For you who own cat as pet, you must have experience getting cat love bites. Feline friends like to give these love bites during cuddly time. It is not rare for them to alternate the way they interact a lot, such as purring away suddenly at one moment, and then the next time nipping and nibbling at your hands out of the blue.
One of the way cats communicate with others is through biting. There are plenty of reasons why they do so. It might be because of acting territorially, defensiveness, aggression, or fear. On the other hand, delicate nips and nibbles to their owner mean a whole entire thing. It meant to showcase their affection – thus the ‘love’ part in the love bites.
In this article, you’ll read and learn of what cat love bites actually are, how you should react to them, and how to stop them in case the behavior is getting out of hand. So, keep scrolling down to find out more.
What Are Cat Love Bites?
In general, cat love bites begin as licks then it gradually turns into small nibbles and nips that don’t rip the skin. Some experts of cat behavior have theorized these acts are the reminiscent of the way kittens’ mothers nibble and lick at their children during grooming session. So, the good news is the gentle bites are apparently the sign of affection.
If that’s the case, how does one differentiate between bites that are meant to display love and the one that exhibit aggressiveness or fear? It is definitely won’t be hard to tell, as with the love bites, you cat won’t show signs such as clawing, growling, or hissing. Instead, by doing the nibbling acts, they’d appear calmer and more relaxed.
That being said, you need to know as a cat owner, that cat love bites might also be sign of your feline companion feeling overstimulated during grooming session and they are sending signal to you, that you don’t need to pet them anymore at that moment. You should recognize the overstimulation issue by paying attention to the sign, which is when the small and delicate nips and nibbles suddenly shift into bigger and harder bite.
Overstimulated feeling on cats might be occurred because of their hair follicles’ sensitivity following the lengthy pressure or petting period. It may start to cause them discomfort or hurt instead. When your cats are starting to nips slightly harder, then chance is they wish for the petting time to be over. The warning signs can be accompanied by other indications through body language such as tenseness, tail flicking or swishing, ears flattening, pupillary dilation, lying down, walking away, or other discomfort cues that you may pick up.
How to React to Cat Love Bites?
Cat love bites may be painful sometimes. This is because, although they don’t put out their full strength to bite, but the teeth of feline creatures are sharp and their jaw pressure can be strong enough. It will feel even more apparent if your cat bites an area with thinner skin and close nerves to your body surface such as cheeks, fingers, or hands.
Your first instinct to react when you receive the bites, especially if you aren’t being familiar enough with the cat might be to move away your hand quickly. This is however, may trigger the hunting impulses of the cat, as they receive visual stimulation of fast reaction that mimics the way prey run away during their hunting sessions. Hence, it may lead to more dangerous and deeper bites. The best thing to do is to stop whatever you do to them immediately and then move away slowly and calmly to let them peacefully resume their activities.
In addition, never try to reciprocate cat love bites by striking, shaking, or grabbing them. These reaction types are actually counterproductive to the effort of getting them stop biting your skin, as it will intensify their sense of miscommunication and distrust. These are especially things to avoid if you’re the owner of the cat. Extreme reactions may also escalate their behavior and turn them into more aggressive and harder to control animals.
If you have been bitten by a cat, then you should carefully check the skin. Although the bitten skin hasn’t been broken, you still need to clean the area by washing it thoroughly using warm water and antibacterial soap. The reason is because cats may carry various microbes and bacteria, which some of them can harbor and infect possibly dangerous diseases for human. Check the area frequently for a few days ahead, and immediately go to look for medical care if there’s any sign of redness or swelling.
How to Stop Cat Love Bites?
As mentioned above, cat love bites can be shown as affection signs, but sometimes they may cause discomfort or hurt to the cat owners. Here are several ways to discourage this specific behavior:
- Stop doing any movement by your hand on their body until they stop nibbling, and then slowly move the hand. This is already explained in the prior section, where sudden hand movement may encourage their biting behavior because it resembles the way their prey escape during hunt and activate their predator instinct visually.
- Train the cat by using games to release their excess energy and stress. You may choose to play with feather toys, laser pointers, or perches climbing. That way, their overabundance of energy won’t be spent on giving love bites.
- Try to use reward system when your cat shows good positive behavior. It is infinitely better than swatting or yelling them to punish negative behavior, which may cultivate aggressive or fearful behavior.
If your feline pets suddenly give cat love bites far more frequently than usual, or it has been persistent problem for them, then you may consult or ask assistance from veterinarian. There’s a chance that your cat is doing it to communicate much bigger problem that requires professional diagnosis to find out.