February 08, 2023 3 min read

Cats are our fluffy feline friends. They’re so cute it’s easy to forget they’re also fierce predators (even if the only thing your cat is hunting is bugs). When cats bring their teeth out it’s a quick reminder these adorable critters have a sharp edge. However, bites from these ferocious beasts aren’t always… ferocious. Sometimes the bites feel more like little nips. When your cat displays this behavior, you might be wondering why some bites are gentler than others. While feline experts might not know exactly why cats give “love bites” there are many hypotheses for this biting behavior.

Showing Affection

When cats enjoy being pet, they will most likely start purring and may even rub their face into your hand. They may even affectionately nip at your hand. These affectionate nips may be a trait left over from kittenhood. Kittens often play and bite each other as a way of bonding. Your cat may be trying to bond with you. If they are purring and seem otherwise relaxed, a little nip may just be their way of showing they like you too.


Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. This goes for cats with petting too. If you pet your cat for longer than they want, they may become overstimulated, and their mood will quickly go from pleased to irritated. When cats become overstimulated with being pet, they might give you a softer bite to let you know they are done. If you ignore their warning and continue to pet your cat, the softer love bite may turn into an aggressive bite. Keep an eye on your cat’s body language to know when they start to go from being pleased to irritated.


For the most part, when it comes to cleaning themselves, cats are self-cleaning (which is just another reason why we love them). Along with taking the time every day to clean their own fur, cats will sometimes try to groom other animals or even people. While grooming a fellow creature is seen as a sign of affection, they may nibble as they groom.


If your cat is bored or craving enrichment, they may find it in any moving object. If you are trying to pet your cat while they are in a playful mood, they may confuse your hand with a toy and try to play with it. Play often includes biting. Your cat may pounce on your hand to bite it into submission. Try to keep your cats entertained with enrichment toys to prevent unnecessary aggressive biting.

Want Attention

While biting often results from too much attention, some cats might bite because they are not receiving enough attention. If a cat wants to direct your attention towards themselves or to getting a treat, they may give you a nip to bring your attention to what they want.

How to Stop Biting

Not every bite from your cat will be painful, but they might not all be pleasant. It’s still a bite with sharp teeth that can quickly turn aggressive. If you’re interested in ways to stop your cat from sinking their teeth in, here are a few methods you can try:

  • Keep your hand still. When your cat first grabs your hand, your first reaction might be to move your hand away, but your cat will view your hand as moving prey and attack. If you keep it still, your cat will lose interest.
  • Read body language. Stop the bite before it happens. Learn what your cat’s body language is telling you. If your cat’s ears are flat and their tail is twitching, it is probably time to stop the pets.
  • Redirect their attention to a toy. If you notice your cat is pouncing and biting, they might just want to play. Pick up a toy or redirect their attention to a type of recreation, like a Kitty Kasa Recreation Cube.
  • Let them come to you. The best way to know your cat wants to be pet is to let them decide. When a cat wants attention, either for food, toys, or affection, they will be sure to let you know. Cats will seek you out and usually ask for affection when they want it. Just keep an eye on their body language to know when they’ve decided they’re done.

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