If you have found yourself in the situation of stroking your cat and that it responds with a lick and a subsequent bite it is natural that you are intrigued by its meaning. If you accompany us you will discover the answer to why my cat licks me and then bites me.
Licking has a clear connotation of hygiene and you should know that they only groom those they consider to be their family . The bite, on the other hand, requires paying attention to the body language of the animal to know how to correctly interpret the message that accompanies it.
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The lamino, a positive social behavior
Since they are puppies, felines are very aware of licking in their daily lives. Their mothers lick them to impregnate them with their scent so that they can recognize them . As adults, grooming each other is a way to provide well-being for loved ones.
The tongue of cats treasures fine keratin spines, whose mission is to untangle the hair, remove adhering dirt and comb their coat. In grooming sessions, cats nibble and lick each other to provide a deep clean.
Whenever your pet licks you, he is showing his affection for you , since he is grooming you as part of his family that you are or because he has associated that this behavior generates a positive response in you. He knows that you like him and wants to have a deference with you.
However, if the lamino is insistent and compulsive, you should consult your veterinarian, because it could be related to an episode of anxiety or stress that must be treated.
The bite, how do you know what it means?
According to the experience of ethologists, among cats that have been separated before the month of life from their mother and siblings, it is usual that while we caress them they begin to bite.
This is because they have not had the opportunity to learn, together with their brothers, to moderate their impulses when faced with the need to play. In these cases, it is essential not to encourage pursuits or promote play based on their being lunged at you.
You can provide rope toys or stuffed animals for him to chew on and release his energy without hurting you. Allowing him to sniff you before stroking him usually helps. Get in the habit of bringing your hand up to his nose slowly so he can recognize you.
If, on the contrary, the bites are soft and repetitive, it is a clear sign that your pet is well socialized and indicates that there is a healthy bond between you. Has enough body self-control to communicate that he wants to play with you.
At other times, the bite reveals a certain satiety or a preference not to maintain physical contact. It is his particular way of expressing to you that he has had enough fun for today and that he wants to be alone.
You could interpret this as a warning sign that he wants to keep his distance, or even that you are not stroking him in his favorite areas (neck, chin, back of head).
In this context, you will have to pay attention to their non-verbal language to know what their true tolerance level is at that moment. Specifically, we mean if (in this ascending order of anger):
- Stop purring.
- Change your posture.
- Hit the tail.
- His hair stands on end.
- The pupils are dilated.
- Pull the ears back by flattening them like a plane.
As a general rule, the assumption we are dealing with, that of licking and then biting, involves low-key bites accompanied by a relaxed body tone. Without a doubt, it is a behavior that should not worry you , quite the opposite.
How to redirect it if it bothers you
If, despite its good purpose, this ritual is not to your liking or if its bites really hurt you, you should pay attention to the following recommendations:
- Don’t lose your cool or scold him. It would be completely counterproductive. The only thing you would achieve is to consolidate precisely what you dislike.
- Stop stroking him and take distance from him. If every time he licks you and then bites you, you act like this, he will end up associating him and assimilating that it is not what you expect from him.
- On the contrary, reinforce the behaviors that you do like, such as purring or licking, rewarding him with, for example, his favorite snack or treat.
- Give him time to internalize it, don’t expect him to learn it overnight.
In short, the curious behavior that answers the question of why does my cat lick me and then bite me? see how much you mean to him. So, now you know, the next time it happens, give it a good dose of pampering.