Tuning into your feline's oddball behaviors takes some time, but you'll get to know her little quirks. You may find it odd when Misty gets close to your face and nibbles on your chin. She's simply trying to clean you off and be close to you.
Felines have a keen sense of smell. After you gobble that last bite of your turkey sandwich at lunch, Misty can smell it on you, even if you wipe your face. She'll jump up on the back of the sofa while you're lounging, put her front paws on your shoulder and gently bite your chin. Be grateful -- she's cleaning you off and getting rid of any minuscule crumbs that might be stuck to your face.
Marking Her Turf
Your cuddly companion might be biting your chin to spread her scent. Felines have scent glands all over their fuzzy bodies -- even inside their mouths, reports PAWS/LA, a southern California humane shelter. Misty wants you to smell like her. By spreading her scent she's marking her turf, so all the other kitties in the neighborhood know that you are already claimed. Putting her signature aroma on you also makes you more familiar to her and keeps her bonded with you.
Scratching That Itch
If you've ever watched your fuzzy pal closely, you've probably noticed that she tends to rub her face against the corners of walls, bookcases or any other hard objects. It just feels good to have her cheek area under her whiskers rubbed. She's gnawing on your chin not to take a bite, but to rub that sensitive area right at the corners of her mouth. Help her out by sticking your fingers out straight next to her face and letting her rub up against those instead. It might be less awkward than having her chomping away at your face.
Your purring pal wants to show you some love. Since she can't hug or kiss you, she'll find other ways to show affection. Kitties nibble and give gentle bites that mimic human kissing. If she's purring like a lion while chewing on your chin, you'll know she's truly content and happy.
When She's Angry
When Misty bites your chin, it shouldn't hurt. If her ears are down, eyes are dilated or if she growls while nipping at you, she might be angry. As a safety precaution, put her down on the floor and give her a toy to play with instead. You don't want something to frighten her while she's in a bad mood and have her accidentally swat at your eye.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.