Wondering why do cats lick you? There can be many reasons, but we humans have a tendency to believe that when dogs and cats lick us, they are expressing their affection for us. But is it truly accurate, especially when your cat’s tongue seems as though it’s sandpapering your skin? Or is there another cause for their obsession with incessant tongue lashings?
Why do cats lick you? Six possible reasons your cat may lick you
Although it is impossible to say for certain, veterinarians, researchers, and cat behavior specialists have offered a variety of plausible causes for your cat to occasionally lick you. Let us begin…
1. To Demonstrate Affection
For cats, licking serves as a grooming function as well as a means of expressing affection. Your cat establishes a social link by licking you, other cats, or even other pets. A portion of this habit may arise from your cat’s mother licking them to groom them and to demonstrate care and affection. Numerous cats continue this behavior into adulthood, licking their humans to convey the same feeling.
Numerous cats continue this behavior into adulthood, licking their owners to convey the same feeling.
2. To Mark Its Territory
Although cats “mark their territory” in a variety of ways – including cheek rubbing, clawing (and, sadly, spraying) — licking is another way for cats to claim something as their own.
If your cat licks you in this scenario, they’re attempting to communicate to other cats or animals who you belong to – them!
3. To Groom You
While your cat may be unaware that licking you does not truly assist you in “getting clean,” this behavior is totally natural for them. As previously said, mother cats groom their kittens to teach them to groom themselves, to show them affection, and to establish a link.
Indeed, professional feline behavior and training specialist Marci Koski notes that groups of cats frequently designate a “allo-groomer” – a cat that licks and grooms the group’s other cats.
If your cat is licking you, they may be performing their duty as the “allo-groomer”– cleansing you and establishing your membership in their group.
4. To Taste Something New
As easy (and even ridiculous) as it may appear, your cat may be licking you because they detect an unusual flavor on your skin. You may have spilt something on your skin or come into contact with anything that left a residue – which your cat enjoys the taste of. If the weather is warm or you’ve been exercising, your sweat may have left a salty residue that your cat is attempting to taste.
Although cats’ tongues are designed for grooming, they have a considerably more subdued sense of taste than humans. Indeed, cats are one of the few mammals known to be devoid of the ability to taste sweets.
5. To Get Your Attention
Another reason your cat may lick you is that they desire your attention. Your cat may lick you in an attempt to get your attention, whether they want you to pet them, feed them, or pay attention to them.
In this situation, licking can be equated to any other cat activity that seeks attention, like as pawing at you or meowing.
6. To Cope with Anxiety and Stress
Finally, your cat may lick you out of anxiety or tension. While excessive licking or grooming can signal a medical problem, cats frequently lick you or themselves as a way to cope with stress or worry.
You may notice your cat licking you following a move or change in their environment. Generally, this type of licking is harmless – unless your cat grooms themselves to the point that their skin gets raw or they develop bald areas. In this scenario, you should speak with your veterinarian about how to address this behavior.
Why is it that my cat bites me and then licks me?
Kittens may bite themselves while grooming as part of the fur-cleansing process, and when grooming you, this can entail biting as well! Small nips are another way of expressing affection.
Additionally, they could be your cat communicating with you that they wish to play or, alternatively, that they wish for you to leave them alone. To determine which is which, you must examine the remainder of their body language for cues. If their ears are raised and directed at you, it’s time to play! If they are flat, this indicates a halt.
Why do cats lick you so much?
To be sure, your kitty is showing that they regard you as related. Similarly, to bringing you a dead rat because they believe you are unable to hunt for yourself, your cat believes you require assistance with personal grooming skills. However, do not expect to keep up with them—adult cats can spend up to 50% of their day grooming and are naturally motivated to keep themselves clean.
You can gently convey to your cat your appreciation for their efforts, but you are not in danger of predation. However, now that you know why a cat licks you, you can enjoy their act for what it truly is: love! And perhaps instead of that, divert them with a fluffy toy.