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Why does my cat chew on my fingers?

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  • Why does my cat chew on my fingers?

    We have an almost full grown kitten, indoor/outdoor, very friendly and snuggly but VERY "hunter", thinks she's a lion type of cat. She's the only reason we sleep safely at night, let me assure you

    She stays inside at night, because DH is afraid she's still too small to fend off the owls. She wanders for a while after we go to bed, but always ends up in bed with us...usually snuggled up on my pillow.

    Every single morning, without fail, she will wake me up by licking and biting my fingertips. She does it the exact same way, every day. She starts on finger number one, licks it two or three times, then chomps down. Then moves to finger number two. Lick, lick, chomp. Down the line, every finger in order.

    Doesn't matter how I react. I've tried to pretend to sleep through it, I've tried smacking her, I've tried hissing at her. She just stares at me till I stop, then picks up right where she left off.

    Could it have something to do with the fact that she was weaned way too early (she was the only survivor of her litter and her mama, neighbor found the rest of them dead in the woods )? Is it just the fact that she wants me to wake up and feed her? Is she just weird? lol She does it occasionally just laying on the couch watching tv, but 9 times out of 10 its in the very early morning in bed.

  • #2
    Mine will do that if he's in my lap (where he would love to spend his days).

    He chews very gently, it's more like mouthing actually. I figure it's just something he does to show me his affection, or its comforting to him.
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars


    • #3
      One of my cats will chew on my fingers. Not an actual bite, just chew. I always chalked it up to being affectionate/playing.
      *Wendy* 4.17.73 - 12.20.05


      • #4
        I have one that does this too - annoying! Got her from the pound as an adult, so I don't know when she was weaned, but it makes sense. She also suckles & kneads her bed when she is really happy. I always tell my husband I hope I never die in the house cause she'll probably eat me!


        • #5
          I had a bottle fed orphan cat which used to chew on my fingers. I assumed he had come to associate human hands with milk and cuddling, so mouthing fingers was a comfort thing for him.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by ken View Post
            I have one that does this too - annoying! Got her from the pound as an adult, so I don't know when she was weaned, but it makes sense. She also suckles & kneads her bed when she is really happy. I always tell my husband I hope I never die in the house cause she'll probably eat me!
            Let's hope not!

            The comforting thing makes sense. It's not really a bad habit I think I need to break, it's just chewing, like someone else said. Just annoying to always wake up before the alarm goes off...


            • #7
              Originally posted by talkofthetown View Post
              Let's hope not!

              The comforting thing makes sense. It's not really a bad habit I think I need to break, it's just chewing, like someone else said. Just annoying to always wake up before the alarm goes off...
              My cats know WAAAAY better than to wake me up before the alarm goes off! 5:30 is hard enough as it is. Can you tell I'm not a morning person?
              What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


              • #8
                He's checking to see if you're edible.


                • #9
                  I've bred cats for 30 years. It's a neurotic habit from being weaned too early. Kittens should be "kicked" away from mom by her at 12 weeks or so. When they're not (puppies, too) they do these kinds of things--licking, sucking, chewing, excessive kneeding, etc.

                  Try sticking your finger down her throat and gagging her with a sharp "ah!" next time. I'm betting within a few times that will back off or stop the behavior and start changing the habit.


                  • #10
                    My dog does the same thing, just kind of a little nibble. She does this when she's anxious, and while dogs and cats are obviously different, still could have a similar cause
                    I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know-it-alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
                    Titania: 50% horse, 50% hippo
                    Unforgetable: torn between jumping and nap time, bad speller


                    • #11
                      I had one

                      I had one that did this. I also had his litter mate who did not do it. Both weaned at the same time so go figure. I finally came to the conclusion that it was a mutual grooming thing with him. He would lick and chew on my fingers (and yes it was always at bedtime) so I'd rub his ears with the now damp fingers. He seemed to like it so I guess it's what he wanted.
                      Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


                      • #12
                        Mine does this as well. She's a sassy girl and I figure that is how she shows affection. However, if you over stimulate her (too much petting) she will actually chomp down but doesn't break skin.

                        Don't cats rub their gums on things to mark their territory? Maybe she is marking me?


                        • Original Poster

                          MtyMax, so does my kitty. It's like all of a sudden her nerves go crazy and she spazzes out Could be a marking thing, never thought of that. She never does it to DH, just me.