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Why Does My Cat Bite My Ear? 10 Common Reasons

Lorre Luther

By Lorre Luther

bengal cat biting owners ear

Most cats adore interacting with their favorite people, and ear nibbling and biting are ways they engage with humans. However, cats display the behavior in different ways. Sometimes, the nibble also involves a headbutt or two, and other times, it may only include a bite. These nibbles are almost always too gentle to come close to a skin-breaking bite. Cats bite our ears for several reasons, including to show affection and to get attention. Keep reading to discover 10 reasons why cats bite ears!

The 10 Common Reasons Cats Bite Ears

1. They Enjoy Suckling

Some cats enjoy a good suckle. Kittens do it naturally, and there are adult cats that enjoy the activity as well. Adult cats often suck on blankets and sweaters, but some turn to their favorite people’s fingers, toes, and ears.

Some breeds particularly enjoy suckling as adults, including Siamese and Tonkenese cats. Ear nibbling may provide cats with a sense of comfort, as the activity may remind them of their mother’s love and snuggles.

cat owner talking to his pet
Image Credit: Aziz Acharki, Unsplash

2. They Like Earwax

Some online sources also suggest it may have something to do with cats being attracted to the fat and protein contained in earwax. Two types of earwax are commonly found in people: wet and dry! The type of earwax a person has is genetically determined. Dead skin cells, keratin, long-chain fatty acids, and cholesterol are only a few of the substances in human earwax.

3. They Want Cuddles

Cats love their people, and they enjoy not just spending time with but interacting with their favorite humans! If you’re hanging out working, reading, or relaxing, and your buddy is interested in some attention, they may use biting as an attention-getter! The only way to address the situation is to quickly pivot and provide your cat with the cuddles they’re asking for.

cat licking owners face
Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

4. They Love You

Consider yourself lucky if your cat likes to snuggle up, give you a headbutt, and nibble on your ear. Cats generally reserve those sorts of activities for people they really adore and feel comfortable around. Cats bond deeply with the people they grow up around and play with! Many vocal and friendly cats even “talk” with their favorite humans and follow them around.

5. They Want Food

Cats aren’t always mysterious when it comes to making their needs known. Meowing, paw tapping, and ear biting are all within the feline communications arsenal. Cats prefer life to follow set patterns and routines, and not getting fed at the usual time can prompt them to bite their owners’ ears to remind them of dinnertime.

man feeding british shorthair cat
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

6. They Want to Play

Cats look forward to playing with their favorite people, and an ear bite may be your cat’s way of saying it’s time for a game of fetch. Playtime provides physical activity, which can boost cats’ overall sense of contentment and health. Just like humans, felines enjoy life most when they have plenty of opportunities to have fun and engage their minds.

7. They Find Your Earrings Fascinating

If you regularly wear earrings, there’s a good chance your cat may be drawn to your ears in part because of the movement of your jewelry. Some cats love to nibble on and lick earrings. Cats generally like to bat at dangly things, and shimmery, shiny, moving objects are often particularly interesting. From the feline perspective, earrings make wonderful toys; they move around randomly and are attached to people they enjoy being around and interacting with.

woman putting earrings
Image Credit: InesBazdar, Shutterstock

8. They Want the World to Know You’re Theirs

Cats have the ability to smell almost 14 times better than people. They largely rely on smell to understand the world. Cats produce pheromones that carry all sorts of information, including clues about health. They leave these chemical traces behind to provide information to other animals.

Pheromones contain information about cats’ general health and warn other animals that particular areas have already been claimed. Cats have facial scent glands; if your companion rubs their head against you en route to a quick love bite, it may be a way to leave their scent behind to ensure the world knows you’re theirs.

9. They Think You Need Bathing Help

Cats sometimes spend time grooming each other. It’s most often seen in cats that grow up together or are from the same litter. Gentle nibbling is part of feline bathing and social bathing routines. Your cat may simply be trying to give you a bath when they lick and nibble on your ear.

cat licking woman's ear
Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

10. They Want to Give You Some Cat Love

Cats are incredibly sensitive animals that pick up on and respond to human emotions. Many can sense when their favorite person is feeling down and in need of support. Cats sometimes give their people snuggles, cuddles, headbutts, and ear nibbles to cheer them up. If you’re feeling out of sorts and your companion gives you a snuggle and ear nibble, chances are they’re trying to give you a bit of loving support.


Cats can nibble on peoples’ ears for various reasons, from affection to comfort. It can be a way of giving support or a gentle reminder that it’s time for dinner. Adult cats enjoy sucking on blankets, toes, and ear lobes since it provides a nice sense of comfort. Ear nibbling is also a sign that cats feel loved and comfortable communicating their needs.

Featured Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

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