might earn a little commission as soon as you use one of the links on this page to purchase.

You are watching: Why do cats groom each other and then bite


Here’s the scenario: You’re hanging out via Dr. Tuna (that’s your cat’s name obviously) and you’re gently scratching his cheek. Which he LOVES by the way. Then Dr. Tuna decides to begin licking your hand ever before so slightly.

You think, “Well, his tongue is a little bit turbulent yet he seems to be saying thanks for all the petting. I’ll permit it.”

Not a 2nd later on, Dr. Tuna is chomping down! Not super hard but it’s not specifically gentle either.

Ouch! What the heck, Dr. Tuna?!

Ever wondered why your cat licks then bites you?

You’re in the right location. I set out to get the answer and also execute my best to deal with this feline mystery! We’re going to dive deep right into every possible scenario along with the context clue you need to look for to figure out what explanation provides the the majority of sense.

But if you’re simply searching for a quick answer as to why cats lick and also bite then below it is:

Cats that lick and also bite are a lot of likely reflecting affection in the form of a love bite. This is particularly most likely if you’re just relaxing and not actively petting your cat. However before, it could additionally be a sign of an overstimulated cat or just grooming behavior. 

Let’s gain started!

What Can We Really Kcurrently About Cat Behavior?

First off, it’s important to realize the sad reality that we can’t have a conversation via your cat… or any cat. That indicates we’re making educated guesses on why cats execute particular points and we really should depend on the context (aka what else was going on) to learn more about the habits.

That’s why we’re going to lay out 3 feasible factors why your cat may lick then bite you while offering you plenty of conmessage cues to look for so you can number out which one renders the the majority of feeling.

When it involves expertise cat habits, context is very important!

Scenario #1: Lick Then Bite Without Any Petting

Here’s what it looks like: You’re sitting on the couch doing your thing and then kitty calmly ideologies, licks one or 2 times, and offers you a small bite. You weren’t petting her at all and your cat seems totally calm and also tranquil throughout the licking and biting.

The Biggest Factors To Look For: A happy, calm, calm cat that isn’t being pet before the lick and bite.

You May Be Dealing With A Love Bite

In this scenario, your cat is most likely sharing a small love bite that’s predelivered by a lick.

But what precisely are love bites?

According to Dr. Karen Becker, a small nip is a totally normal way of saying they love you and also a common sign of affection however unfortunately “your cat doesn’t understand also her love bites aren’t constantly pleasant for you.”

These sort of cat bites are actually a normal component of just how cats (yet particularly kittens) connect with each various other. Dr. Becker goes on to define that “ kitties nip each other affectionately, and also their skin is tougher than ours.” So it’s sort of like kitty kisses!

Just a pair of kit10s saying hello!

I have the right to confirm firsthand also that my cat Debbie is a large fan of love bites.

Unfortunately, her favorite spot to go for is my nose!

I’ll be sitting in bed, reading a book, and also winding dvery own for the day. Debbie will stroll up, let out a small chirp, and ever before so slowly offer my nose a bite.

Not just does it make me a tiny self-conscious around my nose, yet it also doesn’t feel that excellent. But I’m not certain which of us is weirder…my cat for biting my nose or me for letting it happen even more than once!

(Okay, it’s taken place a lot.)

Or Your Cat Could Be Grooming You

Others argue that the licks and also bites that occur exterior of petting are component of the grooming process for cats and they’re simply providing you a good cleaning.

Well, it’s really not much of cleaning so perhaps we must think of it choose a not so subtle hint.

So does this grooming concept organize weight?

Cats perform sometimes bite during the grooming process. Typically, it happens once they can’t rather get somepoint off their hair or they have to really scratch an itch. If you watch enough cats groom themselves or each other, you’ll inevitably watch that it’s not unusual for them to mix in a tiny nibble.

I’ve actually gained a story for this one, too. I had actually a foster cat named Stormy that made it her mission to lick my wet hair after a shower. This always started as licks but then ultimately finished in a bite or 2.

That being said, I’m starting to obtain worried around what this write-up is saying about me.

But earlier to the grooming explacountry for the lick/bite combo…

I believe the cat love bites are even more most likely unless your cat is obviously trying to groom you. If your cat licks you even more than a few times then it’s feasible she’s trying to offer you a grooming yet if it’s just one lick followed by a bite it’s more than likely a love bite.

Scenario #2: Your Cat Is Happy But Overstimulated

Here’s what it looks like: You’re offering your cat an excellent petting. Maybe you’re petting her conveniently or just concentrating on one spot a little too lengthy. Or possibly you choose to live dangerously and also you’ve gone for a belly rub. Either way, she leans in, provides your finger a lick or 2, and then a nice chomp!

The Biggest Factors To Look For: What kind of body language are you seeing from your cat? Does she look loose and also comfortable?

If you’re not sure what to look for, Dr. Sophia Yin has actually a fantastic poster showing you what to look for. 

What Is Overstimulation?

Your cat might be experiencing somepoint dubbed overstimulation or occasionally called petting-induced aggression. Overstimulation occurs as soon as the pets you’re giving your cat go from pleasant and also enjoyable to all of a sudden uncomfortable or frustrating.

Why do cats obtain overstimulated?

While we can’t give a totally clinical explanation we know that cats are sensitive creatures via a clear threshost for when affection isn’t anyeven more.

I try to think of it prefer being ticklish. Sometimes someone might massage or rub your back and it can feel nice. But then they hit just the best spot near your ribs and all of a sudden you’re being tickled!

I know it’s a bit of a stretch (and anthropomorphizing pets isn’t an excellent halittle to obtain in to) however I execute think it’s still a useful method to think about overstimulation in cats. And I think it’s a far better explanation than sindicate saying that your cat has mood swings!

The biggest difficulty is that our cats can’t let us understand via words that somepoint has become uncomfortable. At some point, they acquire frustrated and also communicate the just means they deserve to think of…through a small cat bite!

So what can you execute around overstimulated cats that go from happy and purring to licking and also biting?

Your ideal alternative is to sheight petting your cat before it happens or protect against locations that tend to lead to overstimulation. Different cats have actually different thresholds for how long they can be pet or locations that lead to overstimulation so you’ll need to learn what works best for your cat.

It’s necessary to note right here that your cat will certainly typically look loose and comfortable before overstimulation occurs but may show even more stressful body language prior to the licking and biting occurs.

Almethods be observant of your cat’s actions. If your cat already looks tense, stressed or fearful then don’t pet!

Try to pay attention to what your cat does after the lick and also bite combination. If your cat creates distance by running away or hiding under somepoint there’s an excellent opportunity they acquired overengendered and also they’re in search of some area. Make certain to provide your cat the room they need and take into consideration what happened best before she became overengendered.

At some point, you’ll have the ability to acquire a feel for the amount of petting your cat deserve to manage and also what they can’t.

Scenario #3: Your Cat Is Playing With You!

Here’s what it looks like: The tricky component is that playtime can look a lot prefer overstimulation! You’re petting your cat and then unexpectedly your cat licks then bites you! The massive question is what does your cat carry out next?

The Biggest Factors To Look For: Does your cat take any type of play postures after the initially lick and bite combo or automatically start going after toys? If so, she’s most likely simply trying to play through you! If instead, your cat tries to run and develop space you might be managing scenario #2.

How Your Cat Asks To Play

Your cat just can desire to play! Remember, your cat can’t simply say, “Hey, let’s play!”

Instead, they have to find a means to let you recognize as soon as she desires to play.

While grabbing or toy would seem choose a perfectly clear signal some of our cats can choose to be a tiny more forward and let the chomping execute the talking.

So how deserve to you tell if the licking and also biting combo is actually a research to play?

You’ll desire to pay close attention to what your cat does instantly after!

If she stays and still appears interested or sprints little bit circles roughly the house, she’s most likely ready to play. But if she looks tense or hides it probably scenario number two and she’s all set for a break.

This kitten is all set to play!

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope these scenarios helped clear up the great feline licking and also biting mystery! But if you’re still left through more concerns I’m here to aid. I’ve put together some of the most common concerns I’ve gotten around cats that lick and bite.

Q: Why does my cat bite me gently?

Gentle biting is a way for your cat to connect. Many of the time it’s a “love bite” which is among the many type of methods your cat may display affection. But it might additionally be your cat’s means of saying they’ve had enough petting. You should pay close attention to your cat’s body language to number out what your cat is trying to say.

See more: Why Is It Called A Building If Its Already Built ? Gallagher Jokes

Q: Why does my cat lick my other cat and then bite?

It can be bereason they’re grooming the various other cat, they desire to play or they’re feeling frustrated and also overcreated. Check out your cat’s body language which will aid you understand precisely what’s going on. There’s a great possibility your various other cat knows precisely what the cat bites mean!

Q: Why does my cat lick then bite me but not my partner?

Somebody is the favorite! Your cat may be licking and also biting you as component of a “love bite”, they might be asking you to sheight petting them after they’ve had actually enough or they just want to play! Pay cshed attention to your cat’s body language and what they execute after the bite.

What’s Your Experience? 

Have you obtained the lick then bite combo from your cats? What scenario execute you think it is?