A cat owner poses a great question on a popular pet thread about "Love Bites" (petting-induced biting or overstimulation aggression). "Is it true cats do this because they want you to stop petting them? Why don't they just leave? What's the best way to handle it?" So what is the cause of the feline behavior to switch up, and how do you deal with this reaction?
1. Tell Them Your Feelings
"When I'm doing my makeup, my boy will sit on the bathroom counter and gently nibble my elbow because he wants me to pet him. It's always really gentle and honestly adorable, so I'll kiss him and tell him to wait a few minutes. One morning, he bit me too hard on accident, and I went, 'Ow! That hurt! That was really rude,' and he just looked at me with big eyes and rubbed his head against my elbow as an apology, so I gave him a kiss and told him it's okay," one pet mom shares.
2. Establish a Routine
A pet parent shares that their cat adores having a dependable routine. When this cat gets stressed, she wags her tail and flashes her fangs. This behavior typically occurs when the cat doesn't know what will happen next. When she grows used to an established routine, she acts calmly.
3. Pay Attention to Behavior
Once the ears go back, quit petting. Cats develop repetitive behaviors to signal their discomfort. These behaviors allow their owners to understand what actions bother them and which actions they favor. One way to prevent "love bites" is by noting when the cats' ears are back. When that happens, pause the petting and wait for them to reset.
4. Understanding the Bites
A respondent shares their experience with their feline child. "One of my cats 'bites' while she's grooming me so that I won't move my hand. She doesn't sink her teeth in, and it's very gentle. Some bites are to tell you to stop moving, some are love bites, and some are from overstimulation. It's really a matter of understanding your cat and the way they communicate with you. Also, the harder the bite, the more upset they are."
5. Walk Away
A great way to deal with a love bite is to get up and walk away from the kitty. Though this behavior demonstrates their discomfort and annoyance, once you get up and leave, it translates to understanding their pain and respecting their boundaries.
6. Give Them Attention in a Different Way
If your kitten grows tired of your petting and wants to chew your hand, switch up how you give them attention. Talk to them or lunge for the treat bag. This behavior informs them that you understand they've had enough petting.
7. Pet During Eating
Petting needs to be a way to stimulate comfort and settle down the cat. So, a fabulous time to pet the feline is during their meals. They will already be relaxed thanks to their food intake. Now, you're adding a second layer of comfort over satiating hunger. This shows that you don't intend to hurt them while petting.
8. Play Time
A cat demonstrating overstimulation may be ready to play. Always have a toy handy in case petting turns into playtime featuring teeth. One commenter says his cat loves pets until he doesn't, and then he looks at anything as a toy.
9. Let Them Leave
If a cat doesn't want to be around you and loves to bite you, let them have their hissy fit, jump down from your lap, and walk away—for a few moments until they decide they want love again. Let them act on their own volition and leave when stressed.
10. Identify Comfort Zones
"Identify the spots where your cats like to hang out and relax and avoid disturbing them at all when they are in certain places. That way, they'll know to go there if they want to be left alone completely. It also makes it easier to find them if it ever becomes necessary," a pet parent adds. Source: Reddit.
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