Why is my cat nibbling at me

Cat speech through the cat's eyes

Cat language and behavior

Cat behavior says a lot about your cat's state of mind. We humans can understand the language of cats to a certain extent and thus simplify the coexistence with our cats a bit.

Thanks to the special cat language, we can recognize the needs of our cats, as long as we pay attention to the various signals from their language and their behavior and interpret them correctly.

Eyes wide open

If your cat's eyes are wide open and the pupils are narrow during the day, this is usually a clear sign that your cat is in a peaceful mood and has confidence in its surroundings. She feels comfortable in her environment right now. Especially when she is calm, she is relaxed, but still attentive to everything that is happening in her environment.

Eyes slightly closed

If your cat begins to close her eyes slightly, this is a sign that she has just lost confidence in her surroundings and she is shifting into a slightly aggressive mood. However, this only applies if your cat is awake. If she is lying down and resting or has slept or rested until recently, then the closing eyes are of course a sign of tiredness. The aggressive mood would cause your cat to wake up and sit or stand.

Blink and wink

If your cat blinks at you, communicating using cat language is like a smile compared to us humans. You're welcome to blink back at your cat. Of course, as emphatically and slowly as she does. Then she understands your gesture as well. Direct eye contact with your cat always puts them under slight pressure, but this blinking or winking gives your cat a very safe feeling. Your cat is thus expressing its trust in you. Well, if that's not a nice gesture. :-)

She doesn't have to see everything with open eyes all the time. She knows that she can trust you and sometimes close her eyes without lurking with her ears to see what is happening nearby. So the slower your cat winks at you, the more familiar you are to her. You can even establish contact with shy, strange cats and show them your acceptance by blinking slowly at them.


The body language is not very clear when staring. If your cat stares with a very narrow pupil, this is a threat to the other person and she feels superior. If, on the other hand, it stares with wide pupils, then the cat is very interested in something and is paying particular attention to what is happening. Or maybe she's afraid. She would show this through additional postures.

In the picture on the right, a cat shows its interest in some object. Since she does not make herself small or put her ears back, there is no sign that she is afraid of this object.

Rubbing your head

The rubbing with the head, the so-called "Köpfeln" means among cats, but also from cat to person something like "you belong to me". Your cat will then want to cuddle, but it will also give off its scent to you, just as it does when its body rubs against you. Your cat can also precisely pick up your scent with its mouth slightly open when rubbing. Rubbing your head is to be understood as a clear proof of love for you and should also be reciprocated by stroking and petting. If your cat runs away from you with its tail straight up straight after you rub it, then it wants to show you something and you should follow it. If your cat rubs your head with its head, it would like you to clean its fur. The head, neck and poll are difficult to reach for your cat when cleaning, or by licking its paw and then wiping its head with the wet paw. It is therefore also important not to keep cats alone so that they can groom each other in hard-to-reach areas.

Bump with the head

If your cat bumps or nudges you with its head, then a greeting in the cat's language is equivalent to something like "How are you?" If the so-called "bowl" is pretty firm and you might get a little uncomfortable, your cat means it all the more positively. You may also be happy here that you are petting and petting her now.

Light biting or nibbling on you

If your cat bites your arm, wrist or finger easily, then it literally "likes to eat" you and shows you its great affection. Biting or nibbling while you play with your cat is different. In other words, if your cat comes up to you on its own initiative without you already playing, then this affection applies. If your cat then starts to cling to you and kick its back legs, it will want to play with you. In any case, she is very happy that you are here.

Chattering, chattering teeth, cackling

If your cat is chattering, cackling, or chattering its teeth, this is a sign of very high arousal from prey that it cannot reach at the moment. This can be, for example, a fly on the ceiling of your apartment, or a bird that is outside. It is possible that your cat gets the “death bite” here because she is so excited that she is already imagining how she will give the final bite to the unreachable prey. However, it has not yet been researched whether this is an expression of frustration precisely because it cannot reach its prey, or whether this is just any exercise behavior with the death bite.


If your cat perceives an interesting smell, then opens its mouth very slightly, has very rigid eyes, wrinkles its nose and, to our human opinion, somehow looks as if it doesn't have all the cups in the closet, then your cat begs. Your cat will beg when it perceives an interesting, usually strange odor or a sexual attractant. Flehmen's intensity goes far beyond normal sniffing. The reason for the flehmen is the particularly intensive absorption of the interesting smell via the Jacobson organ, a particularly odor-intensive (olfactory) organ, which is located as a small papilla behind the incisors of the cats. This allows your cat to sense and analyze smells incredibly well, much better than it or probably any other animal could with its nose. For example, a cat will plead if it smells another cat's rear end or if it has come across some new, completely strange smell for the first time.

Pucker nose

If your cat is puckering her nose, it is one of many signs that she is aggressive and that you should keep her distance.

Suck on the hand

If your cat sucks on your hand, then you can see this as a very dear proof of friendship.


When cats yawn, it is primarily an indication that they are tired. But yawning also means that they are peaceful right now and that they are expecting it from you too. This also shows the other person a form of sympathy in cat language and behavior.

Nudge your nose

If your cat just nudges you with its nose, it will show you in its cat language that it likes you. The nudge with the sensitive cat nose is therefore a proof of friendship to you. Cats are helped by “nasalizing” to recognize each other. This is comparable to shaking hands if you have just entered the apartment.


If your cat has a particularly high saliva flow, so that it is already making you wet or depending on what it is lying on, then this is a sign of a strong feeling of wellbeing in a healthy cat that is being petted or petted. So your cat enjoys your caresses towards her.

Licking and cleaning

If your cat licks or cleans your arms, legs, face or hair, then he wants to show you a lot of affection. If you have applied perfume, it can also be that your cat wants to remove the foreign scent so that you can smell the same as usual. Because your cats want them all, just like their owners, to smell the same as possible. Does your cat lick its own fur either to clean itself or to cool itself off. Cats can use their tongue to regulate their body temperature, which is how they cool their tongues. For example, a dog panted with its tongue hanging out to regulate its body temperature. If your cat licks its lips, it will be nervous and uncomfortable. An exception is after she has eaten, as it is normal for her to clean the area around her mouth.

Raising of fur on the head

When your cat's fur on its head ruffles, then it wants to impress.

Ears erect, laid back and moving

It is especially important that you have your male and your cat neutered. At best before the first heat. Even if you don't feel particularly comfortable taking this "fun" away from your cats, you should have both your tomcat and your cat neutered. Sterilization is not enough. Even if one might think that this is an interference with nature, there are important arguments in favor of castration: Nature has the only goal of preserving its own breed. The animals do not enjoy being in heat or the sexual act itself. Heat means pure stress for a cat and a hangover, especially when no sexual partner can be found, such as in the apartment. Both of them then scream a lot, especially in rooms where it is echoing and as loud as possible so that other potential cats can hear it.

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Tail erect

When your cat sees you and straightens its tail straight to the tip, then it wants to greet you in a friendly manner and is happy that you are back. If the tail is erect in another situation and is also bushy or bristled, similar to a bottle brush, then this is a sign of great fear. This can also happen while fighting between cats, when one cat feels inferior to the other. The communication here is therefore not entirely clear and other factors are important.

Steeply erect tail with a bent tip

When your cat comes up to you with a straight tail and the tip of its tail bent and looks at you, this is a friendly, friendly greeting to you. It can be the case that a cat also mows briefly towards people. With conspecifics it coos instead of mewing. However, depending on the relationship between humans and cats, it can also happen that the cat purrs at people.

Whipping tail

If your cat's tail, or even just the tip of its tail, is whipping back and forth, it is aroused and aggressive. The harder the tail whips, the more aggressive your cat is. If she whips her tail towards you, you should leave her alone for now. Tail lashing is also one of the misunderstandings between cats and dogs. While the dog wags its tail out of joy and playfulness, and understands such a cat, the cat has absolutely no desire to play and also thinks that the dog wants to attack it. Cats and dogs have to get used to each other in order to understand each other properly.

Slowly wagging tail

If your cat is slowly whipping or wagging its tail back and forth, this indicates a more calm mood. She is generally attentive and interested in what is going on in her presence.

Bucking of the fur

When your cat ruffles its fur, it usually feels like it is in danger. Here the cat language is clear: fear. She wants to make herself look bigger against her attacker by resisting the fur. This still often happens with kittens because they are often unable to assess each other correctly in play. When adult cats fight each other in play, the fur usually no longer becomes bushy or bristles. Only in the case of territorial fights, which are also there to determine the head of the apartment, a resistance of the fur is still possible. Such territorial fights take place again and again, even when kittens grow up.

Firm posture

If your cat begins to tighten its body in a situation, this should be taken as a first warning. You should not get any closer to another cat if possible, otherwise it may become more aggressive.

Lifting the paw

If your cat lifts one paw, it is quite aroused and warns of a claw blow. As a rule, the cat then shows other signs of arousal or aggressiveness. Lifting your paw is not the first sign of this kind. If this happens while you are playing, it is a clear indication that your cat is getting too colorful. The exception is, however, if you are playing with a string, for example. Here your cat will primarily raise its paw to grab the string.

Rubbing with the body

If your cat rubs its body against you, this is a vote of confidence. Your cat likes you and shows you with this friendly gesture that she wants to be petted or petted by you. Many animals also take on your scent and give their scent to you. You are part of her group, so to speak, and she wants the smell of all members of her group to match each other. "Make a man" and slide on your leg If your cat stands on its hind legs in front of you and then lets itself slide on your leg by rubbing it, then these are on the one hand a friendly greeting and at the same time a caress to you. You are therefore very familiar with your animal and it is very happy to see you again.

Shake paw

If your cat shakes her paw, she is feeling very uncomfortable with something. If she shakes her paw after or while eating, this is a clear sign that she does not like the food, but that she eats it for better or for worse due to a lack of alternatives. The shaking of paws after going to the toilet can mean that she still has some cat litter on her paws and wants to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling. However, this often happens with the hind legs. Your cat cannot always control what is related to the cat's nervous system when shaking paws like this.

Stretch and show stomach

If your cat stretches in front of you, if it lies on its back and shows you its stomach, then this is an extremely large vote of confidence and also part of the gesture of humility. Next to the neck, the stomach is the most sensitive part of the body of a cat and this is only revealed to be touchable through great confidence. Often this is also an invitation to stroke and scratch you. You can then stroke your cat's belly very carefully and she will show you by purring that she likes it. If you stroke too hard, she will quickly protect her stomach again and prefer to be stroked again on the back, head or sides.

Cat hump

The humpback is usually an expression that your cat is fine. There is one exception, however: If your cat positions itself in such a way that another cat can only see it from the side, for example, and if it ruffles its fur, then it wants to impress the other cat and show how big it is.

Sharpen claws

If your cat runs to its scratching furniture while you see it and then sharps its claws, it is likely to be trying to impress you. If she is not in such a hurry or if she is not being watched, she will devote herself to her claw care and free herself from old claw sleeves.


If your cat rolls back and forth, it will want to play with you. Please grant her this wish.


If your female cat is rolling on the floor, she is probably in heat, or ready to mate.


If your cat scratches its front paw, it will feel uncomfortable. Maybe she smells something. If your cat broke or was unclean in this area before, you should thoroughly clean this area again, as your cat can still perceive residues and instinctively wants to bury them, as with excretions in the litter box.


“Stepping” means that your cat takes turns stepping on something with its front paws. Just as she does it as a small kitten with the mother cat to stimulate the flow of milk while breastfeeding. A full-grown cat that treads shows the greatest possible well-being. It couldn't be any better. She feels completely at ease with you.

If she steps on you while she is sitting next to or on you, then you can be sure that your cat has complete confidence in you and that she just feels really comfortable and protected in your presence, so that she doesn't have to worry about anything else .


If your cat is purring, it is more likely that it is comfortable. When you stroke or scratch her, she will often start purring very quickly to show you that she likes what you are doing and that you are welcome to continue. However, cats also purr when they are feeling bad. For example, a seriously ill cat purrs to calm itself down. The special frequency with which cats purr is also said to accelerate the healing process of bones. So when a cat has a broken bone, it purrs to calm itself down from the pain and to be healthy again as soon as possible. A cat also purrs while nursing its kittens in order to calm the kittens and itself.

But also the kittens purr to show the mother that they are well supplied with milk. Where exactly the purring sound comes from, i.e. how the cat produces this sound, has not yet been researched with certainty. There are four different scientific hypotheses, each with a different approach.

Hiss and growl

If your cat hisses at you or growls at you, it shows you that she is really angry. She wants to scare off attackers. You shouldn't touch it again for now. If the growling comes from the fact that you are on the way to the vet with her, for example, and she has to wait in her basket, then she growls out of fear and not because she sees you as her enemy. Depending on how familiar you are with your cat, you can stroke it carefully, show it that you are with it and thereby calm it down a bit. Even if this hardly ever happens, as your cat is in foreign territory where, as is usual with the vet, it smells of many other animals and because of the basket it cannot get an overview of the situation. If your cat hisses at strangers who visit you, then the visit is too hectic or too loud for her.

Ask your visitor to approach the cat slowly and without a word and slowly extend an arm towards it from a distance so that your cat can sniff the arm and greet the visitor. In this way she can convince herself that the visit does not mean any harm to her either. It is particularly difficult here with small children who run loudly to a cat to play with or to stroke it. The cat gets this behavior completely wrong and feels attacked, which causes it to hiss and even growl. Growling is much more meaningful here than hissing. A snarling cat is really so good that it will not put up with anything once it is wronged.


If your cat “coos”, it is like a nice greeting without physical contact between friends. You are welcome to answer your cat.

Cat singing

If your cat, or your hangover, starts to sing, then this is not, as is often assumed, a love song to the sexual partner. A threat to any rivals is clearly being made here. So no “I would like to mate with you” to the loved one, but rather a “just get away, only I will mate with her!” To everyone else.


If your cat is moaning, it may just want to have a chat and know what's new with you. Many cats like to chat and often do. It is best if you just answer her, then she will tell you some news and will probably listen carefully to you when you have something to tell.

Even if she doesn't really understand what you are talking about, she may also give you an answer that you in turn will not understand.

If your cat brings its prey home and stays seated or standing, then it wants to encourage you to play together. If your cat moves away from the prey it brings home, then this is a gift for you. Both ultimately serve to improve your hunting behavior.

In the eyes of your cat you are a very miserable hunter, as you very often take no notice of any interesting prey that flies around in the apartment or outside the window or moves in any way. Your cat wants to help you become a good hunter like them.