Many things that cats do are cute or funny when you see videos of them on the internet. They’re less endearing when your cat does them to you. If your cat has a tendency to bite your nose, you probably want that behavior to stop as soon as possible. Your cat’s teeth are sharp, and they can pose some serious damage to your face if your cat were to bite hard.
Although this behavior seems aggressive, you’re likely misunderstanding your cat’s intentions. Cats speak a different language from people, and it helps to know how to interpret that language and respond in an appropriate way.
Here’s why your cat bites your nose and what you can do about it.
Why Do Cats Bite?
Cats communicate with each other and with people very often. They do so in their own special way. It’s much easier for a cat to understand another cat than it is for an owner to understand a cat who seems to be doing something strange. You probably interpret your cat’s bites as unpleasant, but they aren’t always intended to be unfriendly gestures.
Biting and licking are important parts of grooming. Cats “wash” themselves and each other. A small bite can help cats check for bugs or to remove debris on the surface of a loved one’s body. Biting also helps to scratch the occasional itch. You might see your cat biting themselves during a grooming session.
Cats may be small and cute, but their origin story is one of a carnivorous hunter. When your cat is playing, they’re utilizing their instincts. Cats bite to catch or trap prey. Your indoor cat likely enacts these behaviors with their toys, or with you if you’re the person that they’re playing with. It’s a natural instinct, and it isn’t indicative of improper behavior.
It’s important to nurture this instinct in your cat. It’s a vital part of who they are, and that instinct will never go away. Make sure your cat has plenty of toys they can hit, scratch, and bite. Think of it as their exercise routine. It keeps them healthy and allows them to expend energy while directing their natural primal instincts in a productive direction.
Although cats are usually passive most of the time, they’re fully capable of using aggressive behaviors to defend themselves. If an unwanted presence (human or animal) interacts with your cat in a way that your cat feels is threatening, your cat may bite or scratch as a way to protect themselves or their territory from unwanted intrusion.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Nose When We’re Cuddling?
If your cat gently nibbles on your nose while you’re cuddling, your cat believes they’re helping to groom you. Your nose is the easiest part of your face to nibble because it sticks out the furthest. Some cats may simply sniff your nose, while other cats may gently bite it. Your cat’s intention in this scenario isn’t to cause you discomfort — it’s to treat you as an equal.
If it doesn’t particularly bother you and your cat is gently nibbling, you don’t have to encourage your cat to stop. If you have small children in your home, you shouldn’t allow this behavior to continue.
If your cat is in a sweet and cuddly mood, simply keep your face away from your cat and encourage other members of your household to do the same. A cat in the mood to groom won’t lunge for your face or your nose. They’ll focus on grooming your hands and arms if those are the parts of your body that are easily accessible.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Nose When We’re Playing?
If your cat bites your nose while you’re playing, it might be a little rougher than a grooming bite. It might hurt a little, but your cat still isn’t meaning to harm you. Your cat will bite other cats during play, even if they’re great friends. They’ll move on from it quickly, and your cat is assuming you won’t be any different.
Nevertheless, you might want to dissuade your cat from biting you during play. The best strategy is to immediately stop playing with your cat when they get too rough. Your cat will be upset because they want to continue playing with them. Ignore them. Eventually, they’ll get the message that playtime stops the moment they start nipping.
In the future, consider using active play toys that create a distance between you and your pet. Wands or poles with strings that you can dangle in front of your cat will focus your cat’s attention on playfully attacking the feathers or pom poms hanging at the end of the pole, rather than playfully attacking you.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Nose When I Approach Them?
If your cat bites, scratches, or hisses when approached, this is a behavioral problem that needs to be addressed. This behavior is common in stray cats that have been adopted directly from outdoors and shelter cats that may come from traumatic environments or abusive homes.
It may also be indicative of a cat’s mistrust of a particular person. If someone isn’t treating a cat properly, the cat will view that individual as a threat and actively work to defend its space from that individual.
It’s best to take your cat to a vet to determine if your cat’s aggression or behavioral problems aren’t related to an issue with their cognitive or physical health. Some cats are simply more aggressive when they play, and they don’t have any intention to meaningfully harm anyone. When your vet addresses or rules out these concerns, your next step is to work on training your cat.
Some cats just need a little time to adjust to a new environment. Allowing your cat to come to you on their own terms when they feel comfortable doing so will slowly eliminate friction in your relationship. If it persists, it’s best to ask your vet for a recommendation for a trainer or behavioral specialist to help your cat acclimate to your home and your family.
How To Dissuade Your Cat from Licking or Biting
If you want your cat to stop licking or biting people or things around your home, the best solution is the simplest one. Make things taste bad. Things like bitter apple spray are completely harmless, but they taste awful to your animals. You can safely put bitter apple spray on your skin before you interact with your cat. If you do this consistently, your cat will think you taste bad all the time and will avoid licking or biting you.
You can also use bitter apple spray on household objects that your cat mistakes for toys — most pet stores have this available online and in-store, but you can also make it at home by mixing two cups of apple cider vinegar with one cup of white vinegar and adding into a spray bottle. Make sure your cat has plenty of real toys they’re allowed to use at their leisure. Over time, they’ll get the message. They’ll prefer the toys that don’t seem yucky to the things that aren’t actually toys.
Keeping Your Cat Happy and Healthy
Most of the time, gentle nibbles aren’t a problem. If you don’t mind and you understand that the context of your cat’s behavior is affectionate, you don’t need to stop your cat. If the behavior becomes problematic, it’s best to speak to your vet about solutions.
While you’re at your vet’s office, ask if your cat may benefit from the soothing effects of VETCBD Hemp CBD oil. CBD works to promote a calm mood, regular brain health, joint mobility, and digestive health in pets. A comfortable cat is a happy cat.