Why Do Cats Give Love Bites | My Cat Bit My Weenus

That is correct, my cat bit me on my weenus.  She also bit my friend’s weenus.

You dirty bird, that’s not what a weenus is.

A weenus is the loose skin on your elbow.

And yes, my cat has bitten me there on many occasions.  What ever did I do to receive a cat love bite on a funny sounding part of my body? We’ll get to that in a second. But first…

Let’s learn some cat communication!

What Are The Different Types of Cat Love Bites?

Let’s focus on two categories of cat love bites.

Cat Overstimulation Bites

Overstimulation Bites are the cat love bites more often written about.  These occur when you are petting your cat.  After a long petting session, your cat might give you an overstimulation bite.

Cat Attention Bites

Attention Bites are less written about.  These bites occur in the opposite arena.  Your cat will give you an attention bite if you are not interacting with them.  You might not even notice your cat is in the same room before they bite you.

Sound like something out of a horror movie?  Don’t worry.  In our experience an attention bite has never caused us pain.  Though it certainly did surprise us!

Why Do Cats Bite When Overstimulated?

A cat giving a love bite

There are many reasons cats become over stimulated when petting.  Science is learning more about these behaviors every day.

One reason is overstimulation of hair follicles.  Extensive petting sessions can cause discomfort in some cats.  The level of sensitivity of these follicles varies from cat to cat.  This is one reason why some cats enjoy being pet more than others.

A way to relate to this is foot massages.

Yes, foot massages. Trust me, this is going somewhere.

Some people love foot massages. A good foot rub is very relaxing for them.

Others like it for a little bit, but too long and it becomes uncomfortable.

Others will kick you in the face if you touch their feet. And it’s not that they are angry with you… we think. It’s an almost involuntary reaction to having the bottom of their foot touched.

When a cat gives this type of bite they are saying, “Ok!  That’s enough.  I’m good.”

Another type of cat overstimulation bite happens when you pet areas your cat does not want pet.  Some areas of note are on the belly or near the tail.

Maya, our cat, likes being pet by her tail.

Do not go anywhere near her belly.

This will vary from cat to cat.  Like humans, we all have our own personal boundaries. Do we need to revisit our foot massage analogy?

When a cat gives this type of bite they are saying, “Whoa!  Don’t touch me there!”

Why Do Cats Bite to Get Attention?

Story time!

When Maya first moved in as a kitten, I was very much into video games.  I promised her I would always pay attention to her before video games.  She was more important to me than the pixels on my screen.

I promised her this outloud.  That might seem silly, until she held me to my promise.

I was playing video games as I usually did when I felt something grab my elbow.  It didn’t feel like a bite, or even a pinch.  It felt like something grabbed the skin and then let go.

Of course my arms flew up in the air with a “what was that!?” reaction.

Maya was sitting there looking up at me, calmly waiting to be petted.

It was so unexpected and hilarious!  At that point I had to turn off the game and hang out with her.  Of course, this only reinforced the system she was developing.

Even funnier is when my friend was visiting.  He was sitting in the same chair playing video games.  Suddenly his arm flies up in the air.

“Ahhhhhhh!”  He looks at my cat and then looks at me.

“She bit my elbow!”

I said that means she likes you.  And it was true.  At that time he was her second favorite human.

Why do cats bite to get your attention?  Because they like you and want you to notice them.  Some cats start with a meow, some start with an attention bite.

These cat nibbles were never painful.  We let them be and react to them with love and affection.

When a cat gives this type of bite they are saying, “Hi!  Look at me!  I like you.”

How to Stop Cat Overstimulation Bites

This would be like asking “How do I stop my fish from swimming?”

This is a natural behavior of cats that has been around since cats have been cats.

This is a matter of understanding your cat on a deeper level.  But first, we can offer a tip on how to react to cat love bites.

If your cat gives you an overstimulation bite, don’t quickly pull your hand away.  Your cat will let go and you can slowly move it away.

Next is the important part!

What did your cat do immediately before they bit you?  They gave you a warning.  You didn’t catch it.  Maya might make a quick twitch on her back.  Another signal is she looks at me with the message of “ok, I’m done now, you can stop.”  If I don’t stop, I get an overstimulation bite or clawless swat.

When your cat gives you an overstimulation bite, take that as them saying, “I said NO!  Weren’t you listening?!”  Look for where that first “no” was and what it looked like.

How to Stop Cat Attention Bites

Pay attention to your cat.

Wow, that was easy.

But it is that simple.  When Maya would come up and bite my elbow I would say to her, “Ok, ok.  I hear you.”  Then I would put the video game down and give her some attention.  It could be brushing, petting, or playing.  It didn’t matter.  She just wanted some time with her favorite human.

If your cat randomly gives you a little lick or nibble, give them a little attention.  They are trying their best to say “Look at me!”

What is a bite between friends?

Cat love bite isn’t a fair description for everything under its umbrella.

Cat overstimulation bites are more like a “Cat Personal Boundary Bite”.

But cat attention bites really are love bites.  They love you and want your attention.

The main takeaway is to listen to your cat.  Cats use non-verbal communication much more than verbal communication.  They are constantly trying to tell us how they feel about us.

So pay attention and talk back.  Though there is no need to bite your cat.

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