While I'm petting my cat, she'll start biting me. She grabs a little chunk of my arm (not hard at all, doesn't hurt), then moves her head from side to side, as if she was trying to rip part of my flesh off (even though its a very soft bite).

I've heard this is an affectionate response, but I've also read that it could be a sign that the cat no longer wants to be pet. The biting happens real early, so I really don't think she wants me to stop petting her.

Are there any other reasons this may be happening? I've gotten "love bites" from cats before, they usually bite my fingers, but I've never had a cat be so aggressively loving like this.

I have two cats that do this. They are from the same litter, and they're about 9 months old

EDIT: Both cats are fixed, and the biting has been occurring for a few months now.

  • What is her tail doing right before she bites you?
    – Zaralynda
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:47
  • @Zaralynda Nothing out of the ordinary; she'll run up to me and stare at me until I show her attention by petting her (a greet pet, once or twice on the head to show her I notice her). She will then lay on me and start licking/cleaning my arm, which is when she starts biting (cleans for a bit, bites, cleans for a bit, ect..). I've noticed that it's not only when I'm petting her, rather than when she lays on me after I greet her. She cleans the other 2 cats I have quite often; she licks quite a bit (me and my other cats). I have edited the question with a couple more details
    – Dioxin
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:55

2 Answers 2


Sounds like she's just doing the steps of grooming another cat - the licks to clean and the bites to pull out knots and debris in the fur. It would work so much better if you had a pelt of fur instead of just some stray hairs!

The "I'm Done!" type of bite, often called "overstimulation" is something like a short circuit in the little cat brain where the good feelings jump straight to alarm when a cat feels like it isn't in control anymore. This usually happens when you pet them on the back near the tail and they stand up and quiver and love it....then the reaction click and they turn and snap at the hand.

  • That makes a LOT of sense! I've seen her do it to other cats while cleaning, and this cat looooves to clean
    – Dioxin
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 0:46
  • 3
    As an aside: If you don't enjoy being bitten you can let out a little cry and your cat should stop biting you or bite more softly. I use a volume slightly less than a normal speaking voice and say "ooowwwwwww" like a little howl. When you learn how to use this technique it is rather funny how well it works.
    – Beo
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 15:05

It is normal, because some cats don't like to be petted. But in this case because it's soft, it IS a love bite! Sometimes, it can be a sign of sickness, or aggression.

  • 3
    Welcome to Pets, this answer is a bit short, please add some more information.
    – lila
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 16:15

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