General Question

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

If a cat bites you (gently) on the arm or foot in the morning, what does it mean?

Asked by marymaryquitecontrary (419points) October 2nd, 2010

Would you call this a bad cat? Or would you say it’s just trying to communicate the fact that it’s hungry?

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50 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

The cat is being playful.

Thammuz's avatar

it can mean three things: it wants to check you’re still alive, it wants to wake you up or it wants to play. Most likely the last two.

wilma's avatar

When my cat does that, it means she thinks that it’s time for me to get up and feed her.

Cruiser's avatar

It means you are laying on their tail and they need to go do their bizness.

chyna's avatar

It means “good morning, wake up and play with me.”

marinelife's avatar

It means your cat thinks it is OK to bite you, which is a notion I would disabuse it of quickly.

mrentropy's avatar

I’d say it means he or she is ready for some breakfast. I also consider you lucky. My cat developed several methods for waking me up in the morning, my favorite being when he would sit on my neck, put a paw on either side of my head, and then very slowly extend his claws.

BoBo1946's avatar

Your first question is it a bad cat. No, it just means the cat is playful as you stated the cat was gentle. In regard to hungry, I’m not sure how you handle the feeding of your cat, but most people always put more in the cat’s tray than they eat. Cats eat at all times of the day. Not a one time thing. So, don’t think the cat is hungry if you do as most people do.

How old is your cat? This would be important also in answering your questions.

Btw, what is your cat’s name?

mrentropy's avatar

@BoBo1946 Spend 24 hours at my apartment. Cats can also be insanely picky. Mine are happy to munch on dry food throughout the day, but as soon as the sun rises (or before) that dry food better be fresh out of the bag. Which blows my mind because the bag isn’t sealed so, as far as this human is concerned, it’s the same thing. Maybe less cat slobber.

I also feed them wet food in the morning and you should hear the black and white one go on. And on. AND ON until he gets it. So, that’s why I’m going to go with the “hungry” route.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Just a kitty cat that needs a pal to play with in the morning. Maybe adopt another kitten so he’s not bored in the morning.?

Lve's avatar

Do you have a specific reaction after he bites you? Like give him food or attention? Cats have the ability to learn and they can spot patterns in your behavior – i.e. he bites you in the morning and you get up and give him food. Cats are very persistent and often people will reward bad behavior just to get them to stop.

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

I yell at him! I don’t want my cat biting me! :D

Frenchfry's avatar

I would say I am hungry. Get your ass up

nebule's avatar

It means I love you

ETpro's avatar

Whenever Spoony THE Cat dies that, it means she needs something. I go check her food and water supply. If it isn’t that, then she may just want some attention, and is saying, :Hey, I love you.” It’s not a sign of aggression. If a cat means to bite in aggression, you will deffinitely know the difference.

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

Thanks, that helps. But I’ve had cats that were completely gentle, and I prefer that. Do you think it’s a bad idea to try to train this cat not to bite? Or should I just accept it as part of his more aggressive nature?

mrentropy's avatar

How old is this cat? Is it a kitten? If so, it’ll probably grow out of it.

ETpro's avatar

Drat. Too late to edit a critical typo. “Whenever Spoony THE Cat dies that” should have read does that. @marymaryquitecontrary Spoony’s “bite” doesn’t hurt at all. It’s just here way of making it very clear she needs attention. She ramps up the communication from sitting and staring at me to tapping me on the leg with a paw to finally giving a love bite.

Cats are not amenable to training. They agree to let us live in their hose and to keep it free of rats and mice in return for our providing them food, comfort and love. Meet them on their own terms and they will grow to love you as deeply as any animal possibly can love a human. But they are not at all like dogs. They aren’t pack animals. They are solitary hunters by nature. They are not going to see you as leader of the pack (the boss). They will always be their own boss, and humans have to negotiate an accommodation where the cat and the human can both get their physical end emotional needs met. Other than the litter bos (which is true to the nature of a cat anyway) training is probably a bad idea.

mowens's avatar

You are annoying the cat by existing, or not doing it’s bidding.

Marva's avatar :)

“I don’t want my cat biting me” why not? if it doesn’t hurt… cats bite eachother when they are young as a game and as a way of communication all the time.
Just accept it as his language and the conflict is solved..

boffin's avatar

Feed Me!

mickhock's avatar

It’s Catnip

tinyfaery's avatar

Cats are as trainable as dogs. If you want the behavior to stop, do not respond to it. Tell kitty no and do not get up.

Personally, I think this behavior is fairly harmless and kinda cute. Furry little monster.

mrrich724's avatar

I don’t know why people think anything from a cat means anything except “feed me.” If you stop feeding your cat for a few weeks, it won’t pretend it cares all that much.

anartist's avatar

@mrentropy my Jacky cat used to wake me up that way too.
Or sometimes he would just hold my face and lick me.
Or if he was nestled in my arms he would do the claw trick on my arm.
But best of all he would get on the clock radio and stamp on it until it came on!
Now he is gone and his sister Jilly wakes me by sitting on my chest and patting my face.

chyna's avatar

@mrrich724 __If you stop feeding your cat for a few weeks, it won’t pretend it cares all that much.__ That’s because it will be dead.

ETpro's avatar

@tinyfaery I’m with Robert Heinlein who had his character, Lazarus Long utter this memorable line, “Never try to out-stubborn a cat,”

Aster's avatar

I think it’s cute. Sounds like it wants you to get out of bed.
But I wouldn’t think it so cute if I were the one getting pestered!

YARNLADY's avatar

From a news report I just read, it could mean your house is about to burn down and the cat is saving your life.

zzc's avatar

@anartist, I have a cat that can get the clock radio to come on too!!! It’s to wake me up. . . .sooner than I had it set for! SHE wants me up on HER time! The radio is still set, like I set it. I don’t know how she gets it to come on!
@marymaryquitecontrary, if it is pretty consistent in the morning, it’s probably to get you up. They are quite bright about training their people to do what they want. I would be concerned though, that the bite might become firmer, if you didn’t respond to the gentle one. Teeth on skin isn’t something to encourage.

wilma's avatar

I think my cat is trying to “move” me, like she might pick up her kitten and move it. She isn’t biting, she gently puts her teeth on me and if I don’t move she tries to gently pull me. She wants me to feed her, then she’ll go back to sleep, but somehow I never can…

mrrich724's avatar


no, not really, they’re animals. They’ll find ways to eat. They have the ability built in.

mrentropy's avatar

@zzc & @anartist My cats don’t do the clock radio. They do the multi-function printer. One gets it so the fax machine portion turns on, which makes a lot of noise even though there’s no phone line plugged into it. The other loves to watch the paper come out so he figured out how to do the paper eject thing. I don’t know how to eject paper out of it. I have to unplug the printer when I’m not using it because they both know how to turn it on.

chyna's avatar

@mrentropy That is so cool. You need to video that and put it on YouTube.

mrentropy's avatar

@chyna I tried the other day. Junior, at least, doesn’t like to be watched when he’s playing with the printer.

chyna's avatar

@mrentropy If you ever d catch it, please post it or let me know where to watch.

mrentropy's avatar

@chyna Sure. If I don’t go on a road trip tomorrow I’ll leave the printer on and see what kind of wacky hijinks they can get up to.

ETpro's avatar

I once had a belgian shepherd that loved to go for walks. She would go get her leash and bring it to me. If I didn’t immediately react, she would gently take my hand in her mouth and lead me to the front foor, putting my hand on the knob. She was an incredibly bright and fun loving dog. I still miss here all these years later.

Jabe73's avatar

Cats have their own personalities when it comes to certain behaviours. It generally means “get your lazy butt up and feed me!” If I don’t get up the first time when my kitten starts bothering me, usually by jumping on me and licking my face then she will start making all types of racket/noise to get me up.

jerv's avatar

When my cat does it, it generally means that I forgot about a sore spot near her hips. That bite is kind of a, “Hey! Watch it!”.

Either that, or it’s a playful thing; she has a habit of sneaking up behind me and attacking my leg as I walk, but she won’t do it if I am looking at her. The way she does it makes it obvious that she is playing.

With my cat, a bite never means “Feed me, beeyotch!”. That is what the meowing is meow for. After meow about twenty meow minutes of “meow”, we get meow the meow point and wake meow up and feed her.

zzc's avatar

The cat that turns the clock radio on, will also go in the kitchen, when I’m in the livingroom, put her paw under a cupboard door, pull it out, let it drop back, repeat, repeat so that it goes bangity bangity, bang, bang, until I go feed her! They have their ways!

ETpro's avatar

@zzc Spoony THE Cat does that with the closet door in our bedroom if her food or water supply runs out at night. If I don’t roust myself from my slumber, she’ll get up on the bed, sit by my head and purr as loud as a Harley. And if I still refuse to budge, she’ll tap my cheek with her paw and lick my face till I finally give in and do her bidding.

We have to be particularly careful to keep her water bowl full. If it runs out, she will find a partially full beverage glass somewhere in the house and push it off onto the floor so she can drink what was in it.

On the other side of the coin, she loves the chair I use at my computer workstation. She’ll jump up in it and curl up anytime I get up and leave it nicely warmed by my big ass. But when I come back, I can roll it over to some other convenient sleeping spot and ask her to give me my chair back, and she will do it.

We know we love each other, and we treat one another accordingly.

zzc's avatar

I used to have lovely pottery. Now, I have things that are wood or metal. This same cat, when she was young, would tap things with her paw, like testing what it would take to move it. Then, if she wanted attention, she would bat it off on the floor CRASH! I never had a cat that broke things before! There were times she almost went back to the Humane Soc.! But, adoption is a commitment. . . .thus the replacements don’t break!
@jerv, I get the warning, teeth just touching my skin, too, it means, “Knock it off, I don’t like what you’re doing.”
@mrentropy, Gee, I haven’t hooked my printer up yet. . . oh no.
@marymaryquitecontrary, another thing this adorable cat has done to wake me up, is lick my nose. . .which, of course, is like having sandpaper used on your nose! Yeow!!!!

zzc's avatar

Gracie is high maintenance.

Scooby's avatar

Wake up & feed me! :-/

Greenie's avatar

My cat, Samantha, bites my arm or elbow when I read aloud or sing. I don’t know if she likes it or Not.

ETpro's avatar

@Greenie She probably doesn’t like it. Spoony THE Cat doesn’t mind me talking, but she will put her paw up on my wife’s lips if she can get on something high enough to do so. If my wife says more than a few words, Spoony will be looking to shut her up. She must find the higher piotched voice painful to her ears.

brucearner's avatar

Means you dont have mice, and it is hungry.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Feed me, or the goldfish get’s it!

fl0j0e1965's avatar

My 2yr old female cat Charlie bites my partner & me when we are on the phone. And she goes mental & also bites me when my alarm goes off, its a rooster and she tries to turn it off sometimes its on the tablet others the phone. Sometimes I put it on to time her and she comes running down from upstairs lol. Tonight she keeps biting my elbows and loving me. Also both my cats love to lick me especially when I have been the gym & my ragdoll washes my partners hair when he wants his chair, thus making my partner sitting on the floor lol.

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