Cats have myriad ways in which they choose to express their emotions to humans. Some of the more common methods include meowing and purring, treading, and kneading. Your cat may also indulge in occasional chin biting.
This is rarely a sign of aggression. All the same, you may be asking yourself what it means and what can you do to stop this annoying and potentially painful interaction. Below, we look at the phenomenon that is feline chin biting and all its intricacies.
6 Reasons Your Cat is Chin Biting
There are several reasons why a cat may bite, or mouth, at your chin. You will need to consider the context and what your cat was doing leading up to the bite to determine the most likely reason. It’s also worth noting that some cats may simply like the feeling of biting your chin.
Cats groom one another as a sign of affection, which is known as allogrooming. This can include licking, nibbling, and biting. If your cat is enjoying time with you and is an affectionate cat, the mouthing of your chin may be its way of showing you love.
Allogrooming is mutual grooming conducted by lots of different animals. Monkeys grooming and picking fleas off one another is a well-recognized form of this close contact. If you’re paying your cat a lot of attention and they nibble your chin, they could simply be repaying the compliment that you’re giving them.
2. Marking Territory
Cats have scent glands in various positions, including their cheeks and their heads, and inside their mouths. Your kitty may be attempting to spread their scent over you, which will let other cats and other animals know that you belong to them. This also helps keep you bonded with her while warning away any other cats in the area.
3. Over Stimulation
Whether you’ve been offering some hard scratching or you’ve been playing with your cat, it may have become over-stimulated. Essentially, they’re just getting a bit carried away with the attention and how much they’re enjoying being stroked and petted.
Petting-induced aggression is an action that is seen in cats and dogs. Some cats do not like being pet at all. Being stroked is an intense sensation because a cat’s fur can be very sensitive. They will usually give you some warning signs, and if you don’t heed the signs, they can scratch and may bite you to get you to stop.
If your cat’s tail is going, they have narrowed eyes, and their ears are back, then you should consider walking away.
Finally, chin biting could be a sign of stress which, in turn, could be caused by illness or sickness. When your cat is feeling under the weather, it will be more inclined to strike. Like a lot of humans, cats want space when they feel ill or are in pain.
If your cat develops an intense dislike of being touched and it looks like they are in discomfort whenever you touch them, they may have something called hyperesthesia syndrome. This is basically heightened sensitivity. It is more common in mature cats but can develop at any time in a cat’s life. It is more common in Siamese, Burmese, Persian, and Abyssinian but can affect any breed, and it is equally common in male and female cats.
This condition is rare but may lead to a host of symptoms including scratching, biting, or licking the affected area. The cat may attempt to get away from you if you are stroking them, and can even scratch or bite you as a means of defense. Treatment varies according to severity but includes anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory medication.
How To Stop The Chin Biting
Depending on the cause, there are actions that you can take to stop the biting and to prevent your cat from doing it again in the future. It may require persistence and consistency, but it will be worth it in the end.
Avoid Punishing Them
You shouldn’t yell or swat at your cat when they bite your chin. If they are doing it through stress, you will only make things worse. If they are ill or suffering some form of sickness, it isn’t fair to punish them for it. If they’re doing it because they are showing affection, they will get confused if they get smacked paws for sharing and showing their love.
Give Them Space
Look for signs that your cat is asking for a little space. Few cats like to be crowded and hassled, and you might be inadvertently doing this with your feline friend. If you’ve approached your cat and are petting or pestering it, be prepared to move away before it strikes at you.
Provide Alternative Stimulation
If your cat gets overstimulated after stroking or playing, consider looking for alternative methods of stimulation. Buy plenty of interactive toys, offer some healthy treats or kibble, and offer catnip-laced toys. These can help your cat to vent some of their stimulation and to bring them back down again.
Look For Symptoms Of Medical Conditions
If your cat jumps or is startled when you touch them, look for signs of physical injury or other symptoms of physical illness. They could be jumpy due to a cut or sore, or because they are over-sensitive. As well as obvious signs of physical injuries, such as cuts and swelling, look for other symptoms. Consider any changes in your cat’s emotional or physical wellbeing, because these could point to an illness.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Chin?
Chin biting can be irritating and can cause discomfort and pain, but your cat isn’t necessarily trying to hurt or harm you. There are many reasons why your cat may have adopted this trait, and according to the context surrounding the incident, there are ways that you can aim to stop it.
Featured Image Credit: Goncharov_Artem, Shutterstock