Why Does My Cat Bite Me When I Pet Him?

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We all know how the story goes: you’re stroking your kitty with a soft touch, and then suddenly out of nowhere, you feel their sharp teeth piercing your skin. OUCH. But have you ever wondered why your cat suddenly turns into a vampire on you?

Cats are known for their strange quirks that we love. Most of them are cute and fun in nature, but there are some that leave us confused. Have you ever stopped to wonder why, “why does my cat bite me when I pet him?”

As it turns out, there is more to this “light switch” like behavior than you think.

We’ve done our best decode our kitty’s psyche to uncover why it is that they partake in this sometimes aggressive yet playful behavior.

Don’t Take it Personal

According to vet health professionals, cats do not always do this as a means to induce bodily harm upon you. Our cats can be complexing little creatures at times, but sometimes when your cat has suddenly grown tired of your lavished affection they resort to this quirky behavior as a way to tell you that they’re tired of your antics. We all know that cats are incredibly picky, and they prefer things on their terms. And, hey, that’s just one of their endearing qualities we love about them most. Maybe I’ll let you pet me…maybe I won’t. But careful there, kitty may bite!

If your cat bites you whenever you pet them, this is just their way of saying “I’m tired of this, stop” to you. Give them the space they are requesting. Surely they’ll come curl up in your lap once they’re ready to have your affections once more when they are ready. Cats are always good at keeping us humans on our toes, huh?

Satisfying Their Inner Feral Kitty

Okay, we all know we’ve seen this happen before! You’re petting your sweet and presumably harmless cat when all of a sudden you feel like they’ve taken a chunk of your flesh from your body. They’ve even termed a phrase to describe this exact behavior, known in the cat behavior world as “pet aggression.” Your cat may resort to biting as a means to honor their inner feral nature that’s hidden beneath that social exterior.


Cats, like humans, have nerve endings all over their body–except theirs are covered in all that lovely fur. The base of the tail is a sensory overload spot for cats, and may quickly get you bitten should you pet that area. When a cat becomes overstimulated, they may respond with aggressive behavior, such as biting, to make it known that they’d like the behavior to stop, right meow!

Repetitive petting can cause your cat to become overly excited, and trigger an arousal-based bite.

Experts have concluded that some cats suddenly go cuckoo on you because it neurologically triggers negative stimulus in their minds. It’s important for us cat moms and dads to know how to read the signs of our cat’s body language. By doing so, we can develop an even stronger bond with our feline friends.

Love Bites

When that bite is more of the gingerly kind, your cat is doing this as a means to show you affection. While we don’t usually bite our loved ones as a means to show them that we care, our cats can’t exactly send us love letters or greeting cards. Studies suggest that cats use these gentle love bites as a reminiscent gesture of their kitten days, a term of affection they received from their mothers when she would lick and nibble them while grooming.

Consider it one of the most purrfect compliments your cat can give, because they give you these love bites to show you that they feel happy and safe in your care.

Yo Human, I’m The Boss Around Here!

A cat is a territorial being by nature, and the same can be said even when their domain is strictly the inside of your humble abode. If your cat bites you when you pet them, they may be doing this as a way to remind you that they are the boss in these parts, not you. Boy, they sure do have us trained well, don’t they? Now go fetch me my wet food, mortal!

No matter what the reason, our cats typically do not mean to cause us harm when they do this to the humans that they care for the most. An untamed cat is much different than a properly socialized feline that you keep inside of your home. If you have a cat that feel is biting out of aggression, then it’s best to intervene with professional behavioral methods. You don’t want to induce stress upon your feline, so regardless of the reason for biting, it’s best to give your cat the space they desire should the situation arise.

And remember, no hard feelings!

Related Video: When Kittens Attack!

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