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Why is my Cat Chewing on my Fingers?

 by danielle on 25 Jul 2014 |
19 Comment(s)
Ouch! One moment you are cuddling your soft purring kitty and the next moment their teeth are embedded in your finger. What is behind cats and finger nipping?
 
 
Rarely is your cat actually being aggressive when they dig their teeth into your finger. If we had thick fur and stretchy skin like a cat, a nip wouldn’t hurt all that much. Between littermates and mothers and kittens, biting and chewing is regular and acceptable behaviour. When your cat nips you on the fingers, it is probably simply expressing his or her affection for you as they would to another cat.
 
Whilst it's sweet and lovely that your cat is being so affectionate, the nipping probably needs to stop - especially if they are accidentally drawing blood!

 

Since their intentions are positive, it is best not to reject their well-meant gesture with shouting and scolding. Placing them on the ground and stopping your cuddle session can work quite well as your cat learns chewing leads to the end of their special time with you for a while. It may take some time but eventually the association will become firm.
 
Chewing behaviour in kittens can also be related to teething, your fingers simply being convenient ‘chew toys’ for your kitten to relieve their discomfort on. If you suspect this may be part of the problem try providing alternatives for them to gnaw on, such as special cat toys or chewy treats.

 
 
Persistence and clear rules set down fairly and firmly will eventually put an end to the problem, as your kitten or cat learns their love bites aren't desired and are best either stopped, or reserved for toys.  
 
 

Comment(s)19

Shirley Wardzinski - Comment
Shirley Wardzinski26 Jul 2014Reply
My Cat JB, chews on my hands when he wants me to do something and he thinks that I am not getting the message! Time to put out more food. time to get out of bed and make kitty breakfast!
Britt - Comment
Britt26 Jul 2014Reply
Naw, they are just looking for a nice hunk of meat to sink their teeth into rather than eat that grain filled pet food we force upon them
JB - Comment
JB26 Jul 2014Reply
I am not Shirley's cat, but my kitten Kai Lani is constantly after my fingers. Teething/playtoys I believe. In any case, my solution is a pair of leather work gloves that allow both Kai Lani and me to enjoy the playfulness.
Susan - Comment
Susan26 Jul 2014Reply
My 17year old Birman still thinks he can chew on my knees!
Solution?
Stop wearing shorts!
Mariam  - Comment
Mariam 19 Feb 2016Reply
My two kittens started to lick and chew my finger it's not hurtful at all but I keep asking why do they like chewing my finger i
ToriBear - Comment
ToriBear04 Sep 2016Reply
My cat tends to bite my fingers but not to hard. He licks them and bites them and usually purrs when he does that. Makes sense that hes just showing some love. He's a sweet baby.
Alison Morgan  - Comment
Alison Morgan 06 Oct 2016Reply
My friend has 3 cats who get lots of love from me when I visit or pet sit them. All of them occasionally put their mouth over my finger. At first it was almost like nursing though they are all adults. But Precious, a very affectionate calico Persian has started chewing. The chewing has gotten harder and it hurts. I am the one who feeds them when I pet sit, and they sleep with me (almost ON me!) So I guess it's love bites?
Samantha Lynn Manning - Comment
Samantha Lynn Manning06 Oct 2016Reply
The cat was taste testing you before and now it has decided you are tasty enough for it to try.
Your Nan - Comment
Your Nan06 Oct 2016Reply
Don't listen to her...the cat is being affectionate...but if the bites get too hard for you to handle, then put the cat down until the hard biting stops.
Gerald Knowlton - Comment
Gerald Knowlton15 Apr 2017Reply
My cat was just being all cute and sweet and cuddling. When he was lightly lightly nibbling on my fingers when all the sudden he started biting down I had to flick his little nose nothing harder anything so don't be calling Peta on me haha. I looked at him and told him that it hurt. He did the cutest thing ever he licked my fingers and purred gave me kisses and then left....true story no lie it was super adorable
Sierra U - Comment
Sierra U10 May 2017Reply
I have an adult cat that is 6 months old and he will be giving me lots of love one moment then he will start to chew on my fingers. I really don't know what got him to start doing this. He hasn't drew blood but the chewing hurts and I am unsure why he does this. He has never done this in the 4 and a half months I have had him. I usually just have to walk away for him to get the message that it isn't acceptable!
Jami - Comment
Jami25 Jun 2017Reply
My 14 mo male neutered cat acts like a baby. He still meows at me like a kitten and he chews and licks on everything I own. He chews my fingers, my cell phone, purse, my computer, etc. He was adopted. Was he just weaned too early?
Judi  - Comment
Judi 23 Aug 2017Reply
My 10 year old cat stiii will nibble on my hand or arm. It's no more than nibbling, if that. She seems to do it most often when we go to bed. I think she means it as affection. Her daughter-cat has never done this. Surprising!
Linda - Comment
Linda23 Nov 2017Reply
I just adopted a kitty that they say is about a year old. I am wondering if he is younger because he is constantly chewing my fingers (when I gently say "no teeth" he does stop, but it is a persistent behavior. This afteroon my 5 year old was eating and Totem, the new kitty, bit her hindside. He chases her relentlessly more like a little cat, although he's 10 pounds and the 5 year old is 7 pounds.
Chris  - Comment
Chris 09 Jan 2018Reply
I believe it is mostly teething well for my cat it is cuz he lies in between my legs in bed and will take his paws and bring my finger to his mouth goes through each individual one but the thumb is his go too lol nice and thick and just goes to town he’s less then a year old so he’s still got some growing to do I would assume it is my first cat after all
Sharky - Comment
Sharky29 Jan 2018Reply
One of my cats (female, age 4, has been with me since she was 6 months old) likes to gently gnaw on my wrist. I know I should discourage this, but she purrs while she does it so it's sort of sweet. She's a very affectionate cat.
Eiron - Comment
Eiron13 May 2018Reply
My cat is almost a year old. She keeps smelling my hands and she will lick me then draw blood. Or she waits until i am asleep and I wake up to her drawing blood
Ladyace - Comment
Ladyace05 Jul 2018Reply
My cat will be 2 in October an still chews on my fingers it does not hurt so is she still teething
MKING - Comment
MKING10 Aug 2018Reply
Our little cat is now almost 7 years old: She pads for 20 minutes at a time on us and then settles. Occasionally she will take the end of one of my fingers in one or both paws and lick the end of my finger and then clean under my finger nails! She never bites except to clean under the nails. It's just affection like chewing my hair.
Sambone - Comment
Sambone31 Aug 2018Reply
My adult cat chews on my fingers especially in the morning and in the evening when I am late to feed him. I know he is telling me I want my food now. He has dry food but this is when he wants his canned food.
Elle - Comment
Elle19 Dec 2018Reply
My Luna does this to me all the time. Instead of completely curbing her behavior by stopping immediately and putting her down, as I feel that rejecting the affection entirely would be rude, I simply tell her "Ow, that hurts", pull my hand away, shake my finger at her then give it back. She has come to realize that my skin isn't as resilient to her teeth and she still does it but at a pleasant level and rarely bites too hard anymore.

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