Why Do Cats Bite Then Lick?

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!

Cats do odd things sometimes and one of the weirdest things Kalista does is bite us and lick us. Its a fairly common trait in cats, however, its something none of our other cats have ever done. So why is it that shes doing it? What does it mean?

If you find this trait annoying, gently push your cats head away from you or walk away from them. Note: I never condone scolding a cat by hitting or spanking them, try to train them to understand what specific words mean.

Using words that are common in conversation may cause your cat to get scared or feel like they are being scolded when youre merely speaking to a friend or family member. One of my favourite calming words is uh-uh which is a fairly rare sound/word in daily conversation, but still feels natural to humans. Sometimes it can be hard to get a humans attention, so one of the most common reasons a cat may bite then lick you is to get you to play with them.

This type of attention seeking commonly develops in cats who have been taken away from their littermates too early and may not understand what boundaries truly are. These cats commonly play roughly as adults, since they havent faced the consequences that their family would have potentially incurred (such as yelping, biting or fighting back.) We also were aware that she always open fed with her foster parents, which was something we could not do with Beau living in the same house (as hes a little piggy who wont stop eating until he throws up.)

When a cat suckles on clothes they tend to also chew and swallow the material which may lead to other problems like blockages in their intestines. If this is the reason why your cat is biting you they may also put their ears back or their tail may begin to twitch.

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
amicalement

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.

I Love You, Human!

Similar to humans, sometimes we like to tell the ones we love that we love them by giving them a gentle bite. I refer to these as “love bites” and they commonly hurt less than other forms of biting (ie. some of the ones listed below). This is a learned behaviour from your cat’s mother. Mother kitties will bite their kittens softly while grooming, so this your cat’s way of telling you that they love you in the best way they know how.This is usually the reason why Kalista bites us, as she usually sits next to us, bites us softly and then begins licking. She usually does this as she’s grooming herself or after she’s done grooming herself.If you find this trait annoying, gently push your cats head away from you or walk away from them. After some time they should no longer exhibit this behaviour. Never hit your cat, especially if they are using biting to show their affection as they may co-relate them giving affection to being scolded or beaten.Note: I never condone scolding a cat by hitting or spanking them, try to train them to understand what specific words mean.Also, try not to use words like “no” or “stop” as they are words that are commonly used in conversation. Using words that are common in conversation may cause your cat to get scared or feel like they are being scolded when you’re merely speaking to a friend or family member.One of my favourite calming words is “uh-uh” which is a fairly rare sound/word in daily conversation, but still feels natural to humans.

I Want To Play!

Sometimes it can be hard to get a human’s attention, so one of the most common reasons a cat may bite then lick you is to get you to play with them.This type of attention seeking commonly develops in cats who have been taken away from their littermates too early and may not understand what boundaries truly are. These cats commonly play roughly as adults, since they haven’t faced the consequences that their family would have potentially incurred (such as yelping, biting or fighting back.)Although common, this behaviour can be unlearned and probably should, especially if playfulness is the reason for biting. I can say when we first adopted Beau he used to bite us while he played and he actually used to tear through our skin. The only difference is, Beau used to run away immediately after he bit us because he knew he was going to get scolded. Since then he hasn’t bitten us unless we’ve terrified him in some way.

Why Aren’t You Feeding Me, Human!?

This used to be the most common reason why Kalista used to bite and lick us, especially in the first two months we had her. The reason we knew she was biting us for food was because she would most commonly bite us in the morning or the evening. We also were aware that she always open fed with her foster parents, which was something we could not do with Beau living in the same house (as he’s a little piggy who won’t stop eating until he throws up.)These bites are similar to love bites and are fairly light, however dependant on how long you leave them without food (ex. because you’re trying to get them on a new feeding schedule) they can get a lot harder.

I’m Just Going Through Something Stressful

Cats can experience quite a bit of stress and may not know how to express it. Beau’s stress is primarily expressed with Pica.Although Pica is one way cats express their stress your cat may express it by licking, biting or suckling on your skin or even clothing (clothing suckling being an extension of Pica). Again, this is usually a sign that your cat was taken away from their mother/littermates too early.Suckling specifically is a device your cat uses to comfort themselves when they are feeling insecure or stressed out.Note: Suckling is an acceptable behaviour as long as the cat is suckling your skin and not clothes. When a cat suckles on clothes they tend to also chew and swallow the material which may lead to other problems like blockages in their intestines.If your cat is exhibiting this behaviour I highly suggest buying your cat a feeder toy to occupy their attention or check out my article about how I got Beau to stop suckling on our clothes.If you’ve already tried those ideas, I would recommend trying out some cat-specific music to help calm their stress. This works really well for both of our cats and I’m so happy I learned about it.[Click here for a Spotify Playlist for Calming Music for Feline Anxiety & Stress]

I’ve Had It… Officially!

Sometimes we give too much attention to our cats. This causes your cat to become overstimulated, especially when you over pet them or play with them for too long.If this is the reason why your cat is biting you they may also put their ears back or their tail may begin to twitch. Unfortunately, this is not a learned behaviour and just a reaction that your cat has to tell you they are not happy with you.I would advise you to learn when your cat is becoming overstimulated as they will continue to bite you, and dependant on how overstimulated they are they may actually draw blood. This was also something we experienced with Beau, especially because he loves his behind scratched (which tends to stimulate cats very quickly.)Cats are odd creatures who can switch their moods quickly, however they are also some of the easiest pets to read.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, your cat isn’t biting you because they hate you. It’s just the easiest way for them to express what they are feeling.If a cat is licking you after they bite you, it truly means that they love you. I like to think of it as my cats saying sorry for potentially hurting you, BUT THIS IS WHAT I WANT!In most cases biting can be unlearned or avoided, so if it’s been an issue that’s bothering you, know that there’s hope!