Why Does My Cat Lick My Hand?

A dog licking your hand is normal. Its how they show affection. However, a cat is a different story. These felines arent widely known for their licking behavior, so its a bit strange when they begin licking our hands and fingers a lot.

For example, mother cats lick their kittens, which helps create a social bond. This behavior can also lead to your cat overgrooming themselves, which is basically where they lick a body part so much that their hair begins to fall out.

If you notice that your kitty is licking a bit too much , keep your eye out for other strange behaviors too. Image Credit: frankieleon, FlickrIf youve just eaten, its possible that the cat can still taste the food on your hands. This can include things like lotion and soap, which some cats find tasty.

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.

Why does my cat lick my hand and then bite me?

Your cat may lick and bite you as a way to bond by grooming you, to show affection, or as an invitation for playtime. She may also be licking and biting you to show that she’s had enough of your attention and it is her way of telling you to stop petting her.

Why did my cat lick my hand for so long?

Even if you haven’t eaten anything tasty, your feline may still like the taste of something on your hands. This can include things like lotion and soap, which some cats find tasty. Soap and lotion are usually made with at least some animal fats. Those with higher amounts may be more prone to being licked.

Why does my cat lick me 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.

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.

Many people assume that cats lick them as a sign of love which isn’t really that far off. While it’s hard to determine if cats feel complex emotions like love, licking is a sign of affection. Cats usually lick themselves in order to groom. Mother cats will lick their kittens as a part of the grooming process as well. However, cats will also lick each other as a sign of affection. Cats actually lick humans for one of several reasons, but most of them come down to displays of affection.

This is because cat tongues have backward-facing hooks that are meant to pull and clean their fur the way a comb would.

Ive written about why some cats bite, then lick you before, but I do feel the act of licking by itself is quite a bit different from biting then licking your hands and fingers.

While a lot of these he completely ignored (though other cats in our household who we adopted later actually adored them), Id be lying if I didnt mention our lick-loving kitty didnt also love one particular type of chew toy: Matatabi Silver Vine Chew Sticks . Matatabi Silver Vine Cat Chew Sticks Amazon / Chewy

Bjorn I do find prefers licking while some positive bonding time and socialization is taking place between the two of us, so with him I know its not just a matter of my hands smelling of food! Back when we first met, he definitely would continue licking even after I took away my hand, finding some other body part or a piece of my clothing to continue on, but hes developed an understanding of my behaviour over time. Id recommend having a trigger word like Ive used Thank you to tell your cat what he or shes doing isnt naughty, but youre ready for him or her to stop.

In terms of why cats sometimes lick their owners hands and fingers, I honestly think there are so many different reasons, its hard to come up with a short list. Many of these reasons overlap, and while some may be more true than others in the moment, I do think they all do quite well at explaining away this pretty common cat behaviour altogether. Lets get into the theories, and if you think of ones I missed, or feel your cat is more or less likely to lick your fingered hands for one reason over others please share in the comments down below!

This is the only time youll ever catch Avery licking fingers and/or hands, and typically, it has to be something really compelling, as he wont lick when the smell on my fingers is faint or is of something hell eat, but not obsessively. I discovered my new cat Bjorn loves to lick and ingest soap this past month and boy would that explain some of his obsession with licking fingers & hands. If Bjorn starts licking out of the blue while hes been napping in close proximity to me, Im convinced this is why.

Some cats seem to use licking as a way of telling their pet parents theyre hungry or want to play. Not mine, but if this is true of yours do let me know how you discovered this and if there are particular times that your cat licks to tell you he/she wants something specific. He absolutely continues to lick my hand sometimes, simultaneously while Im petting him, and in these instances I wholeheartedly believe its a part of how he socializes with me and shows me affection.

I think he enjoys licking skin over clothing, for example, and considering his like of soap for the fact that it contains animal fat, and the fact that human hands have trace oils on them, I do believe this one adds up. It wouldnt surprise me to learn the texture of skin on hands and fingers is really appealing to some cats. Its an action that fosters feelings of safety and security, meaning it likely reduces stress considerably.

Does your cat typically like to lick in general, or just when it comes to your fingers & hands at times?

1. A Social Bond

When two cats like each other, it isn’t uncommon for some licks to be exchanged. Usually, this is through grooming, but that isn’t always true. For example, mother cats lick their kittens, which helps create a social bond. It’s a cat’s natural response to liking somebody.This sort of licking isn’t only confined to pet owners, though. Many cats will also lick other animals and felines in the home, especially if they like licking.Some cats seem to like licking more than others. Just because your cat isn’t licking doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It seems to be mostly a personality thing, with some cats licking a lot and others never licking at all.

2. Stress

Some cats also lick things when they’re stressed. It’s like a nervous tick. Your cat may begin to lick excessively, which can include licking you. This behavior can also lead to your cat overgrooming themselves, which is basically where they lick a body part so much that their hair begins to fall out. They may also lick objects like the floor or their sleeping spot.Stress isn’t always a sign of something serious. Cats get stressed for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps your routine has changed, and it has your feline on edge. However, sometimes cats can become stressed because of an illness. They are usually very good at hiding their symptoms, so you probably won’t even know that something is wrong.If you notice that your kitty is licking a bit

3. Your Hands Taste Like Food

If you’ve just eaten, it’s possible that the cat can still taste the food on your hands. This can cause your feline to lick your hands simply because it tastes good. Usually, you can tell if this is theEven cats that don’t seem to participate in social licking will lick your fingers because they taste good.

4. …Or They Taste Like Something Else

Even if youOf course, cats usually only seem to like

5. Attention

Some cats may lick you for attention. Usually, this involves only a single lick. Then your cat will sit back and stare at you intently. This usually means that they want to be pet or held. However, it can also mean that they need you for something else, like to open a door or refill their food dish.This licking is obviously different from other types. In most other cases, your cat is going to lick you multiple times. However, licking when they want attention is only a means to the end, so they’ll stop licking when they get what they want.

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.

Signs of Affection

In the same way that you show affection to your cat by petting it, your cat may attempt to return the favor by licking you. Kittens especially will use licking as a way to ease anxiety the way a human might use hugs. If your feline friend loves to lick you, it probably means it would like some affection in return. Which, honestly, is one of the best parts of owning a cat.

Marking Territory

Cats use pheromones to mark their territory. While most people know that cats mark property by urinating on things, they can mark their territory in other ways as well. Licking and head rubs are ways for cats to claim you as part of their property—affectionately. When your cat licks or rubs against you, it is reaffirming that you are important to it and they want all the other cats to know. You may notice that sometimes other cats shy away from you, it’s possible they smell that you belong to another cat.

Part of the Family

Many people joke that cats think they’re humans and given the way some cats behave towards their owners, it’s easy to see why. A great example is a cat who will leave dead mice or birds on their owner’s doorsteps in an attempt to share a tasty treat. Cats have also been known to present their owners with live animals in an attempt to teach its owner to hunt. It’s clear that not only do many cats see their owners as part of the family, they also see them as a bit inept at being cats. Female cats especially will exhibit this sort of parenting or nurturing type of behavior.When cats lick you, it can mean that they are attempting to teach you to groom yourself. It’s a memory your cat had from being licked by its own mother and is a real sign of affection. Cats will also lick each other as a way to calm them down. Cats are very attentive to their owner’s moods so you might find your cat is more affectionate when you’re stressed or sick. Cats are attempting to calm your anxiety the same way you would pet your cat if they seemed nervous.