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I was hanging out at the SPCA again today (poor adult cats, all the kittens are being moved into the cat rooms for socializing...) and started hitting it off with this one gorgeous kitty, who was rather shy (but not skittish). She started headbutting me, I pet her, etc. She started grooming herself and I continued to pet her, and she started licking my hand (which I read was a good thing, a sign of trust). And then she, very gently, bit it. It was more like holding my finger with her teeth then a bite, but I drew back in case it was a warning. She still was eager for me to pet her, but I was more careful after that.

So, was that a warning, or was that something they do in grooming? I figure if it was a warning, then she is a very polite kitty, but I noticed that some cats will start licking only to gently bite like that. Or was it that I had some leftover food smell on my hands that they found delicious? :lol:
 

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Lot of kitties give love bites, Samantha would lick and nibble on my fingers.
If kitty was mad they could easily sink their teeth into you, I always watch a strange cat's tail, swishing tail means leave kitty alone.
 

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Oh, so it was a love nibble! :D She was purring, so I was a little confused at the time. She was sitting in her bed, so I couldn't see her tail. (I LOVE how the end always crooks when they are happy. Such a funny little sign.) But I was watching her ears and the rest of her body language, and she seemed open to receiving affection.

I swear, all the little things that I don't know about cats could fill a book!
 

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Neko's done it since the day we got him. For him it's a sign of pure bliss, a love bite. He does it when you are really rubbing him down and he's getting super into it, headbutting, purring, elevator butt...ing, etc. Then he'll nip, usually on the softest flesh he can find (inner thighs, upper arms, but if he can't he'll do my wrists and arms). And he literally did it the day we got him. I was in 7th grade at the time. Had him in my room and was kneeling down petting him, he was rubbing against my knees and did it on the inside of my thigh and I bled. I then panicked thinking mom and dad would want to put him down lol, my poor younger self. I just sort of equate it to what Willie does. If you are petting Willie to the point where he is in absolute heaven he head butts the floor and does a somersault. He can't help it, he's loosing some control. Neko just does it with his mouth.


But yeah, if they are still actively engaging you in cuddles I think it's a love bite. If they are disengaged from you or showing signs of stress (ears back, thrashing tail, quickly licking self) then I'd try to read the cat better and stop petting before he gets irritated.
 

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That makes me feel very happy. I have slowly been learning to read signs of stress, and so I can't help but be happy that the cat was being affectionate (in fact, it was only after I withdrew that she seemed a little miffed. I don't think she liked me not petting her! :lol: )

She was a gorgeous cat- her coat reminded me of a mountain lion's, and her eyes were this beautiful green~ I hope she finds a awesome home.
 

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I've never had a cat that gave love bites.. usually just the regular ones lol. Sam scared me the first time he gave me a love bite. I was petting him and he was really enjoying it and purring up a storm, so he gave me a little bit on the arm. I did exactly what you did, pulled my arm back in case that was a warning bite.. but he started headbutting me for more pets so finally I realized it was a love bite!
 

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Bertie licks my nose, rubs his gums along it and then gives it a little nibble. I like to think it's his way of giving me a kiss. I give him a kiss on the top of his head whenever he does that so I hope he learns what constitutes a human show of affection (I'm not going to lick him back!)
He usually does it first thing in the morning when I come through to have breakfast with him and he's really pleased to see me :)
 

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Love bites :love2
Some say its a nursing behavior like kneading others say its because the cat is overstimulated. I don't think anyone really knows why they do it lolol

If its your cat then I wouldn't worry. The concern for me is it is a shelter cat and you don't really know too much about it.

It could decide to bite down if its a case of being overstimulated. Shelter cats tend to carry more bacteria and illnesses due to the life before the shelter and also having a lot of cats confined to a small area.

So I would make it a rule that when you get your own cat and it does it, to let her if it doesn't bother you but make it a rule to just say "no" and distract a shelter cat from doing it. just to be safe.
 
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