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Cats/cat "love bites"


k.i. wrote at 2008-06-06 23:35:03
Next time before you sit down to play with your cat, dab some Tobasco sauce on a papertowl, and rub your fingers with it, then wipe it off.  When the kitty bite you, trust me it will be the first and last time they will again.

Emilee wrote at 2010-04-16 20:44:37
Norm could very well be correct, however, this love-biting may not actually be so sweet. Your kitty may be trying to tell you that she has had enough petting for now. Often, cats will give you a warning swat with there paws, and/or a bite. If she is not gently holding your skin between her teeth for short amounts of time (which IS a sign of affection), then I would suggest simply ending the petting session until she's ready for more.

alphapet wrote at 2012-11-18 05:16:50
Regarding cat love bites:  My Siamese gives love bites. Very occasionally and gently if discipline is maintained and rather roughly if allowed her freedom.  The main point is that although she doesn't seem to be able to stop herself entirely, she can monitor her roughtness.  I believe the reason she cannot stop entirely is that she is expressing her human-cat bond in instinctual cat mode. Asking her to stop entirely is like asking her to stop pouncing on mice. It is a residual social mechanism from pre-domestication behavior. Alternatively, it could be mimicry of the tomcats scruff-biting, mating behavior.  

We teach her control in 2 ways, depending on her level of roughness.


Level 1: When she is rough, we are rough; we immediately grab her by the scruff of her neck and roughly drop her on the floor, banning her from further family contact.  This usually halts the bite behavior for several days.  She then reverts to Level 3, described below, eventually escalating again to Level 1.

Level 2:  When she is gentle she doesn't actually bite. Rather she simply places her teeth against our skin and purrs, then awaits our response.  When she does this, we gently tap her on the bridge of her nose.  She then curls up and cuddles, still purring.  Caveat:  If this "gentle non-bite" is ignored, she upgrades to a real bite.

Level 3:  She places her closed lips against our skin, with no teeth contact.  When she does this, a "No teeth" command satisfies her.  

NOTE:  She has never been able to completely stop, even though she knows what is coming.  At all 3 levels, she puts her ears down and hunches over submissively, THEN displays her bite behavior, purring all the while.  She calmly awaits her discipline, then goes to sleep.  Without the discipline, she continues .. and continues, and continues! .. until the discipine is delivered.  Purring throughout!  Once the discipline is delivered, she is satisfied and goes to sleep.  

In conclusion, the cat's love-bite is an expression of bonding that she finds extremely satisfying.  I am content to have "gentled" the behavior.  


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Norman Auspitz


I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.


I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.

Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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