It’s such an exciting time when you add an adorable little kitten to your family! Kittens are playful, sweet, and so easy to fall in love with! But what do you do when your kitten starts to display aggressive tendencies and bites your face? And why do they even do it in the first place? Here is all you are going to want to know.
So why does my kitten bite my face? Biting is a natural behavior for kittens as they use their mouths to sense their surroundings. Aside from it being an instinct, kittens can also bite your face for other reasons, including stress, lack of socialization, and boredom. So, it is important to work out your kittens’ triggers so you can respond appropriately.
Nevertheless, and as you would likely expect to read, this is not a behavior that should be encouraged.
As you can imagine, this can make the situation worse.
And while this behavior can be understandably frustrating, it’s important to be aware of various different potential reasons for it.
So, read on to find out more about whether this is normal behavior, a deeper exploration of the causes of face biting, and what you can do to put an end to it.
Is It Normal For A Kitten To Bite Your Face?
Biting and clawing in a playful manner is completely normal for kittens. As they develop, kittens learn right from wrong and also learn to hone their hunting instincts by playfighting with their littermates. If your kitten attempts to bite your face, he is, more often than not, just trying to play with you!
It is also worth noting that, from a young age, kittens use their mouths to explore their surroundings, so your kitten is most likely biting everything in sight, not just you!
However, the behavior can escalate quickly if it is not discouraged from the beginning.
Cats are nocturnal animals, so you may find that the behavior becomes more prevalent when you are asleep (if you allow your kitten access to your bedroom at night), but it can occur at any time during the day too.
Causes Of Face Biting In Kittens
There are numerous causes for kitten biting, so let’s run through them now:
Kittens are balls of energy, so biting could be a sign that your kitten is seeking your attention.
The reasons can vary from wanting a fuss to feeling hungry.
Kittens need regular stimulation to remain happy, so you must schedule in daily play sessions to prevent boredom.
If your kitten has suddenly started biting your face more often, it could be a sign of stress.
With cats, it is important to continually observe their body language as this is a good indicator of their feelings, for example.
If you continue to fuss over your kitten and his tail starts to swish, then you are likely to get a bite on the nose!
Kittens get overexcited very quickly! An overzealous play session can easily turn aggressive if your kitten is feeling overstimulated or frustrated.
There is a persistent misconception that cats are aloof and independent.
However, more recent studies have revealed that cats are actually incredibly affectionate and form strong bonds with their owners.
If your kitten starts licking and gently nibbling your face, he is showing you, love!
Breeds such as the Ragdoll, Birman, Bombay, and Ragamuffin are famed for performing this behavior, and they usually purr a lot whilst doing it.
To Rub Their Scent On You
Cats have a very strong sense of smell.
When a kitten bites your face, he could simply be smelling something yummy on your lips!
Cats also love to spread their scent on the people they love using the numerous scent glands that are positioned all over their bodies, including their mouths.
Lack Of Socialization
Kittens that have been weaned and removed from their mothers and littermates too early are more likely to display aggressive tendencies.
This is because early weaning can severely affect their mental and physical wellbeing.
Ideally, kittens should not be taken away from their mothers before they are 8-10 weeks old to ensure they have been appropriately socialized.
Littermates will often walk away from a kitten that is biting too hard, which teaches self-control.
If a kitten is not exposed to this lesson, he will be more likely to bite his owner!
Underlying Health Issue
Your kitten may be biting because he is in pain, which can be caused by an injury or an underlying health condition.
If this is the case, you may find that your kitten only bites when you touch certain areas of its body.
He may also display other symptoms such as withdrawal or loss of appetite. If you are concerned, it is best to seek the advice of a vet.
Before deciding whether you should be worried about your kittens’ biting habits, you first need to assess how bad the bites are.
Is your kitten simply nibbling or breaking the skin regularly?
This should help you narrow down the cause and decide how much intervention is necessary.
If you believe the biting is down to aggression, your kitten will often display other signs prior to an attack.
- Flattened ears
- Hissing or growling
- Tail Flicking
- Arched back
- Dilated pupils
If you see any of these behaviors, it is best to walk away and leave your kitten to calm down.
Unneutered cats are also known to be more aggressive so ensure you book an appointment to get your kitten neutered as soon as possible.
Neutering can be performed when your kitten is 4-5 months old usually.
How To Stop Your Kitten From Biting Your Face
The best way to prevent your kitten from biting your face is to ensure he has plenty of toys to stimulate him, such as wand toys and laser pointers.
It is important to note that biting is a natural behavior for kittens, so there is no easy fix.
Other than this, these are useful approaches to consider.
Be careful not to roughhouse with your kitten too much using your hands, as this can teach your kitten that it is ok to bite.
However, by providing your kitten with regular play sessions and attention, your young feline should eventually grow out of it.
Consider Feeding Later
If your kitten is biting your face at night, you may also want to consider feeding him just before your bedtime and close your bedroom door to stop him from entering.
This will prevent your kitten from bugging you in the middle of the night.
Prevent Bedroom Access
Allowing your kitten access to your bedroom while you are sleeping is also dangerous as you may accidentally roll over and injure your feline.
The best thing to do is set up a separate enclosed area for your kitten overnight, such as the laundry room, with a cat bed, litter tray, food and water, and plenty of toys.
Always check to make sure that all the toys are safe, and rotate them regularly, so your cat doesn’t get bored.
Redirect Your Kitten
Often, kittens don’t know they are causing pain when they bite or scratch.
So, you should never punish a cat, as this can lead to more prominent aggressive behavior over time.
Instead, try to redirect your kitten’s enthusiasm onto his own toys or simply walk away when he bites.
Your kitten will soon realize that playtime stops if he gets too rough!
Reward Positive Behaviour
Another helpful tip is to reward positive behavior. If your kitten plays nicely, make sure you offer him a treat, and he should soon learn how to distinguish right from wrong.
Contact Your Breeder
Having purchased your kitten, you may want to contact the breeder to find out if they were properly weaned and socialized, as these usually prevent issues from arising as your kitten develops.
If not, you may need to contact a vet or animal behavioral specialist to support you implement these processes.
Why You Want To Limit Face Biting From Your Kitten
It is important to discourage biting from the start as kitten’s mouths carry a lot of bacteria which can cause infections in humans and other animals.
If you have been bitten hard by your kitten, you should immediately wash your wound for around five minutes with soap and water or an appropriate disinfectant.
You can also apply an antiseptic cream to the area to kill any bacteria that may have been transmitted.
For the next few days, you should keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms and seek the advice of a doctor if you are concerned:
- Loss of appetite
- An unusual rash
- Swelling of the affected area
Do Kittens Outgrow Face Biting?
Most kittens should begin to outgrow face biting by around 4-5 months old and should completely stop by the time they are two years old (depending on the breed). However, kittens will only stop biting if they have been taught that it is unacceptable behavior.
Allowing a kitten to play rough with your hands or feet may be fun at the time, but it also teaches your kitten that biting is allowed.
Think of your kitten as a toddler that learns how to interact more as he gets older, depending on what he has been taught.
If you think your kitten’s biting habit is becoming aggressive, you will need to assess the environment to find out what is causing your cat undue stress;
- Have you recently introduced a new pet into the home?
- Do you have stray cats roaming around outside?
- Do you regularly have visitors over that make lots of noise?
All of these things can stress a kitten out, especially if he has only recently moved into your home.
When you first get your new kitten, you should only allow him access to one room of the house at a time to prevent him from feeling overwhelmed.
When your kitten appears comfortable, you can then slowly introduce him to other parts of the home under supervision.
The same process should also be applied to family members and other pets.
Introduce people or animals gradually and ensure all interactions are gentle, to begin with.
Over the course of a couple of weeks, your kitten will hopefully settle in well with the family, but it is important to be patient and allow your kitten to investigate at his own pace.
Face biting from kittens is an entirely natural, and normal behavior.
That being said it is not something that you should encourage, nor should expect as they grow into a cat.
Thankfully, there are some practical and effective approaches to take to nip face biting in the bud.
And with some consistency, you should find that it ceases altogether.
However, in the meantime, if the biting continues or becomes more aggressive, despite regular play sessions and gentle interactions, then you may want to seek the advice of a cat behaviorist or a vet.
There may be an underlying cause that needs addressing.
Have other questions relating to your kitten’s behavior? Then my following guides may be of help:
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.