Your cat may bite your nose for many reasons including to transfer her scent on you, marking you as her property and as a part of her territory or simply as a a substitute for pacifier especially if she was separated from her mother at a young age.
Is your feline friend a nose biter? Here are some of the reasons why your cat is biting your nose:
1. Your cat was separated from her mother at a very early age
Your pet kitty may be biting your nose because she still hasn’t gotten over her quirks as a kitten and has separation anxiety for having been separated from her mama at an early age. Common reasons why kittens are separated too early could be because there were too many of them and the pet owners may be too anxious to get rid of some of them. If born to stray mama cats, kittens may be neglected because the mother cat became too focused on her own survival. Biting your nose is a way for your cat to suckle for comfort and as a substitute for a pacifier, just like what she does when she was still a kitten.
2. She may be over-stimulated
Another reason your cat may bite your nose is that she becomes over-stimulated after a few minutes of petting and being played with. Cats are very sensitive and unlimited physical contact can be too much for them. Vets also refer to it as petting induced aggression. Try to check out for these signs to warn you that it’s time to stop petting her: if you notice that your cat flicks her tail, it is tensing up or rotating her ears back and forth.
3. Marking you as her property and part of her territory
If you’ve recently added a new pet cat or you’ve been to your friend’s house who’s also a cat parent then your pet kitty’s territorial instincts may be triggered because she can detect their scents on you. To retaliate, she’ll resort to nose biting as a way of marking her scent on you, this way you become her “property” and part of her territory.
4. To show affection
This type of nose biting and nipping is your cat’s way of showing affection to you and some pet parents may even refer to it as love bites. Similarly, cats may show affection by biting your hair. It is usually accompanied by purring sounds from your cat. Cats sometimes have a funny way of showing their fondness for you but this may vary depending on your cat’s breed. Just some of the breeds that are considered very affectionate include the Ragdoll, Siamese, Ragamuffin, and Scottish Fold cats.
5. She’s extending her grooming practices to you
Cats are confessed groomers and they tend to obsess with their grooming habits. If your pet kitty bites your nose she may be doing this as an extension of her grooming practices. She may be doing this because she can detect scents in your face especially if you’ve just eaten your meal. One pet owner even shared that her cat bit her nose because she moved when her cat wasn’t “finished” with “grooming” her face.
6. She may be establishing her dominance over you
Your pet kitty may be biting your nose to let you know that she’s the dominant one. It’s her way of letting you know that “Hey, I’m in charge. Now, can we play?” You can observe that she’s manifesting the “dominance” behavior if you notice that your cat doesn’t back down but instead tries to play with you and tries to cuddle after they bite your nose.
7. She feels threatened
There are times when cats may feel threatened, most probably due to other cats around or even other pets and animals that they see outside. If this is the case, she may lash on someone near to her, like you for instance, as a way of venting out. Cat experts refer to this as displaced aggression. Your cat may bite you because she’s threatened by another cat, for example, your neighbor’s pet cat.
8. She may be scratching an itch
For all you know, your kitty may just be wanting so bad to scratch that itch on her face that’s why she’s biting your nose. You see, cats are sensitive especially around the part of their face and whiskers, and biting your nose may be her way of telling you to rub that sensitive part. You can still do this safely by using your fingers to rub her face, never mind if your pet will bite and nip on your fingers, at least, your nose is safe and intact.
9. To seek your attention
Cats are naturally playful and with no other companion cats to play with them, they’ll turn to you as their playmates. To catch your attention? Your pet cat will try to bite and nip at your nose which she’ll most often do while you cuddle her.
10. To express anger
You might not be aware of it but your pet kitty could be hiding some secret anger for you. It could be that there’s a change in your routine and you haven’t got much time to play with her lately, or it could be that there’s a lot of activity going on in the household. Cuddle time could be a perfect time for her to vent her anger and lo and behold, biting your nose might just be the perfect outlet for that. Before the nose biting, your cat may manifest behavior such as growling or hissing, eyes that dilate, and pinning their ears down. Should you observe this kind of behavior you must promptly put down your cat and distract her with a toy or a cat treat so she’ll calm down.
Other probable causes for the nose biting behavior
Aside from the ones mentioned above, there are other probable causes why your cat is biting your nose or any body part for that matter. These are some of them:
As a result of being declawed
Claws are very important for cats because they express themselves best with their claws, either through scratching a pole or tree. However, being declawed robs them of this kind of expression and may feel socially diminished or threatened. As a result, they will resort to biting as a way of expressing their moods.
Here are the reasons why cats shouldn’t be declawed:
- claws are a cat’s first line of defense
- cats become more aggressive if they’re declawed
- declawed cats need to learn again how to walk
- declawed cats tend to pee or defecate outside the litter box
When hit with particular scents
Since cats have very sensitive noses, they may tend to be put off by particular scents that could result in a nose biting episode. It may be something offensive or another animal’s scent but it could also be something that we find normal such as an aftershave lotion or a perfume.
Unneutered or unspayed cats may bite during their heat cycle.
Cats tend to bite during mating due to hormonal fluctuations and the same goes for unneutered or unspayed cats that become aggressive during the heat cycle.
She may be ill or in pain.
Your pet cat may resort to biting because she’s not feeling okay and she becomes irritable and easily provoked. Closely observe your cat why she may be biting without no clear reason at all and if you notice that she’s pale, not eating well, and lethargic you should bring her to the vet at once for a thorough checkup.
How to curb the nose biting behavior
While playfully biting at your nose may seem cute, you should not tolerate your cat with this behavior. Here’s what you can do to curb the nose biting behavior of your pet cat.
Train your cat on the proper way of playing while she’s still young.
You can curb the nose biting tendencies of your pet kitty by giving her ample training on the proper way of playing while she’s still a kitten. Some pet owners have the wrongfully let their pet cats to believe that playing with their faces and hands and biting on it was okay and acceptable because when their pets were still young, they didn’t reprimand the pets as they should be. As kittens, biting is not harmful because of their tiny teeth but as they grow older cats’ teeth develop and could cause much damage. Thus, it’s important that even at a young age, you should train your cat to play properly and you may utilize toys and strings during playtime instead of allowing your pet cat to get used to biting and nipping at your nose and hands.
Allow your cat to have plenty of exercises.
Cats need to let out their pent up energy and this is possible by using play as their form of exercise. While cats may be playful they also tend to sit and lounge around your home most of the day and they could become inactive and obese. You need to spend time playing with them for at least a few minutes each day to strengthen their muscles and allow them to become physically and mentally alert. Try to play and bond with your pet kitty using interactive toys that they can chase around, or you may also try laser toys and cat toy balls. Provide scratching posts and cat perch so your pet cat can climb and jump around and you can also have a cat enclosure and catio installed outside your home. All these provide a great chance for play and exercise to release their energy, stretch their body, and strengthen their bones and muscles. Also, your pet cat will most probably forget about biting and nipping if she becomes too busy with other worthwhile things to play with.
Blow at her face each time she attempts to bite your nose.
Blowing at their face is an aggressive act for cats as they tend to associate it when an opponent cat growls or hisses at them, releasing puffs of air. But some cat experts attest that blowing a harmless puff of air on your pet cat’s face each time she attempts to bite your nose really works. This signifies that you’re blowing off the air for her to keep her distance from you. A cat’s normal reaction would be that she’ll get startled and become confused but she will eventually form the association and will stop attempting to bite you.
What to do if your cat bites your nose
Getting bitten or nipped at the nose is unpleasant and harmful, even if it may seem like a form of affection from your frisky cat. Here’s what you can do to discourage your cat from biting your nose.
- Reprimand your pet cat by verbally saying No and then walking away from her.
- Be sensitive and observant of your cat’s actions and behavior. You’ll get a lot of cues just by looking at her nuances.
- You should be aware of your cat’s moods and know that like other pets they also want some time off from human interaction and playtime.
- Should you notice that your cat is becoming aggressive and attempting to bite your nose or hands then distract her at once with a cat toy ball or even a scratching mat.
- If she stops biting your nose or hands give her cat treats to reward her good behavior and most likely she will associate getting treats by abstaining from biting you so she will ultimately forget about her nose biting habit.
- If your pet cat’s urge to play which oftentimes include biting and nipping becomes too much for you then consider getting another cat so she can have someone to play with.
There are various reasons why your pet cat may be biting your nose. She may be doing it because she was separated from her mother at a very early age, to mark you as part of her territory, or to simply catch your attention and show affection. Whatever the reason may be, this type of behavior shouldn’t be encouraged as it could pose a risk of injury on your part. You must reprimand your cat and train her even while she’s still young on the proper way of playing and to provide her with lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep her active and release pent-up energy. Most importantly, you should practice positive reinforcement if your pet cat practices good behavior.