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Why Is My Cat Biting My Shirt? (Obsession or Oddity?)

If your cat is biting your shirt, continuously, then it’s normal to be getting annoyed and to wonder why it keeps happening…  

Why is my cat biting my shirt?

Your cat could be biting your shirt for a plethora of reasons. There could be an interesting odor emanating from the shirt or it has strings/fringe hanging off of it. If it’s a young cat, it could be teething and the texture is alleviating to the gums. Also, the texture itself could be reason enough, especially if it’s made from something like leather.

So, now you know. But is this regarded as normal? How can I prevent it if I do not like it? Why do kittens do this? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Is it normal behavior for a cat to bite my shirt?

White button up shirt on clothes hanger.

White button up shirt on clothes hanger.

This is normal behavior for most cats, especially when they’re young. Understand that most cats interact with their immediate environment with their noses and mouths, so chewing on things is an important component to this.

But, biting on your shirt could also be a sign of stress in the cat. They do it as a means to comfort themselves. What’s more, it could also be the result of pica syndrome.

How can I prevent my cat from biting my shirt?

The best way to prevent your cat from biting your shit is to keep it out of reach and view as much as possible. Also, you can train your cat to not bite on your shirt, especially if it’s a particular one or a specific material. Sour Apple Spray or apply an essential oil the cat hates to the shirt that will prevent biting.

For instance, if you wear a lot of mesh and other fine woven fabrics, rub some lavender essential oil into the shirt. Make sure every kind of fabric is up and off the floor at all times. Also, keep in mind that a kitten will get destructive when bored. So, it’s important to have plenty of toys and other engaging activities.

Do cats know when they are damaging your clothes?

No, cats don’t understand or know they’re damaging your clothes. For our furry feline friends, it’s an issue around texture; they are not cognizant of clothing and what that means. They might as they grow older and observe what humans do, but not when they’re kittens.

Should I discipline my cat for biting my shirt?

Of course, you should use some form of discipline to show the cat that it isn’t acceptable for them to bite on your shirt. However, never physically punish or abuse a cat; this will not end in the desired results you’re looking for.

Use stern and firm behaviors and language with the cat the moment you catch it biting on your shirt. If you notice the bite marks long after the cat committed the act, the cat won’t understand why you’re upset.

This means making a “pssst” sound with your mouth, or shouting “No!” You can teach your cat to obey the command by saying, “no.” But it’s best to start this early on and be persistent about it as much as possible. 

Why is my kitten nibbling on my shirt?

Person holding orange tabby kitten.

Person holding orange tabby kitten.

Kittens are often teething with their adult teeth gradually growing in. Therefore, it’s very common for little kitties to nibble on almost any shirt. But you can see this as the optimal time to train and teach the cat “no” along with what’s allowable for them to do.

Why does my cat lick fabric?

Materials and fabrics can provide compelling and engaging surfaces for cats. Even adult cats will lick random fabric if they find it interesting enough. This will be especially true if the material has an animal hide, fur, or similar byproducts.

How do you know if your cat has pica?

When you see your cat actually ingesting fabric and material, this could be a clear sign of pica syndrome. This is a behavioral issue where a cat attempts to compensate for something else. This is often the case when cats don’t receive as well-rounded of a diet as they should.

So, when they eat the material, they’re trying to get more nourishment. Another aspect of pica syndrome could have a psychological reason behind it. They could be nervous, stressed, anxious, or overly tense. They enact this behavior to give themselves some form of comfort.

It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that cats are very sensitive and intuitive animals. Cats will become very stressed in the event of tension in the home, family members arguing a lot, or when there are incessant loud noises. This is also true for severely altered routines such as moving and introducing new family members.

Why do cats suck shirts?

When cats suck on shirts, it often means the cat weaned from their mother too young. When mom isn’t around, they’ll opt for an alternative, like your shirt. While it might be a little amusing and annoying at the same time, this can be incredibly dangerous for the cat.

Wool Sucking

Some kittens suffer from a condition called “wool sucking.” This is when they’ll suck on just about any fabric, including wool. It’s most frequent in cats 2 years old or younger and happens when the kitten misses its mom.


It could also signal how the cat is experiencing fear or stress. If this is your kitten, it’s important to gently pull the cat off of the shirt and coddle it like you would a baby. Wool sucking will usually stop on its own at around six months old.

In the case the kitty is experiencing stress, it will be most ideal to identify the cause. This could be due to being away from you too long during the day or another pet in the house that bullies the kitten. Once you can identify the cause of stress, you can remove it to help the kitten calm down.

However, if there is no visible cause, you should take the cat to the vet. At the very least you can get a physical for the kitten and a little anti-anxiety medication. Regardless, you can’t let this continue because it can be dangerous for the cat. Fabrics can create severe intestinal blockages that can be fatal.

Why does my cat latch onto my long-sleeved shirts?

Your cat might be latching onto your long-sleeved shirts for the odor, or strands of material hanging from it, etc. However, it could be a dental issue. Your cat could have a toothache, tartar buildup, or gum problems. Alternatively, it could be your cat’s way of showing affection.

But, you should inspect the cat’s gum line for any redness, bleeding, swelling, or soreness to make sure. When in doubt, take the cat to the vet for a dental exam and checkup.

Why is my cat fascinated with the armpits on my shirt?

There could be one of two reasons as to why your cat finds the armpits on your shirt fascinating. The first is the smell of your antiperspirant. It could have an ingredient that just drives the cat wild for it. Otherwise, your cat is simply reacting to your hormones, which emanate from your armpits when you sweat.

It’s important to observe the behavior in conjunction with other events and occurrences going on at the moment. As an example, your cat may love the armpits on your shirt after you have just finished exercising.

Lindsey Browlingdon