“It is one thing to bite when provoked, but why does my cat bite me when I sleep? I did nothing to upset her!”
You have probably asked this question and talked about your cat’s biting issues over several morning coffees with your work colleagues. They are all trying to listen carefully, but no one really is taking you seriously. Since no one understands what you’re going through every night.
Be honest: how many dreams where you were running into Brad Pitt’s arms did she interrupt by munching on your toes? How many times did you think about getting rid of your alarm clock, since you don’t need it anyway?
I had the same issue. My cat would simply not let me sleep at night. I would go to bed, make myself comfortable, and think about how desperately I needed to rest. But deep down, I knew my cat would wake me up during the night.
First, she would start by loudly running around the apartment. I swear, it sounded like she was wearing heels. Then she would occasionally knock something down or play with plastic bags she would find laying around.
Then she would start meowing in front of the bedroom, which would usually be followed by jumping on the bed and biting the first thing that came under her nose.
I struggled with this for several months. My sleepless nights affected my work and personal life.
But, I decided to put an end to it! I did a fair amount of research, talked to many professionals, and was able to solve the biting-cat problem.
So, if you wish to find the answer to “Why does my cat bite me when I sleep?”, I am more than happy to share my knowledge.
Why do cats bite in general?
We tend to wonder about so many things our cats do. We want to know why they stare at the ceiling, why they shake their paws, and why they bite us in the morning or when we are sleeping.
All of those peculiar behaviors are a part of them being – well, cats! They tend to possess a sense of superiority, and sometimes all we can do is stand aside and watch (and admire!) them.
I understand that the lion is the king of the jungle, but does my cat really have to be the king in my own home? Apparently, she does.
So, why do cats bite in general? The simplest answer to this question is that biting is a part of their nature. Usually, your cat will bite you during playtime. That’s because they’re predators by nature, and they view every game as a game of the hunter chasing his prey.
Also, cats are biting us in order to communicate their needs or to stop us from doing something they no longer enjoy. Like petting, for example. Cats are not sociable like dogs are, and petting is something humans actually forced upon them.
They enjoy it, but only for a little while, after which they want to elope. If we don’t let them go, they will probably bite us. There’s a fine line between an enjoyable petting session and a violation of privacy that we, as cat parents, somehow always manage to cross.
All in all, biting is a very common (mis)behavior for cats. And to find out more about unprovoked biting, keep on reading.
Night zoomies? What are those?!
“What kind of evil ritual is this?”
You’ve probably asked yourself this many times after witnessing your cat frantically running around your home. And for no apparent reason.
Night zoomies in cats refer to that weird, energetic behavior they usually display in the evening or at dusk. In that stage, cats get a sudden burst of energy and start to run around, jump or even bite unprovoked.
But, don’t worry. There’s a pretty logical explanation for this behavior.
Night zoomies appear because cats are predominately crepuscular, which means they are most active at dusk and dawn. Most people believe cats are nocturnal animals, which isn’t true. They are most active at twilight hours because that’s the time when their natural prey (aka. rodents) are active as well.
So, they get the zoomies because their internal predatory voice tells them, “Okay, get ready! It’s hunting o’clock!”
When and how do cats sleep?
Many people also believe that all cats are doing is sleeping and eating, and that’s why they’re up all night. But that’s another misconception. Sure, they might be spending the majority of the day with their eyes closed, but their sleeping routine is quite different from ours.
Instead of sleeping for several hours in one session, cats usually opt for taking a few light naps during the day. They actually made napping famous! You don’t call your little after-lunch siesta a catnap for nothing!
So, they’re not really getting the same 8-hour deep sleep as we do during the night, but rather a couple of light ones. You might be surprised by their sleeping habits, but they might also be surprised by yours.
Your cat might be standing on top of your chest at 5.00 a.m. wondering why are you still asleep, while you might be wondering why on earth is she awake. That’s just something you both will have to get used to.
Even though this explains why your cat is wide awake at night, it doesn’t explain nor justify why she bites you when you sleep. To find the answer and possible solutions, keep on scrolling.
Why does my cat bite me when I sleep? 6 possible reasons!
When you think about it, sleeping with your cat is the best thing ever, since they make a purrfect cuddle buddy. But, the magic ends when the clock strikes zoomies a.m. and your cat suddenly bites you.
Being awoken by a small but painful bite is not that amusing. You may be annoyed and even angry since your kitty is making your life meowserable by not letting you sleep peacefully. But the thing that’s most upsetting is that you just can’t stay mad at her in the morning, right?
However, the biting issue has to be addressed. I’m bringing you 6 possible reasons why your cat bites you when you sleep. Take a look and see if you can relate to at least one of them.
1. Your cat is biting you because she wants to play
As mentioned above, your cat is a crepuscular creature, and at night she is looking for prey to catch. And since, thankfully, your house is free from rodents, she simply has to attack your toes.
With all this energy she suddenly has and no playmate to suffice, your cat will do anything to wake you up. If she were a dog, she might even bring a toy to your bed. But, since she’s above that, that’s considered your job.
Your cat might first meow at you or jump on top of the bed, and if that doesn’t do the trick, she has no choice but to bite you. When you think about it, it’s actually you to blame for your cat biting you when you sleep. It’s not her fault you’re such a heavy sleeper.
2. She could be biting out of aggression
“Why does my cat bite me when I sleep? It feels like she’s mad at me but I can’t figure out why.”
You will probably know the difference between a playful bite and an aggressive bite. If your cat bites you out of boredom and desire to play, the bite will be almost harmless. But, if something made your cat aggressive, the bite will be more severe and potentially bloody.
You’ll know your cat is aggressive if the bite is accompanied by a hiss, flattened ears, or a wagging tail. But, what could have made her angry?
Tomcats are famous for being more aggressive than queens. Females are known to be most aggressive after they’ve given birth since they want to protect their babies. However, if neither you own a tomcat nor your queen has given birth, that means that you’ve probably angered your cat somehow.
Maybe you swung your hand in your sleep forcefully and hit your cat. Perhaps you turned around in your bed and knocked her down. So many things could happen during the night which could make your cat mad.
Or, you know, perhaps you’re just breathing too loudly and your existence annoys her. So she decided to have her revenge while you’re most vulnerable.
3. She wants to alert you about something
You’re probably familiar with how heightened your cat’s senses are. She is able to hear three times better than you. So, she might be biting you when you sleep because she heard something you didn’t.
Even if your kitty is sleeping next to you, that doesn’t mean she’s not aware of her surrounding. You probably noticed that, during her daytime naps, her ears are occasionally rotating. So, even when she sleeps, she’s on duty. That’s what I call the paw patrol night shift!
And don’t worry! If your cat bites you when you sleep, that doesn’t mean you have a burglar in your house or other uninvited guests. She might have heard an animal outside, like an owl or a dog, or car sirens in the traffic.
Or she was confused and scared by your snoring and thought you needed help. How thoughtful of her!
4. Your cat is potentially hungry
“Why does my cat bite me when I sleep? Did I do something wrong?”
Well, it could be that you haven’t fed her properly. And by properly, I mean you haven’t given her three dinners.
If your cat is hungry or just in need of a little midnight snack, she could ask for it by jumping onto the bed, coming straight to your face, and biting your nose. That bite is usually harmful, but the tuna breath… I don’t even want to talk about it.
5. Your cat doesn’t think biting is wrong
As said at the beginning, biting is in your cat’s nature. And she doesn’t perceive biting as something wrong.
It’s weird for us since we don’t go around and bite other people, but for them, that’s perfectly normal. That actually might be one of their unusual little ways of showing affection.
I have to admit it’s cute and all, but why does she bite me when I sleep? Out of all times during the day, why does she choose violence when I’m sound asleep? I guess we’ll never understand it completely.
6. She might be having some health problems
And finally, the one reason you don’t wish to relate to is potential health problems.
If your cat bites you when you sleep, and you notice that she is generally relentless during the day, she is probably dealing with some conditions which are troublesome for her.
Biting you while you sleep, especially if it’s not during her usual waking hours, might be her way of telling you, “Hey, I’m not feeling very well. Hate to admit it, but you should call the vet.”
Anything out of the ordinary should be your sign that your cat is going through something. Biting you during your sleep is one of them.
Can cat bites be dangerous?
Cat bites can be dangerous to humans only if the cat is sick. There are several active bacteria in a cat’s mouth capable of causing tissue infections in bite wounds. One of those bacteria is called Pasteurella multocida.
When bitten by an infected cat, the human wound becomes red, swollen, and extremely painful. The infection can then spread and cause some serious conditions like blood poisoning.
However, you probably don’t have to worry about this ever happening to you. If you take your cat regularly to the vet, you are familiar with her overall health.
And also, when your cat bites you when you sleep, the bite is usually not harmful. Except if it happens out of aggression, which is another thing you should consult your vet for.
Should I punish my cat for biting me when I sleep?
Physical punishment is never an option. No matter what your cat does!
As we already determined, biting, for cats, is completely normal behavior. Therefore, you cannot punish them for something that’s a part of who they are. If you punish your cat for being a cat, that can lead to other serious problems like anxiety, stress, excessive aggression, and so on.
So, rather than punishing your cat, try to teach her what she can and cannot do. Cats are creatures of habits and if you teach your cat from a kitten stage what is good, and what not so good behavior, she’ll learn it and probably stick to it forever.
But, if you’re late to the game and haven’t taught your cat as a kitten, there are other things you can do.
How to prevent my cat from biting me when I sleep?
Preventing your kitty from biting you when you sleep requires a lot of time, effort, persistence, and patience. It’s hard to teach your cat new rules of the game, but it’s important to know that it’s not impossible.
Some suggest simply closing the door from your bedroom to prevent your kitty from entering, but I know from personal experience that won’t solve anything. If you wish to be awoken by loud meows and the door scratched instead of by a harmless bite, then be my guest and close the door!
Closing the door can only do wonders if your cat has been properly trained as a kitten and knows that the bedroom is off-limits. Otherwise, it’s really pointless.
Some also suggest keeping a spray bottle filled with water next to your bed and spraying your kitty whenever she bites you. I personally think that would do no good and could even make your cat mad and vengeful.
And also, if you don’t want to be randomly sprayed with water, your cat probably doesn’t want either.
Doing things out of spite isn’t a way to treat cats. Here are 5 things you can do to actually prevent your kitty from biting you when you sleep.
1. Spend some quality time during the day with your cat
While our cats often appear as independent queens (and kings), they still require a lot of attention and love. So, you have to spend some time with your cat during the day. Otherwise, you cannot expect her not to react in some way to your neglect.
Quality time is a must when it comes to owning a cat. A little lap cuddles here and there, a regular throw-and-catch game, and an occasional kiss on the top of her head will be more than enough to keep her satisfied. And, most importantly, away from your bed.
2. Make her exercise in the evening to wear her out
Another thing you should consider is doing some feisty exercises and activities in the evening, those that require a lot of energy to be spent. After which your cat will be so tired she might even sleep through the entire night.
Those activities could be going for a walk, a lot of climbing and scratching, playing throw-and-catch, yarn runs, and many more. You and your cat will both be exhausted and in need of a good rest.
3. Feed her before bedtime
Also, make sure to give your cat her dinner right before bedtime. Leave her some snacks she can enjoy during the night when she wakes up.
A good thing would be to invest in an automatic feeder, with which you would be able to schedule meal times and meal portions. So your cat could have several small snacks during the night.
4. Get your cat a companion
In order to prevent your cat from biting you when you sleep, another thing you can consider is getting her a companion. It could be a new, interactive toy, or if you want to step up your game, a new cat.
That way, your cat will have her playmate, and you will finally be able to sleep.
5. Set up a camera to keep track of her behavior
This is another great thing you can do to keep an eye on your kitty. A camera might help you track your cat’s nighttime activities.
But, a camera in your bedroom will also help you track your sleeping habits.
I know not many people want to be recorded while sleeping, but if you struggle with a cat who bites you when you sleep, then getting a camera is the way to go!
Think about it. Maybe you’re unaware of some of the things you do when you sleep that are making your cat mad and in need of biting you. A camera might help you realize what kind of sleeper you are.
I hope your question, “Why does my cat bite me when I sleep?” was successfully answered.
Our cats are weird little creatures, and they bring to our lives small amounts of anger and annoyance, endless doses of wonder, and an abundance of love. And no matter how they (mis)behave, we still adore them.