Cat nipping = kissing?

I got Pudding around New Year, this year. She has been slowly relaxing and getting happy, after having had two previous owners and spending five months in the shelter (where she lost an eye, poor sweetie) before I adopted her.

In the last two months, when I’m petting her, she has begun to try to bite my wrist. She has also begun to claw me a little bit, so I’ve been scruffing, saying no, and ignoring her for a while when she does. She looks completely confused when I do this.

Yesterday, I was reading Wikipedia’s article on cat communication, which says that a gentle “nip” from a cat is comparable to a human kiss.

Does Pudding think she’s kissing me, when she bites?

My guess is that she’s trying to play. Mine do that sometimes when they’re feeling playful. I take my hand away and give them a more appropriate toy to play with. Unless I feel like playing rough, too, then I rub their bellies and stuff and get 'em really riled up.:wink:

My cat does that - she will gently nip without breaking the skin as a sign of affection.

Yes, many cats- including mine- does that. It’s endearing.

I had a kitten a few years ago that did that. She was the sweetest kitty, and the smartest one I ever had. She also nipped when she played.

Unfortunately my 92-year-old mother was living with me at the time. She was on Coumadin, a blood thinner, and had paper-thin skin. Even a tiny nip would break the skin and cause serious bleeding. Especially when the kitten would attack her ankles when going up the stairs.

We tried everything to correct the problem, but finally had to return the kitten to the shelter. (I tried to give them my mother instead, but they refused.)

This is how “bitey” here, got his nickname. When he is feeling affectionate, yet is not getting the dedicated attention he feels he deserves, he will very gently and delicately nip an exposed part of my body until I start paying attention to him. Then he stops and just wants to be petted.

Other possibilities with nipping:

1.) She’s playing, in which case you are doing the right thing by not indulging her. This actually sounds like what she is doing based on your description.

2.) She’s annoyed. As wikipedia notes, some cats get overstimulated very quickly and then no longer want to be petted. If you have been petting awhile, then she suddenly lashes out with her ears laid back and an annoyed expression and an agitated, lashing tail - it probably means she has had enough with the petting already.

3.) If it is mixed with a lot of patient licking, it might be part of grooming behaviour, in which case it is an affectionate bonding exercise. We had a thread on this just recently.

By “clawing”, do you mean keeping her paws in place (say, on your lap), and extending and retracting claws? That comes from what kittens do while nursing, to encourage the milk to flow. Roughly, it could be interpreted as meaning that the cat thinks of you as “mommy”, and is very comfortable in your lap. Cats, like many domesticated animals, retain many “childish” traits into adulthood.

No, I mean trying to grasp my hand with her two front paws, with the claws out. It does seem like a “playful” gesture, but she’s usually completely blissed out on my lap when she does it, not hyper and worked up.

Pudding loves you and is simply expressing herself. Many cats give love bites and people get confused thinking it is an aggressive act. My cat does this also and I find it very endearing. I did a lot of research on this a few years ago and the consensus among cat behavior experts is that it is a sign of true affection. Some people find it annoying and try to curb the behavior, but I say embrace it. She just wants to show you that she loves you.