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Why Does My Cat Bite Me Gently While Purring? Explained

Why Does My Cat Bite Me Gently While Purring? Explained

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We can all agree that a cat’s purring is a lovely sound; it is soothing and comforting. Not only is it good for them, but it can also cheer us cat owners up!

Why do cats purr? Usually, when cats purr, it means that they’re calm, feeling affectionate, enjoying a particular activity, or that they’re trying to calm themselves down.

However, a cat’s purring can also be accompanied by unexpected behavior such as gentle biting or nibbling. 

So, if you are one of the cat owners asking why does my cat bite me gently while purring? Or perhaps you are wondering where the line is between gentle and aggressive biting? 

Keep reading and find out what your feline friend is trying to tell you and how you can stop them biting!

Why Does My Cat Bite Me Gently While Purring? Possible Reasons

owner playing with his cat

When I got my first cat, I always wondered why does my cat bite me gently while purring? 

She would come to me, showing me affection, and then all of a sudden – BOOM! She bites me! As an inexperienced cat owner, I didn’t understand why she did this.

It is only after years of learning about a cat’s behavior and body language that I’m able to help other cat owners who are dealing with this or similar problems.

So, why do cats bite the hand that feeds them? There are several answers, so read on to discover the most common reasons for this specific behavior.

Reason No. 1 – Your Cat Just Wants Your Attention

The first and most obvious reason why your cat bites you gently when purring is that it just wants your attention. So many cats that I have known have been real attention seekers who adore being the center of attention. 

If your kitty comes to you purring loudly or headbutting you, followed by a gentle nibble, it could be that your cat just wants you to show them some attention and affection.

If you don’t give the cat what it wants, remember that most cats won’t give up until they get it and might even resort to slapping you!

Reason No. 2 – Your Kitty Is Giving You Play Bites

If your cat nibbles you after a headbutt, that’s probably your cat telling you that it’s playtime. 

Most cats are very active and require a lot of play and exercise. As a responsible cat parent, it’s important to provide your pet with enough activity.

If your cat gives you this kind of “play bite”, make it happy by spending some time interacting with it.

Using cat toys to play with your feline, instead of using your hand, is crucial if you want to stop this biting behavior. So, use your hand to pet the cat, feed it, and similar, but when it’s playtime, use cat toys.

Reason No. 3 – Your Kitty Is Giving You Love Bites

cat biting owner

When your kitty cat wants your love and affection, or to cuddle with you, then it will probably give you so-called love bites. The origin of these cat love bites is actually very sweet.

When cats want your love or to show you how much they care about you, they’ll purr around you, give you a gentle love bite, and possibly headbutt you. 

This is actually the same thing as a mother cat does to her kittens – she licks and nibbles them. This behavior is a sign of affection that cats show to their favorite person.

Besides purring and bunting, these love bites are usually followed by other signs:

• Staring – if your kitty stares at you, don’t worry, it’s not planning your murder even if the staring feels a little odd. It’s just another way your cat shows you affection, and if it blinks, then you’re very lucky!

• Following you around – if your feline follows you everywhere or waits for you in front of the door, it just wants to spend more time with you and show you its loyalty.

Kneading – this is definitely one of the cutest cat behaviors, so if you notice your cat kneading, especially on your lap, it means that the cat enjoys spending time with you and feels safe and comfortable. This is another behavior that goes back to kittenhood.

Reason No. 4 – Don’t Stop Petting Me Now

If you are wondering why does my cat bite me gently while purring, it may mean that your kitty doesn’t want you to stop petting it – it wants more cuddles!

Cats often fight for what they want and are usually very determined, so if they want you to continue petting them, they may simply grab your hand and bite you gently.

Reason No. 5 – Your Kitty Is In Pain

cat biting hand

In some cases, when your cat bites you while purring, it may be a sign of something more serious, such as your cat experiencing pain.

Cats tell us that they’re in pain through their body language. So, if your feline chomps you, it may actually mean that it’s asking you for help.

However, if the cat is in pain, it will often show other symptoms such as loud meowing, hissing, pouncing, or excessive hiding.

This behavior is more common in old cats who may have medical conditions. Therefore, if the purring is followed by a bite, consider the following possibilities:

• Did you press them too hard on a painful area?

• Were you pulling on their fur?

• Have you stepped on their tail or paw?

If such a thing happens or you suspect that your kitty is in pain for any other reason, be sure to take your cat for a medical check-up so that it can receive the proper treatment immediately.

Reason No. 6 – Your Cat Is Overstimulated

How do you know that your cat has had enough of your petting or cuddling? Well, it usually bites you!

If your cat purrs but soon after that it bites you more aggressively; it’s a sign that you need to stop bothering the cat as it’s overstimulated. 

That usually happens if the cat is bored, if it’s had enough petting or cuddling, or if you pet it too harshly. They have no way of telling you to stop, so they may bite to stop you.

If the cat’s bite results in drawing blood, make sure to clean the wound and treat it appropriately. 

The most important thing is to observe the cat’s body language during any activity so that you’ll know when to stop in time to avoid an aggressive bite.

This kind of behavior is called petting-induced aggression and has a lot to do with early socialization. Therefore, this behavior occurs more often in cats who weren’t trained or socialized properly on time.

Keep reading to find out about the warning signs that will help you recognize when your cat is nervous or stressed.

Warning Signs For Cat’s Aggressive Biting

cat biting owner's hand

It’s essential that you know how to recognize the warning signs for a cat’s aggressive biting so that you can pull back on time and escape cat attacks or even injuries.

So, check out the following signs, and as soon as you notice some of these aggressive behaviors, make sure you leave the cat alone!

• Dilated pupils – a cat’s eyes can express a lot of things. When cats dilate their pupils, it’s usually a sign that they’re scared, stressed, or uncomfortable. 

Therefore, if you notice that your cat’s pupils are dilated, especially if this is followed by other signs, it’s better to leave the cat alone.

• Flattening ears – when a cat flattens its ears, it’s a clear sign that it’s up to no good. It usually means that it’s angry and stressed and doesn’t want to be bothered.

• Hissing or loud meowing – hissing is a typical warning sign that a cat expresses pre-attack. If a cat hisses or growls at you, it’s actually warning you to leave it alone because it’s either in pain or angry and stressed.

• Tail swishing – if you want to know how your cat feels, pay attention to its tail! If the cat is swishing its tail, don’t try to approach it, as this probably won’t end well.

• Paw attack – cats use their claws to defend themselves when they’re scared, angry, or stressed. So, if you notice your cat pawing at you, stop the petting session immediately!

How To Stop Your Cat From Biting

cat purring while biting hand

Most cat owners who are dealing with this problem will wonder how to stop the cat from biting. If you’re one of them, then worry not because we are about to explore the best ways to stop a cat from biting.

• First of all, you should be aware of the common reasons for this behavior so that you would know what exactly your cat wants.

• Although these gentle nibbles may be sweet and funny, you need to stop your cat from doing it, as if you tolerate little nibbles then the cat may think that it’s okay to bite you. Let that cat know that you’re not satisfied with that biting behavior before it escalates.

• Don’t pet your kitty excessively. Provide it with a pet or two and then leave the cat alone. You should only continue if the cat shows more interest.

• If a cat bites you, try raising your voice to express to the cat that you’re hurt and not happy because of their behavior.

• If you have an adult cat with behavior problems, think about contacting an animal behaviorist who can give you advice on training your cat or at least provide you with some tailored ideas.

The best tip I can give you is this: if you have a new cat or kitten, start training and socializing it from a young age so that you don’t have these problems in the future.


Should I Let My Cat Bite Me Gently?

If a cat bites you gently, it’s usually a sign that the cat cares about you. But, no matter how sweet it seems, you shouldn’t let your cat bite you, not even gently.

The reason for that is that your cat may think that you’re completely ok with them biting you so it may continue with that biting behavior and it may escalate.

Start teaching your cat from a young age that you disapprove of that behavior. If you don’t, you may face more problems later.

Why Does My Cat Bite Me So Softly?

If a cat bites you softly, especially if the biting behavior is accompanied by purring, it’s a sign that your kitty loves you and cares about you. These soft and gentle bites are often called nibbles or love bites, which they learn from their mother cat.

Why Does My Cat Bite Me When She’s Being Affectionate?

If your cat is affectionate, she may purr and bite you gently in order to express these feelings. 

It’s usually a sign that your feline is happy and comfortable with you, feeling protected and safe. 

This type of biting isn’t aggressive at all but rather a way for your cat to express how it feels or to let you know that they want or need something.

Purring It Up

black and white cat purring while biting owner

By now, you know the answer to our main question – why does my cat bite me gently while purring?

There are several common reasons for this specific cat behavior, and it usually means that the cat wants to show you affection or demonstrate how much it cares about you.

Cats may do this to show you that they’re comfortable and safe with you. In some cases, it may be a sign that they want or need something, and sometimes it means that they just want to be alone!

If your furry friend is overstimulated, it will possibly bite you aggressively, but there’s quite a difference between these bites and gentle nibbles.

Learning how to read your cat’s other body language is essential in understanding this behavior. 

So, in order to recognize and save yourself from a cat attack, reread the warning signs of an aggressive and stressed cat. This will help you escape problems and possible injuries.

We have also looked at some of the best tips on how to stop your cat biting you. This is a very important part when raising a kitten. If you train your kitten well, you shouldn’t have problems in the future.

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