Why does my cat lick me?

While we’ve all wondered what our cat is saying when they respond with a meow, it’s their body language that tells us the real story. If your cats lick you, you will wonder why. Cats are particular about who they groom and lick. Since you aren’t going to lick them back (hopefully), what does this behavior mean? Let’s break down this awesome behavior, and explore the reasons behind a cat’s licking.

cat licking

Does it seem normal to hear that 0 humans?

If you’ve ever been licked by your cat, you may have noticed the sensation isn’t exactly like being slathered in warm butter. The papillae on a cat’s tongue contain tiny backward-facing spikes, which help to remove dirt and loose fur from your cat’s coat. A cat feels most comfortable when these spikes are comfortably combing her fur, so if you feel like your cat is awash in saliva, it just means she’s comfortable!

Cats crave attention, particularly from you, their favorite human

cat licks

Cats groom themselves, and often with each other, as a way of bonding. they will often lick another cat or even their owner to show affection. They’ll also clean themselves as a way to display they are calm and comfortable in their environment. When your cats lick you, it will mean that it has formed a bond with you.

cats lick

Kittens suckle and knead if they miss the comfort of nursing, so some cats may lick you as a way to get back that affection. Many cats continue these habits into adulthood. 

They find their skin or hair tasty

Cats like to taste test their humans’ skin and hair. Often your cat jumping on you and licking your hair is a show of affection. They also enjoy exploring scents, including those on the skin, or in the air. If it happens too frequently, it may be an anxiety response or a compulsive behavior

cat is licking you

Obsessive licking can lead to anxiety and depression in cats

Cats may lick when they are anxious or nervous. They lick to redirect their anxiety at the source of stress, called displacement licking. If the anxiety that causes your cat’s licking is left untreated, it can become a compulsive behavior.

In most cases, getting licked by your cat is safe. Cat saliva and microbes can be harmless. However, in rare cases, a cat’s saliva may cause allergies in humans. In addition, if you have an open wound that a cats lick you may get a bacterial infection. If you or anyone in your family has an immune disorder, keep your cat away from your face. Put antibiotic ointment on open wounds before letting a cat near your body. Wash scratched or bitten skin right away with soap and warm water.

To stop your cat from licking excessively, increase their environmental and physical enrichment

cat licking

Try comforting your cat and giving them extra attention when they’re not licking. Pet behaviorist Tracy Sousa, Ph.D., recommends never using punishment, including things like scolding, squirting water, shaking a jar of coins, or applying the bitter-tasting spray. This may compromise your bond with your cat and make your cat more anxious, which may actually exacerbate the licking. cat’s licking is the kindest act you may receive, so what is the kindest thing that has a pet done for you?