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Cat Q&A: Why Does My Cat Lick and Bite Me?

I’ve met a lot of humans. You’re a hard species to figure out. For one, you take photos of us constantly and put them on the internet — it’s bad enough to invade our privacy, but I have yet to see any royalties. Or what about when a box is delivered and you try to give us some lame toy that’s inside instead of the box? I honestly don’t understand how you all ended up in charge.

Because we don’t speak the same language (even though we cats clearly understand yours), we do a lot of communicating nonverbally — mostly because we like to challenge your “superior” intellect. But don’t get your prefrontal cortex in a tizzy! I’m going to let you in on what’s behind a couple of behaviors — just a couple — you might be experiencing with your cat companion.

 

black and white cat on couch licking finger of owner

Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Because we never see you lick yourselves clean and somebody has to do it. Seriously, though, it’s generally a good thing when we lick our humans. However, there are cats who lick too much or whose licking is caused by behavioral issues.

Cats Lick You to Show Affection

Licking other cats, as well as our favorite people, is a sign that we like you. From the time we’re kittens, we lick to groom each other, especially spots that are hard to reach by ourselves. Cats are master contortionists, but even we have limits. So, a reasonable amount of licking is most likely your cat bonding with you.

Cats Lick You When They Want Attention

Your cat might lick you because they want to play. Or they could just be angling for a good petting session (although if you really knew them, they wouldn’t have to ask).

But sometimes, licking can indicate stress or anxiety, especially if it’s excessive. If your cat’s licking becomes extreme, call the vet to get your furry friend checked for any medical causes. You might find that you’ll need an animal behaviorist to turn the licking back down to “let’s play” levels.

 

black and white cat on table biting finger of pet parent

Why Does My Cat Bite Me?

To be clear, I’m talking about harmless little nips, not the kind of lion-grade chomping we use for hunting and other serious situations. These “love bites” (as you weirdly call them) often catch you by surprise during an innocent moment of petting or licking.

Cats Bite You to Say “Enough”

Since you haven’t learned to speak cat, we are known to bite to let you know when we’re done. I’ve had enough petting for now = love bite. You’re petting an off-limits spot = love bite. My hair follicle receptors are overstimulated. So, what do you get? A love bite.

Cats Bite You as Part of the Grooming Process

Now and then when we’re grooming ourselves with our tongue, we need our teeth for a particular job, like freeing a burr from our beautiful fur. So in the midst of giving you a proper licking, your cat might decide to unleash those pointy teeth for good reason, but it’s still a shock when you don’t know it’s coming.

Cats Bite You Because It’s a Learned Behavior

Kittens love to roughhouse. By nature, they practice stalking, hunting, pouncing and biting. And if you encouraged that behavior by interacting aggressively with your kitten or juvenile cat, then you deserve every nip you get! If you used your hands or feet to rile up your little furball, they’re always going to consider those areas fair game.

  • kitten licking its lips because it wants kitten treats

    Kitten Treating 101: Everything to Know about Treats for Kittens

    Congratulations on your new lil’ kitten! This is a time of adorable meows and razor-sharp claws. So wonderful.  

    You want to bond with your new kitten however you can, but how? It’s no secret that cats love treats. Every cat owner knows how irresistible TEMPTATIONS™ Treats are. But what about kittens? When can they get in on the fun? This is the definitive guide to kitten treats.

    orange and white kitten walking outside

    Can Kittens Eat Treats?

    Yes, they can! You can start feeding kitten treats to your kitty when they are about 8 weeks old or after they’ve fully transitioned to wet kitten food or dry kitten food from milk or formula. You should switch your kitty to adult treats around their first birthday.   

    Temptations kitten treats salmon and dairy and chicken and dairy flavor bags

    Do They Even Make Treats for Kittens?

    Yes, we do! From the makers of your favorite healthy cat treats (that’s us) comes TEMPTATIONS™ Kitten Treats! We’ve made two irresistible flavors: TEMPTATIONS™ Chicken and Dairy Flavor Kitten Treats and TEMPTATIONS™ Salmon and Dairy Flavor Kitten Treats.

    Do They Make Healthy Kitten Treats?

    Yes again! TEMPTATIONS™ Kitten Treats are under two calories each and 100% nutritionally complete and balanced for kittens. These healthy kitten treats are specially formulated with DHA to support healthy brain development, which makes them especially good treats for kittens. 

    kitten eating kitten treats out of owner's hand

    What's the Best Way to Feed My Kitten Treats?

    Another excellent question. You can use kitten treats for training purposes, as a whole meal, as a special meal topper or just as a fun way to bond with your tiny new ball of fur.

    How Many Treats Should I Feed My Kitten?

    For kittens ages 8 to 16 weeks (2-4 pounds of body weight), feed 7-9 TEMPTATIONS™ Kitten Treats daily. If fed as a main meal, feed 1/3-1/2 cup daily in 3-4 meals per day. 
     
    For kittens ages 16 to 52 weeks (4-10 pounds of body weight), feed 10-12 treats daily. If fed as a main meal, feed 1/2-2/3 cup daily divided into 2-3 meals per day.  

    And always make sure your growing kitten has plenty of fresh drinking water! 

    Can Kitten Treats Affect Their Diet?

    Your kitten's health is the top priority. Everything in moderation, right? So make sure you’re paying attention to serving sizes and water availability as you’re treating your cat. A healthy kitten is a happy kitten, especially when they’re treated to TEMPTATIONS™. 

     

    kitten playing in the cat tree

    Any Fun Ideas on How to Use These Tasty Kitten Treats?

    Oh yeah — we’re so glad you asked. We’ve got a whole article on using cat treats for training, but here are some of our kitten-specific favorite ways to use our crunchy treats.  

     

    Kittenhood is when behaviors get solidified, so treats are a great way to encourage good habits. Try incentivizing your kitten’s use of the scratching post by holding a treat for them above it, keeping it just out of reach. This might save the sides of your couch later!  

     

    Place treats on all levels of your cat tree to watch them parkour around or play a little cat fetch by tossing treats across the floor. Don’t be surprised when they don’t actually return the treats, though. They’re just too … tempting. Get it? Because we’re … never mind. 

     

    OK, this one might not be as fun, but it’s practical: Get your kitten used to their crate by placing treats toward the back of it. Over time, you can work toward having the door shut and spending a few seconds/minutes at a time in their crate, which can make going to the V-E-T way easier. Trust us. 

     

    That’s it! That’s the full download on kitten treats. We’d love to see how you’re using TEMPTATIONS™ Kitten Treats, so why not show us a pic or cute video over on Instagram? Use the hashtag #TEMPTATIONSShare and your pretty kitten may just end up on our account.