Why Does My Cat Lick Me And Then Bite Me?

Why Does My Cat Lick Me And Then Bite Me?

It’s no secret that cats are adorable, affectionate friends for many of us. However, their cuteness overload can make us forget that certain issues can be behind their behaviors. For instance, many cat owners report that their cats love to lick them but then follow this up with a sharp bite.

If you have ever experienced a cat bite, then we’re sure you already know how unpleasant they can be. At first, your cat licking and nibbling you may seem cute but, overtime, this can become harmful.

Of course, cats are notorious for being temperamental creatures and the act of licking and biting is a perfect example of how hard they can sometimes be to read. The good news is that this behavior is quite common but being aware of even your cat’s subtle behavior can tell you a lot about how they feel and how you should treat them.

If you’re perplexed about why your cat is licking and then biting you, we have the answers for you in today’s blog. We will be discussing some common reasons behind this behavior and how you can communicate better with your furry friend.

Reasons Why Cats Lick And Bite You

Over Stimulation

If you have a cat, then you probably know how picky they can be with what they want and when they want it. Ever been smoothing your cat and they are purring one moment but in the blink of an eye, they suddenly lick and bite you out of nowhere? This can be a shock to many cat owners and very confusing.

Well, this can be because of over stimulation. When a cat feels too petted, they may become aggressive. Yes, they may have a sweet, laid-back nature most of the time, but this aggressive behavior can come out of the blue. Sometimes, this can be because of an issue with your cat’s fur.

They may show discomfort by hissing mildly. If you pet a cat for too long, you may literally touch a nerve attached to their fur, leading to discomfort. Your cat may also be overstimulated if their eyes have dilated or they turn their ears back. This is usually in conjunction with faster than average tail movements, flicking up and down.

If this occurs, simply stop petting your cat and leave them alone for the time being. Some cats are more sensitive than others, especially when being petted. Some can happily be petted for hours on end, whilst others can only endure a few seconds.

Remain alert when petting your cat to ensure they are not uncomfortable when doing so. Here are a few things you can do to avoid overstimulating your cat:

  • Avoid petting them on parts of their body they dislike.
  • Pet them for short periods of time.
  • As soon as you see any signs of discomfort, stop petting them.
  • Wait a while before petting your cat again. Even if you wait half an hour, your cat may still feel uncomfortable so wait until they seem ready again.
  • If they bite, do not retaliate, such as punishing your cat or shouting at them. This will only make them feel scared and can even result in your cat becoming more aggressive toward you.

They Want To Play

They Want To Play

Cats mask their emotions very well but sometimes, the act of licking and then biting can mean they simply want to play. In this case, their ears and whiskers may be pointed forward with their tail high up and pupils dilated slightly. If your cat has all of these signs, it’s time to play!

Another sign is if your cat is crouching with their backside pointing up or they are walking with an arched back. Try playing with them and see how they react.


Excessive licking and biting can be a sign of stress in cats. Cats are prone to getting stressed very easily, so it is important to keep them as calm as possible at all times and be attentive to their needs. Some breeds of cat are known to chew items when they feel anxious which can cause concern.

If your cat has started to act differently, you should consult with your veterinarian so they can check whether there are any underlying issues and give your cat treatment if needed.

They Are Grooming

You’ve probably seen your cat grooming itself by licking its fur and then biting it to untangle patches. They then lick their fur again to make it clean and soft. They can repeat this behavior with humans, too. If your cat starts to lick you and then bite you, they may be grooming you, so don’t think that it’s always a sign of aggression.

Grooming is a natural instinct to cats and this type of interaction is common amongst kittens and humans they feel close to. So, that little nip they give you may just show you how much they love you.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Aggressive?

You can prevent a cat from being aggressive by avoiding trigger situations that cause them to act this way. This is easier if you have lived with your cat for a certain length of time as you can identify these triggers more easily. One proven method is to not encourage aggressive behavior when playing.

This can lead to your cat getting overly aggressive and starting to bite more often. If your cat is playing in a calm manner, simply reward them with a treat. If they become aggressive, do not yell or punish them. Be calm around your cat and they will generally be calmer around you.

In Conclusion

Cats lick and bite for a number of possible reasons from showing affection to wanting to play and grooming you to being stressed. Keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior and if anything seems out of the ordinary, consult with your veterinarian for further advice.


Picture of Evelyn Baxter, Writer and Cat Expert

Evelyn Baxter, Writer and Cat Expert

Evelyn is an animal advocate, cat expert, and the proud mom of 2 rescue cats, Sugar, a beautiful fluffy tabby and Beebee, a black, fluffy beauty. Evelyn has studied animal care while volunteering at her local shelter. She loves all animals and wants to share the animal knowledge she has been lucky enough to gain together with knowledge from other experts with cat parents across the world.