Nobody enjoys getting bitten by their cat especially when it’s in the early morning while you’re trying to sleep. It might sound amusing to some but, being woken up constantly by your cat every morning can have a lasting effect on overall mood and energy levels. It can be quite a stressful experience.
The truth is that cats will mainly bite you in the morning because they want to be fed. There are a couple of other reasons such as displaying affection and wanting to play, but the majority of the time if it will be because they want you to give them food.
This is a learned behavior which means the cat has figured out that if they behave in a certain way such as biting you then it will get its desired result (Food). This behavior can be quite problematic and will take some training to correct.
Let’s look at all the reasons cats bite us in the morning in more detail:
1. To Wake You Up
The most obvious answer to the question is that they want you to wake up. Cats are able to understand that you are sleeping and will use soft bites as a way to wake you up. The thing we really need to think about however is why they want to wake us up.
Cats can be mischievous at times, but usually do things for a reason. So our first step in correcting this behavior is to identify why they are wanting to wake us up.
2. They Want Food
This is the primary reason why cats wake their owners up in the mornings. Cats become hungry and impatient. They understand that if they behave a certain way they will get their desired result. The chances are they’ve nipped you before and then you’ve gone to feed them. By doing this you have accidentally rewarded this behavior, which means they will continue to do it in the future.
If you believe this to be the case with your cat I suggest you try using an automatic feeding machine, which releases food on an automated timer. This is a relatively inexpensive way to prevent the problem and help you get some well-deserved sleep. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend money on this issue you need to ensure you don’t reward the behavior again or potentially keep your cat locked outside of your room so they are unable to do it.
3. Attention Seeking
Cats sometimes develop attention-seeking behaviors and this can start at any age. These behaviors are not just limited to biting. They also include jumping around, clawing, excessive meowing, stealing, or the famous knocking things off tables.
If your cat has already been fed and is still disturbing your sleep in the early hours of the morning the chances are it’s because they have some kind of emotional problem.
Attention-seeking stems from things like loneliness and boredom. The chances are you are the biggest source of mental stimulation for your cat and once your sleep your cat becomes bored or lonely.
If you believe your cat fits into this category of attention-seeking behavior consider getting them a companion or buying them some new toys. Any form of mental stimulation you can find is positive.
4. To Show Affection (Love Bites)
Cats might accidentally wake you up with an overstimulated display of affection. We tend to call these affectionate nips “love bites”. Cats tend to display this type of behavior when they feel very close to their owner. These “love bites” are often accompanied by purring and are very gentle. It should be quite easy to feel the difference between an affectionate bite and one that is done out of aggression.
Despite the fact, these bites are not at full strength they can still hurt. Cats have strong jaws and sharp teeth and even the smallest of bites can be uncomfortable. Usually when we are sleeping our body is under the covers and only our face is exposed so cats will tend to bite things like our ears and nose where the skin is thinner. This can be quite a shock especially when you’re in deep sleep.
Although these bites might come from a place of love it’s important to make sure that you prevent this behavior the best you can. A sharp reaction and firm telling-off should suffice in most cases.
5. They Want to Play With You
Cats usually wake you up to play when they are kittens but this behavior can sometimes progress into adulthood too. Indoor cats especially do not always have the greatest amount of mental stimulation. Indoor cats have no way to practice stalking or hunting behaviors and they might start pretending that you are their prey!
Playing with your cat should be encouraged. It creates and bond and gives your cat the stimulation it needs to put its mind at ease. Just make sure to not encourage the behavior if it starts to become aggressive.
Ultimately the best thing you can do to stop your cat from waking you to play is to have a lot of suitable toys. You can also have “play sessions” with your cats where you instigate the playing to make sure they get this need out of their system.
It’s worth noting cats don’t really like to lose so it might be worthwhile to let them win. Unless you want a grumpy cat.
Is It Normal for My Cat to Bite Me in the Morning?
Cats bite for lots of different reasons. These reasons can be for attention, fear, or dominance. It’s certainly not unusual behavior for a cat to bite you in order to wake you up. All of these actions are natural behaviors. However, just because they are natural does not mean we should accept it.
Cats are intelligent animals and they learn habits and understand that by behaving a certain way they will gain a certain result.
With any type of cat behavior, if you reward it, it will become normal or common behavior for them. Because not to reward undesirable behaviors which you don’t appreciate.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Legs in the Morning?
Cats will bite your legs in the morning for the same reasons they bite you anywhere else. These include attention seeking, showing affection, and general playful behavior. The chances are if your cat is biting your legs it’s because it’s the most convenient area they can attack. Usually, our legs hang over the end of the bed, making them the perfect target!
Check out our other cat-related articles
- What Smells Do Cats Hate?
- B12 Deficiency in Cats [Complete Guide]
- Why Do Cats Bring You Their Kittens? [Full Explanation]
What Can I Do to Stop My Cat From Biting Me in the Morning?
Buy an Automated Food Dispenser
The first thing we have to do in order to prevent our cat from biting us in the morning is to identify the cause of this behavior. We can assume that most of the time it’s for food. So a quick easy fix to this would be to buy an automated food dispenser. This works wonders because not only do you no longer have to get up to feed your cat or deal with biting but it effectively breaks the behavior pattern of coming to disturb you for food every morning.
Ignore the Behavior
One of the best things you can do if your cat nips you simply ignore them. Stay perfectly still, with no movement or noise. I understand this is hard to do. Then slowly after the bite pick up your cat and remove them from your room. The cat will eventually learn that it’s not going to get its desired result and you are not entertaining the behavior.
With this method, you need consistency as it only takes one time of rewarding this behavior to set you back to square one.