Cats have weird behaviors at times, and it’s really hard to understand why they do certain things. Sometimes, cats would lick you, and while you think it could be a sign of love, it may actually mean something else. At the same time, it’s not easy to determine why they are actually doing it.
In fact, a behavior that is very confusing is when your kitten licks you, and then it bites you. So, why would they do that? This article will give you the answers.
Why Do Cats Lick?
If you’ve been licked by your cat before, you know how their tongue feels. Their tongue features tiny keratin spines that are extremely helpful when the cat is cleaning itself. It basically takes all the hair and dirt, which is why cats are usually so clean. However, their rough tongue feels very weird on human skin, and you might wonder why they would have this behavior.
Cats lick people for many reasons, and while there’s no definitive answer for all situations, it’s usually out of affection. So, here are some reasons why your cat might give you a few licks out of nowhere;
1. They Compliment You
This may be very weird when you think about it, but a lick from your cat might be a way for it to compliment you. Basically, licking is a sign that your cat feels safe near you. Your cat recognizes you as a member of its family, thus it is putting its full trust in you.
Therefore, your cat reinforces it by cleaning you just like its mother did to your cat when it was little.
2. They Try to Mark Their Territory
Cats are very possessive – basically, they love you and think you belong to them. Therefore, licking could be a way for them to mark their territory. They basically do so by using pheromones.
So, if your cat starts licking you, it’s a way to show how important you are for it, and also a way to let other cats know you are theirs. That way, if other cats smell you, they will know you’re already “taken”.
3. They Show Affection
Just like you show your affection for your cat by offering food, petting, and playing, your cat will want to return the favor at one point. Licking is one way through which they can do this. Usually, kittens will use licking as a way to decrease anxiety, just like humans use hugs.
So, if your cat is licking you, make sure to offer it some affection in return.
Why Do Cats Bite?
Just like licking can indicate various things, biting is no different. However, the meaning can be far from the signs of affection given by licking. Although it may be playful and harmless in certain situations, it’s not always the case. So, here is why cats tend to bite their owners;
1. Playful Biting
During playtime, cats often bite because their natural hunting instinct is coming to surface. So, you shouldn’t be surprised when this happens. This is also what cats do to each other during their playtime so you can assume that your cat is telling you that you are its bestie! However, you should discourage the behavior by rewarding them when they’re gentle during playtime.
On the other hand, a gentle bite might be a warning to you from your cat indicating that it is over agitated by the situation. No matter if you two are playing or cuddling, your cat might be trying to tell you that it needs a break. All you need to do is to interpret the rest of the body language of your cat and decide if it is time for a cool down.
2. Fighting Mode
Aggressive biting is different from the playful one because the latter doesn’t cause any harm. The difference will be easy to observe if you take into consideration other signs.
For instance, aggressive biting will be accompanied by spitting, hissing and quite of an arched posture. This type of behavior usually occurs when cats are frightened, or when they encounter territorial disputes.
Why Does My Cat Bite Me After It Licks Me?
If you start petting your cat while it’s licking you, biting might be a way through which it’s telling you to stop. At the same time, it could be out of affection or they could believe that biting is related to the grooming process.
Usually, when cats clean themselves, they are nibbling and licking so they ensure proper brushing and hygiene. As such, you shouldn’t be shocked if the licking is followed by a bite. It isn’t a negative behavior.
What to Do When Your Cat Bites You Too Hard?
Aggressive behavior in cats shouldn’t be encouraged, because it will only continue to get worse as time passes by. Training should start from an early age, so the kitty develops into a well-behaved mature cat. You need to let your cat know that what it’s doing is wrong. So, here are some methods to prevent your little kitten from biting too hard;
- Don’t let your kitten play with your bare fingers, hands or toes. Although it would be very tempting, they are not toys and you risk getting quite ugly marks on them. If you keep doing it, you’re encouraging a risky situation.
- Encourage your cat to be gentle and reward it when this happens. This will show your cat what it should be doing. At the same time, don’t show it any praise when it’s biting.
- Make sure everyone else in the family and the visitors respect the same rules, or else it will be harder to enact the training.
- Buy your cat a toy that it can play with and bite whenever it wants. This should be enough for it to stop the biting inflicted on your body and focus on the toy instead.
- Never, under any circumstance, inflict physical punishment. All that is going to do is encourage the cat to fight back, and that’s a no-no when you’re trying to raise a non-aggressive cat.
The Bottom Line
As you’ve seen, there are various reasons why cats lick and bite. It all depends on each situation, and you should know how to differentiate these behaviors. If your cat licks and then bites you, it could be because it’s trying to tell you to stop petting it. Otherwise, it could just be a part of the grooming behavior.
Hopefully, this post has provided you with a comprehensive answer, and now you can start preventing aggressive behavior. Read my blog posts on my ultimate cat care site like “Why Does My Cat Knead Me but Not My Husband?” and “Why Do Cats Lick Each Other?” to find answers to more strange cat behavior.