Cat Love Bites: What Do They Mean?

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Cat Love Bites: What Do They Mean?

Has your cat ever bitten you while you were petting it? Are you not sure what to make of it? Well, do not worry, for we have got you covered. Cats show affection and love in unique ways. Some of these ways are not easy for us humans to understand.

However, we are here to break down some of the unique cat behaviors for you. When a cat bites you, it does not hurt or kill you. Biting can have various meanings in the feline world, and we are here to tell you what they are.

The first question is, do cats bite at all? Well, anything with teeth can bite, and cats are no exception. Cats tend to bite more than other animals. This is because, naturally, cats are jungle-based predators. This meant that before cats were domesticated, they had to use their teeth and biting skills to catch their food.

In addition to catching food, cats use their small but sharp teeth to break down the tough meat part of their diet. This is why cats are biters, and it is best to be aware of how sharp their teeth can be!

However, cats are generally not in the habit of biting humans. This is because humans do not form part of their food chain, so it is highly unlikely that your cat will bite you to eat you!

What Do Cat Love Bites Mean?

Given that cat bites were traditionally a way for them to catch and kill their prey, what use does have a cat have in biting you? After all, you are its owner, and you both love each other! Cat bites are a complex phenomenon.

A cat bites its owner because of love and affection. Just think about it. How does your cat start to bite you? It gently starts licking your finger and then gently presses its teeth around it. This “love bite” does not really hurt you and does not break the skin’s surface. These kinds of cat bites are a sign of love to the owner.

Gray kitten biting its owner's hand

If a cat wanted to bite you and hurt you, such a bite will pierce your skin and draw blood. So gentle cat bites are meant to draw your attention and are not associated with anger, anxiety, or aggression. Cats have other behaviors reserved for showing their agitation, and cat bites are not one of them.

End the Petting Session 

One very common context in which a cat bites its owner is during a petting or playing session. If you are playing with your cat, you may feel gentle cat bites on your finger or skin after a while. This so-called cat love bite signifies that your cat wants you to end the petting session.

While felines love to play and interact with their owners, they have a limited amount of patience. This is why they get tired and agitated towards the end of a long-playing session.

In this scenario, gentle cat bites are a sign for you to stop the play and leave your cat alone. Again, your cat is not angry or aggressive when it bites you; it is just tired. However, if you do not stop petting your cat even after these gentle bites, be prepared for a more prominent display of its anger, such as hissing, growling, or scratching!

Gray kitten biting a child's hand

How Do I Know My Cat Is Not Angry?

If you are still unsure whether your cat is angry when it bites you, we advise you to look at other signs of aggression. When a cat is feeling angry, it tends to growl or hiss. An angry cat may also have dilated pupils, a twitching tail, and moving ears.

If your cat bites you with any of these accompanying signs, then this could indicate that your cat is angry. In this situation, we recommend that you allow your cat some time alone. If you have not done anything to agitate your cat, and your cat bites you in aggression, it is most likely that your feline friend is angry about something else.

Leaving your cat alone at this point will give it time to relax and work off some of its anxiety. In most situations, your cat will be back to normal in no time.

However, if your cat bites you angrily and continues to stay aggressive, we suggest contacting your vet as soon as possible. Do not try to manhandle your cat or force it into a vehicle since this could result in serious injury to you and your pet.

Domestic cat biting its owner's finger

Cat Bite Treatment

If it draws blood, a minor cat bite can be prevented from getting worse by providing first aid at home. The first step to cat bite treatment at home is to clean the wound thoroughly. Wash the bite under clean, running water and soap. Then, press a clean towel with a slight pressure to stop the blood from coming out.

After this, apply a completely clean and sterilized bandage to the wound. Hold the wound above your head since this prevents excessive blood loss. After administering this basic treatment, we suggest that you visit a doctor near you as soon as possible.

Even if it is a minor bite, you may need stitches or other medication your doctor recommends. After all, no harm comes from being extra careful!


Cat bites should generally not represent any cause for concern. In the great majority of cases, cat bites are just playful gestures that your feline friend makes to interact with you and are unlikely to cause any harm.

Most of the time, these cat love bites are an indication that your cat has had enough playtime. If, however, your cat does bite you out of aggression, our tips on dealing with it should prove helpful.

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