Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth on You?

Cats are natural predators, so they’re instinctive fighters.

They’re also playful and curious. When they’re hungry, they’re likely to reach for one of your fingers or thumbs and rub their teeth on it.

It’s not uncommon for them to push and pull on your hair or mouth in this way. They’re simply playing around.

So, why do cats rub their teeth on you?

For one, it’s a sign of affection. Cats rub their cheeks on their human family members as a sign of affection and love. What you’re doing is returning the affection by rubbing their face with yours.

It’s also a way of getting your attention. Cats love to play and will sometimes grab your arm and paw at it to get your attention.

Rubbing their teeth on you is another way to grab your attention and get their playtime in. Another reason cats rub their teeth on you is because they’re hungry and want some food or affection from you.

When cats feel hungry, they’ll sometimes become irritable and bite or scratch, attempting to get your attention or food.

Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth on You?

Because cats have smell glands on their cheeks, they can give odors like blood or urine that can smell like food to people.

They are conveying these smell glands to you and rubbing their face on you to get their food from you.

It is a fantastic honor for a cat to rub its face on someone and show them affection.

Aside from that, there might be a reason why the cat is rubbing its teeth on you.

Dental Issue

Most of the time, the scratching and biting of the cat is as a result of dental issues.

However, this kind of behavior is also observed in pets that do not have dental issues.

If your cat has gingivitis, it can result in your cat biting and scratching you due to tooth sensitivity.

Cats, like people, undergo tooth removal, and it hurts them to chew.

Take the cat to a veterinarian and have a checkup done to determine the reason for the rubbing its teeth.


Cats are inherently inquisitive animals, and this is one of the biggest reasons why cats rub their face on you with their process hard teeth and even rub their claws on you.

They like tasting and smelling new things and rubbing their face on you gives them access to new things to smell and taste.

By rubbing their teeth on you, the cat is letting your hand and arm odor go deep into its nose and is finding out about new things.

They are memorizing your odor and the next time you walk by, they will recognize you and rub their face on you with their mouth wide open.

It would be helpful if you did not move and let it sniff your hand and arm all over and then wait for it to decide when to stop licking your face.

Smelling You

Cats can also smell you and rub their claws and teeth on you because the smell of you is intriguing and irresistible to them.

The feeling of scent via the nose is one of the main reasons Feline rubbed its teeth on you because it can smell different smells and smells unique to you.

Flehmen Response is the physiological response of cats, whereby they raise their upper lip to show their canines and raise their cheeks to expose their pheromones.

You may have seen your cat gently pressing its nose towards you, and when it is smelling you its eyes probably won’t close completely and it may stick its tongue.

Claiming You

Cats, as we all may know, are territorial animals and are protective of their territory.

This activity has another purpose because at times when your cat rubs its teeth against your leg and arm you may notice that it smells like you.

Cats, as we all know, can smell and recognize you by the smell of your skin and the scent from your clothes.

The most common method of claiming territory is through spraying urine and defecating in the scent-marking spots and rubbing its claws on trees, walls, doorways and other surfaces.

You may not be able to smell it, but cats can and by scratching and rubbing its body on you the cat is sending a scent signal to you.

The majority of these glands are located on the forehead and ears.

Cats, on the other hand, go to great extents to claim their territory from other animals.

When you connect this information to the cats rubbing its teeth on you and the smell of its body on you, the claim to your territory is clear and obvious.

It takes a long time for your cat to recognize the smell of you and to trust you.

What Does It Mean If Your Cat Rubs Its Face Against You?

When your cat rubs up against you and is purring it means it trusts you and wants you to pet it and take care of it.

Other animals utilize pheromones in your cat’s urine to mark their territory, and your cat may rub its fur against you to leave a scent mark that will alert other cats to stay away.

Most cats have a distinct pheromone signature that helps recognize their own kind and to ward off intruders.

If you see your cat rubbing up against furniture or windows that could mean it is trying to leave its own scent to mark its “territory”.

We can smell pheromones — chemicals released by an animal that send specific messages to other animals of the same species and in other species.

They are the triggers that cause dopamine and serotonin to be released in the brain, creating a feeling of happiness and pleasure.

What Should I Do If My Cat Rubbed Its Teeth Against Me?

What Should I Do If My Cat Rubbed Its Teeth Against Me


If your cat rubs on things in your environment that you should probably clean, but take heed if the cat is rubbing on objects that are stained with feces.

Similarly, rubbing their gums on a new object leaves the scent of the cats’ saliva which attracts other cats.


Your cat is certainly overstimulated if it rubs its face against you.

Other indicators to look for include your cat’s tail being flattened, ears pinned back, and hissing or growling at people touching its body.


Teething kittens, like dental problems, may gnaw and chew on things in an attempt to relieve their discomfort.

Teething cats are usually kittens, so if your cat is an adult, then it may not be teething at all. The period where a cat starts teething varies from cat to cat and may last for anywhere from days to several weeks.

In fact, some cats never develop teeth and will instead chew on soft items throughout their life.

Cats that are teething may chew on objects around the house or bite nails or fingers. Cats may also rub their gums on things and rub their faces against their owners as a way of relieving pain.

Dental Illnesses

Cats suffering from dental illness will most likely rub their teeth against anything in their reach in an attempt to relieve their pain.

They will also exhibit indicators such as drooling excessively and finding it difficult to eat.

Most cats with dental problems will then refuse to eat or stop drinking and may lose weight as a result.

So, you can try your best to help your cat by giving it chewable toys, brushing its teeth regularly, and feeding it special food intended to promote dental health.

They Are Marking Their Territory

When cats mark you as their territory and display love, they first rub their front paws against you and look directly into your eyes.

The same is true for cats that had rubbed their teeth against you or had attempted to bite you, and it means that it is either marking its territory or expressing love.

Why Does My Cat Rub Her Gums On Me?

Your cat rubs her gums on you because she wants your attention and love.

Cats rub their gums, lips, and teeth on objects to mark their territories and to express love and attention.

You’ve probably observed that her assertive behavior is at times annoying but the behavior also indicates that she is loving and affectionate towards you.

Also See: Why Does My Cat Smell My Eyes?


Cats are territorial by nature, and rubbing their fangs, their claws and their entire body on objects is one method of establishing their territory.

Cat specialists point out that felines may not eat when they feel threatened or stressed or that they may not want to eat if their living areas are dirty or unpleasant.

Cats may also rub against you to express love or affection and to mark their territory.

In addition, cats may rub their teeth on you if they feel anxious or threatened and are looking to establish their territory.