Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me? Here’s the Reason!

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

why does my cat lick me then bite me

A cat has a wide range of behaviors, and if you pay attention, you’ll see that each movement has numerous hidden meanings that experienced owners haven’t yet understood.

Some cat owners are used to cats licking and biting them, while others are not. Many people will be disturbed by this and want to know what is causing this behavior.

If you also own a cat and want to know ‘why does my cat lick me then bite me?’ keep reading to find out!

Why Does Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me


Here are some reasons to understand what does it mean when a cat licks you then bites you:

1. You have an overstimulated cat

Your kitty likes being stroked, but a lengthy petting session might push her over the edge. Petting-induced aggressiveness is what happens to our beautiful and laid-back cats.

It’s assumed that this has something to do with the nerve endings in your cat’s fur and that excessive stroking might make cats uncomfortable. Overstimulation is most likely the case if your cat has been giving you a nice lick while you’re stroking them and then abruptly gives you a little nip.

The licking that occurs before the warning bites is a technique for your feline to soften the impact; it indicates that your pet wants you to stop but still loves you.

Dilated eyes, turned-back ears, and a flicking tail are all signs that your cat has had enough physical attention. Stroke your cat, and at the same time, notice whether your cat displays these signals, and stop petting before your cat gets overstimulated. You should also know the best places where cats like to be pets to make sure they don’t be overstimulated.

Certain regions of a cat’s coat will allow them to be stroked for more extended periods than others. You can make those petting sessions enjoyable if you pay attention to your cat’s body language. Check this guide to know other reasons why your cat bites you when you pet her!

2. Your cat is showing affection

When your cats lick you then bite you, it’s because it likes you and wants to give you a little love bite. It admires the way you look after it and has total faith in you. Biting is an indication of a close relationship between you and your cat.

If your cat grabs you after licking you, it means it feels calm and at ease around you and considers you a member of its family. Cats have firmer skin than humans, and they bite each other as a gesture of affection, so they don’t realize that they are hurting you when they bite you.

3. To ask you to play with them

A cat’s ability to communicate through words is limited. When your cat has a playful mood, they must find a nonverbal method to share with you. This is also an answer to the question “why did the kitten lick and bite my hand?”

Some cats groan. Others will pounce or scratch you. Some cats will stare at you until you get close.

There are several ways for cats to signal that they are ready for playing. They initiate playtime with the cat licking and biting combination, which is undoubtedly one of them. That is when you can immerse yourself into the feline universe.

4. They’re stressed

Excessive licking and biting might indicate worry or tension or behavioral problems. When stressed, some cat breeds, such as Siamese, may chew things. Unfortunately, this chewing tendency may extend to grinding your body parts. When cats are agitated, they may begin licking nonstop or in a compulsive manner.

It’s doubtful that your cat is genuinely furious with you if your cats lick then bite your skin.

You may have noticed your cat becoming agitated or afraid. An angry or frightened cat has an arched back, hair that stands on edge, and a lot of hissing. In the worst-case scenario, you may be irritating your cat due to overstimulation.

5. They’re preparing to groom you

When cats have itchy fur or need to get rid of anything on their skin, they will occasionally bite and lick themselves in their grooming process. Alternatively, cats may do this while grooming each other, especially when they are kittens.

Cats’ tongues have keratin spines, which is why your cat’s tongue may feel scaly. These spines help your cat to clean itself properly.

They may be grooming you as if you were another cat if there is a lot of licking but not much biting. And if they’re licking and chewing on your hair, grooming behavior is even more probable.

If your cat tries to groom you, it’s a good indicator that they’ve formed a strong relationship with you and you shouldn’t worry about behavioral issues. Cats don’t groom other cats at random; they exclusively groom the cats in their group.

6. Your cat is marking you

If you’ve just brought home one or more cats, your cat is likely to feel threatened about its place in the house. That’s why it may leave its smell on you through bites.

Marking territory is a natural cat tendency to show power over other pets and let them know that you belong with your cat only. It’s also a method for your cat to express its affection for you.

When your cat grows friendly or acclimated to the new pet, this behavior will decrease.

7. Health Issues

Although a health condition is unlikely, it might be one of the reasons for your inquiry: why my cat lick my fingers then bite them. If touching your cat elicited discomfort rather than a pleasant trill, there is an underlying health problem with your pet.

Some of the health conditions that may cause your cat to attack you include:

  • Tight hair knots that tug at the skin of your cat when you pet it. You must de-mat them if you do not want your pet to be unhappy.
  • Your cat’s skin has some scratches or wounds, and you accidentally inflicted pain by petting them.
  • Your cat’s skin has been irritated for whatever reason.

How Can You Stop Your Cat From Biting You


Here are a few things you can do to stop biting from cats.

  • Make use of the positive reinforcement technique. The best approach to prevent one cat from biting is to use the positive reinforcement method to educate it from a young age. Make your cat believe that biting isn’t something you’re okay with. To reduce its behavior, don’t allow it to bite in any way.
  • Pretend that you are in pain when your cat bite you. When your cat nibbles you unexpectedly, show it that the little bite hurts. If the cat grabs your hand, try folding your fingers together.
  • Give Toys for Your Cat. Your feline’s need to bite will be satisfied if you provide him with chew toys. Make sure your pet has at least three different toys to gnaw on since they can rapidly become bored with just one. If your cat’s desire to bite is met, the odds of your pet biting you are reduced.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What causes cats to bite?

The cat’s bite may have various meanings; nevertheless, anybody who an angry or scared cat has bitten understands that it has nothing to do with the gentle cat bites that a playful cat makes.

Cats who are truly furious or scared have a very expressive body language that is tight, stiff, and bristling, with hissing, fading meows, and a curled back.

Bites from scared cats (including painful scratches) are not related to bites during play, which generally occur when cats have got tired of being petted, or cat love bites, which are usually more controlled and recurrent.

2. Why does a cat lick?

The tongue of a cat is unlike any other: it is made up of tiny keratin spines that are very effective for cleaning, unwinding hair, eliminating dirt from their coat, and drinking water. It’s for this reason that they have a hard tongue.

That’s why, when a feline licks us, especially if our pet licks our hair, they’re grooming us as if we’re simply cats. That is a highly beneficial social act that demonstrates a strong relationship with the owner and a desire to make us feel at ease.

The cat licks are a show of affection since they’ve learned that it’s something people appreciate, which results in an unending amount of caressing and attention.

On the other hand, excessive and compulsive licking might indicate that something isn’t right and that our best friend’s well-being is in jeopardy; it’s consequently a cause of worry and concern.

3. When my cat licks me, why does it hurt?

As every cat owner who has a cat that likes to lick her hair knows, Fluff’s strong tongue may pull some strands out.

The papillae that cover your cat’s tongue, which are backward-facing hooks made of keratin, the same substance as her claws, can feel uncomfortably like sandpaper. The papillae act as a comb, removing hairs and fur to reach the dirt beneath.

4. Why does my cat lick and bite other cats?

As previously said, licking and biting other cats is relatively common in the feline world. It’s a sign that cats have bonded with each other.

Final thoughts

Why does my cat lick me then bite me? Cats don’t lick and bite just for the sake of it. If your cat does this frequently, it’s worth spending the time to discover the reason. As a show of affection and an invitation to play, your cat may lick and bite you. It might also mean it’s been overstimulated and needs to unwind.

If your cat’s biting habit appears to be connected to stress, speak with your veterinarian and ask for suggestions to reduce it. Take better care of your cat!

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