Cats just like any other animal have different personalities. Some love to be petted while others not so much. As a pet owner it is important to know and understand your cats personality so you can provide the best care possible.
It also helps you determine if your cat’s behaviour is outside the norm.
One behaviour that can be confusing for pet parents is when their cat licks them then bites them.
There are a few reasons why your cat might do this and it is important to understand the difference so you can properly address the behaviour.
The first reason your cat might lick you then bite you is because they are grooming you Cats are very clean creatures and spend a lot of time grooming themselves.
They will also groom their family members, including their humans. When cats groom themselves they use their tongue to remove any dirt, debris or loose fur.
Their tongue is covered in tiny spines called papillae which act like a brush. The process of grooming is very soothing for cats and they often purr when they are doing it.
Cats will also groom their humans as a way of showing affection. It is not uncommon for a cat to start licking you then suddenly bite you.
This is because their tongue can get irritated from all the licking and they will instinctively bite to stop the sensation.
If your cat is grooming you then biting you it is not a sign of aggression, but rather a sign that their tongue is getting sore.
The best way to deal with this behaviour is to stop the grooming.
The second reason your cat might lick you then bite you is because they are playing. Cats are very playful creatures and love to play with their humans.
They will often use their tongue to lick you as a way of getting your attention. Once they have your attention they will start to playfully bite you.
This behaviour is not aggressive, but rather a sign that your cat wants to play.
How To Tell When a Cat Id Play Biting You
You can tell when a cat is playing when the bite is not sudden, but rather gradual and in combination with other playful behaviour.
They will also typically not bite hard enough to break the skin. For example, a cat might start to stalk you then start to lick you.
Once you are paying attention to them they will start to bite you gently. They might also swat at you with their paws or chase you around.
Another way to tell if your cat is playing is if they let go when you tell them to stop.
If your cat is truly biting you in aggression they will not let go when you tell them to stop and their body language will be different.
The best way to deal with this behaviour is to redirect your cat’s attention to a toy or another activity. If you have a cat that likes to play bite then it is important to train them not to do it. The best way to do this is to give them a toy to bite instead of your hand.
Whenever they start to bite you, redirect their attention to the toy.
It might take some time, but eventually they will learn that it is okay to bite the toy, but not you.
The third reason your cat might lick you then bite you is because they are feeling aggressive.
Cats can become aggressive for a variety of reasons, including fear, anxiety or territoriality.
When a cat is feeling aggressive they will often give warning signs before they bite.
These warning signs can include growling, hissing, flattening their ears or swishing their tail.
If you see any of these warning signs it is important to remove yourself from the situation and give your cat some space.
Another possibility is that your cat is overstimulated from being petted and wants you to stop.
This is where knowing your cats personality goes a long way.
A Cat’s Personality Can Change As They Grow Older
A cat’s personality can change as they grow older.
A kitten that was once very playful might become more subdued as they get older.
Conversely, an older cat that was once very laid back might become more active and playful in their later years.
Male cats can also become more aggressive as they get older and start to feel the need to protect their territory.
If you have an older cat that suddenly starts licking you then biting you it is important to take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.
There are a variety of medical conditions that can cause a cat to become aggressive, including pain, infection, illness or cognitive decline.
The best way to deal with an aggressive cat is to talk to your vet and come up with a plan to help your cat feel more comfortable.