When my cat licks me, it gives me immense joy. I perceive it to be a display of affection from my cat, but then it bites me right after, making me feel otherwise. However, I was relaxed to know that other felines portray similar behavior, leaving the cat owners wondering, why does my cat lick me then bite me?
A cat bites after licking you, to communicate love and trust. This is part of the grooming process, however, cats also exhibit this behavior when they are stressed, to mark their territory, or when they are agitated.
So, let’s dive into the various reasons why your pet cat licks and then bites you.
Reasons Why A Cat Would Lick And Then Bite You
Below are the most common reasons cats lick and then bite people.
To Show Their Love
When your cat decides to lick you and ends up biting up, it is because your feline friend wants to express its fondness. It appreciates the way you take care of it and trusts you completely. The biting behavior is a sign of a strong bond between you and your cat.
If your cat bites you after licking you, it shows that your pet cat is relaxed and comfortable enough around you and considers you part of its clan. Cats have thicker skin than humans, and they bite each other as a sign of love, so when they bite you, they are unaware that they are hurting you.
Your Pet Cat Is Grooming You
If your pet cat is licking you a lot and bit you once or twice, it is trying to groom you as if you are a cat. Cats often bite other cats when they groom each other to remove dirt and mats from their fur.
When your cat licks you, you might have noticed its tongue has a scales-like texture because of its keratin spines that help clean its body.
If your cat focuses on nibbling and chewing on your lustrous hair, it is a true sign that your pet cat is attempting to groom you, and you can take it as a positive sign that your furry friend is trying to create a bond with his beloved friend, i.e., you.
Take this opportunity to spend some time with your feline and make your bond stronger.
Remember that cats don’t groom other fellow cats randomly; they only groom their buddies. So, consider yourself lucky that your feline companion considers you a part of its group and wants to take care of you.
Your Cat Needs A Break From Physical Attention
When your pet cat is satisfied and done with the petting, it will bite you lightly to know that it needs a break from the physical attention.
Since your cat can’t communicate with you using words, it will communicate its message using actions. Biting due to overstimulation is a sign that you should not pet your cat anymore.
The licking that accompanies the bite is a way to lower the blow, and it means that your cat wants you to stop, but it still loves you.
How Can You Avoid Overstimulating Your Cat
● Avoid letting your cat in areas that it doesn’t like
● If you see any sign of discomfort in your cat, then stop petting it
● Keep a note of the time that your kitten likes to be petted
● Wait for some time before you start your next petting session
● Don’t retaliate if your cat bites you because your cat might end up being scared of you
Your Pet Cat Is Agitated When You Keep Petting It In The Same Place
If you are constantly petting a sensitive part of your cat’s body, it will become agitated and start to bite you to convey that it is overstimulated. Observe the ears of your cat. She shows this behavior.
If the ears are flat against your cat’s head or flickering constantly, you should leave your cat alone.
You can try petting your cat in a different spot, and if it does not try to sneak away from you, it still wants you to pet it but not in that spot. If your cat still tries to move away from you, then give your cat some space because its petting quota has been fulfilled.
Your Cat Wants To Play
When your cat uses the bite lick combo, it is usually a sign that it wants to play. If there is a toy within her sight, it is a clear indication that your pet cat wants to have some fun playing.
However, you should know how to differentiate your cat’s desire to play versus overstimulation because they look identical.
If your cat’s ears and whiskers are pointing forward with its tail up in the air, then your pet cat is in the mood to enjoy and play. If your cat’s ears are flat against its ears, then your pet cat is done with the petting and wants you to stop.
The determinant of desire to play as opposed to overstimulation is your furry friend’s behavior after she bites you. If it is jumpy and stays around you, then it wants to play with you. On the other hand, if your pet cat starts to get tense and departs from the place, it is overstimulated.
If your cat stays around you after biting, then you can add a toy to the mix to confirm if your cat would like to play.
Your Dear Cat Is Stressed
When your pet cat goes through stress, it will lick you and then bite you right after. It is also possible that your cat adopts aggressive behavior and starts to chew things. Cats tend to act in such a way if they are stressed or anxious.
The main reason cats develop stress is not apparent yet, but it has something to do with their inability to achieve their goal. This behavior is understandable because humans also get frustrated when their desired goals are not met after several tries.
Similarly, cats trying to recover from an illness also develop stress, and the stress leads to aggressive behavior in cats.
Stress in cats results from their ability to perform their desired task because of their current condition or lack of strength.
If your pet cat is recuperating from an illness, then it won’t play as much as other cats around it, which will lead to stress in your cat. Stress causes your cat to bite you mildly to let you know that your pet cat is going through something.
Therefore, when you notice that your pet cat is under stress, it is advised to take it to the vet to get it examined and start the necessary treatment. There might be an underlying health issue that is causing stress in your cat and needs immediate attention.
Natural Hunting Instincts
It is like cats to hunt, and in the wild, when they are growing up, they learn the skills of hunting by practicing stalking, pouncing, and biting. Wild cats play rough even with their fellow pets.
Domesticated cats, even though they do not possess the same wilderness skills, retain similar hunting instincts.
Rough play is their way of socially bonding with other kittens and preparing for adulthood. If your baby kitten does not have feline playmates, then she will try her well-aimed bites on you.
Your cat’s hunting instincts get triggered even when it gets excited while you are petting it, and therefore it bites you playfully. It is like a reflex action that indicates that your pet cat is enjoying the bonding time with you.
Your Feline Friend Is Marking You
If you brought home a new pet, then your cat probably feels threatened about its position in the house. When your cat bites you after a playful session, it is to mark its scent on you.
Marking territory is a general cat instinct to portray dominance over the other pet and let it know that you belong to your cat only. It is also a way for your cat to show its love towards you.
This behavior will dial down when your cat becomes friendly or gets accustomed to the new pet.
There Might Be Health Issues
A health problem is uncommon, but it can be one of the reasons that your cat licked you and then bit you. If you touched your pet and it evoked pain instead of a friendly trill, then there is some underlying health issue with your cat.
Some of the possible health issues that make your cat bite you mildly include:
● Tight fur knots that pull at your kitty’s skin when you pet it. You need to de-mat them, or else your pet will remain disgruntled.
● There are some scratched or wounds on your cat’s skin, and you accidentally inflicted pain by touching them
● Your cat has developed skin irritation due to some reason
You Taste Good To Your Cat
Even though it is not common, cats lick and then bite into it if they find something delicious on your skin, maybe a strawberry flavored cream that you applied. If you ate something savory and the sauce dripped on your hand, then your cat probably liked its taste.
Make sure that you keep an eye on your cat if it ingested something intoxicating. Your skin products might contain ingredients that are harmful to felines.
It Is About The Cat Breed
Like humans, every cat breed has a different personality, temperament, emotional IQ, and everything else. Some cats are testy, while others are friendly. The cat breed is one aspect that decides your cat’s behavior based on the inheritable traits.
The knack of biting you suddenly could be an inherited trait from your cat’s breed. However, it does not mean that your cat does not like you or wants to harm you in any way. You probably touched your cat on a sensitive area which is why your cat bit you.
Things To Consider
Below are some other considerations relating to cats biting behavior.
How To Discourage The Biting Behavior Of Your Cat
Although your cat means no harm when it bites you after licking you, it might be painful for you. To discourage the biting behavior of your cat, here are a few things that you can try.
Use The Positive Reinforcement Method
The best way to discourage your cat from biting is to train your cat from an early age using the positive reinforcement method. Make your cat believe that biting is not acceptable to you. Every time your cat does not bite in situations where it usually would offer it a treat. Do not encourage its biting behavior in any way.
Pretend That You Are In Pain When Your Cat Bites You
When your cat bites you suddenly, show it that the bite caused you pain. If the cat holds onto your hand, try to fold your fingers inside. If your cat lets go of your hand, then offer a treat to reinforce that behavior.
Give Your Cat Chew Toys
Giving your cat chew toys will satisfy your cat’s urge to bite. Ensure that you offer at least three different toys to your cat to chew on because they tend to get bored with one thing easily.
If your cat’s urge to bite remains satisfied, then the chances of your cat biting you will decrease.
Is There Anything About The Licking And Biting That Is Worrisome
Certain cat behaviors convey to the owner that they are facing discomfort or are in pain. If your cat shows signs of pain when you pet your cat on a particular part of its body, then you should take a look at that part for any scratches or bite marks.
If there are no visible marks that may inflict pain, then take help from a vet to determine the cause of your pet’s pain. There may be some underlying health issue with your cat, and it is trying to convey that to you by biting you mildly.