Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth On You? Know The Reasons

We all can agree that cats have all sorts of weird behaviors up their sleeves. You expect your cat to behave in a certain way, and it can respond to it in an entirely different way to surprise you.

Their unique ways of showing affection make them special. One such behavior is rubbing their teeth on you.

You might expect them you are in for a sharp bite, but they might rub their teeth and be on their way to something no good after that. Have you ever wondered why your cat rubs its teeth on you?

The simple answer to this question is that they are showing their love and affection towards you. They want you to be a part of their clan, and cats make sure that no other cat comes to you.

This article will provide you with all the possible reasons behind this behavior and top it off with a few frequently asked questions that we get from many cat owners. Let’s jump into the sweet reasons behind this behavior.

Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth On You?


Cats do not follow a predefined rule for their behavior. Cats have a plethora of questionable behaviors, and we love them for the same reason as well.

The essence of rubbing their teeth on you lies in the fact that they adore you too much. They think that you are worthy of being one of their own.

It is a tremendous honor for any cat owner, and accept it with all your heart. Apart from that, there can be many reasons why your cat rubs its teeth on you. Let us go through them one by one:

Claiming You:

We all know that cats love to rub their bodies on everything. There is a clear objective for this behavior. As we know that cats can be highly territorial, and they like to keep a clear boundary.

The primary way of claiming a particular object is by spreading their pheromones on them. The smell of these pheromones may not be detectable by you, but cats can detect that easily.

Now, cats also have glands all over their bodies. And as a matter of fact, some of them even lie beneath their teeth as well.

Most of these glands are on their forehead and under their paws. But cats also use their teeth to spread pheromones.

When you associate this knowledge with rubbing their teeth on you, you realize that the cats are trying to claim you as their property.

It takes a long time to acquire this honor from a cat. They do not become vulnerable and affectionate towards everyone. So, when trying to make you all their own, you can do nothing but accept it with all your heart.

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Smelling You:

Yes, you have read it correctly. Cats can smell you with their mouth as well. The sensation of smell using the mouth is slightly different from what we perceive as smell.

This unique feature is known as Flehmen Response. You might have seen your cat slightly open their mouths, and they react in a disgusted manner if the smell is disgusting to them.

You might wonder why they need to open their mouth for smelling if they have such a sharp sense of smell anyway.

The truth is that the receptors on the roof of the mouth heighten the sense of smell. So, it makes their smelling more powerful. The cat may be touching their teeth on you to smell you more thoroughly.

Male cats are more known to use this technique to determine whether a female cat is in heat or not. However, a cat can use it to smell you as well.


Cats are curious creatures in general, and cats do all sorts of weird things to quench their curiosity. Apart from scrutinizing an object with their eyes, they also like to taste and smell it.

Your cat may be trying to know you better by rubbing their teeth on you. In the process, they are taking your smell and taste into their memory.

It would help if you did not worry when they are going forward with this behavior as long as they are not biting.

Dental Problem:

Most of the time, rubbing the teeth does not mean anything serious to the cat. However, there could be a dental problem that can also cause this kind of behavior.

If your cat is suffering from gingivitis, it can rub their teeth to ease their pain. Like humans, cats also go through tooth removal, and they can rub their teeth to remove them from the gums.

If you sense that there is something wrong with their teeth, take the cat to a veterinarian.

It often happens that the teeth problems often roll over to other problems. Regular vet check-ups will also make sure that the gums are in good health at all times.


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What Does A Cat Rubbing Their Teeth On You Mean?

When a cat rubs their teeth on you, it simply means that the cat is comfortable around you. It is their way of saying, “Welcome to my clan, human.” By spreading their pheromone, they make you their property. It is a sweet gesture from a cat for any cat owner.

They can also get a better sense of smell and taste of you. Seldomly, it could also be a hint towards some dental problem. You can observe the cat’s behavior and conclude that it is because of one of these four reasons.

Why Do Cats Rub Against You And Bite?

There is a meaning to every behavioral trait that a cat shows.

If your cat is rubbing against you and suddenly decides to bite, you can be sure that there is something up with the cat. So, let us explore the behavior where the cat rubs against you and bites you.

  • Some cats love to bite. Generally, these bites are light and not painful. If your cat gently bites you while rubbing, it just means that they like the gesture.
  • Sometimes we forget to suppress the undesirable behaviors when they were kittens. If your kitten used to bite and mouth everything, and you did not stop the kitten from doing so, your adult cat will also keep doing that.
  • Your cat can have that day when it is just pissed at everything. Moody cats mostly have this problem. You may not be the reason for their irritation, but they can still come and bite you to show their aggression.
  • Cats can also bite you when you are petting them if you have touched where you should not have. There could be injuries on the spot, or they can hate anyone touching there.


We can never understand some behaviors entirely, but we can always speculate the reasons behind them.

While one of my cats liked to rub its teeth and bite at every opportunity, the other one was calm and gentle when it’s rubbing its teeth. If they are not suffering from any illnesses, it is always a show of affection.

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