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Biting v/s Kissing? Does your cat give kisses?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I recently got a new kitten. He's 6 months old now and previously was a stray. For some reason, he does not give kisses. My past cat was very affectionate and always gave kisses (licks). My girl cat, who I got from a co-worker at 5 years old (who was a stray three years prior) gives kisses occassionally when she's getting pet or brushed. The kitten gives bites all of the time, which I think may be his way of showing affection, but I really do not want him doing this any more as my arms look like they have the chicken pox. I would much rather get a lick then a nip. I am trying to train him, using treats, to give kisses, which he now does for me with treats but he will only lick my fingers when we're doing the training. My question is... is kissing (or licking) a learned behaivor or is it instinct for them to lick people or animals they are showing affection to? Is it because he was a stray and maybe abandoned by his mom too soon to know how to show that type of grooming affection? Everytime I walk in the door he paws at the carpet in excitement and rubs my legs with his head, so I know he's happy to see me but still no kisses. Or is he just too young to do this yet? It's been 10 years since I had a kitten so I really don't remember if Pokey gave kisses right away or not.
post #2 of 12
Lucky gives kisses, Gus gives love bites
post #3 of 12
As weird as it may sound to us humans (well, most of us humans, anyway), biting (specifically "love bites") actually can be a sign of affection in the animal world. It sounds like that is what your kitten is doing.

Don't bother comparing him to previous cats because different cats have different personalities, and I don't know how easily you can turn a cat from a "love biter" into a "kisser," though he's certainly young enough where it probably can be done. Hopefully other members with actual experience in this area will chime in with tips.

As you speculated, it could be due to him being undersocialized during the first couple of months of his life, when so much learning takes place. Or it could just be one of his quirks.
post #4 of 12
i have 5 cats. 2 don't do ANY mouth affection - they enjoy pets, & one of them does head bumps, but they don't do licks or anything like that.
my other 3 - one likes to give me 'love nips', one will lift her nose for me to kiss it, & one has a tendency to lick me, especially when she's getting belly scritches.
cats are all different in the ways they show affection!
post #5 of 12
Riley does both!

His routine is this...



He's goofy
post #6 of 12
Bast, my dominant cat, purrs, but doesn't lick or bite much. My other two lick and give love bites both.

post #7 of 12
My baby used to do that - she quietly walked to me, first rubbing her face, then BITE!

I know she was showing me her affection but I certainly did not enjoy the pain.
She was also feral/stray, so, I must say, she was also missing those learning process just like you posted. JMO, I am not quite sure giving a treat may work for stopping biting but punishment would not work for that either.

For my cat, instead of scolding or giving her a treat, I kept screaming "OUCH!!" very loud whenever she did that. It took long but worked. She no longer bites me
post #8 of 12
My Spooky was pretty much a stray for his first 7 months (he had someone who fed him but didn’t let him inside or have anything to do with him other than to leave out food). When I first got him he was really bad about biting (hard) even when he was just trying to play or show affection. I (too) had the kitten bites all over.

I don’t know anything about turning him into a “kisser†but I did get Spooky to stop biting as often and as hard with training. What I did was when he would bite I would do the loud “Oww†as mentioned above and immediately I would stop whatever I was doing when he bit me (playing, grooming, petting, etc.) and put him down if I was holding him. Now he still “bites†but only in that he will close his teeth down on your hand or foot or whatever in an affectionate way but not chomp down (it doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t leave bite marks, etc.).

I’m not sure if this is coincidence (ie: he just picked up on the training about the same time, etc.) but after his neuter I didn’t have any more biting problems from him.

Good luck!
post #9 of 12
I have 3 lickers (one licks a bit to much!) 1 biter, and three that just turn their butts to me for buttrubs. As long as they get them, they go their own way.

It's all up to the individual cat. But, you have to remember this is still a kitten so most likely he is still in the "instant attack mode". Part of it could be his enthusiasm and over excitement. "Oh...I wanna play...CHOMP!" That is kitten mentality. He will probably calm down soon. Trying to discourage it by yelling, or hissing at him will probably help, but that may not turn him into a licker. That is up to him. I don't know if you can train cats to lick or not. But, it's worth a try.

Hey, at least be glad he is excited to see you when you come home. Mine just kind of sit there now, and look from me to their food bowl, giving me a not so subtle hint. I know where I stand now. Ahhhh...I miss my kittens.
post #10 of 12
Of our 4 cats, we have 2 lickers (Smoochie and Butterbean), one who doesn't do anything (that would be Meggie) and then there is Bird...who bites. However, with enough bedtime protests (this is when she is at her sappiest), she had learned to put her closed teeth up against my/dh's arm (the usual victim spot) and push-hard- against it instead . Sometimes she forgets, but a "ACK! BIRD!" will get her back on track 99% of the time . I think she may have figured out that when she goes in for the bite, we don't protest, but it's the bite that makes us jump and "squeal". It feels really weird, but we can all live with it, lol.
post #11 of 12
Our girl kitten, Conor, used to bite my nose or chin, but now she has started to give me the occasional lick and stopped the biting entirely. Maybe over time yours will do the same? Our kittens are former ferals and they are about 9 months old now - the change in affection giving started about a month ago or so (we have had them for about 4 and a half months now). Paddington is still prone to a bit of biting, but he loves to rub his face all over your face. I don't really know if you can train a cat to give affection in your desired manner...my husband just pulls his arm away whenever Paddington looks like he wants to give you a love bite (he is not the most subtle of creature, so it is quite easy to detect!).

I have never owned my own cats until now, but have been around a lot of cats in my life, and to be honest, not too many have shown affection by biting or licking - I have mainly dealt with headbutters/rubbers, so this is all a bit new to me as well....
post #12 of 12
I get both from Pooch. Kelly gives kisses and rarely bites. Luke only gives love bites. I've only received two licks from Luke EVER.
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