Having a cat as a pet is an affectionate and rewarding experience. They have so many funny quirks about them that give them their own individual personality.
One thing that many cat owners question, however, is why do cats bite your face, and is this something that they should be concerned about.
The answer to this question is not as concerning as you might think.
Why Do Cats Bite Your Face?
Cats bite your face to communicate either affection, hone their hunting skills, show their dominance, or react with aggression. Commonly, the reason is them showing their affection. If you’re not comfortable with your cat biting your face, or they are becoming too aggressive, you can teach them to stop this behavior.
Time To Play
Especially if your cat is small and still a kitten, they may find the nose biting to be a sign of playtime, indicating that they want to play.
These kittens are full of high energy and need to express themselves to their owners and all family members as they continue to grow.
Kittens are more prone to show affection this way since they are still learning and tend to play rougher than adult cats.
This is not to say that your adult cat will not bite your face in an attempt to play, but the frequency is much more common with smaller cats.
Dominance & Aggression
A trait found in all cat breeds is dominance and their need to be the dominant figure in most situations.
In the cat realm, the alpha ranks first, so most cats try to achieve that dominance with themselves, other animals, and even you as the owner.
Cats intend to stare down others as a way to assert this dominance.
When staring at your cat directly without blinking, they may decide to bite your face as a way to show they are alpha, especially if they feel threatened.
If they begin to hiss or even do a low growl before biting, they are attempting to show dominance.
While the bite in the face can throw you off guard, they are trying to communicate with you that they, too, can be in charge and have alpha status.
This type of behavior often comes from your male cats, especially if they are still intact and reaching their maturity age.
Female cats can still try to assert dominance, but their need for it diminishes as they get older. This is something that’s heightened most in males.
Sometimes when they hiss and growl, however, they could have some aggression with you due to something they do not like.
For example, they may not like the way that you scratch them or pet them.
They will show signs first, but if your face is the nearest part to your cat, they could bite you in it directly as a way to get you to stop a particular behavior.
Affection At Its Best
The main reason your cat has jumped into your lap, placed their paws on either side of your face, and gone in for a bite is often just for affection and wanting to reciprocate those feelings you have shown them.
When your cat is being affectionate, the bites are really like nibbles on your nose or cheek, and the cat is just sending back out the affections they have received from you.
What you may find is more female cats are actually more affectionate and will bite your nose regularly compared to males. You can also expect them to purr while they are doing this.
Sometimes they want to rub their scent on you and mark you as their own if you have other pets in the house.
Some of their scent glands excrete through the mouth, marking you during the bite.
This is a smaller form of dominance, but not directed at you as much as it is the other cats or dogs living in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Cats Bite Your Face
I know my cat wants to cuddle, but I do not like it when they bite me. Can I stop this behavior?
If you are not fond of your cat biting you in the face, even if you know it is purely for affection, you can still train them to not bite your face. When they do partake in this behavior, make sure you respond by removing the cat from your face, showing them this is wrong. Provide another display of affection by scratching and rubbing your cat away from your face.
How will I know the difference between aggressive behavior and affectionate behavior?
In most cases, cats who are trying to be affectionate will start purring and rubbing along your face to spread their scent while bitting. When they are being more aggressive, you will notice the ears go down, and they will make more of a hissing sound to get your attention before they lunge for your face.
Are there any certain cat breeds that are more affectionate than others?
Actually, there are a handful of cat breeds that are pretty common that show more affection than others. They include Birman, Persian, Ragamuffin, Bombay, Siamese, and Ragdoll breeds. The females in these breeds are almost always more affectionate than the males.
Understanding Why Cats Bite Your Face
Knowing what to look for or when your cat comes up and bites your face will give you a clear indication of why they are acting this way and how you should move forward.
Whether you enjoy it or not, any time the cat bites your face out of aggression, you need to train your cat that is not okay.
Since some breeds are more prone to affection than others, it could just be a product of their nature, and you just need to keep a toy ready or move them out of your face while maintaining that level of affection.