Adult cat biting/nipping?

luna tuna

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My kitty is 10 and I recently adopted her. Lately, when I'm petting her, whether she initiated it or not, she'll bite my hand. She likes to have her head scratched, and at first I thought it was her telling me to scratch her head when I'm petting her sides, but sometimes she bites while I'm scratching her head. She never seems aggressive- she doesn't hiss and her ears song go back, sometimes she'll even push her head under my hand right after she bites and rubs up against me. She's usually purring too. she never breaks the skin but sometimes bites fairly hard.
Her biting is a fairly new behavior. There are other threads on this kind of thing, but they all seem to be about young kittens. I don't know what to think about this or if it's something I can stop. Also, she only bites me, not anyone else who pets her.
 

tulosai

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She may just be overstimulated.  Many cats reach a point when they are being pet where it is just too much for them and at that point they bite.  By observing your cat over time, you should be able to identify the signs of it getting to be too much  and stop petting her before that actually happens. In your situation I think simply figuring out where her stopping point is would probably be the most effective thing to do.

This article provides some more info about this and other possibilities, as well as about what else to do. http://www.thecatsite.com/a/cat-aggression-toward-people

Good luck!
 
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luna tuna

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I thought that could be the case, tulosai tulosai but she bites and immediately insists I keep petting her sometimes. Usually I'll back off for a while after she bites, but she does bite and then continue to rub up against me and try to get me to pet her sometimes.
I'll definitely read the article though, thanks!
 
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luna tuna

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She also often continues to purr when she bites, and if there are too many people for her taste (I can easily tell when she's feeling trapped) she won't bite me or anyone else, even when she's being pet and I'm holding her. I try to keep her away from such situations though, for obvious reasons.

Also, the article mentions tail lashing, and I'm not 100% sure what qualifies as that? Luna flicks her tail back and forth all the time when she's laying down, especially when she's stretched out.
 

misstufts

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Purring doesn't always mean happy. It can mean angry, anxious, happy or stressed. Tail flicking is usually to show agitation. A quick flick of the tail can be a sign of agitation, vigorous tail slashing is when they are getting even more worked up(agitated, angry or excited). If they're simply moving the tip of their tail, in a gentle fashion they are relaxed.
Also, whatbdo you do when she bites? Do you stop letting or continue? And where do you pet her?
When she bites you, does she hold on or immediately let go?
 
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luna tuna

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I usually stop petting when she bites, especially when it's on the harder end of the spectrum. She almost always immediately lets go, but when she doesn't she never hangs on for more than a few seconds. This only happens when I'm petting her sides or head, but she often continues to rub up against me and nudges her head against my hand like she wants to be pet more. Still, sometimes when she's insisting I pet, she'll bite. I always back off if I get more than one nip, even if she is nuzzling or trying to get her head under my hand for more pets.

As for her tail, she'll move it every couple of seconds sometimes, definitely not vigorously but it's not just the tip (depending on the definition, it's not her whole tail, it moves from a bit above halfway up). This happens a lot, pretty much any time she's crouch-laying and sometimes when she stretches out and lies on her side.
 

misstufts

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Okay I think to have a better understanding. This isn't a bite to tell you to quit petting, this is a bite to show affection. Cats do t know we don't have fur, so the bite will feel harder. My cat Luci will do this, she will be happily purring and licking me (arms, hands) and she'll grasp my skin with her teeth, let go and continue grooming me.
With your kitty she likes to rub on you rather than luck it seems. So this is a way cats will groom each other.
If you don't see any stress or agitation signs than I would consider this a love bite!
Seems like she loves you a lot and prefers to groom you. Usually if cats are agitated and bite they'll usually get up and leave the situation. If she stays put and begs for more I don't see this as an agitated bite.
 
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luna tuna

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Sometimes it definitely seems like a love bite, but sometimes if I interpret it that way she'll bite a few more times almost immediately after.

Also, she's had several of her upper teeth removed, so she may think her bites will do more damage than they actually would. It's very possible you're right, though!! The only time she licks me is if I'm laying down, sometimes she tries to groom my hair (which is pretty closely cropped) and that sometimes ends up with her biting my head! I've had her bite my head while I was asleep before, I usually attribute that to her asking for breakfast. I think I'll have to keep watching and make sure I know when she's love-biting and when she's warning me. Thanks!
 

misstufts

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Cats are definitely tough creatures to read, so many different moods for one gesture.
I think she's just grooming you and making sure you look lovely in the morning haha. To her you're one of the cats so you get the privilege of being groomed!
I would stick to petting the head, neck and chin areas as some cats get a little peeved when their backs, sides, bellies and bums are messed with. Just experiment with her, pet her in different areas and read her body language, she'll let you know when enough is enough and where she prefers to be petted.
With her teeth being removed just make sure they're not causing her any pain. cats have also been known to bite when uncomfortable (i.e. Her teeth bothering her)
 
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