Why Does Your Cat Bite You When They Seem Happy Being Petted?

Cats are strange animals for sure, especially when it comes to their quirky little behaviors. They are moody, unpredictable and often hard to figure out. One thing that many cat owners can relate to is the strange phenomenon of being right in the middle of what you think, is a sweet bonding moment when you are petting your cat and she seems so happy and content, and the very next second, you feel her teeth sink into your hand. What just caused that?

Despite the sudden onset of aggression, many cat owners refer to this behavior as “Love biting,” though the feline behaviorists who have studied this act, call it: Petting-induce aggression, and it is not a very well-understood behavior,

Typically how it works with cats, is they are the ones who seek out the affection of a human. Then, once that affection suddenly seems to start annoying your feline, he will let you know by way of having a burst of aggression, and it comes on without warning, like a sudden turn of the light switch. This is seemingly how they communicate to you that they are either bored with the affection, or you have done something to rub her the wrong way.

There have been a few scenarios drawn up as to why this might happen and they are this:
  1. It may be a result of cats just needing to be in control of the situation. If anything you do during the petting session starts to make your cat feel like they are losing control, they can have a sudden onset of, status-induced aggression.
  2. There has been thought that cats might suffer from some sort of neurological negative stimulus that is activated by being petted for a lengthy time. Long petting sessions trigger this negative neurological reaction and they react to it in a negative manner, such as biting the hand that was once pleasuring them.
  3. And, there is a theory that some cats that do this, might really be quite subtle at letting their human know they’re no longer happy with the situation and the rubbing, so when your cat suddenly turns on you quickly like this, it really only appears to be more sudden than it really is.

The bottom line is, that cat behaviorists don’t want cat owners to take it personally and think that they cannot interact with their feline in a thoughtful, caring and meaningful way. Instead of denying your cat this bonding and attention just because there is the chance she might have a sudden turn of emotions like this, your vet can teach you what some of the subtle signs are that your cat might display to let you know they are starting to lose interest in the petting and are becoming displeased, so that you can stop the session before they get the chance to react in this aggressive way.


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