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Why does my cat bite me gently while purring?

Cat body language is still a mystery to be solved because no one can say that he has perfectly mastered cat language. While it is true that more and more studies are being done on the behavior of these domestic felines, there is still a long way to go. While that happens, we cat parents will continue to be surprised from time to time whenever our cat does something that, no matter how many times we think about it, we can’t understand. And the common question is, “why does my cat bite me gently while purring?

Something super familiar that will surely make more than one of you wonder what is going on is when a cat that seems very happy and purring out of nowhere gently bites the hand of whoever is petting it. I swore it was a sign of love, but with some research, I discovered that I was very wrong. In this article, I’m going to tell you everything I found. I’m sure it will help you understand your little friend much better.

Why do cats bite?

Many reasons can lead a cat to bite, but whatever the reason, we must understand that the only way cats communicate with us is through body language, so a bite, no matter how soft, is a message.

The main reason a cat bites is to let us know that he doesn’t like something and would prefer to be left alone, maybe he doesn’t want to be carried, or perhaps he doesn’t like certain petting, and it’s his way of saying “no, thank you.” Most cats will give a light, gentle nip as a first warning but will resort to a stronger nip and possibly be accompanied by a scratch if he feels their message wasn’t understood.

why does my cat bite me gently while purring - why do cats bite

Another reason is protection, and how not, if their most effective method to protect themselves from any attack is their teeth and claws, so they are experts in launching bites that allow them to get to safety. A cat in fear also resorts to biting, so if one day you are petting your cat and a dog barking very loudly passes by, it may get scared and bite you to free itself and run to hide, remember that cats get afraid and stressed easily.

Finally, another of the most likely reasons a cat bites is because it is playing, and in the excitement, an occasional nibble escapes. This is much more common in kittens, but an adult cat with a playful spirit can also do this.

Okay, but why strictly does my cat bite me gently while purring?

This generates a lot of confusion because, on the one hand, we know that when a cat purrs, it mostly does it because it is happy and calm, but when it bites, it is because it is not pleased, so what then? Luckily, the answer to this question isn’t so difficult to understand. In simple words, cats bite to tell you, “I’ve had enough,” of whatever you are doing.

Maybe you’re petting him, and he’s purring happily, but he’s had enough and doesn’t want any more. He wants to keep lying on your lap quietly. The reason for this abrupt change in attitude is that cats are easily overstimulated, so if you touch their heads for a while, even if it fascinates them, they may get to the point where they find it annoying and ask you to stop.

Many people confuse these bites with love nips; let me tell you, it is not the case. But if you are trying to find an answer that satisfies your craving for some cat love, while it’s true that your cat bites you to ask for space, he does it gently because he doesn’t want to hurt you. If we see it with cat eyes, it’s a gesture of love. After all, if they wanted to, they could stick those fangs in your hand without trouble.

What are love nips?

The reason many people think that if a cat bites you when it purrs, its to tell you that it loves you is because they may have heard of the famous love nips, which are small bites that a cat gives as a form of affection, but that happens when they are in the middle of a grooming session. That’s right! When cats groom each other, they use their rough tongues to clean and comb their companion’s fur, and in some cases, they give gentle nips to remove some stuck litter or to cut a knot in the coat.

Cats at home often don’t have feline companions, so they resort to grooming us, and even if they don’t have a litter to remove, sometimes they give us little nibbles because that’s how they got used to it since they were little. Their mother would give them gentle nips to clean them and keep them calm, and they would do the same with their littermates as a form of play and to strengthen bonds so in this case, if your cat gives you a lick and then bites you, it means he loves you very much and considers you part of his pack.

why does my cat bite me gently while purring - love nips

What can I do to stop my cat from biting me?

You first need to get informed, and you’ve done that, so you’re on the right track. The second thing is to learn to distinguish those first signs cats give before biting. Although they are very subtle, you can learn to notice the changes in a cat’s body that are no longer comfortable.

  • One of the first signs is body tension. It is easy to notice because it will be relaxed previously, and out of nowhere, the body will look stiff, and a bit tilted backward.
  • Look at the ears. If they are flat or upright and turned slightly outward, beware, the cat is no longer happy.
  • He is warning you if he is meowing or vocalizing more than usual. You may hear him growling, hissing, or howling, and it is time to back off.
  • Although this is a step further, if your cat’s back is arched and it has bristly fur, even his tail, it is time to leave your cat alone to calm down.

What you have to do is recognize the signs to know when to walk away in time. In case your cat bites you as a game, the wisest thing to do is get up and walk away the next time it does it. This way, the cat will associate the bite with your lack of attention and stop doing it.

Why does my cat bite me gently while purring? The bottom line

There you have it. Cats may nip you as a sign of affection while purring because it shows their love toward us. If your cat bites you more forcefully than usual and makes you uncomfortable, recognize the signs that something upsets him and walk away in time to avoid further biting. Remember that if we want our cats to be happy, it’s essential that we understand their language and respect their limits. We can all live happily together!

My advice? Enjoy those gentle love nips when your cat gives them to you because they genuinely are acts of feline affection! And remember: cats know how to show their love in their particular way. Happy cattin’!

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