Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

"Love Bites" or Softening You up to Eat?

cat_love_bites2The setting can vary: a cool evening by a cozy fire, a warm afternoon bathing in the sunlight streaming through a window, or evening on the floor while watching a movie.

The issue: your beloved kitty is on your lap and drowsy with the comfort of your petting and stroking. She turns her head to gaze adoringly at you, gives a little silent meow, and then BITES you!


Well, okay, it was a very light little bite. Certainly not a skin breaker, and after she mouthed you, she turned her head and closed her eyes . . . but is she mad at you? Is your hand about to become dinner?

Why Do Cats Give Love Bites?

Fear not, feline fan. Your relationship is still intact and Miss Kitty is not going to the dark side.

Many cats perform this behavior. While it cannot be stated with complete certainty, we believe this little nibble is a “love bite.”

Cats have very few ways of communicating with us or one another. The use of their mouth in this manner is very common. It is exhibited under petting circumstances, during mutual grooming with other cats, and may even be related to their biting during sexual behavior.

How to Stop Love Biting in Cats

If you are uncomfortable with a feline love bite or sense it may escalate to an uncomfortable level, simply remove your hand and the stimulus (the petting) that caused the reaction in the first place.

Stop paying attention to your kitty every time you get a love bite, and she will learn that it causes the petting to stop. If she wishes to receive attention, she may cease the love bites.

Occasionally during a petting session, a cat will give a harder bite and/or use her claws in conjunction with a bite. In this case there is a possibility that skin will be broken. There is also a distinct possibility that indeed, this is not a love bite. The cat may have become over-stimulated by, or simply had enough of, the petting session.

Follow this link to read about petting-induced aggression, which can be more serious than love bites.

Note: Cat bites can become infected quickly due to the sharp points of their teeth and the bacteria in their mouths. If you receive a cat bite that breaks the skin, contact your doctor immediately for proper treatment.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Petting Induced Aggression in Cats

Cat Aggression Overview

Play Aggression in Cats

Human-directed Aggression in Cats

Why Do Cats Do the Slow Eye Blink? : It's a Kitty "Eye Love You"!

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

How to Tell Cats You Love Them

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