Why does my cat bite my face while being affectionate?

  • My cat is very very tame, she socialized well with kittens, as soon as she was old enough I got her and she's a happy cat or so it appears. I've tamed her very thoroughly, so I can hold her upside down, or even tilt her upside down, or toss her up and catch her, she seems totally comfortable with anything I do.

    But when she's in a cuddly mood and I'm giving her a petting fit for royalty, she'll be laid out in my arms in some comfortable looking position purring, looking like the happiest cat on earth, and I stop and I'll be looking at her face, and she really quickly tenses up and bites my face, often running away like she knows she did something wrong. I immediately retaliate, hard, just like another cat would, to make her think twice about doing this. She doesnt bite hard enough to make me bleed, but it's an unnecessary shock at really weird timing.

    Sometimes she'll be licking my face to wake me up, and I guess she thinks my face needs to be cleaned at 6AM, and I wake up, pet her a bit, she'll lick my face more and then randomly lunge and bite my face, before receiving a really good beating in return. Not really, but I make sure to hurt her as much as she did me. That seems like something she'll certainly understand as retaliation for her aggression toward me.

    But I want to know why. Why, at the most intimate moments, right after she rubs her face on mine or licks me, does my cat lunge and bite my face?

    Is all of her affection juse a ruse to trick me into dropping my guard??

    I know there's a similar question here, but that question doesn't quite cover my situation and doesnt really have a satisfactory answer.

    How old is she? ... Returning the attack may be counterproductive.

    @keshlam about 9-11 months. And it seems if she were to bite the face of another cat, it would retaliate. Retaliation is the natural way for animals to communicate "don't mess with me, I'll hurt you." She hurts me, I hurt her. It seems like a very straightforward way, and the only way, of communicating that I dislike being attacked. I dont retaliate in a playful way, I make sure she becomes very uncomfortable to deter her from doing it again. Evetually she will give up unless she enjoys pain.

    At ten months, this is still a kitten -- think teenager, not adult. As others have noted, this may be "done now", or it may be "play chase game?. If the latter, chasing after her would be what she wants and you're reinforcing the unwanted behavior. Note too that there's a difference between bite and grab -- Harry will sometimes gnaw gently on my fingertips when he's washing them -- and another cat is less likely to "retaliate hard" than to hiss and either move away or push the rambunctious kitten away.

    I hope it's clear from the other answers, but it's worth reiterating (since OP has recently revisited the question): Being aggressive toward your cat will only make matters worse.

    @AustinMohr I think everyone complaining about hitting it being abuse is overly sensitive. I was careful not to hurt it back when this problem was occurring, but I continued to do this (again, mindful of the force used, enough to alarm it but not injure) at any point where the cat hurt me, where it was by biting or claws, and it was a 100% successful strategy regardless of opinions about it. My cat is healthy, has no trust issues whatsoever, and no longer uses claws to climb into my lap, bites, or anything. A hit was always accompanied by the word "NO" and now saying "No" is 100% effective.

    In fact, "No" now works almost humorously well, after the training, it stops the offense (such as trying to eat from my plate) instantly and doesn't try again.

  • C3l7

    C3l7 Correct answer

    6 years ago

    You said it happens when your are gazing into your cats face.. As a human that is a good thing but to a cat and especially a stray eye contact or stareing is a sign of aggression and that you are going to attack. To disarm the cat you need to blink slowly and look away. Don't stare at their face.

    I find this answer amusing. I hold my cat in arms on my lap and look straight into her eyes for minutes. I think at this point by staring at my eyes, she tries to figure out the qualities of the human species. And when I call her name, she makes her eyes narrow and slowly blinks, a clear sign of affection. Then I go and kiss her and she puts all her effort to get rid of this irritating human. :)

    my cat will sit on the floor staring directly at me. He doesn't want anything, just stares, and if I return it, he slits his eyes in an "I love you" gesture

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM