stressed, or scared. Sometimes, your feline may not want you to touch a particular area because it is sore.

Either way, love bites aren’t usually done out of “love” and typically mean your cat wants you to stop touching them. When your cat bites you, you should take it as a message to give them some space.

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Why Does My Cat Bite Me Gently?

Bites aren’t always meant to hurt. Instead, they’re sometimes meant to be a warning. It’s possible your cat is trying to communicate with you without hurting you. They may not like to be touched in the way you’re petting them, or they may be stressed out.

If your cat suddenly starts biting you, it’s often a sign of an underlying problem. Your cat may be in pain, and biting may be the only way they can communicate for you to not touch them. Alternatively, some cats are simply prone to biting more than others. This is simply one way for cats to communicate with their owners and isn’t necessarily a problem if your cat is being gentle.

Cats may also “nibble,” though this is different from outright biting. Instead, nibbling is usually a cat’s attempt to groom you. When cats groom themselves, they must often use their teeth to get things out of their fur. Nibbling is their attempt to do the same thing to you.

a young tabby cat bites a woman's feet
Image Credit: Marina Demeshko, Shutterstock

Why Do Cats Love You Then Bite You?

There are many reasons why your cat may love you one minute and then attack you the next. For one, your feline is a hunter through and through. Your cat may come over to you for petting at first. But, if your hand resembles prey a bit too much, they may end up trying to play with you instead. Often, this occurs very often with kittens.

Another possibility is that your cat is getting overstimulated. If your cat only bites you after you’ve been cuddling for a few minutes, the petting may be becoming a bit too much. They may not want to get up, necessarily, but they may not want to be touched more, either.

Cats may also not like to be touched in a particular area, or they may be sore in a certain spot. While they do want to be petted, they may bite you if you touch this area.

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Cats typically bite to stop you from doing whatever you’re doing. Sometimes, this is to stop petting them in a particular spot. However, other times, it’s to keep you from petting them at all. Either way, it’s important to listen to your cat’s communication and stop whatever you’re doing whenever the biting starts.

Eventually, you should pick up on the signs that your cat is about to bite. Cats often provide plenty of warning beforehand.

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Featured Image Credit: Irzhanova Asel, Shutterstock