Why Do Cats Purr and Then Bite You?

Why Do Cats Purr and Then Bite You

Cats can definitely be unpredictable creatures, to say the least. One minute your kitty is being affectionate, and the next they are nipping at you. 

There are some pretty interesting reasons for this behavior that you’ll want to know about. This article will help you understand your feline friend even better.

Reasons Cats Bite After Purring

First you will need to understand why cats bite, and there are numerous reasons to consider. While many people associate these animals biting with aggression, this isn’t always true.

1. Playful Behavior

One of the reasons that cats bite after purring is because they are being playful. Biting is normal playtime behavior for kittens, and sometimes it carries on into adulthood. This very well might just be your cat’s way of showing affection.

Kittens nip at their litter mates all the time, so it is perfectly normal for young cats to do this to their owners. You can also think of this as a form of communication, albeit a somewhat annoying and painful one.

2. Overstimulation

It’s possible that your sweet kitty got over stimulated while playing with you, which led to some light biting. This is actually fairly common with cats, so it’s nothing you should take personally.

If your cat gets too worked up having fun, they might bite you a little bit. This is their way of expending all that pent up energy. And while it’s certainly not a pleasant experience, it’s no reason for concern.

white cat biting hand

3. They Are Irritated

If you are petting your cat and it purrs but then bites you, it could be a sign that it wants to be left alone. Felines can be extremely finicky creatures, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

When you are petting your kitty, you’ll need to look out for signs that they want you to stop. This includes hissing and other aggressive vocalizations. Your cat might also nip at your fingers, which you should take as a sign to leave them be. Even the most affectionate cats can have a limit on how much they are touched.

4. Illness

A cat purring and then biting could be a sign of illness. Your cat could have a serious illness that needs to be addressed right away.

Some of the general symptoms of illness among cats include:

  • Lethargic behavior
  • Hyper aggressiveness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you suspect that your cat is sick, you’ll want to get them to the vet right away. This will minimize the chances of serious complications with your pet.

Playful Aggression vs. Real Aggression

It is crucial that you understand the difference between playful aggression and the real thing with your cat. If your cat starts to make a hissing or growling sound, you need to leave them alone. If they continue purring, it is the playful kind.

When you are able to differentiate between these two moods with your cat, you will have a much easier time bonding with them. If you get on your pet’s bad side too often, it could do serious damage to your relationship.

How to Stop Your Cat’s Biting

There are a number of methods that you can use to put a stop to your cat’s biting. Even if their biting is a result of playfulness, you should make a conscious effort to get them to stop.

1. Training

Make sure that you scold your cat right after they bite you. Tell them “No!” in a calm but commanding voice. You never want to hit or get physical with your cat when trying to break it of an undesirable behavior. This will only cause them to distrust you over the long term.

You might also want to consider keeping a spray bottle handy. When you get bitten by your kitty, give them one or two sprays with some water. It shouldn’t take long for them to get the message.

kitty bites

2. Pay Attention to their Demeanor

You also need to make a point of paying close attention to how your cat is acting while petting or interacting with it. This will greatly decrease your chances of getting nipped at.

If it seems like your cat is getting agitated, you should back off and let them have their space. It’s also important to do this if your cat seems to be getting overly excited.

Should I Let My Kids Play with the Cat?

If you have a cat that you know sometimes bites, you should always be around when your child plays with it. It is best to train your cat to not bite before allowing them to play with any small children in the house. Even a little bite can do a lot of damage to a very young child, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.

It’s also important that you teach your children how to properly handle and interact with the cat. You need to impress upon them the importance of being gentle with their feline friend. The gentler your child is, the less likely they are to get bitten.


  • Biting after purring can usually be explained as playful behavior.
  • It is very common for kittens to bite their litter mates when playing. 
  • Sometimes this behavior carries over into adulthood.
  • It’s also possible that your cat bit you because it was over stimulated while playing.
  • A cat might bite their owner when playing with them as a way of expending pent up energy.
  • This can also be a sign that your cat is agitated and wants to be left alone.
  • If your cat’s biting is accompanied by growling or hissing, they are displaying genuine aggression.
  • Your cat’s biting after purring could also be explained by a serious illness.
  • Make sure that you scold your cat immediately after it bites you.
  • You should be careful about letting your cat play with very young children if it has a tendency to bite.
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