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Why does my cat bite me? 5 common reasons

Among cats, the act of biting is so natural and expected that sometimes instead of asking, “why does my cat bite me?” we should say, “why don’t they“? Because these kittens don’t possess the extraordinary ability to speak, they communicate through their bodies, with specific actions such as biting or meowing, or through body language, for example, by pulling back their ears when upset.

Although it can be painful for us when cats bite us, they are trying to tell us something, and as it can be an invitation to play, it can also be a warning. Think about it as saying: give me some space, please. There are even some nips that seem to come out of nowhere. You were walking along, and suddenly the cat lunges out to bite you without intending anything else.

Why does my cat bite me? 5 most common reasons

To understand what your cat means every time he bites you, and also so you can prepare yourself and avoid these mini attacks, here is a list of the most common reasons why your cat bites you.

1. Cats bite to play

Cats love to play, and what better way to do it than with their owner. If they are not asleep, you will always see them jumping up and down, moving things with their paws, or very entertained on their scratching post. Because of their wild nature, they often get overexcited and start biting when they play, but they do it to show that they are happy and enjoy the time they spend with you.

why does my cat bite me - play

You have to remember that cats are hunters, and although they no longer need to hunt for their food to survive, the instinct is still there. That’s why they love to chase or trap. Watch out for your legs and feet, as they are the perfect bait for a furry one who wants to play as the best hunter in town.

If you, like me, don’t enjoy cat nibbles, you can resort to buying all sorts of toys to keep your friend busy. Wand toys, fabric toys, toys that you can put a treat inside, the point is that your cat will have fun chewing on something else.

2. Cats bite to groom

A cat won’t groom just anyone, so if your cat tries to clean and groom you, congratulations, he’s telling you that you’re part of his family!

A cat uses its rough tongue to clean and brush its fur and the members of its close circle. When it encounters a piece of litter or a knot that it can’t remove with its tongue, it uses its secret weapon, a quick nibble, to eliminate the obstacle. Very clever, isn’t it?

When your cat grooms you, it is not a good idea to scold him to stop doing it because, being something so natural and logical for him, he will not understand the reason for the scolding and will be stressed by the confusion. If you don’t like your cat doing it, it’s better to get up and walk away or distract him with a noise or a sudden movement, for example, letting a pen fall to the floor or turning on the TV. We don’t guarantee it will stop completely, but at least you can save yourself a bite.

3. Love bite

When cats are young, their mothers groom them all the time, helping their kittens maintain good hygiene and reinforcing the connection between mother and baby. In this way, grooming becomes a gesture of love and care, often accompanied by a little nip known as a love bite. In turn, when the kitten grows up, it will do the same with its siblings, reinforcing the bond of trust between one and the other.

why do cats bite - love

Once the cat has an owner and a trusting relationship is established, the cat may resort to licking and then giving a small nibble as a way of saying, I love you. Generally, this nibble will be on the face. Sometimes he will bite the tip of your nose. For the cat, looking into your eyes and blinking is another way of showing its love. If he looks at you tenderly and then gives you a nibble, don’t worry. He is telling you that you are extra special to him.

4. Cats bite to warn you

Perhaps this is the option you thought of first, and you are correct. When a cat gets upset and wants to be left alone, it may resort to throwing a bite to say, “back off.” We know that cats are very temperamental, so when they warn us that they don’t like something, the best thing to do on all occasions is to walk away and give them time to relax.

Remember that it is a warning, if we stay close, it may not be a bite, but a scratch, or a combination of both, so be careful. And if it’s too late and your cat attacks you, disinfect the wound quickly to prevent an infection.

5. Cats bite when they are overstimulated

Imagine you have been petting your cat for a while, he seems relaxed and happy, and after a few minutes, ouch, he bit you! But what just happened? Why did my cat bite me?

Another reason cats resort to biting is to let you know they are overstimulated. If you have touched an area of their body for too long, they may already feel it a little sensitive, or they may have become bored, and to ask you to stop, they may launch a small bite. The same when we touch somewhere they don’t like, for example, the belly and tail, almost by law, the forbidden area of cats.

why does my cat bite me - overestimulation

In these cases, the only thing we can do is to stop touching the cat, and if he wants to leave, let him go or let him continue lying on our lap, but without physical contact. Remember to pay attention to these signs because I’m sure you don’t want the following warning to be a scratch.

Why do cats bite? Final words

The best way to prevent a bite is to understand why they happen, so you are already one step ahead. The next step will be for you to learn to distract your cat when he wants to play fight and bite or when you need to break the tension when your buddy is angry. For both, I suggest you don’t make eye contact and walk away, and if possible, distract your cat by throwing a toy for him to chase. He will surely forget he was about to bite you.

Have you ever dealt with a cat bite? Do you know another reason why cats bite? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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