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Cat "gently" biting

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've had Emmie for about 6 weeks. When we first got her she was covered in scabs from a food allergy. She loved being petted and having the loose scabs taken out of her fur. Now she is pretty much healed. Almost no more sores!! But now when we pet her she puts her mouth on our hands. Very gently. Why would she do this? If I continue to pet her she stops. While she has her teeth on our hands she is purring, but louder and different than I've ever heard her purr. With her mouth open it seems even louder and makes my daughter afraid Emmie might be angry.

Can anyone tell me what Emmie putting her teeth gently on our hands while we pet her could mean?!? I don't want to upset Emmie so that she may bite. But since she is being so gentle I do not want to rush to judgement and stop petting her.

Thank you for any ideas about what this behavior could mean.
post #2 of 7
Great job in helping Emmie with her skin problems!
My 2 year old cat Shamie does the gentle biting on my hand too. I asked a friend of mine what it meant and she said it was his "love bites". It freaked me out the first time he did it and jerked my hand away.
When he did that to my 13 year old daughter it was like she knew he wasnt trying/going to hurt her. She just started petting him with her other hand and he stopped biting and licked that hand. So I guess my friend was right about the gentle biting thing. He also purrs while he does that.
Now with Fez I wouldn't call his bites "love bites". He is 11 weeks old and I've been teaching him that biting is not appropriate. That is not a habit I want him to get into. He's starting to catch on. You bite me, I say "NO" in a unhappy voice and ignore you for a few minutes. Cats/kittens are very smart and learn things pretty quick.
post #3 of 7
I agree that these are love bites. I don't like to "punish" these little bites, so instead of saying no, I just continue petting and slowly move the hand being bitten until the cat is not longer able to do these little bites.

When my cats want to bite while playing I do stop that biting right away.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks skizzorhand and lotsocats. I'm thinking thats what she's doing, giving love bites.
post #5 of 7
Fez understands that biting is a no no no now. I can see when he's about to bite me and he stops then starts licking me. I was starting to get worried since I have read so much about other peoples cats/kittens biting.
The "love bites" still startle me at first because Shamie is a big boy and could do serious damage. Plus, I'm a dog groomer and when a dog comes at my hands or arms with its mouth open my first reaction is to MOVE really quick. LOL
post #6 of 7
i know, people always say dont let a cat play with your hands and stuff. i have also had people tell me that it will turn a cat mean. well in my years of having cats(always one at time),

I have always played rough with them. When they dont want to play anymore they just stop and give me that are you crazy look and meow at me and then walk away

Maybe the rough play is more of a guy thing? only time they have every hurt me is when I forgot to trim there claws.

but back to your question. my cata does the same thing. even when playing she will look like she is about to rip my arm or hand off and just gently bite and then lick the spot, jump up run away, and wait for me to chase after her.
heeh however i could do with out the nibble and licking on my ear that seems to enojoy. If fact she has made that into a game of find the ear that is not being blocked.
post #7 of 7
Tilly does something similar - she likes to rub her teeth / sides of her mouth against my hand when I'm petting her - accompanied with a head butt type action.

It's not a bite, more of a gum rub - I thought she might be marking me with her scent, as she rubs her cheeks against the furniture too?? I've had Tilly about 6 weeks too - could it be a new cat human-marking thing??
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