Receiving a lick from my cat brings me great pleasure as I interpret it as a sign of love, but the subsequent bite that follows leaves me feeling uncertain about its intentions; nevertheless, I found comfort in discovering that other cats exhibit comparable conduct, leaving their owners pondering over the reasons behind why their cats lick them and then bite.
When a cat licks and then bites you, it is a way of showing affection and trust through grooming. Nevertheless, cats may also do this when they feel anxious, want to establish their territory, or are irritated.
Now, we will explore the different explanations behind why your feline companion licks you and subsequently nips at you.
Reasons Why A Cat Would Lick And Then Bite You
Uncovering the mystery behind why cats lick and subsequently bite humans, here are the most frequent causes.
To Show Their Love
If your cat licks you and then bites, it’s a way of showing affection. Your feline friend appreciates the care you provide and has complete trust in you. The biting is an indication of a strong bond between you and your cat.
If your cat licks you and then bites you, it is likely a sign of affection. Cats have thicker skin than humans, so when they bite each other, it is usually a sign of love. When they bite you, however, they may not realize that it can hurt. This shows that your pet cat is relaxed and comfortable enough around you to consider you part of its family.
Your Pet Cat Is Grooming You
When your cat licks you excessively and occasionally bites, it is attempting to groom you as if you were a feline, since cats typically bite each other during grooming sessions to eliminate dirt and tangles from their fur.
If your cat licks you, you may have observed that its tongue has a rough texture due to the keratin spines that aid in grooming its body.
When your cat chews or nibbles on your hair, it could mean that they are trying to groom you, which is a positive indication that they are attempting to establish a connection with their beloved companion – you.
Use this chance to spend quality time with your cat and strengthen your relationship.
It’s important to keep in mind that cats don’t groom just any other cats, but only their close companions. Therefore, if your cat is licking and grooming you, it means they consider you a part of their group and want to take care of you.
Your Cat Needs A Break From Physical Attention
After licking you, your cat may give you a gentle bite to indicate that it wants to take a break from being petted.
Cats communicate through actions since they cannot use words, and if they bite you due to overstimulation, it is a clear indication that you should stop petting them.
When your cat bites you and then licks you, it’s a signal that the bite was not intended to harm you, but rather to communicate a message, and the licking is a way of softening the impact while expressing affection.
What are some ways to prevent overstimulating your cat?
It is advisable to prevent your cat from accessing places it dislikes.
● Cease petting your cat if you notice any indication of discomfort.
● Take note of the specific time when your cat enjoys being stroked.
● Take a break before initiating another interaction with your cat
It is advisable not to react if your cat bites you as it may cause your cat to become afraid of you.
Your Pet Cat Is Agitated When You Keep Petting It In The Same Place
If your cat is being petted in a sensitive area repeatedly, it may become agitated and resort to biting as a way of communicating that it is feeling overstimulated. You can tell if your cat is exhibiting this behavior by observing its ears.
If your cat‘s ears are flattened against their head or constantly flickering, it’s best to avoid interacting with them.
If your cat licks you and then bites you, it could be due to various reasons. However, if you want to continue petting your cat, try changing the spot where you pet it. If your cat doesn’t move away from you, it still wants your attention but not in that particular spot. But if your cat tries to move away from you, it’s better to give it some space as its need for petting may have been fulfilled.
Your Cat Wants To Play
When cats use the combination of biting and licking, it is often a signal that they are in the mood to play. If there happens to be a toy nearby, this is a clear indication that your feline friend wants to engage in some playful activity.
It is important to distinguish between your cat’s playful behavior and overstimulation as they can appear very similar.
When a cat has its ears and whiskers facing forward and its tail up, it is ready to have fun and play, but if its ears are flat against its head, it means that the cat is no longer interested in being petted and wants you to stop.
When your cat bites you, the way it behaves afterwards can determine whether it wants to play or is experiencing overstimulation; if it remains jumpy and close to you, it likely wants to play, but if it becomes tense and leaves the area, it is probably overstimulated.
Adding a toy to the mix can help confirm if your cat wants to play after licking and biting you.
Your Dear Cat Is Stressed
If your cat is stressed or anxious, it may lick you and then bite you shortly after, as well as exhibit aggressive behavior such as chewing on objects.
The primary cause of stress in cats is still unknown, but it seems to be related to their failure to accomplish their objectives. This conduct is reasonable since people also become irritated when they are unable to achieve their desired goals after numerous attempts.
Just like how cats can become stressed and exhibit aggressive behavior when recovering from an illness, they may also display this behavior when experiencing stress in general.
Cat stress can arise when they are unable to carry out their desired activities due to their current state or lack of energy.
If your cat is recovering from an illness, it may not engage in play as much as usual, leading to stress that can manifest in mild bites as a way of communicating that something is wrong.
Thus, if you observe that your cat is experiencing stress, it is recommended to bring it to a veterinarian for examination and commence the essential therapy. There could be an undisclosed health problem that is causing anxiety in your cat and requires prompt action.
Natural Hunting Instincts
Cats have a natural instinct to hunt, and during their development in the wild, they acquire hunting skills by practicing stalking, pouncing, and biting. This rough play is also evident when interacting with other cats.
Despite lacking the same survival abilities as their wild counterparts, domestic cats still maintain comparable hunting instincts.
Cats use rough play to bond with other kittens and prepare for adulthood, so if your kitten doesn’t have feline playmates, she may direct her well-aimed bites towards you.
When you pet your cat, it may become excited and trigger its hunting instincts, causing it to playfully bite you as a reflex action that shows it is enjoying the bonding experience with you.
Your Feline Friend Is Marking You
If you have recently adopted a new pet, your cat may feel insecure about its place in the household. If your cat playfully bites you and then licks you, it is likely attempting to leave its scent on you.
Cats have a natural instinct to mark their territory and assert dominance over other pets, which can also be a way for them to express affection towards their owners.
As your cat becomes more comfortable or familiar with the new pet, this conduct will decrease.
There Might Be Health Issues
While rare, a potential explanation for why your cat may lick you and then bite you is due to an underlying health issue that causes pain when touched instead of a typical friendly response.
Cat may bite you mildly due to some potential health problems:
When you pet your cat, if you feel tight fur knots that tug at its skin, it can cause discomfort and make your pet unhappy, so it’s important to remove them.
If your cat has scratches or wounds on their skin, touching them may accidentally cause pain.
● Your cat may be experiencing skin irritation for some unknown cause.
You Taste Good To Your Cat
While it may not be a frequent occurrence, cats may lick and subsequently bite if they come across something delectable on your skin, such as a cream with a strawberry flavor that you have applied or if you have consumed something savory and the sauce has dripped onto your hand, which your cat likely enjoyed.
It is important to monitor your cat if it has consumed any toxic substances and be cautious of the ingredients in your skin products that may be harmful to felines.
It Is About The Cat Breed
Similar to humans, each cat breed possesses a distinct character, disposition, emotional intelligence, and other attributes. A few cats may be irritable, while others are amiable. The behavior of your cat is determined by the hereditary traits based on its breed.
Cat biting you unexpectedly might be a genetic characteristic of your feline’s breed, but it doesn’t imply that your pet dislikes you or intends to cause harm. It’s possible that you touched a sensitive spot on your cat, prompting the bite.
Things To Consider
Here are some additional factors to consider regarding a cat’s tendency to lick and bite.
How To Discourage The Biting Behavior Of Your Cat
While your cat may not intend to hurt you when it licks then bites, the experience can still be uncomfortable. To deter this behavior, there are a few methods you can attempt.
Use The Positive Reinforcement Method
To prevent your cat from biting, it is recommended to use positive reinforcement training from a young age and make it understand that biting is not acceptable. You can reward your cat with treats every time it refrains from biting in situations where it usually would, but avoid encouraging its biting behavior in any way.
Pretend That You Are In Pain When Your Cat Bites You
If your cat unexpectedly bites you, demonstrate that it hurt you. In case the cat clings onto your hand, attempt to curl your fingers inward. If the cat releases your hand, reward it with a treat to encourage that conduct.
Give Your Cat Chew Toys
Providing your cat with chew playthings can fulfill their desire to bite. It is important to present a minimum of three distinct toys for your cat to gnaw on since they tend to lose interest in one item quickly.
Provided that your cat‘s biting needs are met, the likelihood of it biting you will diminish.
Is There Anything About The Licking And Biting That Is Worrisome
Cat behavior can indicate discomfort or pain, so if your cat reacts negatively when you pet a specific area, it’s worth checking for any signs of scratches or bites.
If your cat is biting you after licking you and there are no apparent signs of pain, it may be worth consulting a veterinarian to investigate any potential underlying health issues that your pet may be trying to communicate to you.