Why do Cats Rub against you then Bite? A Helpful Guide

Biting is a common problem in cats, as it is with our puppies. It is associated with aggression which could take different forms. But when cats rub against you and then bite, what does it mean? Well, in this article, we are going to outline some of the most common forms of aggression. In addition, we are going to discuss the most effective methods to inhibit biting.


Does aggression lead to cat biting?



As much as our cats are sociable, they are still animals with predatory instincts. It means that they can also become aggressive if triggered. Therefore, yes, cat biting might be a sign of aggression. Unfortunately, not so many cat owners put up with this unwanted behavior.

Cat aggression comes second, after house soiling, in the top reasons why people give up their cats to charity. As mentioned above, aggression could vary, depending on the pending reason. They include the following:

  • Territorial aggression
  • Redirected aggression
  • Aggression from pain
  • play induced aggression

Understand that cats rub against you to identify with you but she might also bite you. Cat behaviorists suggest that it is a love bite. We shall come to that later on. When a cat rubs against you, she deposits pheromones. It is a territorial as well as survival toolkit. As in depositing her scent on you and other items, your cat will feel safe in a familiar environment.


Five Reasons why your cat might bite you


We already mentioned that cats are both sociable and expressive. Almost every move your cat makes will mean something. Therefore, in addition to observing your cat’s body language, we must understand other behavior such as biting and rubbing against you.

Below, we are going to outline the common reasons why a cats bite. They include:


The cat love bite

When a cat bites you gently, she might be trying to show her affection. It is common for your cat to bite on your hand when you are petting her. Well, we cannot fully understand feline as they are strange animals.

In most cases, it does not hurt when your cat gives you a love bite. However, do not withdraw as it will trigger her predatory instincts. Observe her body language and posture to determine whether she is feeling aggressive or not.

If at all there is any form of vocalization, it could be a whole different story.


Acquired undesirable habit

We sometimes initiate undesirable behaviors in our cats. It often begins during kittenhood where you are okay playing with your kitten. It could be that your cat is used to mouthing hands and sometimes feet. Once a kitten is used to mouthing hands, it is going to be difficult to make her stop.

This is related to play induced kind of aggression. You need to invest in toys and avoid playing with her bare hands.


 Why do Cats Rub against you then Bite

Redirected aggression

Just as humans, cats have instances where they redirect their aggression towards us. I mean, you could come home pissed off from the terrible incidence you had at work and start yelling at others. It is the same way a cat might redirect her anger towards you.

Cats are more emotional than we think. It could be that she is pissed at something in the household or having a moody day. She will bite you even when you were gently petting her. This will rarely happen especially if it is not your cat’s nature to display aggression.


Pain induced aggression

If your cat has an injury or she is generally in pain, she might bite when it really hurts. Therefore, if you are petting her and she suddenly bites you, consider examining her. If you are running a multi-cat home. It could be that your cats fought and one may have sustained a few injuries.

If you cannot find any injuries, take your cat to the vet. She will be examined and treated if found sick. On this note, do not ignore your cat when she bites during petting. I also have to mention that if you are dealing with a new kitty, you should take it easy with petting.

You may need to observe and note her tickle areas.



It is usually a petting induced kind of aggression. Actually, it is not the exact form of aggression but she will bite when she is overexcited by you touching her tickle areas. You will need to observe when she bites and when she does not during a petting session.

It could also be that your cat is scratching too hard and she reacts through biting. Once you get to learn her safe petting parts, it is going to be quite easy for you to avoid biting.


Cats rub against you then bite. How do I stop her?


As with all behavior problems in cats, you must understand why your cats rub against you and then bite. You will then be able to solve this problem. Most cat owners will give up their kitties for this behavior. Before you get there, I have a few suggestions that will get your cat to stop biting.

As for cat rubbing against you, it is totally natural and normal behavior. I mean your cat wants you to feel safe with you around. And because we move quite a lot, we bring home foreign scents. Therefore, you may observe your cat rubbing to mark you. She needs to erase those scents and replace them with hers. A cat will only feel comfortable in a threat-free environment.

Below, we are going to look at how to stop cats who rub against you and then bite:


Why do Cats Rub against you then Bite

Rule out any medical reasons

If your cat has suddenly started biting your hands, you should check with your vet. It could be that she is in severe pain leading to biting. Well, see a vet rule out any medical complications. As we discussed earlier, your cat could also have gotten injured during a catfight.

Your vet will advise upon a conclusive diagnosis.


Invest in toys

Most cats start biting as kittens. It is a behavior that we often forget to control. I mean, they are just so cute, which makes it quite tempting to hold and carry around. If you want to stop your cat from biting, invest on several toys.

If your kitten has just started biting, it could be that she is teething. Just as the human child, your kitten will need something to constantly chew on. It feels good especially because she has that itchy feeling on her gums. Get her clean and nice toys to chew on at the moment.

Also, avoid playing with your cat with bare hands. Always carry a toy with you. This way, you can always produce it the moment your cat initiates play with you. It is not only good for distracting your cat’s aggression but it is also safe to use.

A toy, such as a mouse look-alike will serve her predatory play. Always keep in mind that it is your cat’s nature to chase, hunt and kill prey. Provide interesting toys to meet these requirements.


Teach your cat that biting is unacceptable

As we have mentioned above, some cats start biting as kittens. It is because no one ever taught her to inhibit biting. It is a skill earned in kittenhood as a cat mother will not allow her kitten to bite her. Now, if you have a biting cat, you need to play mother to her.

Whenever she attempts to bite on you, ignore her completely. In fact, leave the room the moment he bites you and do not pay attention to her. You may come back a few moments later. However, it does not mean that the play is over when your cat bites on you. Teach her that aggression and biting have no place in your life.

Gradually, your cat is going to understand that she is not allowed to bite you or any other person. Her mouth should not come into contact with your body.


Things to avoid when your cat bites


Why do Cats Rub against you then Bite


We have outlined how to make your cat stop biting as well the reasons why she might bite above. Below, we are going to outline the things to avoid while teaching biting inhibition.


Do not hit her

It is going to take some time before you can fully train biting inhibition to your cat. During this time, you may get frustrated and think of punishing your cat. We have previously mentioned that cats lack the ability to learn the concept of punishment. Therefore, do not hit her or yell at her even when the bite is painful.

Punishment will only make your cat afraid of you. Well, you do not want her to curl up in a corner when you come home, do you? Do not hit, yell or spray water to make her stop. If the bite is causing too much pay, try to push her gently from your hand. She will loosen the grip she has on you.


Do not ignore her body language

When your cat starts the biting behavior, it is only natural to think about feline aggression. To determine why she is doing so, observe her body language. It should let you realize the reason behind the habit. For instance, when you observe her ears, they will be flattened on her head. It is a sure sign of aggression. Also, observe her tail movement.


Avoid petting your cat when she is aggressive

Now, when you suspect that your cat is feeling aggressive, leave her alone for a while. She needs to settle down fast. Touching her when she is upset may lead to her attacking you. Also, determine the reason why she is aggressive and eliminate the causal element.




In conclusion, cats will rub against you and then bite for various reasons. You must address biting problems in cats as soon as you notice any signs of aggression in cats. Do not ignore her body language, especially when you are petting your cat.

Also, if you cannot understand why your cat has suddenly started being aggressive, then rush her to the vet. Your vet will be able to examine your kitty and determine why she is biting. If it is pain induced form of aggression, your vet will be able to assist with treatments. However, if not of the above-discussed reasons explain your cat’s aggression and biting behavior, it is probably time to seek help from a cat behaviorist.

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Michael Grover

About Me I have been a pet owner for most of my life. I am now retired and spend my days writing about problems relating to cats, dogs, and funeral poems. I am passionate about stopping animal cruelty in any shape or form. My passion is to help people like you identify behavior problems in cats and dogs. That is what I do. Over the years of my life, I have always kept cats and dogs. About four years ago I retired and found I had a lot of time on my hands, so I started to write all about dog and cat problems. It was suggested that I start up a website and publish my words to help people with their pet problems. I am still writing every day and hope you find my articles useful. Regards Mike Grover

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