Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

  • Time to read: 5 min.
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It is quite uncommon for cats to lick their owners extensively as much as dogs do. You would usually expect your cat to rub its tail against your leg or call you lovingly with loud “meows”. While this is what general cat behavior is, you must be familiar with the fact that cats lick. Yes! There are many reasons as to why your cat is licking you, one of them being it is trying to socialize with you. If you have recently got a cat, it will try various ways to get to know you and socialize with you. They will try to sniff you, snuggle with you, rub their bodies against you, and lick you as well. So, you need not worry if your cat is licking you, it is totally normal.

 

 

If you have had your cats for quite some time, you will notice that your cat likes to lick itself as it is in their nature to “self-groom”. Cats have sharp spines on their tongue, which are also known as papillae, that help them to groom themselves as well as chew meat properly. The spines also help them to drink water as it holds onto the water in their mouths while they are drinking water.

 

Now, if you have a dog and a cat at home, you must notice their behaviors are different from each other. For instance, your dog will lick you more often than your cat. But if your cat is licking you more often than usual and has led you to ask the question “why is my cat licking me?”, then you can consider the following options.

 

 

Reasons why cats lick their owners

Reason Mood Safe/Unsafe
To show affection Happy Safe
Marking their territory Possessive Safe
Tasting something interesting Curious Safe
  • To show affection: Cats lick many things, from your broom to plastic to cotton to wood and many other unnecessary things. They do so out of curiosity as curiosity is a predominant nature in cats. Likewise, they lick their humans to know what your scent is like. It is their way of showing their love for you. You have your way of showing affection to your cat. You may kiss it, pet it, or rub his or her forehead to show your love for your cat. Your cat may purr, snuggle, or even lick and bite you to show how much it loves you. However, if you think the licking is excessive and sudden, then you should consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions.
  • Marking their territory: Just like dogs, cats are also territorial. They use their pheromones to mark their territory. They either urinate or rub their faces on surfaces to mark their territory. Your cat may be licking you to mark you as their own as their property in a sweet and affectionate way. Your cat may be doing so to let other cats know you belong to her.
  • Tasting something interesting: Your cat may be finding some peculiar taste from your hand or leg that it likes. You may have seen many videos online where cats are licking their owners crazily. That is sometimes because they got an interesting taste from their owner. Sometimes they may like the taste of the natural salts that build up in the body. It may sound weird, but it is true! If you like the feeling, you can try putting a little treat on your hand and giving it to them to lick it. Try the Sheba cat treats; your cat is going to love it.

 

When should you visit the vet?

 

 

While it may be cute, you must visit your vet once to clear out the reasons why your cat is licking you. Excessive licking may be troublesome. He may be signaling to you that something is wrong. However, sometimes cats can be licking as a result of stress as well, so you might want to figure out what’s stressing your cat out. After you have figured the problem out, look for solutions. Buy her more treats or cat toys. Getting a cat tree is always helpful for a stressed cat.

 

Here is a brief table to help you understand your cat’s behaviors:

Behavior Indication Mood Serious/Not Serious
Licking Affection (Mostly) Good Not serious
Nudging Hungry Good Not serious
Purr Affection Good Not serious
Biting Either affection or some other issue Depends May be serious or might not be serious

 

My cat does not lick me. Does that mean that my cat doesn’t love me?

The answer to this question is “No”. The personality of each and every cat differs from one another. For pet parents having multiple cats, this difference between the behavior of different cats is highly noticeable. Some might lick you, while others might not. But at the end of the day, all of them love you.

Cats have a lot of different ways to show that they love you apart from licking you. Some of the other ways include purring, headbutting, showing their bellies, or even by grooming you!

 

How to get your cat to stop licking you?

If you do not like being licked, or your cat licking is hurting you, then you can try some ways of stopping it. Try applying something that tastes bad to your cats in the area it is licking. It will stop them from licking you. You can also try walking away every time your cat starts licking you. It gives him/her the idea that you are not liking it and thus walking away. It may help you to get rid of this issue.

 

Conclusion

Your cat may be very affectionate, and she may like to lick you to show her affection for you by licking you. There is nothing to be worried about; it is totally normal if you have ruled out any health problems with your vet. You can pet it to reciprocate the love and affection!