Why Do Cats Bite Ears?

If your cat’s behaviour and action leave you scratching your head and feeling perplexed simultaneously, you are not alone.

My cat has acted in ways that I still can’t explain to this day.

There is always a valid reason as to why cats exhibit such strange behaviours at times.

Like why do cats bite ears? Both ours and other cats?

Cats engage in ear-biting as a form of grooming, attachment and affection. Cats do this as kittens and it is something done by their mother cat too. It should be just gentle biting and should be corrected if your cat bites hard enough to draw blood.

We will be taking a closer look at why cat’s go about biting ears and what we as cat owners should do about it.

Why Is My Cat Obsessed With My Ears?

If you have a cat that has the hots for your ear with the constant nibbling and biting, you’ll know first-hand that it isn’t the most pleasant of experiences.

Our ears are very delicate and sensitive. When cats lick the ears with their rough sandpaper-like tongues, it can get painful.

Furthermore having your cat’s wet nose and not so pleasant breath near your face all the time can start to feel uncomfortable.

But we tolerate it all and even find it adorable because we love our cats.

Your Cat Likes Ear Wax


We all know that ear wax smells bad and I can honestly say that although I’ve never tasted my own before, I’m sure it’s nasty.

So why on earth would your cat be drawn to your ear wax?

We need to see this from a cat’s point of view or should I say point of smell.

A cat’s sense of smell is many times more sensitive than yours or mine.

Fourteen times to be exact.

Our scent perception of ear wax is totally different from that of a cat.

The ear wax of a human is made out of fatty acid, dead skin cells and traces of cholesterol. To us it is dirty, to cats, it’s a possible snack.

Scientifically speaking earwax is made out of animal protein which is the kind of food that cats like. A cat’s sense of smell is able to pick up the traces of animal protein in our earwax and think that it is cat food.

This is why some cats are drawn to plastic bags as they can smell the traces of animal fat used in the manufacturing process.

When your cat is nibbling and biting your ear, it is probably trying to find a way to the ‘good stuff’ hidden inside.

Your Cat Is Looking For Attention

Each cat has its own way of seeking attention from its owner. Some will start licking their owner’s hand or even rubbing their heads on the owner’s face.

My cat tries to get my attention by nipping me on the ankle. But it isn’t hard enough to draw blood but enough to get me to stop what I’m doing and tend to him.

Smart cat.

Your cat’s way of getting your attention could be by biting your ear.

A couple of reasons why your cat might do this:

  • Wants food
  • Wants to play
  • Wants cuddle and pets
  • Wants to irritate you

It is your cat’s own personal way of communicating with you so don’t ignore your kitty.

Curious About Your Earring

If you are someone that has a pair of earrings on most of the time at home, there’s a possibility that your cat is drawn to it.

It could be that your cat is attracted to the shine of the earring or maybe it resembles a cat toy if it is dangly.

Most cats find it hard to resist investigating anything that resembles prey. This is why cats love playing with string, feathers and chasing a red laser pointer.

These objects bring out the hunting instinct in cats and cats love to hunt.

Your cat is trying to play with your earrings or express its curiosity by gently biting your ear.

Your Cat Wasn’t Full Weaned

Most mother cats start to wean off their kittens when they are about 14 weeks old. The mother cat feels that her kittens are large enough to leave the nest and start hunting for their own food.

When a kitten isn’t properly weaned off its mother, it tends to develop behavioral issues as it gets older.

This happens rather commonly when the kitten gets abandoned by the mother or is taken away for adoption too soon.

Always let the kittens be properly weaned off their mother’s milk before taking them away.

Your cat might be such a cat and it’s nibbling and biting on your car thinking that it is a nipple. Your kitty is trying to nurse on you as it makes your cat feel safe and secure.

Just like how kittens nursing on their mother would be doing.

Why Do Cats Bite Each Other’s Ears?

For cat owners that have two cats or more at home, it is common for one cat to be biting the ear of other cats when cats groom each other.

Most outdoor and indoor cats do this as part and parcel of the grooming process and it’s also known as social grooming.

Cats communicate primarily with scent and body language.

And kittens from the same litter batch will be grooming each other to imprint their own unique scent on each other.

The mother cat will also be religiously grooming her own kittens all the time till they are weaned off her.

Licking and biting amongst cats help them recognize each other and reinforce the bonds between mother and kitten or amongst a colony of cats.

Enough Is Enough

When a cat grooms itself, it is really meticulous. A healthy cat can reach all but a few places when grooming. Furthermore, a cat can spend hours each day cleaning itself.

When one cat is grooming another cat, it can start to get uncomfortable for the cat being groomed. This is because cats have sensitive skin and too much licking can cause a sensory overload.

When this happens, a cat can suddenly turn aggressive and bite the ear of the other cat as a signal to stop.

The same thing can happen when you are happily petting your cat and it bites or scratches you out of the blue.

Your cat sensors have reached saturation point and need a break from physical contact.

There are always telltale signs when a cat has reached this point. It will start thumping its tail during aggressive play against the ground and might even hiss.

A Show Of Dominance

Even though cats from the same household can get along pretty well, there is still a social structure between them.

There will be one dominant cat who tries to rule over the other cats and isn’t afraid to show it. You can notice them engaging in aggressive play and the dominant cat biting the neck or ear of the submissive cat.

Most of the time, these squabbles tend to end after the cats lose interest. But it can escalate into a real fight when both refuse to back down.

You will need to step in and break up the confrontation before it escalates. You can do this by spraying water at your cats or making a loud sound to break their attention.

Aggressive dominance must not be tolerated at home or it can lead to serious injuries when your cats fight.

Should I Be Concerned About My Cat’s Ear Biting Habit?

I wouldn’t worry about it too much when your cat licks or bite your ears. It could be your cat’s way of bonding and showing you affection.

You should correct your cat when the biting starts to hurt or be compulsive. That signals a behavior issue and needs to change.

How To Stop My Cat From Biting My Ear?

cat hissing at nothing

The best way to stop it is to catch your cat before it can even start its assault on your ear. There will be some telltale signs that your cat will show when it wants to bite your ear.

Immediately carry your cat to another area of the house to redirect its attention. You can get your cat to release its energy by using the scratching post or engaging in some playtime with its favorite toys.

The aim is to let the cat know that you disapprove of its ear-biting habits and that there are better things to be doing together.


I would like to think that if my cat bites my ear, he is doing it out of affection and not due to my apparently tasty ear wax.

But whatever the reason, cats will be cats and do weird behaviors from time to time.

It could just be a phase or a permanent fixture.

Regardless of which it is, make sure to correct any bad behavior before it gets out of hand.

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