Here’s Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth on You

Ever wondered what cats do with all that extra time on their hands? Turns out they like to rub their teeth. Some cat even rubs their teeth on people. It’s a harmless habit, but it can be surprisingly comforting for both parties involved. Plus, it’s just plain adorable!

Why do cats rub their teeth on you?

Cats rub their teeth on people for many reasons. The most common reason is that cats want to mark us as their own and show dominance. 

Other reasons include a way of communicating, getting attention, relieving tension in the jaw, cleaning teeth, and attracting prey. Also, cats like to feel the texture of human skin, and when they rub their teeth on people, they can do so more easily.

Marking you as their own

Cats rub their teeth on people to mark them as their own. This behavior is referred to as “topping,” It is believed to serve some purposes, including providing reassurance during times of stress or anxiety, helping the cat cope with loneliness or separation from its family, and boosting the cat’s self-esteem.

Showing dominance

Cats rub their teeth on people to show dominance. This behavior aims to communicate that the cat is in charge and doesn’t want to be disturbed. This behavior is usually preceded by other signs of aggression, such as hissing or growling. 

When a cat rubs its teeth against your skin, it signals that he is in control and doesn’t want you to mess with him.

A way of communicating

Cats rub their teeth on people as a way of communicating. The motion is often associated with happiness or contentment, and the cat may request to be petted or played with. 

It is usually done when the cat is feeling comfortable around the person and when they want to be sure that they are being understood. This behavior can be seen as affectionate and comforting.

Getting attention

Cats generally enjoy getting petted but might not always receive the affection they crave if the person is busy or preoccupied. When a cat rubs its teeth against a person, it sends a clear message that it wants more attention.

Relieving tension in the jaw

Cats often rub their teeth on people because it relieves tension in the jaw. This behavior is common in cats but can also be seen in other animals like dogs and primates. 

The rubbing motions help to release the built-up tension in the jaw and help to keep the teeth healthy.

Cleaning teeth

Cats are obligate carnivores and, as such, require good dental hygiene to avoid disease. Cats rub their lips and teeth together to clean their teeth, typically on humans or other animals they trust. This tactile stimulation helps remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth.

Attracting prey

Cats have been rubbing their teeth on humans for centuries to attract prey. The friction created by their sharp teeth against human skin causes a reaction in the blood that stimulates the cat’s hunting instincts

When cats rub their teeth on us, we offer them the perfect opportunity to pounce and catch their prey.

What are the possible benefits?

There are many possible benefits to cats rubbing their teeth on humans.

  1. It can be a form of communication and help establish a relationship between the two individuals.
  2. It can be a way for the cat to clean their teeth and palate.
  3. It may provide physical relief for the cat, relieving some pain from dental problems or other problems that may plague them.

What are the possible risks?

Cats rubbing their teeth on people can cause several risks. These include:

  1. Risk of infection: Cats’ saliva contains bacteria that can cause infection, particularly in the nose and throat.
  2. Risk of tooth decay: Cats’ sharp incisors can easily penetrate human skin, leading to tooth decay.
  3. Risk of injury: When a cat rubs its teeth on you, it can irritate the skin and create an open wound susceptible to infection. Additionally, if the cat’s teeth are sharp, they could puncture your flesh.
  4. Risk of pain: If a cat bites you while it is rubbing its teeth against your skin, the force of the bite could cause pain and swelling.

What to do if your cat rubs their teeth on you

If your cat rubs their teeth on you, there are a few things that you can do to make the situation less uncomfortable for both of you. 

First, try not to react too quickly. Instead, take a deep breath and remain calm. If you’re annoyed or scared, your cat may interpret these reactions as positive and continue rubbing their teeth on you. 

If the rubbing persists, try to engage your cat in some activity other than rubbing their teeth; this will hopefully distract them from the behavior. 

If that doesn’t work and the rubbing becomes more frequent or aggressive, it may be time to seek veterinary care.

How to prevent your cats from rubbing their teeth on you

Cats love to chew on things, and they especially love to chew on you. This is usually harmless, but if your cat starts gnawing on you, it may be time to try some preventative measures. 

The first step is ensuring your cat has enough chewing toys and objects around the house. If your cat can’t find something to chew on, he may start chewing on you! 

You can also try keeping furniture away from your cat’s reach or putting up barriers between them so they can’t get to each other easily. 

If all of these measures fail and your cat is still chewing on you excessively, it may be time to take them to the vet for a checkup. There could be something wrong with their teeth that needs to be fixed.


Cats rub their teeth on humans to clean and sharpen them. Additionally, this behavior can be interpreted as a sign of trust or friendliness. 

As cats are often considered loyal companions, rubbing their teeth on you may be seen as a gesture of goodwill. Therefore, it is important to remember not to react negatively when your cat does this, as it could lead to conflict or even injury.

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