What Does It Mean When a Cat Bites You Then Licks You?

Heres the scenario: Youre hanging out with Dr. Tuna (thats your cats name obviously) and youre gently scratching his cheek. Which he LOVES by the way. Then Dr. Tuna decides to start licking your hand ever so slightly.

That means were making educated guesses on why cats do certain things and we really need to rely on the context (aka what else was going on) to learn more about the behavior. Thats why were going to lay out three possible reasons why your cat may lick then bite you while giving you plenty of context cues to look for so you can figure out which one makes the most sense.

Heres what it looks like : Youre sitting on the couch doing your thing and then kitty calmly approaches, licks one or two times, and gives you a little bite. You werent petting her at all and your cat seems completely calm and relaxed throughout the licking and biting. The Biggest Factors To Look For: A happy, calm, relaxed cat that isnt being pet before the lick and bite.

Just a couple of kittens saying hello!I can confirm firsthand that my cat Debbie is a big fan of love bites. Debbie will stroll up, let out a little chirp , and ever so slowly give my nose a bite. Others argue that the licks and bites that occur outside of petting are part of the grooming process for cats and theyre just giving you a good cleaning.

If you watch enough cats groom themselves or each other, youll eventually see that its not unusual for them to mix in a little nibble. I had a foster cat named Stormy that made it her mission to lick my wet hair after a shower. Either way, she leans in, gives your finger a lick or two, and then a nice chomp!

Overstimulation occurs when the pets youre giving your cat go from pleasant and enjoyable to suddenly uncomfortable or frustrating. While we cant give a completely scientific explanation we know that cats are sensitive creatures with a clear threshold for when affection isnt anymore. Your best option is to stop petting your cat before it happens or avoid areas that tend to lead to overstimulation.

If your cat creates distance by running away or hiding under something theres a good chance they got overstimulated and theyre looking for some space. The Biggest Factors To Look For: Does your cat take any kind of play postures after the first lick and bite combo or immediately start going after toys? While grabbing or toy would seem like a perfectly clear signal some of our cats might prefer to be a little more forward and let the chomping do the talking.

If she stays and still seems interested or sprints little circles around the house, shes probably ready to play. I hope these scenarios helped clear up the great feline licking and biting mystery!

What does it mean when a cat bites you gently?

A cat may lightly bite you to communicate one of the following things: General affection, love and happiness ; A desire for attention or petting; Over-stimulation, or over-excitement.

Why does my cat hug my arm and bite me?

“When cats bite in this context, it’s not a sign of affection, but rather a signal that the cat is done with the interaction. If the petting continues despite the cat’s efforts to signal that he or she is done with being petted, the cat may escalate to a bite,” says Dr. Ballantyne.

Why does my cat bite me then cuddle?

Cats cuddle and then bite due to petting-induced aggression. Anything from over-stimulation and static electricity to sensitive skin and poor socialization can end any cuddle session with bite marks on your body. Sometimes, cats bite as a sign of affection—also known as “love bites.”

When your cat bites and licks you, it can mean different things at different times. Cats bite and lick to communicate. You have to consider your cat‘s body language and what is happening in your cat‘s world to determine just what it is he is trying to tell you.

The suckling behavior is probably comforting to your cat and may start or increase when he is feeling particularly stressed or insecure.

If you‘re a cat owner you‘ll sometimes be puzzled by your cats behavior, especially when they give you a nip or bite and then lick you straight afterwards. This kind of behavior is very normal among cats as it‘s regarded as a sign of affection and not aggression. What your feline friend is trying to tell you is, they Love You, it‘s their way of giving you a kiss!

I just came by to comment and fave cat photos and found a couple hundred posted … i m new in flickr i like travel(asia) ,photography and cat

Sometimes their cat kisses can seem more like a bite or a sharp pinch which can hurt. Remember don’t get angry at your cat as you can confuse the poor puss. In time your cat will understand it‘s still OK to show affection but not to cause you pain.

For a cat, this type of affection is quite acceptable, but as a pet owner it‘s not the most pleasant experience being bitten. An over excited kitty will exhibit many tell tale signs like purring, rubbing against you, chirping and a stiff tail that can quiver. Remember if their tail is quivering with excitement avoid contact as you might end up with a love bite.

Approach your cat when it‘s in a good mood, their tail will look calm and only the tip will gently move. Living in harmony with your cat is possible, just try to be aware of their mood swings and if they do bite and lick you (kiss you) remember it‘s there way of saying I love you
Originally posted at 6:21AM, 23 June 2011 PST
( permalink ) Enrico-79 edited this topic ages ago. ( permalink ) nonstop bicycle edited this topic ages ago.

😛 haha
I tease my black cat and we play about, but she get’s too entusiastic with her teeth and claws! My kitty, Chester sits next to me on the couch while i eat a snack. Cats who bite when you‘re petting them may be exhibiting signs of feline hyperesthesia, also known as “rippling skin disease”.

Thankfully, my cats don’t bite too much…my worst offender has calmed way down and learning to read her body language has helped us avoid handling her when she isn’t in the mood so we don’t irritate her and end up bit. He bites when hes playfull and climbes the curtains when he wants letting out 🙂
119 months ago
( permalink ) disastrous shock [deleted] says: My cat bits then licks when I annoy him 🙂
114 months ago
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Maybe its weird….but if you scratch my cats back, and hold your hand up he bites it like he’s biting a flea….the weird part is……i lovvvvvvveeeee it when he does that…it hurts like hell and looks way nasty….i think i have a sickness…i should be on a tv show
108 months ago
( permalink ) But my toe was sore so I had a reason… but luckily my cats forgive me. My kitty who sadly passed away a few years ago would like to play a game if I held my hand up in front of her and cupped slightly, sort of like a cobra snake, she would put here ears back and get crazy and attack!

My littlest one will however gladly groom my eye brows and side burns if I let her, she will also lick my hand while I pet her, presumably to help. my cat just lick me at a toe sometime,because she love me…and I can imagine,if Melody gone..one day..
107 months ago
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What Is Overstimulation?

Your cat may be experiencing something called overstimulation or sometimes called petting-induced aggression. Overstimulation occurs when the pets you’re giving your cat go from pleasant and enjoyable to suddenly uncomfortable or frustrating.Why do cats get overstimulated?While we can’t give a completely scientific explanation we know that cats are sensitive creatures with a clear threshold for when affection isn’t anymore.I try to think of it like being ticklish. Sometimes someone could massage or rub your back and it might feel nice. But then they hit just the right spot near your ribs and suddenly you’re being tickled!I know it’s a bit of a stretch (and anthropomorphizing animals isn’t a great habit to get in to) but I do think it’s still a useful way to think about overstimulation in cats. And I think it’s a better explanation than simply saying that your cat has mood swings!The biggest problem is that our cats can’t let us know with words that something has become uncomfortable. Eventually, they get frustrated and communicate the only way they can think of…with a little cat bite!So what can you do about overstimulated cats that go from happy and purring to licking and biting?Your best option is to stop petting your cat before it happens or avoid areas that tend to lead to overstimulation. Different cats have different thresholds for how long they can be pet or areas that lead to overstimulation so you’ll have to learn what works best for your cat.It’s important to note here that your cat will typically look loose and comfortableAlways be observant of your cat’s behavior. If your cat already looks tense, stressed or fearful then don’t pet!Try to pay attention to what your cat does after the lick and bite combination. If your cat creates distance by running away or hiding under something there’s a good chance they got overstimulated and they’re looking for some space. Make sure to give your cat the room they need and consider what happened right before she became overstimulated.Eventually, you’ll be able to get a feel for the amount of petting your cat can handle and what they can’t.


Cats bite and lick as part of play. Kittens who leave their littermates too young may not learn boundaries and go on to play too rough as adults. Because mom and littermates will squeal and stop playing when a kitten gets too rough, staying with the family for longer teaches kittens not to bite too hard. If you adult cat is biting and licking too much in play, you can try to teach him this isn’t acceptable. When he starts to play too rough, walk away. He’ll soon learn that if he wants to continue to play, he’ll have to be gentler.


Sometimes, licking and gentle nibbling can be your cat’s way of showing affection. Mother cats lick and nibble at their kittens in grooming, and it may be that your cat is trying to show you the same love his mom showed him. This behavior can become annoying, but as you redirect him, keep in mind he is doing this because he wants to show his affection. Never yell at him or hit him to make him stop. Again, the simplest way to tell your cat that you don’t like being licked is to walk away when the behavior starts. You could also try offering him a treat or toy to distract him.


Some cats take licking and biting a step further and suckle on their person’s skin or clothing. This behavior likely results from kittens leaving their moms and littermates too soon. The suckling behavior is probably comforting to your cat and may start or increase when he is feeling particularly stressed or insecure. If the behavior doesn’t bother you, it‘s OK to let him continue. If it gets to the point of annoying, try redirecting his behavior by walking away, offering a treat or distracting him with a toy. You might also try a cat pheromone product to help ease any anxiety he is feeling.