January 22, 2022

Why do cats lick you then bite you?

kitten bites a person's finger

Cats are not so easy to understand. Even scientists have more questions than answers. For instance, the masters often say that their cat licks then bites without any clear reason. There is lots of evidence connected with completely different situations that is why it is not easy to draw conclusions and explain such a cat’s behavior. So if you ask yourself Why does my cat lick me then bite me?, you are suggested to read this article.

cat bites a man's hand

We’ll try to investigate the phenomenon and bring the reasons behind it to light. Of course, there will be guesses on “Why do cats bite then lick or vice versa: lick then bite. And we expect you to agree that when you try to interpret the cat’s behavior, context counts for much.

Why does my cat Lick me then bite me?

The experts find six reasons for the above manner:

  1. Stress. When a cat is upset and feels discomfort or even irritation, she can do these two actions opposite in a sense as it seems at first. The sequence of actions can be changed and you can observe a reverse order. It looks a little bit aggressive and proves that your cat gets frustrated somehow. Perhaps, she wants to get something but you refuse, restrict, prevent her from doing what she wants. Stress causing such a reaction is definitely connected with frustration. By the same principle she may feel upset if recovering from an illness. She cannot be as active as she was before. The restrictions put her out of temper while she’d prefer to play around but cannot afford until she recovers strength. Also, a cat can be exhausted because of a medical condition you do not know yet and gets irritated because she is not capable of behaving as usual. In this case, it will be helpful to visit a vet.
cat licks man's hand
  1. Privacy needs. For instance, she is lying on a sofa and you decide to cuddle her. But she has no intent to share her spare time with you while you insist and continue playing her up. She will tell you that she is not in a playful mood. Or early in the game, a cat was ready to join you, but soon she may get bored and prefer to stop while her master does not notice the change and continue. The cat will respond, demanding to leave her alone for some time. This quiet time will last a short while. Soon, your cat will come to you trying to nestle against you or even on your lap just when you least need it.
  2. Invitation to play. But you may ask Why does my cat lick me then attack me for being healthy, playful, and full of energy? The reason may be completely opposite to the previous one. She wants to play, and if you are busy or just in no mood, she will grow angry and draw attention to herself by licking and biting you. She can even come with her toy but if you do not notice, then she starts biting.
  3. Need for love. The cats can be very gentle and affectionate. Thus they may lick and bite because of their exuberance of feeling. This is a kind of appreciation. Let’s say that your cat’s feelings are too strong for her to speak, that is why she performs like that. This is a proof of a deep gratitude and trust. This will be a little love bite which certainly does not hurt. She says that she loves you, identifying her expression by a quick lick. Actually, bites are a part of normal communication between cats.
  4. Grooming. Cats take care of themselves by cleaning their fur and body with a tongue. Thus, she can groom you in gratitude for your kindness and care. Licking a skin, she keeps you clean, and when she finds some defect (as she thinks), she bites it off. In addition to keeping you clean, they strengthen friendship with you in such a way.
  5. And at last this can be a sign of overstimulation. When in response to your petting which she definitely likes, she suddenly bites you. This behavior is also known as petting-induced aggression occurring when pleasant touch becomes uncomfortable due to a long-term effect. There is no scientific explanation of this change in mood but everybody has a threshold of this kind. This is like a message about petting which is pleasant during half an hour but when it continues, it becomes uncomfortable. The cat cannot tell you that she is tired of your petting and demonstrate it with her licking and biting.
cat bites a man's finger

 How to stop your cat from biting?

You can try to teach your cat to react in a different manner in the above mentioned cases. One way or another this is a kind of aggression in cats which should be kept under control. The simplest way to avoid this strange biting is not to trigger it. Mostly this is possible. Do not insist when she refuses to play with you, changing location or detaching from you. Forget about aggressive games not to let a cat feel that she knows how to be aggressive. If a cat still bites you when you are playing together, you should not punish her in response. It may cause more aggressiveness or fear. We hope you do not want your cat to be afraid of you.

Anyway it is important to comprehend that this is not that severe biting, which a cat may apply in other situations. Normally, it will not injure you. But if it is intense, you should not leave it without your special attention. Stop the habit, when she is a kitten. Do not offer your fingers for your kitten to play and bite. You can even show that you’re in pain after such biting. The cats are sensitive and understand emotions very well. You can reward her understanding with a delicious treat. Provide a kitten with soft and hard toys to bite because cats need to exercise their teeth and clean them up too. Otherwise, they will look for anything appropriate like your sneakers, furniture or wires. Think of several stuffed toys of various types.

You may ask “What does it mean when a cat licks your face?” The explanation will be almost the same. They try to create social bonds and show their affection. But cleaning themselves they pick up a range of bacteria that is why you should not allow your pet to lick your mouth or eyes even though there are healing chemicals in cat saliva.

You should agree that cats are quite complex animals which are not understood by people to the full extent. We cannot read their thoughts and interpret their behavior for sure, but if we treat them well with love and care, they will return your love in increasing amounts. You should observe the habits of your cat and the way she interacts with people. Being responsible for our pets, we should find the best communication and learn their body language. As we have mentioned, licking and biting is a normal reaction of cats when they interact with the surroundings and in most cases this behavior should not be a reason for your concern. They can show affection or remind you that you are expected to give them more attention or ask for private time – they try to communicate, tell you about their wishes and feelings. If you ask “Should I let my cat lick me?”, we answer that this is your choice but you’d better avoid contact with your wounds, lips, and eyes.

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January 22, 2022

One Comment on “Why do cats lick you then bite you?

[…] Learning to read cat body language is essential if you want to bond with your cat. By observing even subtle body language, you can gain insights into your cat’s feelings and emotions. Unlike people, cats use subtle body language to communicate with you. In addition to licking, cats may also bite you, which may be an indication that your cat is displeased with a certain activity. If this behaviour is happening frequently, you should try a different approach.More information here: […]


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