Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
It is a curious question to ask – why does my cat lick me? Cats tongues are cleverly evolved tools that help them to groom themselves, lick the meat off tricky bones, and get every last scrap out of their food bowls.
With little barbed hooks that point backward and a rough surface texture, it’s no wonder that when your cat licks you it can feel slightly unpleasant.
Is it a sign of affection or a sign that something more serious might be at play? Not to stress, most of the reasons your cat likes to give you a good lick can be put down to affection.
Here we take a look at some of the more common reasons why your kitty likes to get up close and personal with your skin.
She Wants Your Attention
Ever wondered why your cat will give you a little lick or nibble when you’re sitting on the couch deep into Netflix? It’s because your little feline friend desires your attention.
So if you’re asking why is my cat licking me all the time? Don’t be annoyed. They might want to play or receive a good petting. They may just want to show you that they’re happy you’re here.
To cats, licking is just as much a sign of affection as you rubbing their bellies or tickling underneath their chin. Some cats love to lick in order to gain your attention. For others, it can also be a sign that they are anxious for some reason.
If your cat is licking excessively at either themselves or their surroundings, a quick trip to the vet to rule out anything serious might just be what both of you need to get back to a less lick-centered existence.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me? – She’s Marking Her Territory
Cats are extremely territorial creatures. They will mark their territory using pheromones secreted from their facial area or in their urine.
Sure, the former is a much nicer option for marking territory than the latter. Still, it’s no less of a warning to other cats that you have been claimed.
By rubbing their heads against your skin or licking you, your cats are sending the other furry creatures out there a clear message to stay away from their property, or else. So the next time you see a cat steer clear of your path you know why.
She’s Grooming You
Cats love to groom. This is an undeniable trait of our little feline friends and one of the many reasons they make excellent house pets.
When you have more than one cat in a group they form a bond and show this by grooming each other. You may not think that an arm full of cat saliva is the cleanest way to get about. But, your cat is just showing that you are part of his family.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me? – She Senses That Something Is Wrong
Cats can pick up on changes in the environment around them better than most other animals. If you’re feeling stressed or sick, your cat may want to attempt to make you feel better by licking you.
Cats will often lick each other or themselves in an attempt to calm feelings of anxiety or stress. In the same way that your petting can help ease their anxiety and make them feel at home, licking is a sign that your cat truly cares about your well being and wants you to feel your best.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me? – You taste really, really good
Ever spilled something on your arm while cooking and not noticed until your cat started licking you? You’re not alone.
Cats have a heightened sense of smell and can seek out food even when you don’t know that it’s there. While a cat lick might not be the best way to clean up a spill, your kitty is sure to enjoy the flavors. Especially when they are combined with the natural salts on your skin.
In fact, cats have been known to lick just to taste the saltiness produced by our sweat. So the next time your kitty companion licks your skin remember, we’re all just walking kitty treats.
Licking Goes Back to Kittenhood
Whether your cat is fully grown or still a kitten, you might have noticed that they like to nuzzle, paw at your skin or clothes, and lick. These are all signs of affection. Especially in younger cats who haven’t yet or have only recently left their mothers.
Kneading their paws on your skin while purring is a sign of affection and can mean that your cat feels completely safe in your company. This licking and purring behavior is a throwback to when they were kittens. This is when they would perform the same activities with their mothers. It is perfectly normal behavior for many cats.
So How Do I Stop My Cat From Licking Me?
There’s no way to stop the licking entirely. But, there are numerous ways to reduce the frequency and duration by addressing the reasons why your cat might be licking you.
If you suspect your cat might be seeking attention or trying to relieve anxiety by licking either itself or you, try changing their environment up to give them some extra stimulation.
Maybe you own several cats and they don’t get along as well as you had hoped. Perhaps a vertical cat tower or special areas for each cat in the home would prove fruitful in helping to tame the licking.
There are a range of products both online and in store. These can provide hours of entertainment and distraction for both you and your feline friend.
Cat hammocks, food puzzle toys, catnip, and rope toys can help distract your kitty from their need to lick and redirect their attention to the hunt.
Hunting is a natural confidence builder in cats. So if anxiety is the cause of the licking then playing with toys that resemble the types of animals cats would typically prey upon can help them feel more at home. It will also help them to feel in control of their environment.
I bet when you were wondering ‘why does my cat lick me’ you didn’t think that that hunting would be the answer!
Licking isn’t always a bad thing and is more often than not a sign of affection rather than something serious that needs to be addressed. Enjoy the bonding time with your furry companion and don’t be afraid to have some handy distractions at the ready.
Just in case the licking gets a little too rough.