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!
Why does my cat lick me and then bite?
Your cat may lick and bite you as a way to bond by grooming you, to show affection, or as an invitation for playtime. She may also be licking and biting you to show that she’s had enough of your attention and it is her way of telling you to stop petting her.
What does it mean when a cat gently bites you?
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 do cats bite their owners for no reason?
Some cats may gently nibble or bite their owners as a sign of affection. It is thought to be reminiscent of how a mother cat will groom her kittens with small bites and is more common in cats who have had litters.
There are five major reasons for this weird behavior. Your kitten will bite you right after licking you when hes stressed out or when he needs some space. Cats will also do this behavior when he wants to play with you, when showing some affection, and when hes grooming you for a stronger bond.
These actions may take a reverse order, but he may also go further to chew things aggressively. The major cause of stress in cats is not clear, but the inability to achieve their aims has been linked to it.
This is understandable as humans also get frustrated when they are not able to achieve a particular goal after multiple attempts. Consequently, cats that are recovering from an illness may also get stressed out, leading them to perform such behavior. Stress sets in when a cat tries to do an activity but his current strength or condition wont allow it.
Thus, when you notice that your cat is stressed up, the best thing is to take him to see a vet for examination and treatment. In the cats perspective, hes no longer the little kitten you adopted a few years ago. And when you do forget about your play date with your cat, he will always remind you because he lives for that.
Once you get the message, your cat will stop biting and prepare for your fun game. Another reason why your cat may decide to lick and bite you is to express some fondness. So, if your cat performs this weird behavior, its a sign of a deep connection with you.
But if you dont stop the habit, it will be a serious issue when they become adult cats. When your cat suddenly bites your finger, show him that youre in pain. If your cat licks and bites you out of stress, that gives cause for concern.
So, next time, if your cat licks and bites you, try to rule out the possibility of stress from the equation.
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.