Cat Licking - Why Does My Cat Lick Me?- VyWhy
Last updated on 2021-12-18 13:31:05
Have you ever wondered why your cat licks you? We explore why cat licking happens, why it can sometimes hurt and when to discourage it. Learn more.
Possible reasons why your cat licks you
One reason your cat may lick you is because it’s a way of creating a social bond. From a young age a cat’s mother would not only lick them as a way of grooming them, but also to show affection. Cats then replicate this behaviour with you as a way of showing their own affection – it simply comes naturally.
This licking behaviour is not just exclusive between pet and owner. Cats often lick other cats and even other animals to show their affection. Do keep an eye out, however, when your cat begins to lick other cats or other animals, as not all cats or animals like to be licked. In some cases some other cats or animals may retaliate or become anxious when a cat tries to lick them.
Another reason your cat may lick you is because they are stressed or anxious. It is very common for cats and other animals to begin to lick things excessively if they are stressed. This can include licking you; if you think this may be the case it might be best to pay a visit to your local vet. If you think something has caused your cat to be stressed, try to identify the source of their worry in case you can remove it.
Cats like to mark their territory so other cats and animals know what is theirs. If a cat sees you as theirs, they may begin to lick you to mark you as part of their territory. This is to let other cats know who you belong to. Whilst this type of behaviour is completely normal it could lead to problems in the house if you have more than one cat or pet, so watch out for territorial behaviour.
Why it sometimes hurts when a cat licks you
It can sometimes hurt when a cat licks you, especially if your cat does this excessively and in the same place. This is because of special back-facing barbs on your cat’s tongue called ‘papillae’. These barbs are made from the same material as your cat’s claws, which explains why their tongue feels like sandpaper.
These barbs are important when your cat grooms themselves. The barbs help to remove dirt and debris from a cat’s coat. If the barbs weren’t sharp they would not be able to pick up this dirt and a cat would not be able to keep himself or herself as clean.
Whilst most of us enjoy the occasional lick from our cats, it can become too much if your cat does it all the time. Many cat owners want to discourage their cats from licking them without pushing them away or making them feel as if they are not wanted or appreciated.
To avoid making your cat feel like this, distraction is the best way to encourage a cat to stop licking you. The first method of distraction we recommend is playing with your cat. This will still make your cat feel as if you want them because you are interacting with them and spending time with them. Cat toys such as wands and balls make for a great distraction.
Another distraction technique you could use is food. Distracting your cat with a tasty treat is a great way to encourage them to stop licking you. We do however recommend trying to play with them first, as too many treats aren’t good for their health – they should always be part of their daily food allowance. It could also teach your cat that licking you means they will get a treat, which will only encourage them to lick you more!
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My cat never licks me. But my friends’ cats act like they are grooming their humans as one of their own. It is perfectly understandable to want to know why cats do this. We are spending so much time…
My cat never licks me.
But my friends’ cats act like they are grooming their humans as one of their own. It is perfectly understandable to want to know why cats do this.
We are spending so much time with our cats and understanding our feline companion’s behavior is key to a healthy relationship between us and our cats.
Why Do Cats Lick?
I am sure you have noticed that cats’ tongues are very weird.
While dog tongues are smooth like humans, cats’ are rough and feel like sandpaper.
This is because their tongues are covered in papillae, which are made of keratin. These papillae are made of the same material as their claws. It allows them to drink water and groom themselves.
Cats have a reputation for being incredibly clean. The way their tongues are shaped helps them remove dirt from their shiny fur.
If for some reason her tongue does not manage to clean her fur, she will use her teeth and nibble gently to get rid of any residue or matted fur. This hypnotic and calm self-grooming act is called preening.
Cats are self-cleaning animals; this comes from birth.
The mother bites and licks to open the placenta and helps the baby to breathe for the first time. She licks the kitten till she is no longer wet from amniotic fluid. The mother has to lick her kittens every few hours to help them urinate and defecate till the third week, which is when kittens can start to do these things themselves.
While this act is for hygiene maintenance for the kittens, it also reinforces the bond between them. It is a behavior that sticks with them even when they become adults, even if they are with other adult cats.
If you introduce two cats and they get used to each other, you will witness them starting to groom one another as a sign of affection between them.
In some cases, you might witness that some cats lick themselves excessively. This is not normal behavior, in fact, it is a sign of a high level of stress or anxiety. It is a way to release their accumulated tension. When they lick you a lot, this is also a sign of stress and it is called psychogenic alopecia. This can lead to bald spots or rashes.
You should try to find the cause of the stress to see if it is something you can eliminate in order to improve their well-being. The cause of the stress can be many things such as a new member joining the household, loud noises, unfamiliar smells or a new animal.
If you cannot find the cause and your cat keeps doing it, I would advise you to take your furry companion to the vet to see if there is a physiological problem.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
If your cat licks you, take it as a compliment!
First, we need to understand one thing: Dogs see you as their owner and cats see you –if they want to– as their pack member. They see you as a big (size-wise) cat. If they like you, they will show you affection as their mother showed them.
This affection can come in many different forms and it may not always be very nice.
They might preen, knead, or headbutt you. They might also bring you “gifts” like dead or alive mice, birds, lizards, or various insects because they see you as a horrible hunter and think you need help in that department. They usually decide whether or not to bring these gifts alive based on how bad of a hunter they think you are. But hey, that is a different topic.
Cats are territorial animals.
They have different methods of delimiting their territory. This is not only limited to marking their space. It can include objects and humans as well. They mark you with their smell to let everyone know that you belong to them. Licking can allow them to exchange scents to strengthen their bond with you.
Your cat might lick you and rub her face against your body. Cats have scent glands at the top of their heads and they “mark” you with it during those head bunt sessions.
You can observe this behavior a lot more if you pet another animal and then come home and let your cat smell you.
This is to let other cats know who you belong to.
Although this type of behavior is perfectly normal, it can cause territorial problems at home if you have more than one cat, so be careful with this.
Another reason for excessive licking can be oral fixation which develops in some cats who were orphaned or weaned prematurely. Because they couldn’t suckle their mom as kittens, licking can be a substitute for that experience.
Therefore, if your cat licks you, take it as a compliment!
Last but not least, if you have a senior cat that has taken a liking to lick you all of a sudden, you might want to head to the vet because this could be a sign of hyperthyroidism which can cause behavior changes in cats.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me and Then Bite Me?
We are all familiar with this scenario: One moment your cat is licking you so peacefully that you are recording it to send to some friends to show how adorable she is. And then, suddenly, she bites you!
There is no one simple answer to this situation that would explain everything and stop them from doing it.
Cats lick and groom us as a sign of affection. In these intimate grooming sessions, there is a possibility that your cat might bite you while she licks you. This is due to using her teeth because she cannot remove the “dirt”. But also, it might be a sign that she is angry or that she wants to play with you.
You might think that she came to you and started to groom you as her choice but this doesn’t change the fact that she might all of a sudden feel that it is enough and wants to leave or be left alone.
Nonetheless, congratulations! You are part of her family.
Cats are weird. When you say their name or make eye contact, they turn into this furball and show their bellies and hypnotize you into petting them. And the moment you touch that soft, fluffy, irresistible belly, they bite you.
Sometimes you just pet your cat exactly where she shows she wants you to pet her and after a few touches, she starts biting. I am sure every person who likes cats must have gone through this at least one time.
If she starts biting you when you are petting her and she thinks that it is a game, then you have a few options.
If your cat is a kitten, then it will be easier to teach them that biting is not okay. You need to be consistent and when she bites you, you should stop showing affection immediately and react vocally by saying “no!”. This is how they will understand that biting is not something you approve and in order to have your attention, they have to change this behavior. You also need to vocally state that you do not approve of this and that it hurts you.
If you want further information on different causes of biting, you may refer to my earlier article called why does my cat bite me?
When cats are part of a litter, and they hurt each other while playing, they will let each other know by biting back or meowing angrily. While you tell your cat that she hurts you when she bites, you should encourage positive attitudes to show her what is acceptable.
But if you play with her using your hands and feet, she will see them as toys that she can play with and bite. Always use toys when you are having playtime with your cat.
If you have an adult cat, you should do the same, but it might take longer for them to accept and adapt. Do not yell at them, never ever hit them. You need to be patient. Consistency is very essential.
While we cannot read the minds of our cats, we can try to read their behaviors and learn to understand how they say, ‘I love you’. It gets easier after spending a bit of time with them.
Here are some things cats do that show they feel affectionate towards you:
13 Ways Your Cat Shows You Love
1. Showing Their Belly
Like most animals, cats do not show their stomachs to just anyone.
It is the most vulnerable part of their body. You might have already noticed that stray cats are always very alert even when they look like they are sleeping.
Their paws are tucked underneath, and they never show their belly.
If your cat rolls over on her back to show you her fuzzy belly, this is an indication that she feels comfortable around you. She feels loved and protected by you, rendering herself defenseless.
2. Following You Around
This is a type of behavior that you would expect from your dog but when your cat does it, it means she cannot get enough of your companionship.
You can notice this especially if it is not close to her feeding time. She will follow you room to room, even jump onto furniture to get closer to you. When you observe this, you can be sure that she loves your company. She might even come to fetch you if you stay in bed too long without her or if you close the door to the bathroom and try to have some alone time.
If you close your bedroom door at night and don’t let her in, she will repeatedly scratch the door or meow constantly until you give up, open the door and let her in. It’s all out of love! Well, maybe a little bit out of nosiness as well.
This behavior may seem very odd, but it shows that your cat absolutely loves you and cares about you.
Cats have glands that are hidden in their cheeks and heads and various other parts of their bodies. When she even lightly brushes against you, she can still mark you with her scent to declare you as her property or her family. However, you would like to believe. For kittens, this familiar scent is a great comfort and it helps them to calm down.
4. Rubbing Against Your Legs
Sometimes, when you come home after a long workday feeling very tired and your cat runs through the door to greet you, rubs herself against your legs and she immediately makes you feel like she is happy to see you.
You are right to feel this because that is how she shows her affection. That, and she is putting her scent on you as a way of claiming you as her own. Just like when she head-butts you. It helps you develop a deeper bond with your cat to allow her to do it.
5. Sitting on You
Cats are known for not being interested in physical contact but once you meet a friendly cat, you will see that quite a bit of them like to be in physical contact and sit on your lap.
It is due to both showing affection and using your body heat in cold weather. But you may also see some very stubborn cats who will follow you around and try to sit on your lap or lean on your body even when it is too hot. Then you can be sure that she is doing it to be close to you and to feel your presence.
This happens a lot more if you are living alone with your cat. It gets easier for them to bond with you and get used to you.
Kneading is when your cat uses her paws to push in and out against a surface like your lap, or arm. Just like making biscuits.
This is one of the things you can be sure that means your cat is saying “I love you” to you.
If your cat comes up to your lap and starts kneading while you pet her, she is returning the fondness. Unluckily, this show of affection can be very painful. Because the happier she gets, the harder she will dig in with her sharp nails.
Regular nail trimming can be very helpful in this situation. If you don’t know how to do it, ask your vet to do it for you during her regular check-ups.
To ease the painfully sharp nails, you can also use a soft blanket as a barrier between her and your body. It helps a ton.
7. Sleeping on You
You might have a king-size bed and a huge sofa, but your cat will still somehow find sitting on your lap or sleeping on your chest a lot more comfortable.
I don’t know who wouldn’t like this scenario but in case you are wondering why she does this; she does it because she wants to be close to you.
8. Responding to Your Call
When you have a guest over and they want to get your cat’s attention by calling her name, your cat can act like she is deaf.
But, when you call her, she immediately responds. Well, this should make you proud, shouldn’t it?
You might have heard your cat purr many times on many different occasions before, but you may not have realized that this is a loving purr.
Cats’ purr can mean a variety of things. It can be from delight, an expression of concern or even to ease their pain. It can range from a soft and subtle to incredibly loud truck-like purr. You can be sure that she is doing it to show her affection and contentment.
Also meowing. Cats don’t meow to other cats to communicate, they do it only to humans. Your cat is talking to YOU. If you pay attention, you can notice the difference between meows when she tries to tell you what she wants.
10. Approaching You With Their Tail Pointing Straight-up
The tail of a cat works as a barometer into how your cat feels about you or her habitat.
You can read all her emotions from her tail. All you have to do is pay attention.
It affects your cat’s perceptions about you. Another way to understand a cat’s feelings is when you see her tail straight up while she gently flickers the tip of her tail. The tail’s shape usually looks like a candy cane, but it slightly quivers and well, it is furry.
They also say that this tail curve “is sometimes called the happy tail dance.” You can read a lot of emotions from her tail such as whether she is in a good mood or on edge, scared or content.
Some people say that this is one of the reasons why cats cannot get along with dogs.
Dogs wag their tails super-fast when they are happy, and it gets faster and faster as their excitement increases whereas cats wag their tails fast when they are angry or annoyed.
11. Bringing You Presents
Your cat might not bring you toys to play with but there is a bigger chance that she may bring you a dead animal or worse, animals. It depends on how “lucky” you are.
You might find this very weird, but this is also another way of your cat showing you that she likes you and she cares about you. This is how she likes to show her love towards you.
If your cat loves you and if she is a good hunter, she will bring a lot of gifts to you. Natural born hunter cats will catch various things from toys to birds, socks to mice and unfortunately, they will share the prize with the ones they cherish.
There may also be instances where you might see your cat playing with a dead mouse (or one that wishes to be dead!) and after that, the mouse is nowhere to be seen.
In a way, you might think that this is better because you don’t have to clean up after her but you might also want to reconsider your relationship with your cat since she doesn’t want to share this gift with you.
However, cats may also bring you dead animals because they think you are a bad hunter. If they bring you an alive pray, then it means they are trying to teach you how to hunt. If it is dead, then they think you are a very, very bad hunter and you are not yet capable of killing prey.
So, they bring you dead one for you to not starve to death. Come to think of it, it is a very nice gesture.
12. Making Eye Contact With You/Slow Blink
It is a very hard thing to see a stray cat blink or make long eye contact with you.
If you try to make eye contact for a long time it makes them feel agitated and threatened. They usually get really uncomfortable and sometimes they leave. This happens when the cat is tameless. It is a whole other deal with your cat.
If your cat is staring at you and slowly blinking, she is showing you that she trusts you and the slow blink is the equivalent of being kissed by her.
This might be the easiest body language for humans to understand. Just watch her eyes and see if she will open her eyes wide and then slowly blink to tell you she loves and trusts you. This is referred to as a ‘kitty kiss’. Cats only make eye contact with the people they like.
When there are other cats around, you may see cats slow blinking a lot. This is a way for them to let other cats know that everything is cool.
13. Tolerating the Affection
You might realize that your cat doesn’t like it when you kiss her, but she tolerates it. S
he might duck, she might give you grumpy looks but if she doesn’t run away, you can consider this as a victory.
In some cases, they like to touch you before you try to pet them! There are a ton of videos on the internet where cats are tapping their human’s shoulder and demanding to get some affection.
Can Cats Be Obsessed With Their Owners?
Your cat getting overly attached to you can happen from the first time you two meet, or you might have a bad start but gradually she learns to trust you. It all depends on how you met.
If you rescued a cat when she was in bad shape, you will have a quite different bond from a cat adopted from a shelter or from someone that treated her well. If she was a stray, wounded or scared, it might and probably will take you a long time to make her truly trust you.
Because unfortunately, most people are not nice towards stray animals. They think strays are dirty disease carriers and will attack them for no reason. All these negative behaviors cause the cat trauma and it becomes very hard for her to trust people and you end up trying to change her perspective towards people. She will probably be terrified of noises and sudden movements.
If you are patient and gentle you will be rewarded with gratitude. She will not trust other people as much as she trusts you. This might look like she is obsessed with you. After all, cats are not famous for their trusting abilities.
There are some possible explanations for why cats get attached to only one person. It could be the person’s approach, voice, smell or simply how that person treats her.
When cats are with their trusted human, they get chattier and playful. But when they are with strangers, they are much less chatty, and you can see that all they want is to leave the premises immediately.
This type of behavior can be seen in young children when they are with adults they are not acquainted with.
So, knowing that cats are not very into trusting people and seeing that she cannot get enough of you is a priceless and very fulfilling experience.
Kittens and cats tend to be social groomers; that is, they love to groom their family members. They lick us because they want us to be clean and healthy too. They will commonly try to bite and pull off any foreign object on your body. This could be a ring, a sock, or even a mole.
I am an avid animal lover and love to write about cats in particular.
Have you ever wondered why your cat licks you all the time?
Photo by Gabriel Crişan from Pexels
Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
We all love our cats—from their cute little paws to their sometimes inscrutable facial expressions.
On the other hand, you might wonder about some of the things they do. I mean, is it really necessary to try to scale a wall only to fall on their butts, or to yank your favorite teddy off of the shelf a thousand times a day? Here's another age-old question: "Why does my cat lick me all the time?"
There are many different possible answers, and it is up to you to determine which one fits your cat.
Have you ever wondered just why your kitten licks you so much? Perhaps it's because they think you are THEIR pet!
By Kenichi via Flickr
1. She's Grooming You
One of the many reasons that our cats lick us is because they are grooming us. Cats are notorious bathers! They love to lounge for hours at a time while only bathing and napping the day away. Cats are very clean animals, as you can probably tell by their neat appearance and well-maintained coats. For the most part, there is never a single hair out of place!
Cats will also turn this attention to us. Kittens and cats tend to be social groomers; that is, they love to groom their family members. They lick us because they want us to be clean and healthy too. They will commonly try to bite and pull off any foreign object on your body. This could be a ring, a sock, or even a mole. Should your cat groom you, you should take it as a sign that they care for your well being. Then again, many of us may take it as a sign that our cats are telling us, "PHEW! You're stinky and need a bath!"
Kitties love to lick! There are many possible reasons why they may be doing this.
By Jacob via Flickr
2. You Taste Good
Of course, this one might be a given. If you taste like a delicious steak, your cat is going to want to lick you- especially if you were not courteous enough to share a few bites with him or her! Kittens and cats love our food just as much as your dog does. If they don't get the chance to have any, they will resort to the next best option: getting a taste from you! Kitties may lick your fingers or face to see what they were missing out on, and will also lick your clothing if you dropped food on yourself. Don't worry though: these quick tastes won't be enough to harm your cat if you're worried about them ingesting human food.
3. It's a Survival Strategy
Cats are accustomed to bathing after eating in order to eliminate any evidence of food. It's a survival strategy to fend off predators! Therefore, it is quite possible that your kitty is trying to help protect you from predators by ridding you of any meal evidence.
4. Your Kitten Is Lonely
"Does my kitten lick me because she's lonely?" This is quite possible! Grooming (licking each other) is a very common social activity among cats. It is their favorite way to bond with each other, other than stampeding through the house together while terrorizing your breakables. When a kitten or a cat begins to feel lonely, they are going to try to groom and play. If you are away from home often (perhaps work or school), it is quite possible that your kitty just needs more bonding time. In this case, the best way to react is to "groom" her. You can do this by brushing the cat, petting her, or by scratching the kitty's favorite scratch spots (usually located behind the ears and at the tail base). Ensure that your cat or kitten gets enough attention; and if nothing else, get a playmate for the kitty!
How to Keep Your Kitty From Becoming Lonely
Leave the TV on
Hire a pet sitter
Use a treat dispenser
Get another kitten to be a playmate
Leave your favorite music playing while you're out
Invite family or friends to visit
Cats will overgroom due to anxiety, which might carry on over to you, the owner. If you notice that your cat has been off its rocker lately, then anxiety might just be the cause. Moving to a new home, gaining a new roommate, moving the furniture, and even a change in diet can bring on an anxiety issue. Try to determine any problem causing factors that may be in the kitty's environment if you think this might be the cause. No one likes to be stressed out or anxious; especially animals!
Why Are Cat Tongues So Rough and Spiky?
Cats and kittens have rough-looking tongues. They seem to have lots of spikes on them, much like the bristles of a boar bristle brush. This bristly structure of the cat tongue (the bristles are actually papillae) is made up of backward-facing taste buds that are actually a tool for survival. They are used to deep clean the coat, while also helping them to eat. They help the cat to remove flesh from bones (not a common occurrence for the modern house cat) and help them to remove food and debris from their coats. These papillae on the cats' tongues also help cats to drink. Believe it or not, they don't just dunk their tongues into the water and swallow whatever water is absorbed. Instead, their tongues are capable of yanking water upwards into a miniature column of water, and then they close their mouths quickly around the water. How cool is that!?
How Much Licking Is Too Much Licking?
Sometimes, our wonderful kitties may begin to lick too much. At first, we might not even notice it. All we see is an adorable kitten bathing in the sunlight or a kitty who might be licking some messy spills from the night's meal off of our clothes. Unfortunately, there is a point where licking becomes excessive and unhealthy. How and why does this happen?
When your cat begins to spend an excessive amount of time licking itself or you (let's say 30 minutes to an hour or more per session), it should set off a red flag. After a while of licking, your skin will become irritated. If the cat is only licking itself excessively, you may notice a thinning coat on your cat or even bald spots. As the problem worsens you will probably see irritated patches of skin that may even bleed or become infected.
There are several main causes for this issue:
- Skin irritation or allergies
Anxiety triggers cats to compulsively clean; anxiety may be a part of a cat's personality or it can be due to environmental stress. Skin irritations, allergies, and parasites can all cause itching or odd sensations on the cat's skin, enticing the cat to eliminate the problem the best way it knows how: licking and scratching! For most of these issues, a veterinarian can prescribe medications. Yes, there are anxiety and allergy medications available to pets!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Cats are cute on April 30, 2020:
There is a typo
There are 2 reason #4's and no reason #5
not david on March 26, 2020:
you lied to me it said 5 reasons
Frannie-Cakes on December 07, 2019:
"i lick my cat because she purrs when i do it"
Lmao! Does anybody else see that comment?! How am I the first to say something?! 16 months ago lmaooo.
Great article by the way! Thank you.
Kandy the Ferret on August 11, 2019:
My cat demands lots of attention, but she loves grooming me also. Although she doesn’t lick me a lot anymore.
Risandi jayasekara on June 09, 2019:
I lick to do
Dont need to know on November 04, 2018:
My cat licks me so much and purrs I had him for two months he Is 7 weeks he’s adorable but he’s a bad cat
He also has “wobbly cat syndrome”
His back legs don’t work
So he falls when he walks or runs
He runs like a bunny
someone on July 22, 2018:
i lick my cat because she purrs when i do it
Yes I do on May 20, 2018:
To donald duckling:
My cat which I have for 9 years sometimes does the same, she does love to have very sharp claws, perhaps that's the reason she sometimes comes to me for grooming
donald duckling on March 07, 2018:
I have owned/been owned by cats all my life and I have a unique (for me) situation in the licking department. One of my cats, LB, does this licking of my hands and then rubbing himself on it......trying to get me to 'groom' him. Not sure if this is due to the fact that he was found in the woods with his siblings as a kitten or not. I have had him for almost 5 years (his previous owner gave him up to fight a losing battle with cancer) and he has been anxious cat for 3.5 of the years he has been with me......... he's 12 now. In the last year or two since he's calmed down a bit, he insists that it is my job to 'groom' him by letting him lick my hand and then having me rub the sides of his face and body...... over and over again. He gets brushed, but that always ends with him trying to lick my hand and rub it. I don't have 30 minutes before bed each night to do this and it is seriously getting on my nerves. I have started to tell him no every time he tries to lick me, but i kind of feel bad for the guy. He has another cat that I adopted 1 month before him that will groom him, but he is really intent on having me do it.
I have never had this experience before with a cat, even the 2 that I raised from 1 week old. Has anyone else??
donald duckling on March 07, 2018:
@marie, keep an eye on your cat and the inappropriate urination because the stress could have inflamed his bladder. I have a boy that used to sometimes pee on my clothes and then in my bed if I didn't notice the clothes. He had a chronic inflamed bladder which turned into chronic UTIs, for a while it happened every six months or so. Once I tuned into the signs and gave him UTI when it started, it got much better. Now he hasn't had an episode in 1 1/2-2 years. Don't get upset at him because of the peeing, that will only make it worse; it is just his way of letting you know that something hurts.
The reason he is licking/kneading you every night is because it is probably his routine to groom before going to bed.... and he includes you in that.
Marie on February 28, 2018:
My cat licks my hands aswell as neading me every night for at least 20 minutes before he goes to sleep! He's done this from 2 months old.....
Can anyone tell me why??
Also he wakes me every night throughout the night doing whatever he can to piss me off,
About 3 months ago he started urinating in the house I found out this started after he was attacked by another cat and was told it was stress related!
I've brought spray to stop him and plug in stress relief which worked for a while then he started agian
Advice greatly appreciated please
anonimoose on February 22, 2018:
My cat is blind, and she accidentally licks me all the time trying to groom herself
Luis Laureano on August 03, 2017:
Thanks for the info, I had a feeling I was right about my cat grooming and bonding with me. I love my cat named Fatboy ☺
Soul on March 26, 2017:
Joker likes to groom and groom if he did something wrong. Including trying to bite if you pet him.
Beth on November 21, 2016:
I have two cats right rascals they are I just wake up in the middle of the night to find my cat trying to lick me lol
Terry h on November 03, 2016:
My oreo licks me and my hubby all the time and always licks herself too alot she also scratches at her ears and shakes her head i wonder if she has ear mites and or skin condition doesnt want you to pet her too much yet she is affectionate i will have to take her to the vet see whats what thanks for the post
Barry Bishop on September 28, 2016:
My experience tells me that licking behavior in cats is often a domination behavior. I've always allowed my cats to lick me as much as I could stand because it gave them the sense that while they were doing it, despite their almost total dependence on me, they were "the boss." To my mind, a happy, satisfied cat is the best kind! Thanks for the chance to tell about my little Skippy.
Barry Bishop on September 28, 2016:
In the 1980's I had a cat who I found near death in the Minnesota winter with a severed, severely infected paw (caught in a trap?). After he recovered, and was neutered, he was a serious behavior problem. He would attack me, biting and scratching. Famous animal behaviorist Dr. Robert K. Anderson (U. of MN Vet School , inventor of the Gentle Leader harness) taught me how to train him ("boot camp" style). He became my little buddy. He was a compulsive licker, and would lick my arm bald if I let him. I called him Skippy because of the way he walked with his right front paw missing. He's been dead over 25 years, I've had many cats since, but I still miss him.
Eric on July 21, 2016:
I appreciate all the neat information ! My kitty Honey Bear always licks me :) She was a rescue and a medium hair orange and white tabby and just saves me from the world daily !
Cheska on April 10, 2016:
My cat has bald spots due to excessive grooming, she has mites btw and I already took her to the vet for medication. Will my cat's fur grow back?
Amelia on April 10, 2016:
I love your cat
Alex on January 03, 2016:
Yes my male cat George licks me I think out of effection
angryelf (author) from Tennessee on April 29, 2014:
Thank you everyone! I'm glad all of you enjoy it! I used to have cats in the past who were big on licking; but I saw this question somewhere and decided that it would make an awesome hub :) Thanks for the support & interest!
travmaj from australia on April 29, 2014:
My daughter has the cats now, totally spoiled and much loved. And oh so bossy, they groom us all. Now we know why. Lovely hub and most informative. Thank you.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 29, 2014:
I quite enjoy the care that they give me; they can lick all they want to. Good hub!
sheilamyers on April 29, 2014:
The cat I have now doesn't lick me that much, but last one loved to lick. He'd even lick my toes. YUCK! Usually it was my fingers or hair. He really loved sitting on the back of my chair and washing my hair for me. I ask the vet about it and he told me the same things you covered in this article. I'd say Pippen did it for the first three reasons you gave. This hub will really help people learn why cats lick people, especially those who are first time cat owners.
Jennifer Kessner from Pennsylvania on April 29, 2014:
Prince Fredward is the groomer! He's super social, and I wish I had a companion for him. (It might save me from some of his baths!)
Sp Greaney from Ireland on April 29, 2014:
Our previous cats used to do this quite often, but our current cat just wants to chase butterflies outside. :)
angryelf (author) from Tennessee on April 28, 2014:
Thank you Peggy! Cats truly are awesome pets, I myself currently have two. They will terrorize our home all hours of the day and night... destroying everything within their paths... but I wouldn't trade them for anything! LOL! It's absolutely adorable when they cuddle up and bathe us. Thanks for jumping in and browsing my little ole corner :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2014:
We have 2 inside cats both of whom were strays. They are a joy and delight. Our female cat Peaches not only grooms Dusty, our male cat, but me as well on occasion. Ha! Up, useful and interesting votes.
07-01-2022 · Cats lick their owners for a variety of reasons including to show affection and to gather scent. iStock Cummings went on to add that another reason for …
Cats are enigmatic creatures. While they make wonderful pets, their behavior can often leave us baffled.
For instance, have you ever wondered why your cat licks you? Why do they run their little rough sandpaper-like tongue across your arm or face?
Well, as it turns out this action can be for a myriad of reasons. We spoke to some experts to find out...
Sign of Affection
If your cat "starts licking you while you're cuddled up together, it could be that they're trying to show affection and make friends with you," Cats Protection behavior officer Daniel Cummings told Newsweek.
The expert added: "Cats are usually quite happy to just groom themselves, using their rough tongue to remove any dirt and excess fur from their body.
"However, if they're in the same social group as another cat, they may lend a helping tongue and groom each other. This helps them to form a close bond, and it can sometimes happen across species too."
Felines can also show affection in many other ways, such as through eye contact, body language and making sounds such as purring.
"Cats lick to wash themselves but they also can lick us to gather scent from us", Anita Kelsey, cat behaviorist and author of Let's Talk About Cats, told Newsweek.
"Our body scent or sweat can excite cats also, which is why some nuzzle up under our armpits."
Cats have a very good sense of smell, 14 times stronger than humans.
It is the primary way they identify people and objects; they have more than 200 million odor sensors in their nose, in comparison with the 5 million that humans have.
Cummings went on to add that another reason for licking is to share their own scent.
"This helps them tell, with a simple sniff, that the other cat is part of their social group and can therefore be trusted," he said. "By licking you, your cat could simply be marking you as safe and letting you know you're part of the family."
To Feel Good
As well as gathering scent, grooming and showing affection, cats also gain pleasure from licking.
Cummings revealed this releases "'feel good' hormones, called endorphins, in their brains."
"This gives them a natural 'high' so it's understandable that they may want to do it at every opportunity, even if that means licking you instead of themselves."
When Cats Lick Too Much
Although licking is normal and largely a positive thing, when your feline begins licking too much it can be a bad sign.
Due to the release of endorphins when a cat is stressed it may turn to licking to release anxiety.
This could manifest as compulsive grooming, known as psychogenic alopecia, which could be triggered by a change of routine or environment.
Cummings warns: "If they're licking you, or themselves, excessively then they could be feeling stressed or anxious, so take them to a vet to see if they can help identify a cause."
01-10-2021 · Why does my cat grab my arm and lick me? Because your cat loves you and it’s fun. Unless she is grabbing you and kicking your arm repeatedly then she is not fighting with you. Sometimes cat nip to show affection and ownership. Why does my cat bite me and then lick me?
You should be happy when your cat licks you because it means that they trust you and feel safe with you. The same thing goes when they groom their fellow cats as it is a sign of social bonding and respect. On the other hand, your cat may also be licking your face as a sign of anxiety.
Why does my cat grab my arm and lick me?
Because your cat loves you and it’s fun. Unless she is grabbing you and kicking your arm repeatedly then she is not fighting with you. Sometimes cat nip to show affection and ownership.
Why does my cat bite me and then lick 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 does my cat lick me and not my husband?
A lick is not a kiss, even though I often refer to them that way. Nonetheless, licking may be a sign of affection. Mother cats comfort and groom their young by licking them. It’s possible your cat simply feels a little more relaxed with you than she does with your husband.
Is it okay to let a cat lick your face?
You just need to avoid mouth-to-mouth contact, and put that stockpile of anti-bacterial gel to good use. Cats pick up the same bacteria when they clean themselves, too, so letting your cat lick your mouth, nose or eyes is not recommended.
Why does my cat lick me while I pet her?
Your cat may lick you when you pet her because she thinks you’re socially grooming each other. When your cat licks you while you pet her, one of the most common reasons is that she’s trying to socially groom. But cats don’t groom one another with their paws, they use their tongues.
Why does my cat grab my hand and bite me?
Most times, a cat who’s grabbing and biting your hand is simulating hunting behavior. If your cat were to catch prey, they would bite and scratch at it in this way to tear it apart. That’s not to say your cat really wants to hurt or kill you—they don’t! They’re just doing something that’s instinctual to them.
What does it mean if your cat sleeps on you?
The reasons for this are varied, but generally speaking, it is the person who cares for them each day. This bond is important to your cat as they are social creatures that need affection and attention from their owner. By sleeping with you, it is another way for them to show their love.
Why does my cat grab my hand and kick me?
Many healthy cats enjoy the act of “play wrestling” with other familiar cats, toys, pets, or humans. So, when a cat grabs ahold of their toys or your hand (ouch!) and starts to bunny kick, they’re likely playing, and not violently attacking.
Why does my cat follow me into the bathroom?
They know the routine: when you’re sitting on the potty you’re not going anywhere for a while. Many cats love to curl up on their person’s lap on the toilet. They have your undivided attention for a certain amount of time: you’re not working, or cooking, or knitting, or reading a book, or watching TV.
What does it mean when a cat stares at you?
If your cat’s staring at you whilst also in a crouched position with their tail tucked in, it’s generally a sign that your cat’s frightened. They may also be hiding underneath a coffee table or bed and their staring is because they’re keeping an eye on the potential ‘danger’.
How do you tell a cat off?
Discourage Bad Behavior
- Shake a noisy can: If you see your cat jump on the counters or somewhere it shouldn’t be, shake a can with some pennies in it to startle your cat.
- Use deterrents: Some cats dislike citrus smells, red pepper flakes, and commercially available sprays designed to keep cats away from certain areas.
Should I let my cat sleep with me?
Bill Fish, cofounder of Tuck.com, says, without question, there are positives to allowing your cat into your bed each night, including giving both of you a sense of security, emotionally and physically. “Having a guest in bed with you also reduces stress as well as brings warmth and comfort,” he said.
Do cats know their names?
Cats know their names, but don’t expect them to always come when you call. Whatever you named your cat, and whatever cute nicknames you end up using for her, domesticated felines can understand their monikers.
Why does my cat prefer me over my husband?
Most cats do pick one person they prefer over any others in the household. This doesn’t mean the cat doesn’t like your partner. It just means he likes you more. Best thing you can do for your cat is accept him the way he is with the personality he was born with.
26-03-2017 · It’s how cats remove meat from bones; Licking is important for coat maintenance; Licking removes the scent of prey after a meal; It’s how mothers clean their kittens and help them eliminate their waste; In a multicat environment or in a cat colony, allogrooming helps create a familiar group scent; Licking is a way cats cool themselves
Oh, the cat’s tongue. It’s as cute as can be when it’s peeking out just a bit from the cat’s mouth as she drinks water or delicately grooms herself. It’s small and pink and so adorable. Yet, when the cat’s tongue starts licking you, that little sandblaster seems as if it could take off several layers of skin.
Licking serves many social and practical functions:
- It’s how cats remove meat from bones
- Licking is important for coat maintenance
- Licking removes the scent of prey after a meal
- It’s how mothers clean their kittens and help them eliminate their waste
- In a multicat environment or in a cat colony, allogrooming helps create a familiar group scent
- Licking is a way cats cool themselves
- Licking is used for stress relief
- Licking helps remove external parasites
That’s just a few of the ways that cute little tongue is kept busy. In a previous article I discussed in detail why cats groom so much (access article here) but in this post I want to cover the licking that cats tend to do toward family members.
When your cat licks you, is it the feline equivalent of a kiss? Is she marking you as hers? Well, let’s examine some of the reasons cats lick us.
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09-11-2018 · So, why does my cat lick me? Cats lick humans as a display of affection, they trust you, to groom you, ask you for food or possibly to warn you of danger. It’s generally thought of as a positive behavior. Just so you know you’re not the boss of the house. Your cats own you and they show you by licking you.
Like any morning ritual, I have a cat that lovingly crawls onto my chest and begins to lick any part of my face. Basically, any part of my bare skin that’s available. I’m not sure why they do this, so I did some research and dug into this phenomenon to get an idea.
So, why does my cat lick me? Cats lick humans as a display of affection, they trust you, to groom you, ask you for food or possibly to warn you of danger. It’s generally thought of as a positive behavior.
Just so you know you’re not the boss of the house. Your cats own you and they show you by licking you.
Their tongues aren’t just for butt licking, spreading those pesky FEL-d4 allergens or creating hairballs of horror.
They’re used for bonding and survival.
A Cat Tongue: Mini Claw Made of Sandpaper?
Anything dealing with a cat is always mysterious. With grooming, their efficient little tongue is a versatile part of their body so staying clean can mean life or death.
It’s instinctive. They’re so meticulous because they need to hide their smell from prey.
Plus how else would they get water into their bodies? A cats tongue is very important.
Ok, back to licking you.
Why does it hurt when a cat licks you? It hurts when a cat licks you because of their sandpaper feeling tongue.
No, their tongues aren’t made of sandpaper. Those small even shaped barbs or hooks are called Papillae.
Your cat’s tongue is covered in them.
They are made from keratin much like our fingernails, says Alexis Noel from Georgia Tech.
He also states that those spines on your cat’s tongue point in the same direction. The direction that takes anything they are licking head back towards their throat.
Those tongues are able to detangle all sorts of knots and break (tease) it apart.
What Does It Mean When A Cat Licks You?
Your cat is returning the favor by licking you in the same way you give them affection with petting.
The same way we give hugs, kittens will use licking to make a connection with us and to claim us as theirs.
They were borning into being cleaned by licking from their mothers.
So, washing is caring.
While we all love to be “kissed” by our cats, licking can get tiresome and excessive.
It’s best to understand this feline behavior so we can properly divert them when it happens.
Here are the most common reasons why your cat licks you:
- They are taking ownership of you
- Returning the favor from you petting them
- You taste good – salty skin
- They want attention
- They are cleaning (washing) you
- They’re giving affection
- Stress or feel anxious
- Relaxing – they feel calmer around their own scent
How To Stop Your Cat From Licking You?
If you want your cat to stop licking you, please don’t punish them, simply distract them or train them with repetition.
Pay attention to their behavior when it’s about to start.
You can redirect the licking with a food dispensing toy, catnip filled toy or some cat grass that you have nearby.
If your cats are licking you too much, could be from insufficient nursing as a kitten.
They may have developed some kind of oral fixation as a result. I’ve read that this is the culprit of many compulsive biters and lickers.
You could try getting another cat, giving them a stuffed animal or fuzzy type blanket.
Basically, redirect their actions.
If nothing works and your cats are persistent, then try getting up and walking away.
Maybe your cat will associate licking you with leaving and disappearing. They’ll learn eventually that you are a lick free human.
Why do cats lick your face?
I think cats lick our faces for affection, grooming and to tell us something.
It’s preening. Cats extremely fastidious by nature and preen to remove hair and dirt. They learn these behaviors from birth when momma is licking them to “life”.
So, while you’re laying down and it’s feeding time, I’m sure your call will either yell at you or climb up to lick your face.
Why does my cat lick my nose? When your cat specifically licks your nose, they’re showing a sign of a strong bond. It’s a claim of ownership over you by transferring their scent. Nose licks from cats are like kisses between humans on the cheek or forehead.
Why does my cat lick my hand? My cats lick my hands when they want to be pet or they smell something on them that they like. Especially green olives!
Why does my cat lick my feet? Cats may lick or rub on your feet because your scent might most pungent there or it’s just easily accessible.
Your cat might be attracted to shoes. I have 1 cat, Tanta, that loves to hide my toddler’s shoes all around the house.
It’s mostly specific to my youngest and it’s the shoes she wears every day. Strange behavior but I take it as she misses her.
Why does my cat lick my hair?
Your cat licks your hair as a way of showing love or making you their territory by grooming.
It’s a social behavior where they want to clean your “fur” and smother it with their scent. I’ve gotten this strange behavior a time or two, but it doesn’t last long as my hair is too long.
They start doing that flicking motion with their mouth and sometimes gag. Works better on short haired humans making a nice sticky cowlick.
“Some cats may also just enjoy the taste of hair products or even the natural oils found in human hair.” If this starts to bother you… “You should not look at, talk to or touch a cat who is licking hair, unless you are comfortable having the behavior increase in frequency. If you want to stop the behavior in progress, get up and leave,” says Dr. Christensen Bell, DVM, of Veterinary Behavior Consultations of NYC
Just be sure your cat isn’t eating your hair or becoming sick after licking it.
Why does my cat lick me after I shower?
Your cat could be licking you after a shower because you might smell different, they’re thirsty or they need you to be dry.
While cats are fascinated with water, they don’t (not all) like to be wet. Since you are part of their pride and own you, you can’t be wet either.
They will lick you after a shower in an attempt to get you dry.
Same goes with your scent. You washed them off you, so now they need to “reapply” their love on you again.
Whenever I got out of the shower, my Tanta girl would immediately begin to lick all the water drops from my legs.
When I gently would nudge her away, she’d go for my feet!
Below is a video from CatsandPats where his kitty is licking his hair!
Why does my cat lick me after biting? Or bite me after licking?
Some cats may bite after licking or lick then bite us as a warning sign so that we stop petting or playing with them, a sign of affection or signs of grooming.
We really need to get a clear picture here of what’s going on at the moment.
Your cat could mean one thing or it could be in their behavior:
- Over stimulation – Your cat could be telling you they’re done with the playing. This bite might be a gentle way of saying enough and the lick is saying I still love you.
- Love Bites – In this case, your cat is showing affection to you. If your cat isn’t bothered by anything that’s happening, petting or sitting close, the message of love is being communicated here.
- They want to play or be loved – Cats aren’t the best communicators.
It’s hard to tell if they want to play or not. So, they need to come up with a way (non-verbal) to tell you. My cat often whines, paws at me or simply stares at me until I go to her.
So, the combo of the bite-lick / lick-bite can be one of them.
If you want to read an interesting article on cat eyes (more specifically, the reasoning for your cat’s excess tears) – click here to read our article!
Why does my cat headbutt me? A cat will headbutt (or bunting) you as a sign of affection or love. Indoor cats and outdoor cats will headbutt and do face rubbing to mark each other as a family or with cats they know.
What if my cat is licking too much? Excessive cat licking. These are known as “fur mowers”. Your cat can be licking too much from having parasites, has a skin infection, being bored, stressed, having anxiety, they’ll have bald patches or could be a compulsive disorder.
These reasons seem to be more prevalent with indoor cats because it’s less exciting and less exercise.
Cat licking concrete floor? Your cat is licking the concrete for minerals that she is lacking in her body for possible anemia, including calcium and other minerals.
Why do cats lick rocks? Some cats may lick rock out of a craving for dirt or earthly matter (geophagia). It’s instinctive due to a compensation for a deficiency they may have.
Why does my cat lick furniture? When cats start licking items that aren’t food, like furniture or walls, they can be showing signs of a form of Pica. Pica is a behavior in cats eating things that aren’t food. Definitely, see your vet for a consult about your cat’s current diet.
29-05-2021 · When my Siberian cat Alexei licks me I take it as a sign of love. However, when he quickly follows the licking up with a bite I begin to think that he might feel otherwise! I was heartened to discover…
When my Siberian cat Alexei licks me I take it as a sign of love. However, when he quickly follows the licking up with a bite I begin to think that he might feel otherwise!
I was heartened to discover that this problem is not unique to Alexei and that many other cat owners have asked why does my cat lick me then bite me?
It can be very confusing when your cat displays what seems to be loving behaviour and then behaviour that can actually cause you pain. Is it angry? What have you done wrong? And what should you do?
Here are 5 reasons why your cat may lick you and then bite you – plus some of the other most frequently asked questions in this area.
Why Does My Cat Lick me then Bite Me? 5 Reasons
1. To express their love
If your cat approaches you and gives you a couple of little licks and then a bite when you weren’t petting them before hand – and if they seem happy and calm – they are probably trying to show you their love.
This little nip is a normal way for them of expressing their love. I am afraid that your cat most likely doesn’t understand that this love might be a bit unpleasant for you to receive.
Kittens and sometimes grown-up cats will often lick and nip each other. Their skin is a bit tougher than ours so it most likely doesn’t hurt them. Thus your cat thinks this is an appropriate way to express its love for you.
2. They are Grooming You to Bond
Cats will give little bits in their own grooming process when they have matted fur or need to get rid of something on their fur. Or they will do this when grooming each other, particularly when they are kittens.
Cats have keratin spines on their tongue – this is why your cat’s tongue can feel a bit exfoliating. These spines allow your cat to clean itself thoroughly.
If there is lots of licking and not much biting then they may be attempting to groom you, as if you were another cat. And if they are focussing on licking and nibbling on your hair then grooming is an even more likely explanation.
If your cat is trying to groom you this is a very positive sign as it shows they have a good bond with you. Remember, cats don’t randomly groom other cats – they will only groom the cats in their group.
3. It is Overstimulated
Have you ever noticed that your cat can quickly go from being happy and content whilst you are stroking or playing with it to suddenly being very unhappy and frustrated? This normally means that they are overstimulated.
Our cats of course can’t tell us to leave them alone so they communicate this through the lick and bite.
There are no set rules about overstimulation. What is too much for one cat will be fine for another. Your cat will probably have a tendency towards a small amount or a large amount of stimulation being comfortable.
However, there may be some variances in what they will tolerate depending on their mood eg they may like more cuddles if you have been away or if they are feeling unwell.
Also, your cat may become agitated if you spend too much time petting a part of their body that is more sensitive. Have a look at your cat’s ears when this happens.
If they are flat against its head or flicking back and forth it is time to leave your kitty alone.
Another good way to know if you have overstimulated your cat is by watching what they do after the lick and bite. If they run away and hide then it is likely that they have been overstimulated. If they stay near you then it might be one of the other reasons in this article.
4. They are Playing
If there is a toy involved in the lick and bite then it is likely that your cat wants to play. However, the desire to play and overstimulation can look quite similar.
If your cat has its whiskers and ears pointing forward, tail up, slightly arched back, and dilated pupils they may well be in the mood to play.
The key determinant of playing vs overstimulation is how your cat reacts after the bite. If your cat wants to stay around you and is bouncy and looking happy then they are probably looking to play. If they tense up and depart the scene overstimulation is the most likely explanation.
If your cat stays on the scene then bring out a feather toy or other cat toy and you’ll soon find out if they are in the mood to play.
⇒ How long do cats live? How to get a cat to eat? How to train a cat not to bite? How often do cats pee? and How to Pet a Cat.
5. It is stressed
Excessive licking and biting can be a sign of stress or anxiety. Some cat breeds like Siamese cats will chew things when they are anxious. Alas, this chewing behavior may also extend to chewing parts of you.
Some cats will start licking non-stop or in a compulsive manner when they are stressed.
⇒ 10 Types of Siamese Cats, Siamese Cat Personality Profile, All you need to know about the Lynx Point Siamese, 13 Most Popular Siamese Cat Colors and 12 Sensational Siamese Cat Names.
If your cat licks you and then bites you it is unlikely that they are genuinely angry with you. You may well have seen your cat angry or scared.
Angry cats tend to get very arched and firm backs, fur standing on end, and quite a hit of hissing. At worst you may be annoying your cat due to overstimulation.
Licking and Biting Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why does my cat only lick and bite me?
Probably because you are the person that they love the most.
⇒ What Smells do Cats Hate? Why do Cats Pant?, How Long do Cats Sleep?, What do Sleeping Cat Positions Mean? When is a Cat an Adult?, Why Do Cats Have Tails?, Do Cats Dream? Are German Shepherds Good with Cats? , Corgis and Cats: What You Need to Know, Can Cats Get Depressed?, Why do Cats Rub Their Faces on Things?, How Long is a Cats Memory?, Why Does my Cat Sleep with me and not my husband?, Can Golden Retrievers and Cats Get Along?, Why Does my Cat Bite my Feet?, How Long do Cats Grow?, Why does my cat fart so much?, How to Keep Cats Away from Plants, Why is my Cat Shaking?, Why do Cats Meow at Night?, Can Cats Get Colds?, Why Does my Cat Keep Sneezing? Cat Sleeping Positions when sick and Rottweilers and Cats: 11 Things You Need to Know
2. Why does my cat lick and bite other cats?
As mentioned, licking and biting other cats can be quite normal in the world of kitties. It could also be because of one of the reasons above. However, it is likely that the other cat knows what your cat is up to!
3. What do gentle cat bites mean?
This is most likely a little love bite from your kitty. If your cat is relaxed and happy when biting you gently then this is the most likely explanation. However, if they are tense then it may be time to back off before the gentle part becomes history.
⇒ 15 Most Popular Maine Coon Colors, 12 Things to know about Seal Point Ragdoll Cats, 13 Most Popular Siamese Cat Colors, 13 Types of Ragdoll Cat Colors and Coat Patterns, British Shorthair Colors and Siberian Cat Colors.
4. Why does my cat grab my hand and bite me?
If your cat is grabbing and biting your hand it is probably mimicking hunting behaviour. This is how your cat would treat captured prey. This would mean that it was tearing its prey apart so that they could eat it but the odds are they don’t plan on doing this to any of your body parts.
5. How do I get my cat to stop biting me?
If you want your cat to stop biting you, make sure you react to every cat bite, even if it is gentle. Pause and very loudly and firmly say No. Then don’t make eye contact with your cat for at least about a minute so they also link biting with not having your attention.
⇒ Maine Coon Personality Profile, 13 Things to Know about the Skookum Cat, Siberian Cat Personality Profile, 13 Things to Know About the Dwelf Cat, Key Characteristics of the Kinkalow Cat, 13 Things you Need to Know About Minskin Cats, All you need to know about the Toyger Cat, Tabby Cat Personality Profile, 13 Bambino Cat Characteristics, All about the Khao Manee Cat, 12 Characteristics of the Ragdoll Cat Personality, All about the Lykoi Cat, 13 Things to know about the Raas Cat, 10 things to know about the Genetta Cat, All About the Sokoke Cat, what you need to know about the British Shorthair Chinchilla, 13 Characteristics of the Napoleon Cat and Siamese Cat Personality Profile.
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04-03-2020 · Why Does My Cat Lick Me. Cats are known for their independent nature, with a character generally very different from that of the dog. But, this does not mean that they are affectionate, even as much or more than dogs!
Cats are known for their independent nature, with a character generally very different from that of the dog. But, this does not mean that they are affectionate, even as much or more than dogs! Cats can show us their affection in many ways: lying next to us, rubbing or … sucking.
If you have ever wondered why does my cat lick me then bite me, you are in the right place to find out.
When you live with a cat, you discover how incredible they are as pets. Do not be surprised if he only approaches you when he wants something: food, attention or, almost as if by a miracle, a dose of pampering. Perhaps this is why, every little show of affection you give them, they value it and receive it with much more enthusiasm.
If you have seen yourself in the situation of petting your cat and that it responds to you with a lick and a subsequent bite, it is natural to be intrigued by why does my cat lick me all the time and it’s meaning. If you follow us, you will discover the answer to why my cat licks me and then bites me.
The lick has a clear connotation of hygiene, and you should know that they only groom those they consider as their family. The bite, on the other hand, requires paying attention to the animal’s body language to know how to interpret the message that accompanies it correctly.
Why Do Cats Lick?
Surely more than once, you have wondered why, suddenly, your cat goes crazy licking you … as if he really loved you! These outbursts of tenderness and affection have a motive, but it is not always the same. Cats continually communicate with us, but they don’t do it in our own language. That is why it is important to know their body language to learn to interpret their behavior, understand them, and communicate with them.
Why Does Your Cat Lick You?
We have been analyzing the different situations in which a cat licks, and we can tell you the various possible causes of this behavior. A behavior that sometimes we do not understand, but that comforts us and, without a doubt, strengthens the bond with our feline. Usually, it is a positive social behavior, but we will tell you the possible options to help you better understand your cat.
My Cat Licks Me As A Sign of Love
Cats do not share our language, and to relate to them, understand them, and enjoy their company is necessary to learn it. Yes, as you probably thought most of the time, your cat licks you to express his love. It is his way of showing that he loves you and that he feels happy by your side. Just like when they lick each other or their kittens, it is a way of telling you that you are their family.
My Cat Licks Me to Socialize
Yes, as simple as socialization. Licking is one of the ways cats have to interact with people and other animals. In this way, they show their interest in you and convey confidence and security. Surely you will have seen how cats lick each other by way of affection and, other times, as an aid to clean the areas that they do not reach themselves.
My Cat Licks Me as a Protection
Cats lick their young to protect them. By cleaning them with their tongue, they not only take care of their hygiene, but they also eliminate the bacteria that may be in their body. Your cat can lick you for this same reason, to clean you and protect you from viruses. This clearly translates to his desire to keep you close and healthy.
My Cat Licks Me When He Is Playing
Licking and biting is a game for cats. While biting you softly, you don’t have to worry or scold him, it is his way of having fun, and he doesn’t do it with the intention of hurting you.
If your cat licks you and then bites you hard and you notice that his hair is frizzy, it is a sign that he is not comfortable or is behaving aggressively. Be patient if this happens in the first months of having you at home and teach him not to act like this.
My Cat Licks Me to Clean Me
Licking is a grooming behavior. Just as they lick themselves to wash, remove dirt and remove dead hair, they lick other cats and their humans. But don’t believe that they do this with anyone; they need to have a strong bond to do it.
My Cat Licks Me Because He’s Stressed
Licking is not always related to something good or with signs of affection. When cats are nervous or going through a time of anxiety, they need to lick. It can be yourself, a carpet, a piece of furniture, a toy, or you.
This lick can be somewhat compulsive; Don’t panic, it’s normal. Try to find out the reason that makes them feel this way and try to avoid it. It may be related to some annoying sound, changes in the house, in your daily routine, or the visit of a person or other animal. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid it, but surely you can take some measures to reduce the impact it produces on your cat.
Cats also lick to mark their territory and to exchange odors. Surely your cat has licked your fingers many times after having been cooking, right?; They also usually do it if you have been touching aromatic plants that are attractive to them.
The Bite, How Do You Know What it Means?
According to the experience of the ethologists, among the cats that have been separated before the month of life of their mother and their siblings, it is usually usual that while we caress them, they begin to bite.
This is because they have not had the opportunity to learn, along with their brothers, to moderate their impulses. Enabling him to smell you before caressing him usually helps. Get used to bringing your hand toward your nose slowly and so it can recognize you.
If, on the contrary, the bites are soft and repetitive, it is a clear symptom that your pet is well socialized and indicates that there is a healthy bond between you. It has enough body self-control to communicate that it wants to play with you.
On other occasions, the bite reveals certain tiredness or preference not to maintain physical contact. It is his particular way of expressing himself that he has had enough fun for today and wants to be alone.
If despite its good purpose, this ritual is not to your liking or if its bites really hurt you, you should comply with the following recommendations:
- Don’t lose your temper or scold him.
- Stop caressing him and take distance from him.
- On the other hand, reinforce the behaviors that you like, such as purring or licking, rewarding it with, for example, your favorite snack or treat.
- Give it time to internalize it, don’t expect me to learn it overnight.
In summary, if you want to know why does my cat lick me and then bite me? Pay close attention to the bond you two have and how much you mean to him. This would help you know why, and the next time it happens, give him a good dose of pampering.
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02-08-2020 · A cat’s tongue is one of its greatest assets. With tongues covered in “papillae,” cats use these curved spines to groom themselves – spending anywhere from 30% to 50% of their day keeping their fur…
A cat’s tongue is one of its greatest assets. With tongues covered in “papillae,” cats use these curved spines to groom themselves – spending anywhere from 30% to 50% of their day keeping their fur clean. So with all of that time spent on hygiene, many cat parents wonder: “Why does my cat lick me?”
6 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Licks You
Although it may be impossible to say for sure, researchers, veterinarians, and cat behavior experts have suggested a number of reasons why your cat may lick you every now and again. Let’s dig in…
1. To show affection
For cats, licking is not only used as a grooming mechanism, but also to show affection. By licking you, other cats, or even other pets, your cat is creating a social bond. Part of this behavior may stem from kittenhood when your cat’s mother licked to groom them, as well as to show care and affection. Many cats carry this behavior into their adult lives, licking their humans to pass along the same sentiment.
Many cats carry this behavior into their adult lives, licking their owners to pass along the same sentiment.
2. To “mark their territory”
Although there are a number of ways that cats “mark their territory,” including cheek rubbing, scratching (and unfortunately, spraying) – licking is another behavior that cats might use to claim something as their own.
In this case, if your cat is licking you, they’re trying to ensure that other cats or animals know who you belong to – them!
3. To groom you
Even though your cat might not realize that licking you isn’t actually helping you “get clean,” this behavior is completely natural to them. As we mentioned earlier, mother cats groom their kittens in order to teach them to do it for themselves, show them affection, and create a bond.
In fact, according to certified feline behavior and training consultant Marci Koski, a group of cats living together often designate an “allo-groomer” – a cat that licks and grooms the other cats in the group.
If you find your cat licking you, they might be trying to fulfill their role as the “allo-groomer”– cleaning you and establishing your membership in their group.
4. To taste something interesting
As simple (and even silly) as it may seem, your cat may be licking you because they taste something interesting on your skin. You may have spilled something, or came into contact with something that left a residue on your skin – and your cat likes the way it tastes. If it’s warm, or you’ve been exercising, it could be that your sweat has left a salty residue, and that’s what your cat is trying to taste.
Interestingly enough, although cats’ tongues are made for grooming, they have a much more muted sense of taste in comparison to humans. In fact, cats are one of the only mammals that are known not to be able to taste sweets.
5. To get your attention
Another possible reason why your cat licks you may just be that they want your attention. Whether they want you to pet them, feed them, or pay attention to them, your cat may lick you to try and capture your attention.
In this case, licking can be equivalent to any other attention-seeking cat behavior, like pawing at you, or meowing.
6. To cope with anxiety or stress
Finally, your cat might lick you because they’re anxious or stressed. Although sometimes excessive licking or grooming can indicate a medical issue, many times cats lick you, or themselves, as a coping mechanism for stress or anxiety.
You might find your cat licking you after moving to a new home, or experiencing a change in their environment. Typically, this kind of licking isn’t anything to worry about – unless your cat grooms themselves so much that their skin becomes raw or they create bald spots. In this case, you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about what you can do to remedy this behavior.
Why Does It Hurt When My Cat Licks Me?
A question directly related to, “Why does my cat lick me?” is “Why does it hurt when my cat licks me?” When it comes down to it, the answer is simple.
As we mentioned earlier, a cat’s tongue is covered in little spines called papillae. These papillae are made of keratin, the same substance that makes up human fingernails. Because cats are self groomers, the makeup of their tongue is strong enough to get saliva down to their skin, as well as detangle their fur, remove substances like dirt, and redistribute oils.
Therefore, when a cat licks you – repeatedly rubbing their spine-covered tongue on your skin – it’s apt to hurt a little. It’s for this reason that cats’ tongues are often compared to sandpaper.
How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Licking Me?
Unless your cat is repeatedly licking you and grooming excessively, licking isn’t usually anything to worry about – it’s a natural cat behavior. However, with the rough makeup of a cat’s tongue, it can be annoying to have them consistently licking you.
If you’re looking to curb this behavior, the best thing you can do is try to redirect their attention. If your cat likes cuddling, you might cuddle or start petting them to try and distract them from licking. Similarly, you might try and use a toy to divert their attention from licking to playing. Finally, you might simply walk away or move away from your cat if the licking becomes excessive.
While your cat licking you isn’t typically anything to worry about – and can even be a compliment – if at any time you’re concerned with their behavior, we recommend that you reach out to your veterinarian for advice.
(What if your cat grooms too much? Read this post, "Excessive grooming in cats.")Are there any other reasons why my cat might lick me? Maybe. Google this question and you’ll be flooded with answers like: cats lick to show love, or they lick because their mothers licked them when they were kittens, or because they were taken from their mothers too soon.
I once overheard a co-worker at the shelter where I volunteer baby-talking to one of the cats. “Aren’t you the sweetest?” she cooed. “I love, love, love your little kisses!”
Although I never asked, I assumed the cat was licking my fellow volunteer. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d heard a cat-lover refer to a cat’s licks as “kisses.”
Are they kisses? When a cat licks you, is she trying to share physical affection with her mouth the way a human would, but without the purse-able lips?
A cat’s lick means something to the cat, but probably not exactly what a kiss means to us.
Why does my cat lick my hand when I pet her?
Why do you pet a cat? I’ll guess that you find it soothing to stroke a living thing that is so soft and warm. It’s a relaxing, almost hypnotic behavior, and touching a cat’s silky coat produces a pleasant sensation on the skin, too. If you feel emotionally connected to your cat, petting adds a physical dimension to that closeness. You are probably thinking about how your cat feels, too. I’m sure you assume that petting is pleasant for him, too, like when someone gives you a little back scratch or a gentle massage.
But what does your cat think you are doing when you are petting her? To a cat, petting isn’t just like a backrub. It means something different.
What does petting mean to a cat and what does it have to do with licking?
According to researchers who studied how cats respond to being petted by humans, cats seemed to like it best when humans pet them the way other cats do.
Now, we all know that cats don’t really “pet” each other. But they do touch each other in a few particular ways. Cats rub their bodies against each other, in a behavior that is called “allorubbing” by scientists. Cats also mutually groom each other, and this behavior is called “allogrooming.” Both allorubbing and allogrooming are behaviors that only cats who are already friends perform with each other. These are “affiliative” behaviors, meaning that they reaffirm the social bond between cats.
Reseachers discovered that when a human pets a cat, the cat views it as grooming behavior, not allorubbing. How did they figure that out? Cats who are allorubbing perform the routine in a very specific order of body parts, with an emphasis on those body parts that contain scent glands: lips, chin, cheek, between the eyes and ears, and near the base of the tail. Allogrooming cats, on the other hand, lick each other’s body parts in a random order.
The cats in this study showed absolutely no preference for the order in which they were petted by people. This suggested to researchers that cats probably view petting as an allogrooming activity.
So, when your cat licks your hand while you pet him, it is likely that he thinks you are grooming him. The licking is him returning the favor. That’s what allogrooming cats would do: one cat would start the licking, and the other cat would lick back to reaffirm the bond.
So, when your cat licks you while you are petting her she is saying, effectively, “yes, yes, we are friends.”
(What if your cat grooms too much? Read this post, "Excessive grooming in cats.")
Are there any other reasons why my cat might lick me?
Maybe. Google this question and you’ll be flooded with answers like: cats lick to show love, or they lick because their mothers licked them when they were kittens, or because they were taken from their mothers too soon.
Do any of these answers have merit? They might, but there is nothing but wishful thinking and unscientific observation to back them up. In the absence of hard science, and without asking a cat directly (so far they aren’t saying much), there is no way to know what a cat is thinking when he’s doing what he’s doing.
One theory that has merit is that some cats may lick to consume what tastes good on your skin. The validity of this theory is up to every individual cat owner. Does your cat start licking the moment you come out of the shower and apply a particular brand of lotion? If so, it’s possible your cat likes the taste of your lotion. (It’s probably best that she doesn’t eat it, however.)
Does your cat lick you after a particularly sweaty workout? It’s possible, as some other websites suggest, that your cat loves the salty taste of your skin. Be a scientific observer of your own cats for an answer.
Why does my cat’s tongue feel like sandpaper?
A cat’s tongue is covered in little hooks called papillae. The papillae are made from keratin, just like our fingernails. The papillae are actually shaped like little cat claws and have very sharp tips that are surprisingly effective in untangling a cat’s fur.
Mechanical Engineer Alexis Noel was so fascinated by the structure of cats’ tongues that she created a model to mimic these little spines using a 3D printer and the scanned image of a cat’s tongue. She tested the model out using a machine that dragged it across a patch of faux fur. What she discovered was that the cat-tongue design was surprisingly easy to clean compared to a traditional human hair brush. Unlike a traditional brush which got clogged with hair that could only be removed by painstakingly plucking the caught hairs out from between the bristles, she only had to sweep her finger across the “cat-tongue” brush to thoroughly remove the caught fur.
Watch Dr. Noel remove cat hair from her "cat-tongue" brush here
Is it safe to let my cat lick my face?
Probably not. Are some of us going to do it anyway? Probably. But regardless of your current stance on face-licking, at least get educated so you can decide whether the risk outweighs the reward.
A cat’s mouth can harbor bacteria that may not be harmful to them but could be a problem for very young, elderly or immunocompromised people. Capnocytophaga canimorsus and Pasteurella multocida, are two organisms found in a cat’s mouth that can be dangerous for people in these populations. It is less likely, but still possible, that a person with a healthy immune system will become infected.
Does your cat eat a raw diet? If so, face-licking could expose you to more bacterial dangers that every person, regardless of their age or immune status, should be worried about. A two-year study conducted by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine analyzed a variety of pet foods from different manufacturers, including raw foods, for harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Of 196 raw pet food samples, 15 were positive for Salmonella and 32 were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. By contrast, of 740 dry, semi-moist, and jerky-type dog and cat food and treats tested, exactly one was positive for Salmonella only.
The FDA offered suggestions for handling and storing raw pet food to minimize the risk of infection and also recommended that pet owners do not let their pet lick their faces, especially after the pet has just finished eating.
Now you can decide for yourself.
How to get my cat to stop licking me
Once you understand that your cat is licking you in the only way his little cat self knows how to reciprocate your petting, you might be inclined to tolerate a bit of licking.
But what if the licking goes too far?
Cat licking that seems obsessive might very well be. Some cats lick themselves bald (a topic for another blog post) and some cats seem to want to lick YOU bald.
Cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett explained that excessive licking can be a sign of stress and up to us responsible cat owners to identify the stressor and try to remove it from your cat’s environment. Remember that an indoor cat is helpless to remove herself from something in her world that is bothering her.
Do you have a multicat household? Examine the relationships between co-habitating cats to see if there is friction you can reduce by providing more resources (toys, beds, litter boxes, water and food dishes), and more space (especially vertical space).
Perhaps your young, exuberant cat is stressed because he has no outlet for his abounding energy. You might need to set aside more time to play with him, especially vigorous play.
Or maybe your cat is bored. Consider providing puzzle toys to exercise his mind, or moving a perch nearer the window so that your cat sit and can watch the world go by.
Simultaneously, observe and try to learn the behaviors that precede the excessive licking. Does your cat settle into a particular position before the licking starts? If so, try to head the obsessive behavior off at the pass in the gentlest way possible. Distract your cat with a favorite toy, or place a soft object between you and your cat to make it more difficult for her to revert to her old ways.
What are some things you shouldn’t do to stop the licking? If you want the licking to stop, don’t put something unpleasant tasting on your skin so that your cat gets an unhappy surprise. It’s true this tactic might get your cat to stop licking you, but it may have an unfortunate side effect, too. Your cat may begin to associate you, and not just your skin, with unpleasantness.
Never, ever, ever hit, shove, or yell at your cat for licking you too much (or for any other reason). Abusive behavior doesn’t prevent licking and can permanently damage the bond you’ve worked so hard to build with your beloved cat.
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 Todd, Zazie. Where Do Cats Like To Be Stroked?, Blogger, 27 July 2020, www.companionanimalpsychology.com/2015/03/where-do-cats-like-to-be-stroked.html.
 Terry, Sarah Jeanne. “Why Does My Cat Lick Me When I Pet Her?: Cuteness.” Cuteness.com, 31 Oct. 2019, www.cuteness.com/13721775/why-does-my-cat-lick-me-when-i-pet-her.
 Cassidy, Joshua. “Ever Wondered Why Your Cat's Tongue Feels like Sandpaper?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 1 Mar. 2017, www.pbs.org/newshour/science/kqed-deep-look-cats-tongue-sandpaper.
 Noel, Alexis C., and David L. Hu. “Cats Use Hollow Papillae to Wick Saliva into Fur.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 4 Dec. 2018, www.pnas.org/content/115/49/12377.
 Solomon, Donna. “Safely Living With Pets: Don't Let Your Pet Lick Your Face and Other Helpful Tips.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 4 Jan. 2015, www.huffpost.com/entry/safely-living-with-pets-d_b_6069134.
 Medicine, Center for Veterinary. “Raw Pet Food Diets Can Be Dangerous to You and Your Pet.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/get-facts-raw-pet-food-diets-can-be-dangerous-you-and-your-pet.
 Johnson-Bennett, Pam. “Why Does My Cat Lick Me So Much? - Part 2.” Pam Johnson-Bennett Answers the Why, When & How of Cat Behavior Issues, 9 Sept. 2020, catbehaviorassociates.com/why-does-my-cat-lick-me-so-much/2/.
 “Why Does My Cat Lick Me?” PetMD, 16 Feb. 2016, www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/evr_ct_why-does-my-cat-lick-me.