Cats can be great bedtime companions – when they’re not nibbling at your fingers! To help manage your cat’s nighttime biting, this article will explain:
- Why cats bite you when you’re sleeping
- How you can stop your cat from biting you while you’re sleeping
- Frequently asked questions about cats biting
Why does my cat bite me while I sleep?
Night time and early mornings are the most common times for cats to be active. This is because cats are crepuscular (i.e. naturally programmed to explore at dusk and dawn). As a result, they won’t hesitate to wake you up while you’re sleeping. This is especially true if they:
- Need food or water. If your cat is hungry or thirsty in the night, they will bite you to wake you up.
- Want to play. If your cat doesn’t get enough playtime during the day, likelihood is they’ll wake you up to get a little night time action.
How can you stop your cat from biting you while you sleep?
To help deter your cat from biting or being disruptive while you’re trying to sleep:
- Schedule playtime 2-3 times per day at the times your cat is most active. This means big playtime when your cat wakes up, and a couple more at the end of the day right before you go to bed.
- Go to bed and play at the same time each day. Routine can be extremely helpful to get your cat on your sleep schedule.
- Continue to offer your cat food, water, and a game in the bedroom. This will ensure your cat has access to the necessities while you’re sleeping.
- Don’t play or give your cat attention if they bite you while you’re trying to sleep. Resist the urge to give them attention, and instead wait for them to stop. As soon as your cat stops being disruptive, shower them with attention. Even though it's hard to resist a persistent cat, if you're consistent, they’ll catch on and associate being quiet with getting lots of love and attention.
Frequently asked questions about cats biting
Why does my cat bite me when I’m not doing anything?
Cats will bite when they have pent up play or prey drive energy. To help them expend their energy, integrate interactive toys into your cat’s routine and schedule playtime in the evening when your cat is most active. Toys we love include: the Cat Dancer, Spring toys and Bird Teaser w/ Feathers.
Should you let your cat sleep with you?
There are positives to allowing your cat to sleep with you, including companionship and emotional security. To help ensure you and your cat get a good sleep, try to go to bed at the same time each night, play with your cat before bed, and consider bringing food and water into the bedroom. This will enable your cat to grab a quick drink or snack in the night without waking you up.
Why does my cat bite me gently out of nowhere?
Your cat might gently bite you for a few reasons:
- They have pent up play or prey drive energy. In this case they’re biting you in an attempt to get your attention and release some of this energy.
- They’re overstimulated from petting or handling. Cats are very sensitive creatures. They have lots of nerve endings on their bodies and, as a result, can become overstimulated very quickly. When this happens, they’ll often express themselves by biting or swatting. The key to understanding how your cat is feeling, and reducing the likelihood that your cat bites you, is to monitor their body posture and language for stress signals such as excessive meowing, yawning, blinking, or lip licking. These signals can be warning signs that your cat has had enough and a bite is soon to come. If your cat starts to exhibit these behaviors while you’re petting your cat, stop petting your cat.
- They are being affectionate. Small nibbles and gentle bites are thought to be reminiscent of how a mother cat grooms her kittens, and some cats will exhibit this behavior when they feel bonded to their pet parents.