When petting your cat, he or she may reach up and gently bite your nose, chin, or cheek. Your cat may lick before biting.
This is normal grooming behavior between cats, called allogrooming. This bite or nibble is very gentle.
Anything harder is not good, because the cat is annoyed and is trying to get you to stop doing something.
Why Do Cats Bite Your Nose?
When cats like each other, they groom each other. Grooming involves licking and biting. When a cat nibbles a human’s nose or chin, he or she is trying to groom the human. These bites are very gentle. Anything harder means the cat is angry or scared about something. Cats usually give signs that they are going to bite before they do it.
Cats Showing Affection with Gentle Bites
Cats like to groom themselves and their owners because grooming releases endorphins in their bodies.
Not only does grooming a friend make them clean, but it also makes them feel good. A love bite is a normal part of cat grooming behavior.
Cats spend far more time licking than they do biting in order to groom themselves or others. Often, a cat will lick an area before nibbling it.
Although humans do not (or should not) lick their cats, petting acts like a cat’s tongue or teeth. Petting a cat makes the cat feel good.
Cats may ask for more petting by licking and then nibbling the nose or chin of their owners. Cats may also lick and do “love bites” while the owner is already petting the cat.
Bites are usually brief and never break the skin.
Petting-Induced Aggression May Cause Hard Bites
It happens to all cat owners. You are petting your cat for a while and suddenly the cat scratches or bites you. What’s going on?
This is called petting-induced aggression. Cats are far more sensitive than dogs.
Dogs tolerate being petted for as long as their owners want to pet them.
Cats physically cannot do that, as petting for a while gets them overstimulated and it makes them lash out to get you to stop petting. They can’t help it.
Getting to know your cat’s normal tolerances helps in preventing scratches or bites. After such time, you’ll get to know how much petting your cat can tolerate.
Some cats like being on laps but not a lot of petting. Try to keep your face away from your cat during this time.
Cats also give off signs when they are about to attack.
Tips for Avoiding Bad Bites from Cats
Cats love to show affection to their favorite people by rolling on their backs, exposing their bellies. Unlike dogs, cats hate belly rubs.
Showing their bellies is a way of showing they trust you. Do not bend your face down close to a feline showing its belly.
Never use any body parts like your toes or hands as a toy. It may seem like fun to wrestle a kitten with your hand, but kittens grow up to be strong adult cats.
They will see your body parts as toys and pounce when they feel playful. They may bite in play and not out of anger.
Cats give out warning signs that they intend to bite or scratch.
Watch out for these signs and back away when a cat shows them:
- The cat flattens the ears back against the head.
- The cat growls or suddenly stops purring.
- The cat begins to lash its tail instead of lazily twitching it.
- The tail begins to get fat as the hair rises.
- The skin on the cat’s back may begin to ripple or twitch, especially if you are stroking the cat’s back.
- The whiskers may go back to press against the cat’s face.
- The eyes begin to narrow and sometimes the pupils will dilate.
- If you are petting the cat, the cat may look at your hand when the cat wants the petting to stop.
Cats Trying to Wake Their Owners by Biting
Cats expect their owners to stick to a schedule. Some cats just want attention when you’re asleep.
Some cats get in the habit of biting their owners’ noses in order to wake them up. These bites are usually gentle but can get harder if the cat gets impatient.
In Caitlyn Doughty’s book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death, there are instances when cats bit small parts of their dead owners.
Since the tip of the nose was often the first to go, Doughty postulates that cats were desperately trying to wake their owners up rather than trying to eat them.
Waking up at the same time each day can help deter a cat from trying to wake you up when you oversleep.
If you can’t keep the cat from the bedroom, try to encourage the cat to use his or her own bed by rubbing catnip on it.
Play with the cat in the daytime to help make him or her more tired and likely to sleep when you want to sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Cats Bite Your Nose
What Should I Do When My Cat Bites My Nose?
If it is a gentle bite, there’s nothing you should do. If it is a hard bite, get away from the cat until the cat calms down. Never hit a cat, as this will make the cat scared of you and more likely to attack when you come close.
Why Do Cats Bite Chins?
Cats may bite chins for the same reasons that they bite noses. They tend to go for any body part that is within reach. Cats may also lick and bite your hair.
Why Is My Cat Suddenly Biting Me?
If a usually gentle and affectionate cat suddenly starts biting, take the cat to the vet for a check-up. It’s possible that the cat’s in pain and any touching can hurt. Older cats often get arthritis, which makes them prone to scratching or biting when the sore parts of their bodies are touched.
The Least You Need to Know
Cats often gently bite the noses or chins of people petting them. This is an expression of affection by mutual grooming. Cats do this when they groom each other.
Harder bites are signs that the cat is annoyed or frightened.
Sometimes cats bite the noses of sleeping people to wake them up and give them some attention.
Never hit a cat for biting, because it’ll only make everything worse.
Read about how many lives do cats have next.