Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Why does my cat lick me?
Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Last update: 16 July, 2018

Cats are wonderful and amazing beings. Although cats are very independent pets, they are also affectionate and love spending time with their owners. The demonstration of affection from your four-legged friend can draw your attention … especially because of the texture of a cat’s tongue when he licks you. In this article we tell you why your cat licks you.

The language of cats

Cat licking kitten

If your cat licks you frequently, you will probably wonder about the reasons that lead him to do so. There are different reasons that your cat licks you, including:

1. As a means of social connection

Cats not only groom themselves, but they also groom others, as there are certain areas that are somewhat difficult to reach. No matter how much of a contortionist your cat is, cats tend to require the help of another cat (mother, sibling, companions) to comply with his personal hygiene needs.

Licking you does not mean that your cat thinks you are dirty, but instead licking is a way for your cat to bond with you by exchanging smells.

2. As a way to express his affection

Cat communication styles are not the same as human communication styles, this almost does not need to be said. So how does your cat tell you that he loves you? By licking you! For him, you are his family and that is why he does the same to you as his mother did to him, when he was a baby. This way, your cat shows you his love and also communicates that he is relaxed when he is with you. Also, licking can be a way for him to express that he feels safe in your presence.

3. As an anxiety reducer

If you see your cat licking himself compulsively (to the point of hurting himself), or notice that he has been biting or scratching your hand or face more than normal, it may be because he is going through a moment of great stress or anxiety. If he is experiencing these symptoms, he may want to lick or suck other surfaces and objects such as cloth, plastics, toys, etc. This eases his tension.

4. As a game

Playing with your pet is really special. For cats, licking their peers or mates reminds them of their early childhood, when they were still with their siblings and their mother. Be careful not to cut the link between you and your cat. That is why, if your cat licks you in the middle of the game, let him do it. He is saying he is having a lot of fun! Remember that the chemicals released during the game, allow him to relax and feel comfortable around you.

5. As territorial boundaries

Cats are very territorial. Your cat tries to leave his mark wherever he is, so that all other cats will know that this particular space is already occupied. He even considers you to be his property and that is why he licks you. The particles that are released through a cat’s saliva also attach to your personal scent; you are already “marked”.

6. As an exchange of smell

If your cat has been obsessed lately with licking your fingers and hands, it could be because you have been handling objects that attract his attention. It is normal for your cat to want to lick you after you cook, garden or touch certain elements.

How should I act when my cat is licking me?

Cat licking

If you have a playful cat, it is likely that your cat will first lick and then bite you. This behavior is not about punishing you for petting your cat in the wrong way. For the cat, licking, then biting you is just a part of a fun game, and your cat does not do this to be harmful. Of course, your cat’s bite must be soft and playful rather than painful.

If the bites are more painful than playful, you should teach your cat not to bite. When your cat bites you hard and his hair stands on end, pay attention. That could be a sign that you did something that your cat didn’t like or that he is behaving aggressively.

Especially be patient with your kitten if she has been recently separated from her mother. If she has adopted you as her protector, she will lick you all the time. The same goes for a mother cat who has had several kittens recently that have already been adopted by other families.

Beyond any other explanation, you should consider your cat’s licking to be the highest gesture of love and affection that your cat can give you. It means that your cat has a strong connection with you and that he loves you very much.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.