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licking leading to biting

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello all!
First post here, and let me first say that I'm glad to find this place. I have an issue and I did a preliminary search to see if it's been covered, and I think I'm in the clear or did not look hard enough.

Anyway, our cat Popo often likes to lick us when she's grooming herself. We'll sometimes put our hands out to her while she's cleaning herself and she'll start to lick us too. I figure that this is a sign of affection since she's purring and all. but sometimes Popo will suddenly stop licking and grab us with her forepaws, claws extended, and start to bite our hand! the more we struggle to get free, the harder she bites and claws. if we don't struggle, she'll stop with biting but still hold us tightly and continue licking our hands.

Any ideas? For the most part, I just let her lick my hand a little and draw away. But sometimes, like today, i'll leave it out there too long and she goes to town on it....

post #2 of 4
LOL! My two cats do this to each other as well. It'll start out as licking, but them jump to biting if they're in the mood to play. Which is probably what it is here. Your kitty is feeling like roughousing a bit, and is trying to "start something". When he starts to bite, don't pull away - you've already learned what THAT does! That's because of prey instincts. Just like when you see a mean dog or a predator like a mountain lion you aren't supposed to run because that just says to them, "Hey, chase me!" Pulling away your hand says,"Hey, don't let your prey get away!".

Keep a toy handy when you handle your kitty. That way you can gently push the toy toward her chest and redirect her play aggression at something more appropriate than your hands. Pushing the toy toward her will distract her and you can pull your trapped hand away (at "normal" speed, mind). If you don't have a toy when this happens, take your OTHER hand and wave it around a bit over your kitty's head (not close enough to grab) as a distraction and then just pull back the hand she's grabbed at "normal" speed.
post #3 of 4
Our cat is the same way. He's fairly gentle most of the time. Position your hand so that he bites your fingers rather than your hand. Our cat pulls our fingers towards the back and then gentley naws on them. The teeth aren't as sharp in the back, so it doesn't hurt. We also don't pull away, so I'm not sure if this would cause him to be more aggressive.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone!
thanks for the advice and answers. I'm glad we're pretty much on the same page. At first we thought she really, really wanted us clean so she would hold on if we were being "bad" and trying to escape. You know, sort of like little kids (us) trying to get out of taking a bath and having mom (popo) chase you around!
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