Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth On Things?

Cats are known for their weird behaviors – from face rubbing, head butting, and kneading. But one question is often unanswered: why do cats rub their teeth on things?

While it may seem weird, there’s actually an explanation for this behavior. It’s part of distributing their scent since cats have scent glands on the sides of their mouths.

why do cats rub their teeth on things

However, it could also mean that your cat is suffering from a dental problem and that rubbing its teeth is a temporary source of relief.

In this post, I discussed other possible reasons why your cat is rubbing its daggers on surfaces:

Why cats rub their teeth on surfaces

why cats rub their teeth on surfaces

We all know that cats love rubbing their cheeks and bodies on surfaces. It can be their way of showing affection, but it can also be due to the following:

  • Dental problem

The first thing you should rule out is whether your cat has dental problems. The reason for teeth rubbing could be gingivitis when plaque digs into your cat’s gums. By rubbing, your cat experiences temporary relief from the pain.

Aside from that, your cat might have a tooth due for removal. Sometimes, cats rub their teeth on things as an effort to remove the discomfort.

Take note that you should get your cat’s teeth checked in this case as dental problems will progress and cause more health issues.

Regular vet checks will help diagnose and rule out any dental problems. You should also brush your cat’s teeth regularly to reduce plaque formation and spot problems early on.

  • Marking its territory

One of the most common reasons why cats rub their teeth on things is marking its territory.

Cheek rubbing is the most common behavior among territorial cats, but they can sometimes use their teeth. It can lead to scratches on wood furniture as well as potential damages on your cat’s teeth.

You should know that cats have scent glands all over their bodies. It includes their paw pads, cheeks, tail, and inside the mouth.

They use these scent glands to spread their unique scent all over their territory to ward off intruders (a.k.a. other cats).

If you bring a new cat home, you may notice your resident kitty rubbing its teeth all over again. This is your cat’s way of reclaiming its territory and showing the newcomer who the boss is.

  • Curiosity

Cats are curious, and they often explore the world through their sense of smell and taste.

Your cat may appear as if it’s rubbing its teeth on things even if t’s just trying to taste something.

Playfulness can also be the reason. Cats may try to mouth things and look like they are rubbing their teeth on the object.

If you’re worried, you can always consult the vet to have your pet checked. Most cases of teeth rubbing are harmless and not really a cause of concern.

Why does my cat rub her gums on me?

Why does my cat rub her gums on me

Is your cat teething? If so, that explains the gum rubbing. Your cat is using the rubbing motion to appease the discomfort of its sprouting teeth. Most of the time, they target the skin of their humans since it’s soft and easy to bite.

But just like what I discussed earlier, your cat might be marking you as their property. The scent glands on the cat’s mouth release their pheromone to share its scent to you.

However, you should never tolerate your cat’s teeth rubbing on your skin. Your cat may not outgrow the behavior, which can lead to biting and lack of discipline.

As early as possible, teach your cat that rubbing its teeth on your isn’t acceptable behavior. You should also give your cat alternatives where it can rub its teeth. Chew toys are excellent options here.

Why do cats rub against you then bite?

Rubbing then biting could be a form of predatory play among cats. Sometimes, your cat will try to goad you to start playtime.

While it doesn’t seem like an immediate concern, you should not tolerate the biting behavior because it will be problematic later on.

Please read here what does it mean when a cat bite you hard.

Also, the rubbing motion stimulates the production of pheromones as your cat marks you as its property.

Sometimes, it can be accompanied by a love bite – a playful bite that doesn’t draw blood.

If your cat is rubbing, and you’re petting it, overstimulation may occur. This happens when a cat gets over-exposed to a stimulus, which, in turn, makes the kitty cranky. It can happen to all cats, and their way of stopping you is to bite.

Why does my cat rub his teeth on my finger?

If you’re playing with your cat, it may try to rub its teeth on your finger as part of playtime.

Again, this is predatory play, but you shouldn’t get your cat used to it too much.

Your cat rubbing its teeth on you can be anything from affection, playfulness, marking, and so on. Most are harmless, but it’s important not to offer your skin as a plaything for your kitty.

Why does my cat like his teeth rubbed?

Cats love being pet and rubbed, including their gums. While this isn’t typical behavior, teething kittens like the sensation of rubbing their gums.

It eases their discomfort since rubbing becomes a form of massage on their mouths.

Also, cats like the feeling of getting their cheeks rubbed. It satisfies their marking habit.

You will also notice cats rubbing their entire face and mouth on you. It’s a way of claiming ownership or getting your attention to something.

Why does my cat love nibbling my fingers?

Why does my cat love nibbling my fingers

Cats are playful, and they will often nibble on your toes and fingers for fun. It’s also possible that your fingers taste good, which is why some cats will even bite.

If this behavior persists, you can use a skin product that your cat doesn’t like. Cats hate citrus’s smell, which is an excellent option if you don’t want the kitty to keep nibbling on your skin.

Also, it’s not safe for cats to rub their teeth on your fingers as the products you’re using might contain toxic substances.

Training is still the best solution if you don’t want your cat to put its teeth on you. Toys are also an excellent way to divert your cat’s biting into something less destructive.



Why do cats rub their teeth on things? Your cat is probably marking its territory against other cats. Playfulness can also make your cat put its teeth on surfaces, including your skin. However, you should also consider the possibility that your cat might be suffering from dental problems. In this case, a check-up with the vet will help diagnose and treat the condition.

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