I am an Affilate!

I hope you enjoy any product or service that I recommend. :) Just so you understand, I may take a share of any sales or other compensation from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks if you use my links, I really appreciate your support.

Why Does My Cat Lick My Kitten Then Bites Her Neck?

If you have noticed that your cat is licking and then biting your kitten’s neck, you may be concerned or just wondering why it’s happening…

Why does my cat lick my kitten then bite her neck?

Don’t worry – mom isn’t trying to hurt her kittens. This behavior that you are seeing is simply a way of saying ‘the grooming is over’ and is not intended to hurt them. You’ve probably even seen this behavior before in old kitties but in reverse.

Have you ever been petting a cat that seemed happy about it, but suddenly gave you a quick, sharp nip? If so, that’s your cat’s way of saying that they are overstimulated and ready for you to stop petting them. It’s perfectly normal, as it’s just an example of your cat communicating (albeit a sometimes painful one!).

Should I be concerned if my cat bites my kitten’s neck like this?

Orange cat licking a black kitten's head.

Orange cat licking a black kitten’s head.

No, there is no need to worry if your cat bites her kittens on the neck. A close examination later (if mom allows it) will show you that the skin hasn’t been broken. These little bites can get the kitten’s attention and while they are sometimes used as discipline, more often it is just a signal that grooming is over.

Unless your cat is abandoning her kittens by setting them away from the rest of the litter and neglecting them, then there should be no cause for worry. ‘Neck nipping’ is expected behavior and it is completely normal.

Why do mother cats lick their kittens?

The ‘momma kitty’ licks her kittens for several reasons. While this is largely a grooming behavior, designed to keep the kitty clean and to help encourage the elimination of waste, licking also serves to help the mom bond with her kittens and tells them that it’s time for a feeding.

If a kitten is in distress, licking is also a way that the mom can comfort them, so don’t worry if it seems to you that the mother is grooming her kittens excessively. As long as she isn’t removing patches of hair and irritating their skin, then the best response is simply to relax. Mom is just taking care of her kittens.

Do cats get jealous of kittens?

Cats can and do sometimes get jealous, although this sort of behavior is most commonly seen when a cat hasn’t had a lot of socialization as a kitten. Most often, if a cat is jealous of a kitten, then it’s not its kitten.

Still, there are exceptions, so sometimes you will indeed notice that your cat seems jealous of the time that you’re spending with her kittens. In cases like these, make it a habit to spend a little extra time with mom before taking a kitten or sit next to mom and plop the kitten in your lap.

The extra attention and staying close when handling the kittens should make your kitty feel a little more secure and everyone involved will be happier for it!

Why is my cat grooming my new kitten?

If you’ve just brought a new kitten home and an unrelated kitty in the house immediately pins them down for a tongue bath, then don’t be alarmed. While this is a dominance behavior, it’s the best kind of dominance that there is.

Grooming is a form of affection between cats. It signals a certain high level of trust and in grooming the new kitten forcibly, your older house cat is saying ‘welcome to the family… oh, and I’m in charge.’.

Even if you see the occasional quick ‘nip’, this is not a sign of alarm. As long as that grooming behavior is present, then you can rest assured that your older cat is just welcoming the kitten newcomer into their new home.

Why is my female cat licking my male kitten?

When you see a female cat licking a kitten this is nothing to worry about. While grooming is a bonding behavior that shows love and trust, it is also used in establishing dominance. The dominant male or female, like a reigning king or queen, will usually bathe the new kitten with grooming sessions to tell them ‘who’s the boss’.

If you notice that the receiving kitten just accepts the grooming, but doesn’t groom the other cat back, then they are just accepting the ‘tongue bath’ and showing that they are submissive to the cat that is giving it.

As your kitten gets older, keep a close eye and watch – eventually, you will see this cat grooming your older kitty back, and when you see this then it means they are now considered ‘equals’. If it doesn’t happen that way with the dominant cat in the household, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like each other.

Dogs do the same thing, only in reverse, licking the other dog to show their submission. So, when you see one of your cats grooming the other and the favor isn’t returned, then don’t worry about it. The cat doing the grooming is simply giving the other kitty a wet, but a loving reminder of who is in charge!

Why do cats bite when grooming?

Another biting behavior that you will notice with cats is that while they are grooming, they will make small bites along the fur, much like a cartoon character eating a piece of corn on the cob. This is not a cause for alarm and serves a very useful purpose.

When your cat is biting along the length of their fur or another cat’s fur, they are just doing this to remove any parasites that might be clinging to the hairs. For instance, the Felicola substrates louse, which only targets felines, may be snapped up and removed from the fur in this fashion.

If you are worried, just check the fur to make sure that there is no exposed, red skin. Provided that the biting done during the grooming is not breaking the skin or pulling out patches of hair, then it is completely normal and should be expected.

Why do male cats lick other male cats?

Two cats licking each other.

Two cats licking each other.

Male cats lick other male cats when they are friends and the same occurs with females licking other females. Grooming, for cats, requires a high level of trust and friendship, and it’s not uncommon to see two cats grooming each other for what seems an excessive period.

The two kitties are simply showing their affection for each other by helping to make sure that they are both well and thoroughly cleaned. Sometimes you’ll even experience this behavior firsthand when your cat just starts licking you obsessively and thoroughly.

While their tongues feel a little rough, you should take it as a compliment – your cat won’t groom you or another cat unless absolute trust and honest affection are part of the equation.

Why does my kitten keep licking my neck?

Your kitten is showing affection and trust when they are doing this, but that’s not the primary reason for this behavior. Rather, your little one is looking for a nipple to suckle because they are hungry!

You’ll probably notice that they are sniffing you while they are doing this and sometimes their nose even feels a little wet, cold, or it might even tickle a bit. Your kitten is simply hungry and they are looking for a snack.

Why is my cat chasing and licking my kitten’s bum?

Older cats will lick a kitten’s bum, not to be gross, but to help to make sure that they urinate and defecate. This is completely normal, as the licking will stimulate the kitten to make a potty, after which the older cat is going to give them a thorough cleaning.

When they are kittens, this sort of help is needed, so just think of it as ‘early potty training’ and you’ve got a perfect mental picture of what this behavior is designed to accomplish.

Lindsey Browlingdon