“Why does my cat lick me then bite me? Is she scolding me for something I did? Is she just being cranky? What have I done wrong?!”
Maybe you’re beating yourself up because your cat’s been acting all weird lately. We know felines can sometimes be a pain in the neck.
They’re not as cuddly as their canine counterparts. Therefore, they’re known to throw a punch or two when they’re not in the mood for a cuddle session.
However, is it really necessary for your pet to bite you out of the blue? Are they really such jerks? We know they’re spoiled, so is it one of the reasons cats are prone to such behavior?
You come home from a rough day and all you want to do is rest and get comfy in your pajamas. Your pet comes along, settling down nicely on your lap.
She’s purring, letting you pet her and you’re simply enjoying each other’s company. She licks your hand as if to pet you back.
All of a sudden, she bites down on your hand and escapes. What is this supposed to mean? This can set you in a really bad mood.
You start to wonder what did you do to deserve such treatment. Moreover, you’re sad that your bonding time has come to an abrupt end.
“Why does my cat lick me then bite me? Is this some kind of tough love? Is there another meaning behind this odd behavior?”
These questions start getting louder in your head but before you drag yourself down about this event, let’s dig a bit further. Perhaps there’s a logical explanation for what your cat has done.
Why does my cat lick me then bite me?
To be honest, when my cat did the same thing for the first time, I was left confused as well. Everything was going great and then she started exhibiting such odd behavior.
I only recently adopted her, so I thought that it was her way of adjusting to the new environment and me. But as time progressed, the behavior would repeat from time to time.
I was worried at first because I thought that something was stressing her out. It was like she wanted to get closer to me but the second we’d bond, she’d just bite down on my skin.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a pinch. But again, it didn’t look like she did it out of hatred or anything like that. This made me wonder why does my cat lick me then bite me for days.
For first-time cat parents, this can be a particularly hard pill to swallow. Sometimes, we’re just not prepared for everything our felines throw at our feet.
Just when we think we’ve read through them, learned about their behaviors and the way they think, they surprise us with something new.
“If you’re trying to tell me something, I’m sorry. I wish I knew better and I wish you could just speak up. Then you’d tell me all about the stuff that’s bothering you and everything you enjoy.
This world would really be a better place if I could just sit with you and we could talk our worries away. We’re best friends now, but I bet it would’ve strengthened our bond.”
Do you also say this to your furry friend once in a while? My cat didn’t answer me back, but I learned something interesting about this behavior.
1. Ways of communicating
You talk to your cat all the time, so she might be trying to talk back! But felines have a specific way of communicating with each other.
However, because we’re a different species from them, we might not be able to understand them properly. Humans use spoken language to communicate, whereas animals mainly use body language. It’s a way to express their needs, wants, and worries.
In the animal world, body gestures play a crucial role and they can sometimes even mean life and death. In a household, people tend to forget about it from time to time.
Perhaps your cat’s been sending you a clear message, but you just didn’t listen! “Why doesn’t she just meow? She does it all the time when she’s asking for food or cuddles! What’s so different now?”
Every cat is unique, so not all of them will communicate in the same way. Some pets will be very loud and vocal, clearly stating their demands and making sure they’re heard.
Others will rely on their body language which can sometimes be very subtle. On the other hand, it can be crystal clear, such as biting down on your hand or even scratching you.
Felines aren’t evil creatures as you might think of them because of this behavior. Most of the time, they’ll only use these harsh methods when their warnings have been previously ignored.
2. Feeling threatened or annoyed
“But why does my cat lick me and then bite me? She’s an angel most of the time!” Perhaps your pet didn’t want to be touched and tried to scurry away from you.
You were persistent because you just wanted to feel loved for a moment. However, your pet decided that she had enough. Instead of continuing to lick you, she sank her teeth into your hand and ran away.
“I’m not sure what I did wrong. She clearly loved the attention I was just giving her! Why is she being so mean all of the sudden?”
She bit you, but she doesn’t hate you. She simply got fed up with the attention you were giving her. Don’t take it too personally.
She might also exhibit such behavior if she’s meeting someone for the first time. Especially if your cat doesn’t feel very comfortable with strangers touching her.
This can happen even while she’s sitting in your lap with another person sitting right next to you. She’ll bite down on your skin to release the grip on her and escape any possible danger.
Other signs of feeling threatened include ears tucked back, loud meowing, and hackles raised along with her tail puffed. With these tactics, she’s trying to make herself look bigger in hopes of scaring away the threat.
If she isn’t feeling comfortable with something, don’t pressure her because it only makes the matters worse.
3. Love bites
Bites don’t only occur as a defensive behavior. Your cat may also try to show her love and affection towards you with gentle nips on your hands and body.
“How is a bite supposed to be affectionate? I know they’re animals and they don’t show their feelings the way humans do. Does my cat think of me as another animal? Should I bite her back?”
First and foremost, don’t ever attempt to bite your cat back because she might get the wrong message. Next thing you know, you’re covered in scratches and bites with blood all over your face. If you don’t want your pet turning into a real warrior, keep to cuddles and smooches.
However, cats don’t know what it means to pet you or kiss you back. Sure, they’ll lick you, but it doesn’t mean that they’re doing it for the same purpose you are. Therefore, you’ll often find your pet biting down on you.
When my cat first started doing that I freaked out because I honestly thought that she was trying to tell me to back off. So, how do you know it’s a love bite?
A love bite is her way of showing you how much she appreciates you. It mostly occurs when you’re enjoying a cuddle session with your pet on your lap.
For instance, my cat will lick me and then bite me whenever I’m giving her kisses or rubbing her favorite spots. It’s like she’s thanking me for giving her a good scratch!
It’s the kind of behavior that can also be seen in male felines. During mating, males will bite down on females’ necks and the same goes for wild cats, hence the term “love bite”.
The main difference between showing affection and a fearful or hateful bite is the pain. Sure, it can startle you, but a love bite is your pet merely scratching the surface not leaving any marks behind.
So, in this case, if your cat licks you and then bites you, you should consider yourself lucky.
4. Seeking attention
Maybe you didn’t annoy your cat and she just came out of nowhere to clamp down on your hand. This urges you to search for possible answers.
“Why does my cat bite and lick me when I haven’t done anything wrong? I didn’t even touch her, let alone annoy her! Or maybe it’s simply my presence that’s irking her?”
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Cats can sometimes be weird and you may not think of it as a big deal. However, maybe the reason your pet’s licking and biting you is that you haven’t done anything!
Perhaps she’s seeking attention from you, like wanting cuddles or inviting you to play with her. If you’ve been sitting at your desk for a long time, your cat probably got bored.
She just woke up from a long nap and is full of energy. She’s ready to bounce around the room but you won’t give up your seat.
She’s finally had enough of your silly behavior and decides to take matters into her own paws. Maybe she gave you a meow here and there but you just thought she was hungry and offered her some kibbles.
Although she didn’t refuse and gulped them down like she was starving, it wasn’t what she came for. After all, it’s good for you to take a break from work and it will help your sleeping beauty fall tired once again.
So, it could simply be her way of saying “Come on, let’s play!”
5. Licking and biting as a grooming process
Felines are known for being fastidious, meaning they look out for small details. They also have a good eye, so this combination guarantees a clean look.
“What is this obsession they have with licking themselves? Moreover, what does grooming have to do with my cat licking and biting me? Is she trying to groom me as well? Is she telling me I should go and take a shower?”
Felines will groom themselves a couple of times a day. Their fur is of big importance to them because it helps them stay warm, as well as regulate their body temperature on hotter days.
It’s no secret that most cats hate being brushed. So, they’d rather prefer to work on their coats all day long than have to deal with the horrors of a brush! (Poor kitties.) So when you see your cat licking and even biting down on her fur, she might be combing out all the tangles and mats.
“But why does my cat lick me then bite me if I don’t have any fur?” Once again, we delve deeper into feline behavior. Even though you don’t have any fur, your pet will go out of her way to try and groom you.
They don’t do it because they think we’d look prettier or because they believe our skin is our fur. Instead, grooming is a way of bonding.
Once again, she’s showing you how much she loves you by licking and biting you.
Why is this behavior repetitive?
So far, we’ve explained a couple of reasons why your cat’s been acting in such a way. But what happens when the behavior doesn’t seem to diminish?
“My cat will lick me and bite me when she’s feeling annoyed or really happy about seeing me. So I thought it was a totally fine and occasional thing. But lately, she’s been doing it more often. She’ll come out of nowhere to chomp down on my hands and legs.
It’s like she’s trying to tell me something, but I just can’t figure it out. I don’t notice any kind of pattern regarding this behavior. Why does it happen so randomly and why is this behavior repetitive?”
If you can’t wrap your head around your cat acting in such a way, there might be a problem. Usually, you can guess the reason behind this behavior, but now she just might be reaching out to you about something.
“Could it be that I just have a grumpy cat that hates being around people? Is it possible that she can’t stand me and is trying to tell me that?”
I know you’re worried at the moment, and your pet may be too. Felines who have the tendency to exhibit such behavior might be stressed or anxious. It’s similar to when humans have a lot on their shoulders and they start binge eating.
Cats don’t binge eat – they bite down and chew stuff! Perhaps she found herself in a new environment or you recently brought another pet home.
Felines are sensitive creatures, so anything can stress them enough to bite you! They don’t purposely choose you as if to say “You’re the one to blame for all this stress I’m feeling!”
They will do it randomly, and it just happens to be when you’re cuddling or enjoying some time together. If this is the case, you might want to give your cat some space and alone time to decompress!
If your cat’s been licking and biting you, you’ll want to dig a bit deeper and find out the cause. She’s probably doing it for a solid reason.
It could be a sign of affection or a way to tell you to back off. Anyhow, it’s a message that’s worth reading! Other than that, your pet might repeat the behavior for no apparent reason.
If this occurs, there’s a high chance she’s feeling stressed and anxious about something. So waste no time and get down to the core of the problem as quickly as possible!