What Does It Mean When a Cat Bites You Gently? Guide 2020

Owning and petting a cat is also enjoyable especially when you are watching their actions and amazing characteristics. Generally, we frequently think about why they are doing certain feline’s action. The most common behavior that cats are always doing is the cat bite. Unlike other behavior, this one is actually troublesome which also ends up on asking what does it mean when a cat bites you gently.

Actually, there are lots of reasons that cause cat bites. Perhaps, due to the distinct characteristics of each cat, some of these reasons may be seen on them while others are not. So, try to see the following possible meaning of the cat bites and identify which ones apply true for your feline.

What Does It Mean When a Cat Bites You Gently?

You may still be thinking and still trying to identify what does it mean when a cat bites you gently. If, until now, you are unsure of their behavior, here are the possible meanings behind that cat’s distinct action.

What does it mean when a cat bites you gently – the Love Bites

Actually, it is really weird when a cat bites you. But it doesn’t call for worrying because it may be gentle and doesn’t really hurt. They are just basically nipping at your skin which is not that painful to draw some blood. One possible denotation on what does it mean when a cat bites you gently is that cat bites also mean love bites. The major sign that it is only a love bite is when the cat runs away after doing it or if their action seems like they want to play.

what does it mean when a cat bites you gently
Image courtesy of Catster

We, generally, love our cats at the same time that they love us too. Due to this, our cats want to show their love to us. The moment we cuddle them and stroke them continuously, the cats often enjoy that attention. Through that, they bite us gently. What does it mean when a cat bites you gently? Basically, the love bites of the cat come from the natural demonstration of our feelings toward them.

Besides, those who lived with a cat may possibly have a wonderful story of their cat love bites. But, some are experiencing problems on determining love bites from real cat bites. Below are the ways to determine cat love bites versus true cat bites. Understanding this will help you to know what does it mean when a cat bites you gently.

* Cat love bites versus over-stimulated

Most of the time, when we hear the cat sounds it gives us the assumption about our cat’s emotions. In order to identify our cat’s feeling, we usually depend on their body language. If you notice a low growl and thumping tail actions of the cats, that may typically means that the cat wants you to stay away from him immediately. Most likely, cornered and agitated cats are the ones who may definitely lash and attack you.

Looking for aggressive actions of your cat is a great indication that it is a real cat bite. Real cat bites that lead to puncture wounds should be immediately acted upon. On the other hand, there are times that you may experience the excitement with your cat. Due to this, they may start to do the kneading action with your lap or leg.

With this, you may then rub his back and your cat tends to love the caressing. You eventually level up the pressure and without any signals; the cat may bite you as you pet him. Through this, the cat love bites will strike as well.

What does it mean when a cat bites you gently? Well, they say that it is a love bite. But, according to some cat behaviorist, what does it mean when a cat bites you gently is that the cat is over-stimulated. This is commonly known as the petting-induced overstimulation. The receptors within the cat’s hair follicle need to have more petting before getting hurt.

* Cat love bites and a hold back on their kitten hood

Some cats will suddenly bite their owner’s arm and it is actually similar to a nip. There are times that they do this gesture randomly and eventually plop down and make their belly to be seen. Most of the time, this action ends up by their owners returning them some few strokes. So, what does it mean when a cat bites you gently and performs the succeeding actions afterwards?

Cat experts say that it is a throwback of memories on the various ways the cats and kittens interact with one another in a playful manner. This is actually a form of love bites from cats and may generally answer the query about what does it mean when a cat bites you gently. However, in contrast with the overstimulation, this is not a result of it. It is basically due to the natural behavior of cats being playful while remembering their old days as kittens.

* Cat love bites and the play aggression

Generally, the way kittens play is actually hard and rough. This playing activity of kittens does not only means social bonding but also a way of preparation for the litter for the adult stage. Most of the time, the cat love bites are the result of aggressive playing by kittens with their beloved owners. Moreover, these love bites are likely to occur if the kitten does not have any cat playmate.

Additionally, paying attention to your kitten can be a great help in identifying the difference between aggressive playing versus real cat aggression. In case the cat is not growling or hissing, it simply means that the cat’s excitement is increasing. Please bear in mind that the cat’s play drive is directly related to their prey drive which can result in unwanted aggression on you as they grow.

Cat love bites executed by kittens is actually a funny thing. But, when it is done by an adult cat it might surely lead to swelling and infection. Most likely, the play aggression behavior of cats is generally popular on indoor kittens or young adult cats. Typically, this happens the moment kittens are already been separated from their siblings.

what does it mean when a cat bites you gently
Image courtesy of Chewy – Pet Central

The characteristics or behaviors of a cat having play aggression include ambushing your ankle while you walk or biting your hands or feet. In case the kitten has a feline playmate they will probably teach each other the appropriate way of playing. Actually, once you notice two kittens wrestling with each other, it means that they want to learn from each other regarding the cat’s behavior during playtime. And the denotation behind what does it mean when a cat bites you gently would definitely be a cat love bite only.  

  • Do not use your hands as you play with your cat especially when they are already grownups. In case the cat insists to gnaw your hands, try to hold a small stuffed toy which you can encourage them to bite.
  • Basically, stay calm and do not react if your cat bites you. Just place both hands at the back and simply stand up.
  • There are cats that will generally respond to the “Ouch” sound. So, it is good to make this sound once the cat bites you since it mimics the sound of a kitten sibling during a rough play.
  • What does it mean when a cat bites you gently primarily denotes a cat love bite. But, a cat bites out of play aggression is generally due to feline’s frustration and boredom. To avoid this, consider incorporating some structures during their playtime for about 15 minutes at least two times a day. You can also add some food puzzles and items for enrichment purposes such as cardboard boxes.
  • However, keep in mind to alter the toys that you will have to offer to your cats. Generally, cats are very fond of having variations. So, rather than to present the same toys during playtime, mix and rotate the toys and let them stay interested within their environment.
  • Basically, teach your cat the appropriate way to fetch. In relation to this, consider giving a clicker training to your cat.

Generally, you must have to act before and after the cat love bites happened. In case you are already noticing that your cat’s pupils are starting to dilate, the ears pin back, and the tail is starting to wag, this means that you stop caressing him. But, if you don’t stop doing it before the occurrence of the cat love bites, it is better to stop immediately after you are bitten.

Eventually, allow your cat to do everything that he wants to do afterwards. There are actually times that cats are doing a mad dash out of the situation. Meanwhile, for some time, cats still want to be close to you.

The bottom line is that they don’t want you to pet anymore. With this, just respect your cat and give him space if he wants. But, if he still likes to be near you, just don’t touch until he shows any signs that he already wants it again.

What does it mean when a cat bites you gently – a form of communication

Another denotation regarding the query of what does it mean when a cat bites you gently is that is a communication tool for cats or one of their ways to get your attention. Basically, this cat bite is the least severe. This is somewhat similar with a nip the moment you stopped petting your cat and they want a little bit more. Moreover, when the cat nips you and you continue to pet him, the cat bites work immediately!

However, if the cat bites become more annoying when he tries to communicate his desire, there’s an easy way to address it. You just simply need to ignore your cat. Basically, stand up and walk out. On the other hand, if the cat is quietly sitting and not nipping on you, it is actually better to give them a reward by providing what they want.

What does it mean when a cat bites you gently – the cat is under-stimulated

Okay, when we observe the life of a feline, it seems that it pretty looks simple and comfortable. They can fall asleep whenever and wherever they want. Yet, cats can also get bored sometimes. Unfortunately, unlike humans, they do not have any avenue or source of entertainment. So, if they are bored and under-stimulated, they may simply give you a signal through biting.

Basically, what does it mean when a cat bites you gently also denotes that they are bored with what they are doing. Luckily, this is another feline problem that is also easy to address. Initially, consider preparing a daily playtime schedule with your cat.

Moreover, it would also be helpful if you engage them with activities like chasing the laser pointer, running after a motorized toy mouse, or tease them using a feather. After these activities, they may able to release their energy and the frequency of cat biting may be reduced.

What does it means when a cat bites you gently – they want freedom

Vet health experts say that when a cat bites it doesn’t always mean that they want to induce bodily harm on you. Actually, the cats are complex little animals for some time, but the moment they become tired of your affection they will immediately perform some quirky behavior. This way, they will basically tell you that they are already tired of your actions toward them.

what does it mean when a cat bites you gently
Image courtesy of Our Kindred Cats

So, this simply implies that what does it mean when a cat bites you gently is that your cat wants to have some freedom from your petting. Sometimes, the cats may want us to pet them but there are also times that they won’t. Yet, always be careful because the cat may bite you anytime.

That’s why it is better to give your cat some space that they want once they bite you gently. Definitely, they will run back to your lap and curl up there the moment they’re ready to accept your affections once again.

What does it means when a cat bites you gently – they’re the Boss!

One of a good example of a territorial animal is the cat. They can also express this kind of natural behavior even if they are inside your home. So, another denotation about what does it mean when a cat bites you gently is that they are reminding you that they are the boss within the area. Even if it is your house!

Yet, regardless of the meaning behind what does it means when a cat bites you gently, our fellow felines do not really intend to cause any harm to us. Bear in mind that cats that are untamed are very much unique compared to a properly socialized one that is pet indoor.

What to Do When Cat Bites You?

Regardless of the denotation about what does it mean when a cat bites you gently, it is actually not allowed to give any type of punishment to your cat. The best thing that you can do with this is to respond in a calm manner and do not ever attempt to heighten the situation. Actually, some animal research reveals that punishment like yelling and hitting is not an effective way to help your cat learns from their quirky behavior.

Moreover, always remember that the cat does not have the ability to relate that punishment is the consequence of his biting action. Basically, ignore any cat’s unwanted behavior and praise them with the good ones that they show. Take note that any negative response from you will only ruin the relationship between you and your cat.

When to seek the vet’s assistance regarding cat bites

The denotations regarding what does it mean when a cat bites you gently may actually harmless signs of boredom and playfulness of the felines. But, the biting behavior of the cats can also tell you that there are more serious concerns with the health of your cat. Actually, there are cats that start biting frequently the moment they feel ill. This is more likely true when the cat biting is out of the cat’s normal character.

In case you confirm the cat’s health is good enough and not actually related to the cat’s biting behavior, you can consider modifying their character. But, if the biting is already a nuisance, it is highly recommended to redirect your cat into healthier activities. Moreover, do not encourage any unwanted behavior of your cat by stopping them from their biting action and directing their focus into something.    

Final Thoughts

What does it mean when a cat bites you gently? Actually, it is one of the subtle ways of cats to show their affection to humans. Yet, there are generally lots of denotations behind such quirky cat behavior. It may basically mean a love bite, cat’s way of communication, showing their boredom, wanting freedom, and being territorial. But, whatever it may mean, whether it is out of affection or due to their playfulness, our cats always want to connect with us and tell us their feelings. The ending is actually up to us on how we respond and give them the attention that they deserve.