Cats do weird things sometimes, and if your cat has ever tried to chew on your fingers, you might be wondering what on earth has gotten into them. Some cats might choose to chew plastic, and for other cats, your fingers look rather good.
Join us as we take a look at seven different reasons that cats might decide to chew on your fingers. A brief nibble can seem cute, but a full-on bite from a cat can be extremely painful and at risk of becoming infected.
Working out exactly why your cat is chewing your fingers is the first step to stopping them, or changing your behavior so they don’t get to the point of chewing on you in the first place.
If you want to discourage your cat from biting your fingers, we’ve offered solutions for each reason too.
1. They’re playing
Cats love to play, and sometimes this can escalate to biting. Whether this is another cat or your fingers, the result is the same! When our domestic cats are playing, they’re often honing the hunting skills that they’d be using if they were living in the wild. No amount of domestication will stop your cat wanted to pounce on and bite their prey, even if it’s a toy mouse!
2. They’re stressed
Some cats will chew on or eat non-food items if they’re stressed. This can be a form of self-soothing behavior. Certain breeds, including Siamese cats, are more prone to chewing things as a way to relieve their anxiety. If you’ve been working longer hours, have moved the furniture around, or brought a new pet home, these can all cause stress for your cat.
3. They’re overstimulated
Many cats can go quickly from enjoying a soft stroke from their owners to what’s known as “petting induced aggression.” This is when your sensitive cat’s nerve endings become overstimulated from too much petting. They may whip their heads around and give your fingers a quick nip. This is basically a message telling you that they’ve had enough and to back off.
4. They’re showing affection
Some cats may show affection by giving you a gentle nibble. Pay attention to your own cat’s body language and behavior, and you’ll soon be able to figure out if your cat’s chewing is affectionate, a warning sign, or because you’ve just been preparing fish for dinner!
5. They like chewing things
Some cats just like to explore new textures or objects with their teeth. If your fingers are the closest thing to your cat when they want to chew something, they’ll probably choose you!
6. They’re teething
As a kitten’s baby teeth start to fall out and their adult teeth start to erupt, this can leave their gums feeling sore and irritated. One way for them to relieve this pain is to chew on something, much like a teething baby!
7. They can smell food on your hands
Just been deshelling prawns for dinner and stopped to give your cat a stroke on the way to wash your hands? Don’t be surprised if your cat gives your hand an exploratory sniff and maybe even a nibble! They might not be able to resist the strong smell of tasty food.
8. They were weaned too early
Most kittens will naturally start weaning at around 8 weeks of age. If your kitten was weaned earlier than this or suddenly removed from their mother, they can sometimes seek comfort by replicating the motions of suckling. While most cats will use a soft blanket to do this, some may grab hold of your hand or fingers instead.
Featured Image Credit: Diana Taliun, Shutterstock