When it comes to why cats bite you in your sleep, there are a number of reasons that could possibly explain your cat’s behaviour.
That being said, I firmly believe all the reasons that exist have very simple solutions you can implement that will – when implemented – make it so you can have peaceful sleep at night, or even (hopefully!) make it possible for you to sleep with your kitty without this happening.
I’m going to go into these explanations one at a time while also explaining solutions to these problems.
So let’s jump quickly into these and let me know in the comments section if you have any thoughts on the topic that I didn’t cover!
Reasons Why Cats Bite Humans When They Sleep & Solutions for Fixing it
1. Your cat is biting you when you sleep because he or she is in the mood to play.
If your cat gets hyper in the middle of the night, chances are reasonably high he or she is going to bite one of your toes.
Now this is for a couple reasons in itself. Your cat could think your toes look like the perfect prey.
He or she could also think you’ll probably get straight out of bed and play with him or her (especially if you’ve done so in the past).
Either way, doesn’t matter, the solutions to this problem are pretty straight forward, and you should implement as many as you can.
I’m going to list a number of solutions, and as I said, do try to implement as many as you can.
Solution 1: Try to play with kitty to tucker him or her out before bed.
This means using high-energy consuming, interactive exercise toys, not just any toys.
For my cats, wands work best, but each one has a preference, and using one type too much just bores my cats over time. So I rotate between a bunch of different types.
The ones on rotation in my household? Tassel wands, feather wands, and fabric wands are all solid winners in my home, though your cats’ preferences may vary. I’d advise trying a bunch and rotating through as I do.
Solution 2: Try leaving out toys cats can play with by themselves.
There are so many of these types of products, and they’re ideal to have around for cats to play with when they’re home alone when you’re out and about or at work as well.
Oh, and wine corks!! They are so, so good as cat toys! So keep those from your empty bottles and scatter them around the house.
I’ve also heard of people having luck with toilet rolls, so give that a shot! Why not, it’s something you have around anyway!
You can even cut them into different sizes to see what works best with your cat.
Solution 3: Pick kitty up and throw him or her out when this happens.
If you’ve tried scolding your cat before and find it never seems to help prevent your cat from doing this, make sure you pick kitty up and throw him or her out, closing the door behind you when this happens instead.
This way your cat learns that trying to bite you at night just leads to no more access and attention.
Solution 4: Close the door to your room at night.
Sometimes there’s just no way to make things work and it’s gotta happen.
2. Your cat is biting you when you sleep because he or she wants food or water.
If a cat’s waking you up at night because he or she wants food or (on the off chance) water, it’s a is a frustrating thing to have had to deal with, but there are fixes!
Solution 1: Try to replenish your cat’s food and water right before bed.
This makes sure your cat’s way less likely to wake you up with a bite, but you can’t always do it because sometimes cats will gobble down all their food before long and have nothing left until morning, so you may need another solution
Solution 2: Use a slow feed cat toy to leave out food for your cat over night.
This works reasonably well for some cats, who happen to gobble down their food quickly unless otherwise slow down.
That being said, it definitely doesn’t work in all instances, especially when you have a cat who’s incredibly clever learns to get food out quite quickly, or if you have a cat who’s incredibly lazy and refuses to use one at all.
There is a fool proof solution, however…
Solution 3: Grab a timed feeder to go off a time or two over night.
This is the only system that’s worked for me. It even fixed an issue I had at times with cats vomiting bile cause they’re so hungry at night that by the time you wake up, their poor tummies couldn’t handle the wait any longer.
I’ve even paired it with the food maze above at one point, which I described how to in the review I just linked to. So have a peek if you’re into the idea!
3. Your cat is biting you when you sleep because he or she wants your attention.
If you’ve tried going through all the potential issues above and none of it has remedied your cat attacking you while you sleep, chances are your cat’s biting you so he or she can wake you up to get your attention.
To be pet, or to entertain them, or whatever the case may be. Either way, here’s how you handle it.
Solution 1: Try giving your cat ample affection, cuddles, and maybe even groom them before bed.
This has worked for me in the past, as long as I stay on top of it. Though it can be hard.
If you’re looking for a grooming tool that actually does well at removing the undercoat of cat hair (i.e. way less hair to vacuum up!), try any of the Furminator brushes for cats.
I have more than one type of these (in different rooms) and they have all worked much better than any I’ve tried from alternate brands.
Solution 2: Pick kitty up and throw him or her out when they bite at night.
If you scold your cat, you’re giving them negative attention, which while not as good as positive attention (for most cats – I definitely know some who prefer negative attention, *cough Weiss…), is still attention.
So instead, physically pick up and remove your cat from the room when this happens.
Of course closing the door behind you so your cat can’t get back in.
A few times doing this should get the message across that you’re not going to reward a bite with attention.
Solution 3: Close the door to your room at night.
Again, if you just can’t get through a night with your cat taking a hint, this is the final option.
Though my best guess is most cats won’t get to this point and can be trained to not ask for attention over night through biting.
If your cat likes sleeping next to you or near you at night, my guess is things will not get to this point.
Your Thoughts on Cats Biting When You Sleep?
Your turn now! Why do you think cats bite their humans when they sleep?
Are there any reasons I didn’t cover? Which do you think is most likely?
Ever had this problem yourself? Did you ever solve it? What did you try to fix the problem?
Love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments down below!