1 yr old cat showing random aggression when snuggling

Beansmama

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My cat “beans” is a year old, and I’ve had him since he was about 4 months old. He has always been super outgoing, friendly, and sure of himself. He’s never hissed, growled, or viciously attacked anyone or anything. He is very affectionate and loves to snuggle.
The past couple of months, however, when I’m petting him or giving him affection for maybe too long, he’ll resort to biting me and I would say “gently” attacking me? At first I thought they were love bites to say “hey, too much, back off” so when he does this I back off and stop petting him. But it’s only escalated (mildly), he now meows constantly at me during these episodes and refuses to back off. No growling, hissing, or any other behavior to indicate fear or anger, he actually purrs when doing this. But he bites hard and wraps his whole body around my arm to chomp down on a single spot. When I back off and remove my arm he just comes after it again. Then, he eventually gives up and wanders away. I’m not sure what this could be from so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know!
 

di and bob

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It is called Overstimulation, or petting induced aggression. I have had several cats that have had it. My Chrissy would accept exactly three strokes and then WHAM, big time attack. I warned people,who laughed and ignored me, and they have the scars to prove it. They go from seemimgly enjoying the attention to full out attack in a second. It's not really that uncommen. The secret is to anticipate when the limit is reached. They can stiffen, hair on back and tail can raise, low growls, meowing, raising their head and glaring, or just getting very still. If you look closely you will see their pupils dilate right before an attack. Learn the limit by stroking once, or spending say 5 seconds of stimulation, stopping and praising the cat for good behavior, even maybe a small treat. At least 15 minutes later, stroke twice, or ten seconds, then more later until he is provoked. Once you learn the limit, stick to it. It is really involuntary for the cat to do this, and many are labeled aggressive because of this when really they aren't. it is just something they can't help, and we must respect their boundaries. It is usually with females, but obviously you have an exception. Just accept it as a quirk, and love him for who he relly is, not try to chnage him into what you want. You will be blessed for asking for help and hopefully understaning his problem. All the luck!
 
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Beansmama

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It is called Overstimulation, or petting induced aggression. I have had several cats that have had it. My Chrissy would accept exactly three strokes and then WHAM, big time attack. I warned people,who laughed and ignored me, and they have the scars to prove it. They go from seemimgly enjoying the attention to full out attack in a second. It's not really that uncommen. The secret is to anticipate when the limit is reached. They can stiffen, hair on back and tail can raise, low growls, meowing, raising their head and glaring, or just getting very still. If you look closely you will see their pupils dilate right before an attack. Learn the limit by stroking once, or spending say 5 seconds of stimulation, stopping and praising the cat for good behavior, even maybe a small treat. At least 15 minutes later, stroke twice, or ten seconds, then more later until he is provoked. Once you learn the limit, stick to it. It is really involuntary for the cat to do this, and many are labeled aggressive because of this when really they aren't. it is just something they can't help, and we must respect their boundaries. It is usually with females, but obviously you have an exception. Just accept it as a quirk, and love him for who he relly is, not try to chnage him into what you want. You will be blessed for asking for help and hopefully understaning his problem. All the luck!
Thank you!! I’ll definitely try what you said. I know he isn’t aggressive and his “attacks” have never been serious. Like I said, he doesn’t growl or anything and his meows aren’t fearful ones but if there was anything I was doing wrong to make him act this way it’s good to know and adjust to help him. I appreciate it!
 

ArtNJ

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It could have other elements apart from overstimulation as well. Your cat could be changing into one that can't be pet below the shoulders; I had one like that and if you pet him when you weren't paying full attention he would get annoyed and gently snap at you every time.

It could also be that he since he is so young and has a high play instinct (as all kittens do) he has gotten the idea to play with your hands/arm. Many four month old kittens actually can't be pet at all except when sleepy.

So...you might be able to manage this by being more alert to what he is like when you are petting him. OR if he has now decided that playing with hands and arm is fun, your going to have to bust out a loud "no!" or use some other technique to train out that behavior.
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. You didn't mention it, but is Beans neutered?
 

Hellenww

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Have you even seen cats grooming each other and it turns into a fun chase and wrestle? Your situation brings that to mind. He started out gentle and progressed to rougher play when he didn't understand that you didn't want to play rough. Another cat would have hissed, growled, or bit him back. Us humans have to find other ways to make that point.

You love beans and want to be cuddle with him. He needs to learn to be gentler with you. I like kittens in pairs so my first thought when a kitten plays too rough with humans is to give them someone who can bite back. Getting bit a few times teach everybody to play with a soft bite.

Until he learns use blankets when he's on your lap. Baby blankets work great because of the size. Lay one on your lap for him to lay on and have another to pet him through so he doesn't have access to your hands. When he bites say a high pitched "ow" or hiss. Using the blanket under him to slide him off. Then get up, ignore him and leave the room. Close a door between you it you have to for just a few minutes. This is to tell him "When you play rough all attention stops"

At 1 yr he's still full of kitten energy so lots of play sessions with interactive toys like Da Bird will help him be calmer in your lap. You might also be able to redirect his wrestle/bite play to a big soft toy. Kickeroos or infant safe stuffed animals might work. Have it a little from his face when your petting him. If he turns to bite, tap him gently with the toy, make it act alive and see if he'll wrestle with it.
 

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