Why does the cat lick and then bite?
If you have one or more cats, you’ve probably been through this situation: your cat is licking you quietly … and suddenly it bites you ! What happened? Did not he enjoy the massage? Why did my cat have this behavior?
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In this article by YourCatCareguide we will explore the feline world a little and explain to you why the cat licks and then bites based on the species’ own behaviors and their meanings. In addition, we’ll also give you some tips to prevent the cat from biting you. Keep reading!
The feline language – behavior of cats
Even if you are a seasoned tutor who knows your pet well, it is not always easy to understand what the cat is telling you. So it is essential that you learn more about the feline universe and the body language of cats . Whenever you can, read articles related to ethology (science that studies animal behavior), which will certainly help you to understand more about the fantastic animals that cats are and to interpret certain behaviors in a more appropriate way.
As you may know, cats use their bodies to communicate with us and to express emotions. So when your best friend licks you and then nibbles you, you must be very attentive to his bodyand thus try to understand why he presents that behavior.
Is it possible that you frightened him, inadvertently, while caring for him? Did your cat lick you while purring and nibbling softly? The way your cat accomplishes this behavior expresses far more than you can imagine!
When the cat licks and bites – what does it mean?
There is not only one way to interpret the licking of cats, just as it does not exist for bites, let alone for biting and licking at the same time! Therefore, we will try to explain to you each behavior in detail:
The tongue of cats is undoubtedly unique and special: it is formed by small spines of keratin that are especially useful in the cleaning session of them, to comb the hair and eliminate all the dirt of it.
So when a cat licks us, or if we lick our hair , it is presenting a social conduct, considering us of his social group, as if we were a cat. It is a positive social conduct that manifests the existence of a good bond between the tutor and the cat.
In addition, the cat may lick you as a show of affection , since he has learned that through certain associations, that is a behavior that you like and that gives rise to more caresses and affection. On the other hand, licking incessantly (even compulsively) may mean that something is not right and that your best friend’s well-being is compromised, indicating stress and anxiety . In this case, we recommend that you review the 5 stress symptoms in cats .
As with licking, a bite can also have several meanings. Despite this, anyone who has ever been bitten by a very upset or frightened cat knows that this has nothing to do with the nibbles a cat gives when playing, even if they hurt a little. Truly upset or frightened cats show a very expressive body language , contracting and becoming rigid and bristling. In addition, it is customary for snorers to be alert and to bend their backs.
These types of bites (accompanied by painful scratches) have absolutely nothing to do with biting jokes , which they usually do when they get out of control. In addition, there are warning bites to stop you from bothering or caressing you and bites as a show of affection , which are often more controlled and repetitive.
So why do cats lick and bite?
Some cats bite right after licking as a warning sign so you stop caring. Others do this as a form of affection , and others still do it as a form of grooming , that is, because they are taking care of you.
The cats when they clean each other, lick themselves and give gentle bites, in order to correctly perform the hygiene and arrange the hair. For this reason, it is very normal that during a session of beauty, your partner bites you. It is not a negative behavior .
When the bite hurts …
It can happen that your cat bit you and hurt you. What should you do? First of all, you should never punish him , since your feline is performing a social conduct, although for us it is not pleasurable.
How should you act when your cat bites you ? The ideal is that after the bite you stop caressing it and ignore it. If you are always constant and repeat this behavior, over time your cat begins by associating the bites at the end of the game or the caress session and you will know perfectly well that if you do, you will not have more attention.
At the same time, it is imperative that you apply positive reinforcement techniques to reinforce the behaviors you please, such as when the cat is calm, lick you without biting or purring peacefully. For this, you can use a simple “very well” or bet on tastes more tasty.