Why Does My Cat Keep Licking Me?

We humans tend to think that when animals lick us, they are showing us their love. But is that really accurate, especially when the tongue of your cat feels like its sanding your skin off? Or is there some other reason they are so obsessed with delivering incessant tongue lashings?

Licking also establishes territory by marking things, cat toys , other animals, and people with her scent, which tells interlopers to stay away because this is Fluffys property. They missed out on their fair share of suckling and with no appropriate outlet, licking is the closest they can get to the soothing comfort that nursing gave them.

Any cat owner whose kitty is fond of licking her hair is well aware that Fluffys powerful tongue is capable of actually pulling some strands out.

Should I let my cat lick me?

No, you should never lick your cat. They will feel confused if you do this as your saliva has proteins and chemicals which are different from their saliva. Also, they will not appreciate it as you will mess up their fur.

Is it bad if my cat licks me a lot?

Cats spend up to 8% of their waking time grooming (and 50% napping), so licking in general is a normal behavior for cats. Anyone who has been tongue-bathed by a cat will agree that a cat’s tongue is less like a soft sponge and more like a sandpaper loofah.

Why does my cat lick me like crazy?

If your cat is licking you playfully as a means to be pet or played with, this is fine. But if you notice that your cat becomes neurotic or starts resorting to this behavior more often, take this as a sign that they are stressed. Cats will display obsessive behaviors if they are experiencing stress or anxiety.

Why does my cat lick me so much when I pet him?

Your cat may be licking you when you are petting her to show affection but more so to claim ownership of you. Cats mark their territory by transferring pheromones through their scent glands and their saliva, thus, the licking. By marking you as their own they are signaling to other pets around that you belong to them.

Does your feline companion lick you, and are you wondering why? Particularly since a cats tongue can feel a bit rough, its a behavior thats hard to ignore! In general, there are two major reasons a cat will lick human family members:

Katenna Jones, Associated Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, says, Often the behaviors Im called for are actually symptoms of an underlying issue. A cats tongue effectively serves as a brush to remove loose hair, mats, dirt and fleas.

Small spines made of keratin called papillae are spread out on the surface of a cats tongue in a backwards direction.

When I adopted Bambu, my adorable orange kitty with arguably the worlds poofiest tail, I was immediately taken aback by the extent of her licking. I left all of our snuggle sessions with my hands, arms, and face covered in kitty saliva.

Scientists have not fully figured out the reason why cats lick people, but here are several possible theories. If your cat was weaned too early, they may have started licking you as a way to seek the comfort reminiscent of nursing.

Your cat may lick your skin or hair to investigate interesting scents or odors, like an appetizing lotion, shampoo, or other topical product. Determine if there are any triggers for the licking, like visitors in your home or loud noises. Never use punishment, including scolding, squirting water, shaking a jar of coins, or applying bitter-tasting spray.

Cover your skin with long-sleeved clothing or a small towel when you interact with them, and provide a food puzzle or toy. If it does not stop after a week, there is likely another motivation for the licking that needs to be addressed, and you should talk to your vet. When your cat interacts with you without licking, reinforce the behavior by rewarding them with praise, petting, or play.

If your cats licking persists or is excessive, then they should be evaluated by your veterinarian to ensure there isnt a medical or emotional disorder underlying it.

Oh, the cats tongue. Its as cute as can be when its peeking out just a bit from the cats mouth as she drinks water or delicately grooms herself. Its small and pink and so adorable. Yet, when the cats tongue starts licking you, that little sandblaster seems as if it could take off several layers of skin.

1. Memories of Kittenhood

Kitty gives you a tongue bath because she accepts you as a member of her family and feels completely secure when she’s with you. She remembers how her mother gave her cleanings as a kitten and now is continuing what she learned, only with the roles reversed (unless you happen to lick her as well). Your cat is nurturing you in the best way she knows how – by keeping you clean and claiming you as her own.

2. Mine, Mine, All Mine

Licking also establishes territory by marking things, cat toys, other animals, and people with her scent, which tells interlopers to stay away because this is Fluffy’s property. Mother cats lick their kittens to establish them as belonging to her, and your cat does the same to tell the world you’re hers. Cats who are siblings or are from different litters but get along quite well together will lick each other as a form of social bonding. Licking you is a gesture to bond the two of you together.

3. Pacifier Substitute

Cats who were weaned before it was time or who were orphaned develop an oral fixation that makes them excessive lickers. They missed out on their fair share of suckling and with no appropriate outlet, licking is the closest they can get to the soothing comfort that nursing gave them. Another sign of early weaning is kneading you, accompanied by satisfied purring and what looks like a smile on her face. It probably is.

4. Licking Is Like Petting

To a cat, licking her owner is her own version of petting you. Both petting and licking are forms of affection to her. Since she can’t pet you, she licks you instead. She has no idea that her tongue actually hurts, though.

5. High Anxiety

When kitty is especially anxious, she may begin licking compulsively. That’s a good sign that she needs to be petted and cuddled to reduce her stress. If your cat seems to lick incessantly, try giving her more attention and affection to soothe her and hopefully back off the sandpapering a bit.

Why It Hurts

Your cat’s tongue is specially designed for thorough cleaning and removal of dirt and loose fur. Any cat owner whose kitty is fond of licking her hair is well aware that Fluffy’s powerful tongue is capable of actually pulling some strands out. This ability comes from the papillae covering it – hooks that face backward and are made of keratin, which also is the material that her claws are made of. The papillae actually function like a comb to separate hairs and fur to get at the dirt underneath.

Why Do Cats Lick You?

Scientists have not fully figured out the reason why cats lick people, but here are several possible theories.

Your cat is seeking attention.

Your cat may have learned very quickly that licking gets attention, as you have likely inadvertently rewarded your cat’s licking by talking to, petting, or in some way interacting with them when they lick you. Some cats even find negative attention, like being reprimanded or pushed away, to be better than no attention.

Your cat is displaying kitten-related behavior.

Kittens knead and suckle when nursing. If your cat was weaned too early, they may have started licking you as a way to seek the comfort reminiscent of nursing. In this case, your cat may also knead and purr as they lick you.

Your cat likes your taste.

Your cat may lick your skin or hair to investigate interesting scents or odors, like an appetizing lotion, shampoo, or other topical product. Human perspiration also contains sugar and salts that cats may find appealing.

Your cat is anxious.

Licking may represent a displacement behavior, which is a behavior that a cat performs to alleviate stress. Stress more commonly leads to excessive self-grooming, but the licking may be directed toward you, too.Determine if there are any triggers for the licking, like visitors in your home or loud noises. If your cat’s anxiety is left untreated, the licking may progress to a compulsive behavior, at which point the licking takes over your cat’s life.

Your cat has a medical issue.

Your cat may lick you and/or objects in the environment due to a medical problem. Nausea, pain, or discomfort can lead to licking. In Bambu’s case, we discovered that inflammatory bowel disease was the cause of her licking. If your cat’s licking is excessive or just started recently, take them to be evaluated by your veterinarian.

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Whatever the cause of your cat’s licking, you may find the licking uncomfortable or even annoying.Never use punishment, including scolding, squirting water, shaking a jar of coins, or applying bitter-tasting spray. This may compromise your bond with your cat and may make your cat more anxious, which may exacerbate your cat’s licking.Here are some tips to minimize the licking:If your cat’s licking persists or is excessive, then they should be evaluated by your veterinarian to ensure there isn’t a medical or emotional disorder underlying it.