Love bite, pain or aggression: why does your cat bite?

Love bite, pain or aggression: why does your cat bite?

Cats sometimes bite. But why? And how do you recognise the difference between a bite out of aggression and a ‘love bite’? In this blog, we will tell you about the biting behaviour of cats. Because then you will get to know your furry friend even better.

We will soon tell you why cats bite. And how to distinguish between the different types of bite. But first we will tell you something about the way cats communicate with you, because that has everything to do with biting behaviour.

How do cats communicate?

Cats are mysterious creatures. Hundreds of books have been written about their behaviour and it is still difficult to understand them. Cats cannot talk, of course, so you cannot ask them anything. Yet cats communicate quite clearly – namely with their bodies. Do you want to get to know you cat better? Then you have to watch their body language. Because that is how cats communicate all day long – with you and with their companions. The position of their tails and ears and the size of their pupils, for example, are good indicators of how a cat is feeling and what it wants to say. Cats communicate with their whole body. Even with their fur.

Want to know more about communicating with cats? Then read the mini course in cat language!

Cats are sensitive to stimuli

Sensation and touch are incredibly well developed in cats – their fur and skin are the most important receptors of stimuli. Their whiskers, for example, are real organs of touch and enable them to judge distance and locate their prey. And have you ever seen those cute little tufts of hair on your cat’s ears and above its eyes? They also help your cat to estimate distance.

A cat’s entire fur is sensitive and thus a very important sense for cats. If touched too much or too long, it can become over-stimulated. This is not a pleasant feeling for cats and they may react by biting. But that is not the only reason why cats bite.

Why do cats bite?

We love our cats. And therefore we often cuddle and pet them. There is nothing wrong with that of course, as long as your cat likes it too. But remember – as we told you before – that a cat’s fur is sensitive to every kind of touch. If you stroke your cat for a long time, it might get overexcited and tell you to stop.

Does your cat bite you when you stroke or cuddle it? Then you have probably overlooked signals. This is because cats do not usually bite out of the blue – they first indicate with their body language that they do not like it. Therefore, always pay attention to the following signals:

  • Your cat stops purring
  • Your cat looks at your stroke hand
  • Your cat’s tail starts to wag
  • Your cat tries to walk away
  • Your cat’s ears go backwards
  • Your cat growls or barks

Does your cat show any of these signs? Then your cat is over-stimulated and doesn’t like being stroked or cuddled. Simply withdraw your hand and leave your cat alone.

Biting in pain

Cats can also be in pain somewhere. They may have hit themselves or pulled something while playing or hunting. But a cat can also suffer internally after an accident, a fight or if it is ill.

If your cat bites you straight away – or makes a biting movement towards your hand – the moment you touch him at a certain spot, then your cat is most likely in pain. And that is never a good sign! Take your cat to the vet right away and have it examined thoroughly.

Biting out of love: the Love Bite

Cats let you know they love you in many different ways. They give you – hard or soft – kisses, snuggle up to you or give you a thorough cleaning. But some cats can also give love bites. Does your cat bite you softly when you stroke him? Or does it gently nibble your hand or fingers? Then your cat is showing you that he loves you very much.

Biting during play

When kittens play with each other or with their mother, they can sometimes bite. If they do this too hard, mother will react immediately. Because that is not allowed. But also their brothers and sisters will tell them when they bite too hard. And so young cats quickly discover that they should not bite too hard.

Don’t want your cat to bite you? Then don’t let your cat play with your hands, use a cat toy – a fishing rod with a feather attached, balls and toy mice are perfect. Does your cat bite your hand a little too hard out of enthusiasm? Then gently withdraw your hand, say ‘no’ in a low voice and walk away. This is the quickest way for your cat to learn that it is not OK to bite you.

Disclaimer: Petrebels does not consist of veterinarians or behavioral experts: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inspire and inform you. Does your cat have complaints or problems and do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Then always go to the vet or a behavioral expert.

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Katten slapen gemiddeld 16 uur per dag en doen dat vol overgave: er wordt gerekt, gestrekt en schaamteloos gegaapt. Heerlijk. De Luie Rebel is er wel héél goed in. Die laat rennen en spelen liever aan een ander over en ploft met gemak overal neer voor een overheerlijk dutje. Maar het liefst ligt deze Rebel in een lekker zacht mandje of hangmatje.

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Katten hebben van nature de behoefte om hun nagels te scherpen. Ze markeren daarmee hun territorium en worden er ontspannen en blij van. De Krabbel Rebel weet van geen ophouden als het om krabbelen gaat. Maak van je huis daarom een feestje voor deze Rebel en zet één (of meer) goede krabpalen neer.

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Buitenkatten houden van hun vrijheid en van avontuur. Ze verstoppen zich vaak in struiken en houden de hele buurt in de gaten. Ze kunnen zich uren vermaken met rondvliegende insecten en nemen – als het even meezit – een echte muis voor je mee naar huis. De Outdoor Rebel komt thuis om gezellig met de baasjes te kroelen en rustig te eten. En stelt het op prijs als er een fijn plekje is om uit te rusten voor het volgende avontuur.

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Sommige katten blijven liever binnen. Of het baasje wil dit graag. Indoor Rebels vinden het heerlijk om naar buiten te kijken – naar al het spannends wat zich daar afspeelt. Je maakt deze katten blij door het binnen net zo spannend te maken als buiten. Prikkel hun instincten met speeltjes en krabmeubels waar ze lekker in kunnen klimmen, want dan blijven ze gelukkig en gezond.

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Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day with full commitment: lots of stretching and shameless yawning… Mhmm, delicious. The lazy Rebel masters this trait like no other and prefers to leave the running and playing to someone else. This lazy napper is able to lie down anywhere to take a well-deserved rest, but they prefer a nice and soft hammock or basket.

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Cats naturally have the need to sharpen their nails. This way they mark their territory. It also makes them relaxed and happy. The scratching Rebel will never stop when it comes to this. Transform your house into a “scratching paradise” for this Rebel and supply it with one or several good cat trees.

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Outdoor cats love adventure and freedom. They often hide in bushes to keep an eye on their surroundings. They can entertain themselves for hours with bugs flying around and they might even take home a real mouse for you! The outdoor Rebel will come home to cuddle with its owner and to eat peacefully. This adventurer would appreciate it if there is a nice spot in your house to rest before the next adventure.

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Some cats prefer to stay inside, this can also be a decision made by the owner. Indoor Rebels enjoy watching the outside world – and everything exciting that happens there. You can make these cats happy by making the indoor world just as exciting as the outdoor world. Stimulate their senses with toys and cat furniture in which they can climb. This way they remain healthy and happy.

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Katzen schlafen durchschnittlich 16 Stunden pro Tag und tun dies voller Hingabe. Sie strecken sich, dehnen sich und gähnen unverhohlen. Herrlich! Der faule Rebell ist sehr gut darin. Er überlässt das Toben und Spielen am liebsten jemand anderem und macht stattdessen lieber ein kleines Nickerchen. Am liebsten bevorzugt dieser Schläfer ein weiches Sofa oder ein gepolsterte Liegefläche.

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Katzen haben von Natur aus das Bedürfnis, ihre Nägel zu schärfen. Damit markieren sie zum einen ihr Territorium und verhindern zum anderen, dass die Nägel zu lang werden und einwachsen. Kratzen, wetzen und schärfen macht sie entspannt und glücklich. Der Kratz-Rebell kennt dann auch kein Halten mehr, wenn es ums Wetzen und Kratzen geht. Mach dein Zuhause also zu einer Partyzone für diesen Rebellen und stelle einen (oder mehrere) gute Kratzbäume mit viel Wetzmöglichkeiten auf.

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Freigängerkatzen lieben die Freiheit und das Abenteuer. Oft verstecken sie sich im Gebüsch und behalten die ganze Nachbarschaft im Auge. Sie können sich stundenlang mit fliegenden Insekten vergnügen, streunen herum und bringen im schlimmsten Fall eine Maus als Geschenk mit nach Hause. Der Outdoor-Rebell kommt nur nach Hause, um mit den Besitzern eventuell zu kuscheln und sich sein Fressen servieren zu lassen. Und er schätzt es über alle Maßen, wenn er einen schönen, gemütlichen Platz am liebsten auf einem Kratzbaum zum Ausruhen für das nächste Abenteuer angeboten bekommt.

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Einige Katzen sind reine Indoor-Rebellen. Entweder, weil sie es vorziehen in einem warmen und gefahrlosen Zuhause zu leben oder weil der Besitzer dies so möchte. Indoor-Rebellen lieben es nach draußen zu schauen – und das aufregende Leben draußen aus sicherer Entfernung zu beobachten. Diese Katzen sind glücklich, wenn man drinnen die gleichen Abenteuer simuliert, die sie draußen beobachten können. Stimuliere deren Instinkte mit Spielzeug und Kratzmöbeln, in denen sie herumklettern und toben können, damit sie gesund, agil und glücklich bleiben.

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