Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me?

If you’ve one or more cats, then you’ve probably been through this situation more than once where you find yourself asking ‘”Why does my cat lick me then bite me?”. That’s probably happened when your cat is sitting quietly on your lap, you are petting them and they’re licking you.

Then, all of a sudden, your cat bites you!

You have no idea what just happened. Didn’t they like the massage and petting you were giving them?

What is it that makes them engage in this conduct?

If your cat has a habit of this behavior and gives you her trademark ‘love bites’, the first thing you need to do is not take it personally. Your furry feline is as complex as other cats and all of them do this. I am yet to find a cat parent that has never been ‘lovingly’ bitten but we can’t help but think,”Why does my cat lick me and then bite me?”.
Here are five common ones why your cat licks and then bites:

1. Your cat wants to bond with you by grooming you. 

Cats normally lick their fur when grooming themselves. They usually do the grooming process by biting their fur to remove tangles and then lick it afterward to finish it off. Similarly, they may also lick their fur first and do some nips or little bites on particular parts of their body. 

This particular cat behavior extends to their favored humans. Your cat may lick your at your hair or elsewhere and then bite you or vice versa because, like her siblings, she is grooming you as a way of strengthening your bond and relationship.  

2. Your cat is showing you affection. 

This is a way for a cat to show her affection for you.  It means your cat is comfortable, relaxed, and contented in your presence. Along with her intention to groom you, her behavior signifies that she is happy and feels a deep connection with you. 

3. Your cat may be telling you that she wants to play with you.

As complex and mysterious as they are, cats have amusing ways to communicate with their owners. Your cat may invite and initiate playtime by licking and then biting you. How do you know she is in a playful mood? Look for cues like ears and whiskers that point forward, with the tail up, and the pupils somewhat dilated. Your cat may also walk with an arched back, act like it is stalking a prey, and may crouch with her rear end slightly raised.

By licking and biting you gently, your cat is telling you that you are her best friend and she is in the mood for playtime. 

4. Your cat may be telling you to stop giving her physical attention. 

Cats love playtime with their humans and it is a great way to bond. However, cats also have mood swings and if you become overly-aggressive in playing and petting her she may feel agitated. Overstimulation happens when a cat’s sensitive body part is touched accidentally or repeatedly. Your cat may lick and then give you a gentle bite to signify that she wants to take a break and for you to stop giving her physical attention. 

These are some of the signs that your cat is overstimulated:

  • your cat may ripple her tail 
  • her ears are flicking back and forth 
  • her ears will flatten against her head 

5. Your cat may be stressed. 

Some cats are prone to stress and even aggression. This is manifested through signs like biting and excessive licking. Your cat may be licking then biting you because she may be stressed and anxious.  Other cat breeds like the Siamese may tend to chew things more than others and this may extend to your hands.  If you suspect that your cat’s peculiar behavior is due to stress, consult your vet for the proper treatment. Also CBD oil such as Chill Paws helps to lessen stress and behavioral issues with cats.

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Why does my cat lick me then attack me?

If your cat licks then attacks you, it might be more than just affection or playfulness. Your cat might be triggered by something that resulted in an aggressive reaction. It could be the smell of another cat if you happen to pet a stray or a friend’s pet outside.

However, if your cat’s claws are all out and ready to attack, you should consider the possibility of a behavioral problem. You can consult your cat’s veterinarian for proper advice.

Petting aggression is pretty common among cats. It could be due to overstimulation or rough play. Remember that each cat has different thresholds when it comes to physical stimulation. Others don’t mind belly rubs all day long, while there are some that get on edge pretty easily.

Why does my cat bite me unprovoked?

Regardless if it’s accompanied by licking, unprovoked biting can be a form of aggression. An unprovoked bite followed by hissing and an arched back is a defensive stance. Your cat sees you as a threat and has bitten your skin to defend itself.

Moreover, some cat breeds are more likely to give unprovoked bites. The likes of Sphynx, Bengal, Egyptian Mau, Singapura, and Korat have low thresholds when it comes to different stimuli. They get easily nervous when hearing loud sounds or seeing a sudden movement. This will make them appear as mean kittens.

It’s important to know your cat to understand the real reason behind the unprovoked attacks. Some cats prefer showing their affection and playfulness through rough ways. While this might be the case, you should do something to fix it.

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How to stop your cat from biting you

If your cat’s licking and biting habits are starting to be problematic, you should devise an action plan to correct it. The following are helpful tips to discourage your kitty from biting:

  • Say a firm ‘no’. Cats are sensitive beings, so they often take cues from the tone of your voice. Saying a ‘firm’ no will distract a cat from its biting behavior. After that, walk away from your cat to signify your dislike of what it just did.
  • Don’t offer your skin. As cat owners, we often engage our cats in playtime using our hands. In return, cats think that it’s okay to bite and nibble on our fingers. This is where the licking and biting habit begins.
  • Give an interactive toy. If you have a cat that likes to use its mouth to play, you might as well get it an interactive toy. This will keep the cat busy so that it won’t lick or bite your skin. A chew toy will also work to divert your cat’s chewing habit.
  • Perform the replacement behavior training. If your cat licks and bites when you lie down on the couch, you should offer an alternative behavior. Ask the cat to sit or stay on the floor. If the kitty follows, sound a clicker, then give a treat right away. Repeat this until your cat stops biting and sits in peace.
  • Never punish the cat. Our pets don’t understand the reason behind our anger. They only see and feel the pain. Such a thing will only lead to further problems and potential aggression in the future.


Cats communicate with their owners through various body language and behaviors and one way of doing so is by licking and biting you. Your cat may lick and bite you as an invitation for playtime and to show affection. It may also mean that she is overstimulated and wants to take a break. However, it may also signify that she is stressed and you should bring her to the vet at once for prompt treatment.  

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