Cats are adorable creatures that most people enjoy having around. They tend to be very affectionate, especially with their owners. However, this can lead to some unwanted behaviors like licking and biting. These actions might seem cute at first, but they can become harmful if your cat continues them over time. Have you ever been licked by your cat and then bitten afterward? This article will explore why cats lick and then bite afterward and some tips on how to stop this from happening.
1. She is overstimulated
Cats are natural cuddlers, and they love to be petted. They love being scratched behind their ears and given lots of little rubs for them to enjoy, but most importantly, you need to provide an ample amount. When cats feel too petted, it can lead to "petting-induced aggression." When this happens, their sweet and laidback nature will come out as they lash out at the person or animal who has been so kind.
If you try to pet your cat and she starts giving off a mild hiss, this could be because of an issue with their fur. Usually, it is thought that there are nerve endings attached to the cat furs, and when she is petted for a long time, it becomes uncomfortable for her.
Your cat may be in a state of overstimulation if she has dilated eyes or turned back ears. This can also mean that you'll see her tail going at speeds faster than average, which is flicking up and down rapidly as well. If this happens, don't worry; make sure there's enough time for playtime, too, and stop petting so they won't reach the state of overstimulation.
Some cats are more sensitive than others when it comes to having their fur touched. Some may tolerate petting for longer periods in some places, while other places on the same cat could make them yowl in pain. Cats are very good at masking their emotions, but if you stay alert to what your cat is doing and feeling, petting sessions won't feel like an unpleasant obligation.
2. She wants you to play with her
Cats are always looking for ways to be active and mentally stimulating. If your cat has been nosing around in toy boxes, playing with string or fur, pawing at books, then it's time that you let them out. When they lick and bite you and the toys are around, the toy is something of interest or value in their world that gives them pleasure when playing around.
It is always important to be on the lookout for your kitty's mood. Cats have unique ways of communicating their needs, so you don't need to be an expert at reading them. A quick way of knowing if a cat wants playtime or not would be by looking deep into its eyes; if they have dilated pupils, arched back, ears and whiskers pointed forward, it means she is in the mood to play.
You can easily differentiate between playing and overstimulation. If she is happy to see you and wants more attention, then it's a sign that they're into playtime. Otherwise, if she tenses up from being too stimulated by what was going on around them at any point during this encounter, she will move away. Especially since their body language may give hints, you'll know for certain there has been some negative reaction that starts this issue. Licking, biting, and nuzzling against you is a cat's way of telling you that she trusts you and wants to play with you.
3. She is grooming you
Watching your cats groom themselves can be very entertaining. You'll see them lick their coat with the occasional nibble of skin. Some cats like to groom themselves by licking and nibbling on various parts of their body, while others might be doing it as a sign that they're in pain from flea bites. Make sure you know what is considered normal for your kitty.
Cats that regularly lick and bite their human owners are just doing the same to themselves. However, your cat might not know that her biting can hurt you. If your cat bites you after giving you a cleaning lick, start moving her mouth away before she can bite. Instead, distract her by starting playing with her. If this does not work for whatever reason, try giving them treats one at a time while continuing playtime as well.
It may seem like an endless cycle until finally everything has been resolved without any further problems, and your kitty understands that the grooming session is over. It's a good idea to never scold your cat for biting you. After all, they don't necessarily know why it was wrong and might only do so out of instinct rather than on purpose.
Cats are well-known for their mutual grooming behavior. It's a bonding ritual in which they lick each other to get rid of any oils or dirt left on the cat's coat by touch alone, so this may be an indication that your feline friend sees you as part of their social group too. It's not hard to see why your cat would want you all to herself. By licking and grooming her human, your kitty is trying to strengthen her bond with you.
4. She is feeling stressed
Cats are one of the most calming and expressive animals, but sometimes they can show their stress by licking or biting. Your kitty may start excessive grooming that can lead her to pull out hairs until she has scratches down both sides of her head. If your hand happens to be close enough for them to grab onto it with their teeth, they may end up licking and then biting you instead.
Cats can get stressed out by many reasons such as loud noises and rapid changes in temperature or lighting conditions, too much time spent indoors, not enough space to play or explore, seeing another animal come into their territory, and the moving house often poses many additional difficulties. If your kitty is under enough pressure, she may start acting differently than usual too. You can use a pheromone diffuser to help your kitty relieve her stress.
5. Your cat is expressing her love
Cats are known for making small bites when they're affectionate with one another. This behavior is also seen in kittens. It is a common behavioral interaction that cats usually engage in. This ritualistic "small bite" can be perceived as an act of affection between cat and owner, mainly if the petted animal happens to curl up with its human partner.
Your cat is showing you how much they care by giving affectionate licks and bites. This could be an attempt at cuddling, or it may just want to play rough. You can still show and accept plenty of affection from your cat, just not the love bites. If she nips at you when in play or if things get too intense, it's time to distract her with toys or treats.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why your cat may be licking and biting you. However, the most common reason is that they're trying to groom you or expressing their love to you. However, sometimes this licking and biting behavior becomes too intense, so a vet visit might be in order if none of these things apply so you can rule out any underlying medical issues.
References and Citations