Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me? (Mystery Explained)

Occasionally, our cats do peculiar things that leave us scratching our heads. One of these things is giving us a lovely lick on the hands before biting! What’s going on there? Some cats may give you a small, scarcely uncomfortable bite. Others will move in for a painfully complete tooth-sinking experience. If your cat engages in the latter behavior, it may be worthwhile to learn why and what you can do to stop them from leaving tooth marks on your palm.

Why does my cat lick me then bite me?

To show their affection

If your cat approaches you, gives you a few licks, and then bites you when you weren’t stroking them, and they appear happy and calm, they are likely attempting to show you their affection.

Kittens and occasionally adult cats frequently lick and bite one another. Their skin is somewhat more resilient than ours; therefore, it probably does not harm them. Consequently, your cat considers this an appropriate manner to demonstrate its affection for you.

They are grooming you to bond

When their fur is matted or needs to remove something from their fur, cats will release small amounts of fur during their grooming procedure. Or they may engage in this behavior when grooming each other, especially when they are kittens. Cats have keratin spines on their tongues, which causes them to feel somewhat exfoliating. These spines allow your cat to clean itself thoroughly.

If they are licking you excessively but not biting you, they may groom you as if you were another cat. And if they are concentrating on licking and nibbling your hair, then grooming is even more likely. If your cat attempts to groom you, it indicates that they have a strong attachment to you. Remember that cats groom only the cats in their group, not random cats.

Beautiful gray mixed-breed pregnant cat licking her paw. Isolated over white background.
Your cat may lick you after licking themselves


Have you ever seen petting or playing with your cat swiftly change from being happy and comfortable to be angry and frustrated? Typically, this indicates that they are overstimulated. Our cats cannot tell us to leave them alone, so they express this by licking and biting. There are no fixed guidelines on overstimulation. What is excessive for one cat is sufficient for another. Your cat is likely to be content with either a small or a substantial quantity of stimulation.

However, there may be variations in what they will tolerate based on their mood, such as if you have been away or if they are ill and need extra cuddling. Additionally, your cat may become uncomfortable if you caress a sensitive body spot too much. Examine the ears of your cat when this occurs. If your cat’s ears are flat against its head or flicking back and forth, you should leave it alone.

Observing the cat’s behavior after the licking and biting is a second method for determining if it has been overstimulated. If they flee and hide, they have probably been overstimulated. If they remain close to you, it may be due to one of the other factors discussed in this article.

Trying to Play

If a toy is involved in the licking and biting behavior, your cat likely wants to play. Nonetheless, the impulse to play and overstimulation might appear similar.

If your cat’s whiskers and ears are pointed forward, its tail is up, its back is slightly arched, and its pupils are dilated, it is likely in the mood to play. The primary predictor of whether your cat is playful or overstimulated is its reaction to the bite. If your cat wants to be near you, is bouncy, and appears content, they are likely looking to play. It is generally due to overstimulation if they become anxious and leave the scene. Bring a feather toy or other cat toy if your cat remains on the scene, and you will quickly determine if they are in the mood to play.

Your Cat is Stressed

Excessive licking and biting can indicate worry or tension. Certain cat breeds, such as Siamese cats, gnaw on objects when agitated. Unfortunately, this chewing behavior may also extend to your body parts.

When under stress, some cats will begin to lick incessantly or compulsively. If your cat licks and then bites you, they are probably not truly upset with you. You may have witnessed your cat being furious or terrified. Angry cats typically have very arched and rigid backs, standing fur, and a significant amount of hissing. At worst, you may irritate your cat through overstimulation.

How to prevent your feline from biting

You must realize that biting alone is another issue, as cats bite for other reasons. Typically, you may have no problems with licking. Biting is something that should not be left unchecked. Here are some methods for preventing your cat from biting.

Immediately discourage the action

Kittens have an instinct to bite and will bite anything that enters their way. When they are young, their bites may not be painful. However, if you do not stop the behavior, it will become a significant problem when the kittens become adults.

Therefore, it is preferable to discourage the notion when they are still kittens. Inform children that it is acceptable to bite their toys, not humans or other animals. Do not offer your kitten your fingers or toes to play with, even if biting is a significant part of their play.

two different looking cats side by side. One cat is licking finger of female pet owner
Licking is a sign of affection in cats

When the cat bites you, act as if you’re in pain.

When your cat unexpectedly bites your finger, demonstrate your discomfort if he grasps the finger and attempts to force it inward. If you try to remove it, he will reflexively tighten his grip on the finger. However, if he releases his grip promptly, you should reward him with a treat to reinforce this behavior.

Offer him toys to chew

Your cat must satisfy its desire to bite. Otherwise, he will take it out on your possessions or you if he cannot find anything to chew on. Therefore, it is recommended to offer him at least three distinct plush toys to chew on.


Cats are complicated creatures that can be difficult to interpret, but the affection they provide is well worth the effort required to do so. Even between humans, interaction can be difficult. In the case of pets, we must study the most effective modes of communication and pay close attention to their body language. Licking and biting is a typical component of a cat’s interaction with its environment and, in most cases, is not cause for alarm. Licking and biting are their methods of communicating with us what they want or how they feel, whether it is to express affection, to want attention, or alone time.

Does your cat lick you and then bite? How do you interpret what they are attempting to say? Please tell us in the comments! We want to read about your experiences.

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