Why Cats Bite During Petting!
3 May, 2017
There is nothing better than having a nice petting session with your cat. Your cat starts to purr and who doesn’t love that sound! Your little love fest can go on for a few minutes and you are both enjoying it. Until, suddenly, your cat bites you and you’re left confused with tooth marks on your arm. What just happened?
The small bite that is just a little nibble is more of a love bite
When your kitty bites you quickly and its’ soft and gentle, it is really a love bite. And for most of us, that isn’t an issue! Or maybe during your little session, your hand just got in the way. Or just a little nibble all in fun.
When the bite is harder, it is called petting aggression
When you’re petting your cat and for some reason, he or she doesn’t enjoy it anymore, the will use their teeth to express their annoyance. Which is not that surprising because sometimes cats use aggression to communicate in other aspects of their life too. Cats have learned that it can get results so when the petting becomes uncomfortable for them, they resort to the familiar behavior of aggression to cease it. A bite! And you stop petting them!
A few reasons why cats might bite you while you pet them:
There is a possible neurologically negative stimulus associated with some cats being pet for a long time that makes them react like crazy cat!
Some cats have certain areas where they just don’t like being touched. I had a cat who would yelp when I scratched her rear!
There may be too much stimuli in the room from sounds to too many people around and your cat has reached his or her limit!
There are some warning signs to look out for when your cat is about to become aggressive
Cats do give warning signs through their body language before they bite. Pay attention to their tail, body position and eyes:
Tail: A cat that’s on edge will wag their tail back and forth. They may also puff the hair out on their tail as well. This is there way of telling you they need a break from playing.
Body Position: As you are playing, you may feel their skin start to twitch quickly or they may begin to squirm and become tense. They are warning you that they are on the verge of a stimulation overload.
Eyes: Your cat’s eyes will become dilated when they are happy and playful. But if they starts moving their eyes and head towards you, then away, and back towards you, this is their way of showing you that they have had enough!
It’s not always easy to tell if your cat is feeling overwhelmed. Hard bites may still happen. If they do, you can help them learn it’s not okay to bite this way. To discourage your cat from biting hard, tell them “No!” and walk away. Or have a toy handy that your cat could gnaw on instead.
Try to learn your cat’s threshold for affection and stop petting your cat just prior to that threshold. As your cat improves, gradually increase the amount of petting per session.
If your cat does bite hard, you might like our article to find out if cat bites are dangerous: Cat Bites