32 TOP Reasons Why Cats Lick, Bite, And Knead Their Owners

Why does my cat lick and bite me, and why does my cat knead me?


They are two very common questions because it is very common cat behavior. The majority of cats will do one or the other. There are a few reasons your cat might be licking or kneading you, and we’re going to cover all of them, whether it’s something you hate or something you don’t mind at all.

Why Does My Cat Lick Me?


why does my cat lick me


No doubt you have been licked by a cat, and you will have noticed that a cat’s tongue is super rough – like sandpaper.


The reason it’s like this is so that they can drink water (in that funny manner that cats do it) and groom themselves effectively. Cat’s tounges are actually pretty incredible, and you can find out how they work here.


Often you will find that your cat is grooming itself, and then once they’ve finished, they will move onto you, like it’s your turn! And in a sense, that’s exactly what’s going on.



This super helpful video is worth watching to find out why cat’s like licking humans. 


Here are some of the reasons why your cat licks you:


1. Grooming – Licking is a social behavior of cats, and when they do it to you, it is a sign that they see and acknowledge you as part of the family. A mother cat will lick and groom the kittens from birth, and it’s a way of putting a mark on you.


2. Affection –  Cats also lick as a display of affection. When they feel happy and content, this is a natural means for them to show it. Getting a heated cat bed is known to distract them and give you some more space. 


3. Trust – Another reason your cat licks you is that they trust you, feel comfortable, and have bonded with you. 


4. Stress – Cats can also lick when they are feeling stressed. Licking gives them a sense of peace and calms when they are feeling anxious. You will need to try and find the cause of their stress. Stress can be brought on by a big change like taking your cat RVing, for example.


5. Marking – When cats lick things, they are leaving a scent or pheromones behind. When they lick you, they are saying ‘you are mine!’ They may do this more so after you have been around other animals.


6. Exchange Smells – Cats like to mix their scent with other scents, and that includes yours. It’s a bit strange to us, but not unusual for cats.


Now we know that a cat isn’t licking us just to taste and see if we’d be worth eating!


Why Does My Cat Lick And Bite Me?


Most cat owners will be familiar with this behavior.


Cats will often be licking and suddenly turn on a dime and savagely attack you. There has been much bloodshed across the millennia from this one cat tactic only. One of my childhood cats that looked a bit like Garfield was very good at this.


Here is another from the AnimalWised channel with a few more reasons why cats lick (and bite) us.



Your cat is lovingly licking you, showing their affection and bond, and then… OW! What went wrong!?


Here are some of the reasons for cat biting and licking:


1. Play – Sometimes your puss is just playing. You should discontinue the play when biting occurs so as not to encourage this behavior.


2. Warning – A bite can be a warning that your cat has had enough petting, or that you are doing something it doesn’t appreciate. For example, putting a cat in the bath will likely get you a bite or two. 


3. Affection – Biting can be a form of showing affection as well as licking. Usually, if this is the reason, the bites will not be too rough. Don’t you ever get the urge to nibble on your loved one every now and again!?


4. Grooming – Biting also factors in the grooming process as well – whether you like it or not, it’s part of the deal.


5. Agitation – Perhaps your cat is agitated about something and is taking it out on you. Is there a new pet in the house, or any other major changes going on in the cat’s life?


Even if you don’t mind the odd bite from your cat, it’s best not to encourage it. If you cease playtime or whatever interaction you are having with the cat when it bites, she will soon realize it’s unwanted. You don’t want your cat doing it to a visitor to your home!


Why Does Knead Me?



And finally, kneading is another common cat behavior. I know that all cats that I have ever owned have bitten and kneaded me at one point or another, but what’s it all about?


Watch this next clip to become an expert in all things regarding cat licking!


Cats first knead instinctively on the mother’s nipple area after they are born to stimulate and cause milk production. They continue this until they are weaned around 3 or 4 weeks old. But why do they continue?


Cats lick and knead us because they are:


1. Happy – Often, a cat will knead you or other items because they are happy and contented. Doing this makes them feel even more relaxed and comfortable.


2. Emotionally Bonded – If a cat is well bonded with you, it will likely lick and kneed you as a way of showing affection and love.


3. To Rest Better – A cat may knead a blanket or furniture to make the spot seem more comfortable for rest. It’s not uncommon for them to do this while licking their bedding or holding it in their mouth.


4. To Stretch – Kneading can simply be a good way to stretch those muscles, something which all cats like to do!


5. Marking – Lastly, licking and kneading is a way of putting their scent onto you or their home.


So a cat that licks and kneads is nothing to be concerned about – it’s the biting which can become a problem!


Cat Licks


So that’s everything you need to know about cat’s licking people.


It’s funny cat behavior, but most of the time it is totally harmless. It can be a bit embarrassing when they do it with guests or other visitors to your home, but roll with it and hope that they are cat people!


Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

Comment 1

  1. Jan Gillihan January 19, 2021

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