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Why Does My Cat Bite My Nose? 7 Reasons for this Behavior

Our cats communicate with us in all sorts of ways. Some ways are comical, others are challenging—and some are second nature and totally expected. But what if your cat has some odd quirk and the message is unclear?

If your cat is biting your nose, you might wonder what the heck is going on. But the reason behind the behavior can actually stem from several factors. So, ask yourself—are they being aggressive? Are they acting playful? Other body cues can point you in the right direction. Let’s look a little further into each reason—and how to stop it if you need to.

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1. Your Cat is Trying to Play

Kitties are downright silly. They can be mouthy and scratchy when they’re in play mode. Especially if your cat is young, they might not grasp that it hurts or it’s wrong. If you were holding your kitty and they bit your nose—they likely meant no harm.

It’s just that you have them all wound up, and they’re ready to go buck wild. A little nip on the nose might not hurt, but you may want to channel it differently. If they make a habit out of biting your nose playfully when you pick them up, they might unintentionally hurt you one day.

When your cat bites your nose, gently push on theirs and say, “no.” They might not respond at first, but soon—if you don’t play along—they will knock it off. Try not to be too aggressive, as this might make them lash out.

playful british shorthair cat
Image Credit: Richard Stocker, Pixabay

2. Your Cat is Showing Affection

Have you ever been scratching your pal, and all at once, they scoop you up and gently bite your hand? This action is a total move of affection. They’re reciprocating your love. You might be holding them, and your nose is the closest thing they can squeeze onto.

If you’ve ever seen two cats interact, you might have noticed this behavior during grooming. Two cats lying together might be licking one another and then gently bite. It’s a good sign. It means they are totally relaxed, calm, and ready for love.

3. Your Cat is Giving You a Warning

Maybe you’re invading their space a little too much, and you don’t even know it. If they want you to back off, they might lightly bite your nose, followed by a hiss or growl. If your cat is showing you that they wish for some room—give them what they want. If you antagonize the situation, you might really get the claws!

Cats can’t speak like us, so if they have had enough of your antics—they can only do so much. But, of course, no animal should ever bite out of aggression. The best thing to do in this scenario is not to put you or your kitty in this predicament again.

Remember that animals have boundaries, too. Sometimes, they aren’t in the mood for attention. Cats are firm believers in consent. If they don’t want to be pet right then, your best bet is to listen to their body language.

a kitten hissing
Image Credit: Marlon Soares, Unsplash

4. Your Cat Might Be Marking You

You already know you belong to your cat—this isn’t a subject you can deny. So, much like rubbing you with their chin and cheeks, your cat might be leaving their scent on you. Let that be a warning to all other cats around—you are their personal human and no one else’s!

Cats mark their territory in many ways. They have glands in their cheeks, paws, and flanks that they can rub onto objects and other creatures. Rubbing up against legs or bunting with their forehead indicates a form of marking.

This act is a huge form of communication for our feline friends. So, if you’re nestling your cat and they rub or “bunt” you and bite your nose, they’re probably just letting you know they own you. Who doesn’t want to be a cat’s personal pet?

5. It’s the Closest Point to Nip

Some cats nip and knead when they’re feeling extra lovable. They might be nipping because they feel frisky or just out of boredom. If that’s the case, it might not cause much of a fuss for you. However, if they are doing it a little too hard, you have to stop the behavior.

Your kitty might not understand how hard is too hard. You have to set boundaries by letting them know that they can’t bite your face at all. When your cat tries to bite your nose, firmly tell them “no” and put some distance between your cat and your schnoz.

a kitten being held by a man's hand
Image Credit: Donald Tran, Unsplash

6. Your Cat Might Be Grooming You

We see cats groom each other all the time. If you are “one of them,” they’re going to try to groom you as well. What they are really doing is trying to teach you how to groom yourself.

You might not know this, but your cat knows they’re smarter than you. That’s why they try to teach you basic survival skills. Perhaps you’ve had a cat leave a mouse or bird at your stoop. They think that you’re too daft to hunt for yourself, so they’re trying to feed you.

Much like this sentiment, your cat will groom you to teach you how to clean yourself—you filthy animal. If your cat bites your nose, it might just be routine cleaning. If it hurts, let them know and move on. Although, this type of “biting the nose” probably won’t do any damage.

7. Your Cat is Trying to Soothe You

Ouch—you mean these bites are supposed to be comforting? Yes. When kittens are born, mothers lick and gently bite their kittens to groom, show affection, and soothe their litter. Now that your kitty is grown, they might try to do the same for you.

If they are trying to calm you, the bite to your nose will be very soft—and usually accompanied with sandpaper licks, too. You can reciprocate by giving them a kiss on their nose to even things out.

a cat biting woman's chin
Image Credit: Goncharov_Artem, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Our cats can communicate with us in so many ways. Once you get to know your feline, it might be easy to decipher their sometimes off behavior. But if nose biting is a repeating event that’s relatively new, you might need some help decoding.

As long as your cat shows no signs of aggression, nose biting probably won’t be such a big deal. However, if you feel like your cat is going out of its way to be mean, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Featured Image: FTiare, Shutterstock