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Ouch! Why does my cat bite my nose? 15 typical reasons

Cats have some intriguing habits and biting noses is certainly one of them.

Your cat will bite your nose for reasons varying from affection to anger. An adult cat might nibble your snout to scent mark you or because you’re not responding to other requests for attention. A kitten may chew your proboscis when it’s teething.

From gentle to painful, here are 15 typical reasons why your cat is biting your nose:

1. To show affection

Cats are sociable creatures and contrary to popular belief, thrive on company and attention. If you crouch to stroke your cat and its nibbles your nose, it is reciprocating the attention you are lavishing upon it.

Cats stroke you with their tongue and add in a nibble as a sign that they are experiencing feelings of true affection for you.

Your cat could just as easily have chewed your fingers but your nose just happened to be in the perfect place to receive a love bite.

You can be sure your cat’s intentions are good if it is calm and purring at the time.

A cat in its owner's embrace, wondering if it should bite her nose.

2. To seek attention

You might be innocently sleeping or watching TV when your cat decides to bite your nose. In this case, your attention is required.

If your cat is hungry, wants to be fussed, or would like to get out into the garden, you can be sure it is nibbling your nose to let you know.

Until you get up and sort out exactly what kitty wants, expect no peace.

3. To smell you!

As a cat bites and licks your nose, it is able to analyze your scent. Located on the roof of your cat’s mouth is the Jacobson’s organ, also known as the vomeronasal organ.

This organ connects to a cat’s nasal passages and carries scents from the mouth to the nose. As cats eat, it allows them to assess their food and if your nose is being bitten, your cat gets a good whiff of your odor.

It’ll probably conclude that you’re not that edible as a result of nibbling your snozzle!

4. To mark you as its territory

Cats have multiple scent glands which allow them to deposit their mark on a variety of objects and areas.

Though its mouth doesn’t contain scent glands per se, a cat’s saliva is still loaded with its scent and as it bites objects, this odor is conveniently deposited.

Therefore, as your cat chews upon your very handy-to-bite nose, it’s happily leaving its mark and claiming you as part of its territory.

5. As part of a social act

Cat’s are social animals and thrive well with other cats. Part of their bonding process involves friendly biting. When a cat is an only cat, it will turn its usual bonding behavior on its adults.

So if your cat bites your nose, it is basically treating you like it would another cat and attempting to form a social bond with you.

6. Because it wants you to play

It is assumed that only kittens are playful but this really isn’t the case. Adult cats enjoy play sessions just as much as kittens and will even prompt you to partake by various means, such as nipping at your nose.

If you factor in a few play sessions throughout the day, you’ll hopefully avoid your nose being chewed upon.

A cat being held in the air and looking a a nose is could bite.

7. To warn you to stop doing something

There’s always a chance a nip to your nose is a warning of worse to come. Cats rarely attack their owners but they do give signs if something is annoying or angering them.

A small warning bite can be a good sign that you need to cease whatever it is you’re doing. You can differentiate this type of bite by reading your cat’s body language.

It will probably have its ears back, dilated pupils, and a twitching tail. If your face is closest to your cat, it should come as no surprise if your cat bites your readily available nose to say, “Stop what you’re doing!”

8. Because something has frightened it

If a cat is caught off guard by something that scares it, it might bite out of surprised fear. It will have had no plan to harm you, you just happened to be in range.

This is a good reason not to stick your face into a cat’s face unexpectedly. If you do, don’t be shocked if your nose suffers a bite.

9. For comfort

A kitten who was too young when it was removed from its mother tends to lick and bite your nose.

Kittens are much more ready to face the world and grow into confident adult cats if they remain with their mother and sibling until they are at least 12 weeks old.

If for whatever reason your cat came to you at a young age, it may seek comfort similar to suckling by gently biting and sucking your nose.

10. To comfort you

Cats are sensitive to their owner’s moods. If a cat thinks its special person is sad, it is not unheard of for it to give offer comfort by way of nuzzling, licking, and even gently biting.

When a cat shows affection like this, it’s heart-warming and enough to cheer anyone up.

11. To groom you

Cats bite and lick each other to groom as part of their social bonding process. If your cat bites your nose, it has accepted you as a member of its gang and is treating you like one.

A cat sniffing a man's nose.

12. Because it thinks you require attention

Cats bite to seek attention and sometimes to give attention. So if your cat nibble at your nose, it is convinced you deserve a bit of TLC and believes it is the perfect cat to give this to you.

It’s a bit like a cat’s version of giving you a stroke.

13. To assert dominance over you

Just occasionally a cat believes it is the top dog of the house. A cat in this frame of mind will do various things to assert its authority and nose biting is definitely one of them.

To deter your cat from exhibiting such dominance, remove yourself gently from its reach and desist from giving it any attention. Hopefully, this will signal that you will not tolerate such behavior and your cat will not persist.

14. Because of overstimulation

After an exciting play session, a cat can become overstimulated and react by biting. Because during play you are typically on your knees, you may find your nose is the subject of an excited cat bite.

Your cat isn’t intending to harm you, it just couldn’t help itself. It is in a heightened, almost euphoric state of happiness and needs time to calm down.

This is definitely the right time to stop a play session.

15. Because it is easy to bite

If a cat is going to chew its owner, it usually picks bite-sized objects such as fingers, toes, or their nose! That’s just the way it is. All of these things happen to fit perfectly into a cat’s mouth.

The reason for them ending up in this predicament can be for any of the reasons mentioned above.

In summary: why cats bite noses

A common reason why your cat bites your nose is to mark you with its scent. Nose nibbling can feel like an act of affection, and usually, it is. The true intention of a nose-biting cat can only be assessed when the whole scenario is taken into account.

We’ve suggested 15 reasons why cats bite noses, but new scenarios happen every day. Most of the time your cat’s intentions are good, so try to enjoy the act so as not to offend your furry friend!

Of course, cats don’t just bite noses, but that’s another story!