Why Do Cats Lick You?

By August 16, 2021 Cats
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A cat’s tongue is one of its most valuable assets. Here’s the deal: cats’ tongues are covered in something called “papillae,” and they groom themselves for roughly half of the day using their curved spines. With so much time spent on hygiene, many pet owners wonder, “Why do Cats lick you?

To Show Love

Cats lick to groom themselves as well as to show affection. Your cat is socializing by licking you, other cats, or even other pets. This may have started when your cat was a kitten and her mother licked them to groom them and show affection. Adult cats often repeat this behavior, licking their owners to convey the same message.

Adult cats often repeat this gesture by licking their owners.

Cat Mark Their Territory

Cats “mark their territory” by licking, cheek rubbing, scratching, and unfortunately, spraying.

If your cat licks you, they’re trying to let other cats or animals know who you are.

To Groom You

The act of licking you is completely natural to your cat, even if it isn’t helping you “get clean.” As previously stated, mother cats groom their kittens to teach them self-grooming, show affection, and create a bond.

So much so that a group of cats living together often designates a “allo-groomer” – a cat that licks and grooms the other cats in the group.

To fulfill their role as the “allo-groomer,” your cat may lick you to clean you and establish your membership in their group.

Get Your Attention

Your cat may also lick you to get your attention. Your cat may lick you to get your attention, whether they want your pet, food, or attention.

In this context, licking is akin to pawing at you or meowing for attention.

Complaints of Stress

Finally, your cat may lick you out of anxiety or stress. While excessive licking or grooming can indicate a medical issue, cats frequently lick you or themselves to relieve stress or anxiety.

Your cat may lick you after a move or other change in their environment. Unless your cat grooms themselves so much that their skin becomes raw or they develop bald spots, this type of licking is usually harmless. In this case, you should consult your veterinarian to correct the problem.

Why Do Cat Licks Hurt?

Why does it hurt when my cat licks me? In the end, the answer is simple.

The papillae on a cat’s tongue are covered in little spines. These papillae are made of keratin, the same material as nails. Cats’ tongues are strong enough to get saliva down to their skin, detangle fur, remove dirt, and redistribute oils.

So when a cat licks you, their spine-covered tongue rubbing against your skin, it may hurt. Cats’ tongues are often compared to sandpaper because of this.

To Try Something New

As simple (and even silly) as it may seem, your cat may be licking you to explore your skin. You may have spilled something or been exposed to something that left a residue on your skin, which your cat enjoys. If it’s hot outside or you’ve been exercising, your sweat may have left a salty residue, which your cat is trying to eat.

Although cats’ tongues are designed for grooming, they have a much milder sense of taste than humans. Cats are one of the only mammals that cannot taste sweets.

Why do cats lick you excessively?

Cats that lick you excessively may be trying to communicate with you—they are worried about you.

So, what exactly does it mean when a cat licks you excessively? Your kitty, on the other hand, is demonstrating that they consider you to be their kin. Your cat thinks you need help learning personal grooming techniques, just like they bring you a dead rodent because they think you’re too inept to hunt for yourself. Adult cats can spend up to 50% of their day grooming and are instinctively driven to clean themselves, so don’t expect to keep up with them.

You can gently explain to your cat that you appreciate their efforts, but you are not in danger of being preyed upon. However, now that you know why a cat licks you, you can appreciate their behavior for what it is: love! Instead, distract them with a feathery toy.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Licking Me?

Licking is a natural cat behavior unless your cat is repeatedly licking you and grooming excessively. The rough texture of a cat’s tongue can be annoying.

The best way to stop this is to redirect their attention. You could cuddle or pet your cat to distract them from licking. You could also use a toy to divert them from licking to playing. Finally, if your cat is excessively licking you, simply walk away.

While most of us enjoy the occasional lick from our cats, it can become excessive if your cat does it on a regular basis. Many cat owners want to discourage their cats from licking them without pushing them away or making them feel unwelcome or unappreciated.

To avoid making your cat feel this way, distraction is the most effective way to get a cat to stop licking you. Playing with your cat is the first method of distraction we recommend. Because you are interacting with them and spending time with them, your cat will still feel as if you want them. Cat toys, such as wands and balls, are excellent distractions.

You could also use food as a distraction technique. It’s a good idea to distract your cat with a tasty treat to get them to stop licking you. We do recommend, however, that you try to play with them first, because too many treats are bad for their health – they should always be part of their daily food allowance. It may also teach your cat that licking you results in a treat, which will encourage them to lick you even more!

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