a portrait of a grey and silver tabby cat face with long whiskers and green eyes emerging from a black background

Why Does My Cat Bite Me When I Sleep?

Why does my cat bite me when I sleep? Usually, because they are bored or want some attention. Read on to learn more…

After a long day, we all look forward to a restoring sleep that leaves us feeling fresh in the morning. Right as you’re about to drop off, you feel your cat at your feet. The soft fur feels nice against your skin, and you feel the body heat warming your feet.

That’s when your cat decides to attack your toes.

It’s a common theme for cat owners, right as you want to get to sleep, your cat shows up, demanding attention. Sometimes your cat nibbles on your feet; other times it’s your leg, your back, or your face!

Why can’t they leave you alone to sleep? Don’t they understand you have that big presentation at work tomorrow?

Why Does My Cat Bit Me When I’m Sleeping?

There are various reasons why your cat likes to bite on you while you’re sleeping. If you’re a new cat owner, and your feline recently adopted this behavior, you’re probably wondering why your cat would attempt to eat you while you’re asleep. First, it’s important to understand why cats bite.

Cats Rarely Bite Out Of Aggression

Most cats will bite you gently when you’re sleeping. It’s typically an attempt to get you to wake up and pay attention to them.

However, if you don’t respond to your cat’s attempts to wake you up, they might start biting you harder and harder until you respond.

Your cat will rarely bite you hard enough to break your skin. However, some cats are more inclined to this behavior than others, and some cats bite harder than others.

If your cat is a biter, they’re probably trying to catch your attention for something. It’s important to realize that you are your cat’s entire universe.

Without you, they don’t have any dominant force in their life and no access to food, water, or shelter. All cats have a level of attachment to their owner, even if yours seems like they hate you sometimes.

angry looking cat staring at a bare foot

They’re Trying To Catch Your Attention

If your cat is gnawing at your feet or arm, it’s probably trying to catch your attention. Cats are natural predators, meaning they spend their prime waking hours prowling your house at night.

If you want to prevent this behavior, you’ll need to play with your cat during the day to keep them awake. If you let them sleep all day, they’re likely to be friskier at night.

Take half an hour to play with them each day, and make sure you do as much as you can to tire them out when they’re kittens. If you can train your cat to sleep at night, you’ll find you rest easy.

However, even trained cats might attempt to catch your attention by biting you at night. It all depends on the day and how much energy they have in the evening.

When your cat bites you, it’s the equivalent of it saying, “c’mon, get up, we have things to do!”

Your Cat Wants To Play

As mentioned, cats are crepuscular animals (they are most active at dawn and dusk). Feral cats are rarely around during the day. They sleep away the daylight hours and prowl at night.

Chances are, you never hear a catfight during the day; it’s only at night. Cats have sensory systems adapted for hunting in the low-light conditions of the nighttime.

We humans can’t see anything at night; our sensory systems evolved to enjoy the daylight hours.

However, with your cat, it’s like their eyes are a set of night-vision goggles. They see everything with crystal-clear vision and detect the slightest movements in the dark.

Your cat is probably awake the whole night anyway, grooming itself or relaxing. However, if they didn’t get enough exercise during the day, they might bug you to play with them at night, and the biting begins.

If your cat sleeps at the foot of your bed and your toes poke out – well their playful nature might well get the better of them!

Your Cat Is Hungry

If your cat is feeling hungry, it’s biting you to get you to fill their dinner bowl. The cat will bite you gently, they may sit watching you sleep, or they might come and stand on your chest or head until you wake up.

Stop this behavior by filling up their dinner bowl before you go to bed. Make sure they have enough water in the dish, and you should have a peaceful night without interruption from your feline friend.

a grey cat with green eyes biting down on a hand

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Biting Me While I Sleep?

It’s challenging to get your cat to stop doing any behavior. However, if you want to stop your cat from biting you while you sleep, we recommend trying the following strategies.

Spend Quality Time Playing With Your Cat

Spend time playing with your kitty each day. Try to work them up into a frenzy and burn off as much energy as possible.

Sitting on the couch with your cat will not get them to burn any calories, and they’ll still feel restless at night.

Feed Your Kitty Before You Go To Bed

To stop your cat from biting you at night, make sure it has enough food and water. Check the dinner bowl and water dish before you go to bed.

It’s a better idea to make your cat’s primary feeding times in the morning and afternoon. If they eat too much before bed, they might have too much energy to sleep.

Top-off the dinner bowl just enough to give them a midnight snack. Avoid overfeeding your cat as it creates feline obesity and health problems.

Install A Motion Sprayer

Another option is to try and keep your cat out of your bedroom. It’s challenging to get cats to stay out of any room in the home. However, there are a few effective techniques.

Ours is the motion spray device. You set up the device in the doorway to your bedroom. When the sensor detects your cat walking into the room, it sets off a spray, startling your cat, causing them to run away.

These devices are also available as a silent alarm that’s only detected by your cat. Instead of spraying them, the sensor sets off a subsonic alarm, scaring your cat away. You won’t hear the alarm due to the frequency range.

Scent The Doorway

Cats have a strong aversion to citrus smells. If you want to stop your cat from entering your bedroom to bite you, lay a few orange peels out on the threshold to your bedroom at night.

Your cat will avoid crossing over the peels to get to you. If this strategy works for you, you’ll have to repeat the exercise each night with fresh peels.

Get Your Cat A Toy Or Companion

Pair Of Calico Cats Grooming Each Other

Another excellent way to stop your cat from chewing on you while you sleep is to get them a friend. Two cats might seem harder to manage than one, but that’s often not the case. Cats bond with each other, and you might find that your new cats get along like brother and sister.

If your cat has another feline to play with at night, they’ll leave you alone. However, it’s important to note that cats might play rough, especially when the moon gets full.

Unless you want them crashing around your bedroom, waking you up, close the door to your bedroom. If your cats protest and scratch at the door, consider using the sonic deflector device we covered earlier to keep them out of your bedroom.

If you can’t take on another cat for whatever reason, make sure your cat has plenty of toys. Toys keep your cat occupied. However, as mentioned, keep them out of your bedroom unless you want to listen to your cat messing around all night on full moons.

We also recommend avoiding buying toys with bells or squeaky toys – they’ll have you up all night. Rather go with a tough rubber toy and a soft plushy.

Stop Responding

If your cat is keeping you up at night, ignore them. Sure, they might keep bugging you for a bit, but they eventually quit.

The worst thing you can do is to cave into their commands and get out of bed. This action signals to the cat that they can get you out of bed by biting you.

If you don’t respond or shout at them, they’ll likely leave you alone. Eventually, after a few weeks, they should stop the behavior.

Your Cat Loves You – Don’t Punish Them For Waking You Up

As a cat owner, you knew what you were getting into when you signed up. If you thought it was all going to be a “bed of roses,” you’re mistaken.

While it might seem like your cat hates you, and they’re trying to ruin your sleep, they’re only irritating you because they love you. That’s how cats roll; they love to annoy us.

Spanking or disciplining your cat is a no-no. Don’t ever raise your hand to your animal. It could cause severe psychological damage to your pet and a change in its behavior towards you.

If you want to keep your cat away while you’re sleeping, try one of the humane options listed above, instead of a smack.