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Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Nausea, pain, or discomfort can lead to licking. In Bambu’s case, we discovered that inflammatory bowel disease was the cause of her licking. If your cat’s licking is excessive or just started recently, take them to be evaluated by your …

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

Like many other cat parents, I set out to understand why cats lick us. Here’s some insight on cat licking—whether it means that your cat likes you or there’s an issue that you need to get checked out.

Is It Normal For Cats to Lick You?

Cats spend up to 8% of their waking time grooming (and 50% napping), so licking in general is a normal behavior for cats.1

Anyone who has been tongue-bathed by a cat will agree that a cat’s tongue is less like a soft sponge and more like a sandpaper loofah. This is because your cat’s tongue is covered in hundreds of tiny, firm, backward-facing spines called papillae. These spines help remove dirt and loose fur from your cat’s hair coat and cover the fur in saliva to keep your cat cool.2

Why Do Cats Lick You?

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

Your cat is expressing her affection for you.

Your cat’s licking may be an affiliative behavior, which is a friendly, altruistic behavior. Mothers groom their kittens, and cats may groom one another, which is called allogrooming. This grooming strengthens their social bonds, so your cat may groom you to nurture your relationship.

Your cat is seeking attention.

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

Your cat is identifying you as part of their group.

Cats communicate by marking objects and other animals with their scents, and one reason why mother cats lick their kittens may be to create a familiar group scent. Similarly, your cat may lick you as a way of identifying you.

Your cat is displaying kitten-related behavior.

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

Your cat likes your taste.

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

Your cat is anxious.

Licking may represent a displacement behavior, which is a behavior that a cat performs to alleviate stress. Stress more commonly leads to excessive self-grooming, but the licking may be directed toward you, too.

Determine if there are any triggers for the licking, like visitors in your home or loud noises. If your cat’s anxiety is left untreated, the licking may progress to a compulsive behavior, at which point the licking takes over your cat’s life.

Your cat has a medical issue.

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

Is It Safe to Let Your Cat Lick You?

Accepting a bath from your cat is usually safe, but there are some potential risks. Cats carry bacteria in their mouths, which can lead to local or systemic infection if a cat licks an open wound. Immunocompromised people are most at risk. Acquiring a disease from your cat is very rare, but to be safe, don’t let your cat lick your face or any cuts on your skin.

Some medical ointments may also be harmful to your cat when licked. If you apply any products to your skin or hair, inform your veterinarian to determine whether the product may be potentially dangerous to your feline.

How To Stop a Cat From Licking You

Whatever the cause of your cat’s licking, you may find the licking uncomfortable or even annoying.

Never use punishment, including scolding, squirting water, shaking a jar of coins, or applying bitter-tasting spray. This may compromise your bond with your cat and may make your cat more anxious, which may exacerbate your cat’s licking.

Here are some tips to minimize the licking:

  • Cover your skin with long-sleeved clothing or a small towel when you interact with them, and provide a food puzzle or toy.

  • When your cat starts licking, get up and walk away. If your cat is licking for attention,  ignoring the licking should cause the behavior to subside. Don’t ignore your cat completely, but only when they lick you. If it does not stop after a week, there is likely another motivation for the licking that needs to be addressed, and you should talk to your vet.

  • Try tossing a cat toy or treat away from you. When your cat follows the toy or food, then you can get up and walk away.

  • When your cat interacts with you without licking, reinforce the behavior by rewarding them with praise, petting, or play.

  • Give your cat plenty of environmental enrichment. There is never too much! Purchase a variety of toys, hide all but 5-6 toys, and rotate them every few days to create novelty. Provide vertical spaces such as cat trees and perches, along with other hiding places for your cat, and devote at least 15 minutes to interacting with your cat three times daily.

If your cat’s licking persists or is excessive, then they should be evaluated by your veterinarian to ensure there isn’t a medical or emotional disorder underlying it.

Resources

1. Eckstein RA and Hart BJ. (2000). The organization and control of grooming in cats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 68(2):131-140.

2. Noel AC and Hu DL. (2018). Cats use hollow papillae to wick saliva into fur. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1809544115.

Featured Image: iStock.com/sdominick

See Also:

Why Cats Knead

Why do cats lick people? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

There’s no one reason why your cat might lick you. However, there are three main theories why domestic felines engage in this behaviour: They’re displaying they trust you. They’re accessing biochemical information from you skin. They’re marking you as another one of their possessions. The trust theory. Yes, there’s a chance a cat may lick you to show they trust you. Or least to show they …

Licking: cats are absolutely obsessed with it. In fact, research suggests an adult domestic feline can spend up to 8 per cent of their waking hours grooming their body with their tongue. Licking can also play an important social role with felines, with adults often licking each other just before copulating.

But what about humans: why do cats lick people? The good news: there’s no evidence to say your cat considers this any part of a pre-mating ritual. The bad news: scientists and cat behavioural experts aren’t completely sure why your cat might mop their little tongue against your face or hand.

However, while there’s no overarching and definitive explanation for this behaviour, there are several theories about why domestic felines lick humans. Spoiler: your cat doesn’t come off well in any of them.

There’s no one reason why your cat might lick you. However, there are three main theories why domestic felines engage in this behaviour:

  • They’re displaying they trust you.
  • They’re accessing biochemical information from you skin.
  • They’re marking you as another one of their possessions.

The trust theory

Yes, there’s a chance a cat may lick you to show they trust you. Or least to show they don’t consider you as serious competition.

“This type of licking is similar to a cat-to-cat behaviour known as allogrooming, which is basically mutual grooming. A cat will learn this from its mother when they’re a very young blind and deaf kitten. It’s basically to clean the kitten and strengthen social bonds,” says Dr David Sands, expert in animal psychology with over 25 years of clinical experience.

Read more about cats:

“Because of these maternal origins, adult cats will only lick other cats they trust and are not in competition with. And this trusting grooming behaviour may be transferred onto a human.

“After all, cats are not sitting there saying ‘I’m a cat and you’re a human being’. To them, animals are either in competition with them or not. And licking shows you’re not in competition.” 

In other words, if your cat licks you, it’s not a positive sign of attachment. It’s just not a negative one (which is as good as it gets with a cat). 

cat licking © Getty
Helpful note: always think about the last place your cat might have licked before allowing this. © Getty

If in doubt, consider the University of Lincoln study tactfully titled Domestic Cats Do Not Show Signs of Secure Attachment to Their Owners.

When swapping 20 felines and their human owners, researchers found the cats appeared to bond as well with strangers (shown through behaviours such as play and mirroring) than with their actual owners.

The researchers concluded: “These results are consistent with the view that adult cats are typically quite autonomous, even in their social relationships, and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of security and safety.”

The biochemical theory

While this sounds complicated, this is essentially the very simple idea that a cat will like you because they’re interested in whatever scent is on your hand.

Cat taste buds are so sensitive – they can pick up scents from our skins that could include pheromone secretions from other animals,” says Sands.

“It could also be that you’ve got salt, moisturiser or whatever you’ve just eaten on your hand. To cats, all these are interesting scents and licking allows them to check it out. That’s simply all it might be.” 

The possession play theory

Cats are, as Sands puts it, “scent machines from head to tail”. And their favourite smell? Their own. In fact, they love their own unique scent – which acts as an airborne fingerprint – so much they think it should supplant all others.

As Sands explains, this is why a cat may lick themselves after your stroke them – “it’s purely to get rid of your scent!” he says.

So much other cat behaviour comes down to possession and ownership. Everything that they do is very territorial,” Sands adds.

“Sometimes when cats groom other cats and people they’re scraping off scents and supplanting it with their own. It’s their way of marking and saying ‘This is mine! I own you!’”

He adds: “People always think cats rubbing themselves against you or things you touch are expressing love. But actually, cats are very possessing individuals. For them, the more they can brush past you and deposit their scent, the better!”

With a doctorate in ethology (animal psychology) at Liverpool University, Sands has over 25 years experience at his animal behavioural clinic. He is a Fellow of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association (CFBA) and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB).

Sands is also the author of Cats 500 Questions Answered, Hamlyn, £4).

Read more about the science of cats

Why Do Cats Lick You? - All About Cats

18-03-2022 · Even if your cat is licking you for normal reasons, it has the potential to be a nuisance or even dangerous. The scent of products used on your hair or skin could attract your cat and entice them to lick you. Ingredients in those products are not always safe for cats or could cause irritation to their gastrointestinal system.

18-03-2022

It can feel uncomfortable when your cat licks your bare skin due to the backward-facing barbs on a cat’s tongue.

Our dog companions are well-known for licking people, but what about cats? Cat parents often complain of their cats licking their fingers, their feet, or even their hair.

The sensation is generally not pleasant because of the barbs on a cat’s tongue, which make things quite rough. So why do cats lick people? It turns out that there are a variety of reasons.

Normal Licking Behavior In Cats

We first need to identify what is normal versus abnormal licking behavior for a cat. Cats are some of the most fastidious groomers out there. In fact, they are so good at it that most pet cats rarely, if ever, need a bath if they are in good health. Grooming serves a variety of functions for a cat’s health and well-being.

Health Reasons for Grooming:

  • Grooming keeps the coat clean and dry.
  • It spreads around natural oils from the cat’s skin, conditioning the coat.
  • Grooming removes parasites. Cats are so good at this that it can be tough to find evidence of certain parasites, like fleas. We often have to look for things like flea dirt, instead of the actual fleas, to confirm their presence.
  • Licking also has a cooling function. Cats do not sweat and they also do not pant like dogs to dissipate heat (cats panting can be a sign of severe distress or illness). Licking applies moisture to the coat and when that evaporates it provides a cooling effect for the cat.

Social Reasons for Grooming:

  • One cat licking one another is called allogrooming. This is a much more common behavior among familiar cats than strangers. Seeing this behavior between cats in a household provides insight into the social relationships between them. It most commonly happens around the head, neck, and ears. Cats have been observed allogrooming other species, including dogs, horses, and rabbits, among others.
  • Licking provides scent distribution between cats. Scent is a crucial way that cats identify other members of their social group. That scent distribution can also help form and strengthen social bonds between the cats or between the cat and another animal.

Safety Concerns

Don’t let your cat lick lotions or creams from your skin as the ingredients in these might be dangerous for cats.

Even if your cat is licking you for normal reasons, it has the potential to be a nuisance or even dangerous. The scent of products used on your hair or skin could attract your cat and entice them to lick you. Ingredients in those products are not always safe for cats or could cause irritation to their gastrointestinal system.

Two common ingredients found in certain topical creams that are toxic to cats are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) and estrogen. It is important to be extra aware of your cat having access to potentially lick these products and prevent that from happening.

Cats sometimes lick hair and swallow it. This is also a concern because hair can accumulate in the intestinal tract and lead to urinary blockage.

Licking could be a sign of a gastrointestinal problem, which is not uncommon in cats. From the mental health perspective, licking can be an attention-seeking behavior or even a behavior performed due to anxiety or stress. Anxiety and stress are the least common reasons for licking so ruling out other possibilities is always the best place to start.

Also Read: 5 Visual Signs of a Stressed Cat and How to Help

As with any behavior, when there is a sudden change or it is performed with excessive frequency or intensity, it can be an indication of something else going on. In that case, the first stop should be to your veterinarian’s office to make sure your cat is in good health.

What To Do If Your Cat Licks You

If your cat is licking you too much, provide more toys and activities to help engage your cat in a healthier way.

If you want to stop your cat from licking you, the best approach is to become incredibly boring. That may sound silly, but this approach works very well. The reason is that a lot of cat behaviors are inadvertently reinforced by their family members which causes the behavior to happen more often.

Pushing your cat away, petting them, and talking to them can all be rewarding to your cat. On the other hand, unpleasant punishments can also make the problem worse. Things like yelling at your cat, using a spray bottle, or any type of physical reprimand have been shown to potentially lead to aggression and should never be used.

Being very boring is typically more effective. That means completely disengaging from your cat when they start licking you. Often, the best way to do this is to get up and walk away without looking at, speaking to, or touching your cat every time that they start to lick you.

Cats are very quick learners and it should not take long before they figure out that licking you does not get them any form of attention.

Remember that licking is a variation of a normal behavior for cats. Oral behaviors such as licking, chewing, and sucking are natural way for cats to explore the world around them. Ensuring that your cat has plenty of outlets for both physical and mental activity can go a long way to reducing unwanted behaviors like licking.

Enrichment Options to Reduce Licking

The term enrichment comes up over and over again when discussing undesirable behaviors and creating the best quality of life for pet cats. There is a good reason for that—it works!

Any enrichment is good, but in the case of licking it may be most helpful to give them appropriate options to use their mouths. Food puzzle toys are very popular and there is almost no limit to both products for sale and do-it-yourself options available.

Feeding puzzles get your cat thinking and problem solving. They can get your cat moving around more, and they also allow cats a good place to focus licking or other oral behaviors.

Food puzzles aren’t the only options, though. Cats may like chewing on safe plants like cat grass. Chew sticks are available made of silver vine or other woods that cats like. Even soft chew bones designed for puppies can be enjoyable for some cats. Be sure to supervise your cat with these items to make sure they don’t try to swallow them whole or in pieces.

That depends. If the licking does not bother you and it does not happen too often or for too long, it may be OK. However, it is very easy for licking to become a way of seeking attention and get out of hand. In some cases, for example when certain products are present on the skin, licking that can be dangerous for your cat. It's best if you can redirect your cat to a more desirable activity.

It can be, or at least a sign that your cat sees you as a member of their social group. It is not the only reason a cat may lick you.

This doesn’t always happen for the same reason. Licking can be an appeasement behavior, meaning that it helps defuse tension. This could be the reason that a cat licks someone after biting them. You may also see the opposite, where a cat licks first and then bites. Sometimes social interaction gets to be too much or too intense for a cat and they bite as a way to stop that. If you pet your cat while they are licking you, this is more likely to happen.

View Sources

https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/poisoning-toxicity/c_ct_hormone_replacement_poisoning_in_cats

https://www.aspca.org/news/topical-creams-can-pose-danger-pets

People also ask
More FAQs for why do cats lick
  • Why do cats like licking their owners?

    Why Do Cats Like Licking Their Owners? 1. A Cat Feels Extremely Comforting During Licks Experts say that many kittens, who are weaned early from their mums or the ones that are orphan, develop oral behaviors like licking and suckling sooner. In fact, they exhibit such babyish habits even in their adulthood.
    Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
  • Why is my cat constantly licking his paws?

    Excessive paw licking can be caused by injury, allergies or anxiety. Treatment will vary based on the cause. Injury. If your cat is excessively licking his paws, first check his paws for any signs of injury. Excessive licking of an area often indicates pain that the cat is trying to treat. Look for stickers, burrs or splinters stuck in the foot.
    Excessive Paw Licking in Cats
  • Why do cats randomly bite their owners?

    The most common reason that cats bite their owners isn’t that they have an aggressive cat, it’s because they are trying to play! While sharp teeth or claws may not feel very “playful” to you, hunting behavior equals play behavior for your kitty. This means stalking, pouncing, biting, and kicking.

    It’s no secret that cats are some of the most aloof creatures around. However, if they are in a particularly affectionate or playful mood, they won’t hesitate to approach and initiate interaction with their owners. Every cat owner knows that felines can be quite clingy and expressive if the mood is right, but why do cats rub against you then bite?

    As a general rule, cats rub themselves against their owners and then bite when they are happy or overstimulated. In some instances, it’s a bad habit they acquired when they were just kittens. Cats can sometimes bite while rubbing due to aggression caused by either frustration or pain.

    There are many traits that make cats some of the best pets on the planet, from curious to friendly.

    One trait of theirs that can leave their owners both captivated and guarded is unpredictability, evidenced mostly by cats biting their owners out of the blue. If you would like to know why your cat likes to bite while it’s rubbing itself against you or doing any other cute thing, such as purring or kneading, read on.

    But before anything else, let’s answer this question…

    Why do cats rub against you?

    Cats rub against their owners to transfer their scent onto them. This act makes cat owners the possession of the cats they own. Cats rub against their owners to make them feel safe and protected, too. If their owners have picked up scents outside, cats erase those by rubbing themselves against them.

    Refrain from assuming that your cat is rubbing itself against you because it wants to clean itself.

    Cats clean themselves by licking themselves. And when your cat licks you, it wants to either clean you or say to you that it loves you. It’s for the same reason why a mommy cat licks its kittens. Unfortunately, just like when rubbing itself against you, a cat may also suddenly bite while it’s grooming you.

    Now that we have established the reason why cats rub against their owners, it’s time to answer why then they bite.

    Affection

    cat biting
    Image credit: Canva

    People show their affection for one another in different ways — kissing, holding hands, hugging, etc. Cats may not be able to lock lips or wrap their arms around their owners alright, but they have their own ways of expressing their affection. Biting is one of them, which is what humans fondly refer to as a “love bite”.

    It may sound like it’s painful and bloody. However, a love bite is a gentle bite that usually does not break the skin.

    That’s because cats deliver a love bite when they are happy and relaxed. It’s nothing like a bite felines make while they are hissing, spitting and growling or with dilated pupils, arched backs and bushy tails.

    If you are a new cat owner and you have never experienced a feline love bite before, the first time may leave you surprised and terrified, too. This is especially true if you have yet to completely get to know your furry pet’s personality and its full range of emotions. But worry not because a love bite, like the name suggests, is a sign that it loves you.

    When a cat gives you a love bite, remember the following things:

    • Do not pull your hand away. Because a love bite rarely leads to an open wound, refrain from yanking your finger or hand out of your cat’s mouth. This may cause your skin to end up scratched, and your cat’s teeth to wind up loose or knocked out. Be still and allow the cat to quit giving you a love bite.
    • Do not reprimand your cat. A love bite comes from a good place, and it will break your cat’s heart if you will respond by yelling or hitting or spraying it with water. If you don’t want to receive any more love bites from it, what you can do is walk away from your cat for it to realize that you don’t like it.

    Getting a nibble from a cat could mean a few other things, too, which is why we should answer this…

    Why do cats bite gently?

    First and foremost, cats bite gently to show their affection. It’s more common in cats that have had a litter as gently biting their little ones is a way to make them feel comfortable. Sometimes, cats bite gently to invite their owners to play. It’s also a way of telling they have had enough play.

    To minimize being gently bitten by your cat, offer it toys — we will talk more about cat toys below.

    Acquired Habit

    Like kids, kittens love to play a lot. They play by chasing, stalking, pouncing, clawing, scratching and biting one another. To humans, it may seem extremely violent and dangerous. But to little cats, it’s absolute fun.

    Playtime among kittens is like hitting two birds with one stone — it gives them the opportunity to have some fun and excitement while teaching them hunting skills that will come in very handy when they’re older. One very important skill that they need to develop is biting. Alas, when they’re older and playing with people, they may still bite, too.

    Needless to say, one reason why your cat suddenly bites you during playtime is that it’s an acquired habit that it finds difficult to let go of. It’s kind of fine when your cat is just a tiny kitten. It’s a different story if it’s already old and big and its fangs are massive and sharp. Biting during play can sometimes break your skin.

    Luckily, there’s no need to stop playing with your cat just to keep your hands free of wounds and scabs.

    All you have to do is get your hands on some cat toys, many of which your feline will find more delightful to bite than your different body parts. When shopping for toys for your pet, opt for those that mimic some of the qualities of prey animals, such as those with fur, feathers and noisemakers.

    What’s really nice about most cat toys is that your cat can play with them without your involvement. So, in other words, you can have some peace and quiet while your whiskered chum is having a blast.

    Kneading is another habit from kittenhood that cats do, which brings us to this question…

    Why do cats knead?

    Cats knead to make themselves feel relaxed and comfortable, such as before taking a nap. It’s a leftover behavior while they were mere kittens, which they carried out while breastfeeding from their mother cats to stimulate milk flow. Adult cats knead their owners to display their love and affection.

    Your cat kneading you can make you go “awww!” However, at times, it can also make you go “ouch!”

    Cats rarely extend their claws when kneading. Unfortunately, some felines knead with their claws extended, which can leave whoever they are kneading in a great deal of pain — the happier cats are, the harder they knead. This is when the importance of keeping your four-legged pet’s claws trimmed, which is good for your skin and furniture, too.

    Overstimulation

    cat biting
    Image credit: Canva

    Too much of a good thing is bad, and this applies to cats when in a playful mood. If their owners make the mistake of making them feel too excited, it could cause the cats to scratch and bite.

    It’s because of this exactly why you should do your best to know when your feline pet is already overstimulated. Usually, it will exhibit the following when it’s time for you to stop tickling it: twitching fur, flickering or flattening ears, swinging tail, enlarging pupils, increasing vocalization.

    Keep your peepers peeled when playing with your cat for several minutes. When it seems to be getting overstimulated, stop and then get away. Otherwise, your cat might introduce you to its claws and fangs.

    This may leave you thinking that you are causing your cat to feel frustrated for abruptly stopping playtime. Because of this, you may be tempted to resume petting and tickling your cat. Keep in mind that you should avoid this at all costs. Since your cat’s adrenaline levels are still high, playtime could easily lead to wartime.

    What you need to do instead is wait for your kitty cat to calm down for a few minutes. Some cats bounce back from overstimulation faster than others. Similarly, some cats become overstimulated quicker than the rest. Before approaching your pet again, check that the various signs of overstimulation that we mentioned earlier are already gone.

    And this takes us to a critical question that needs an answer…

    Why does my cat bite me when I pet her belly?

    The abdomen houses numerous vital organs, making it a vulnerable part. Cats know this, which is why they will do everything necessary to protect it, especially in the presence of a predator. Rubbing a cat’s belly area activates a protective response that could cause the feline to scratch and bite.

    Needless to say, you should refrain from rubbing your cat’s belly. This is true even if it’s lying on its back, which felines tend to do each time someone they trust is around.

    Besides the abdominal area, you should avoid rubbing your pet’s paws and tails, too. You should also steer clear of touching their whiskers. On the other hand, your cat absolutely loves being petted on the top of the head, around the ears, cheeks and chin. They also love it when you rub the base of its tail.

    Redirected Aggression

    Since cats are excellent hunters and extremely curious by nature, it doesn’t come as a big surprise why there are many stimuli in the environment that can fire them up. Unfortunately, it’s not always that felines can get what they want, which is why it can be quite easy for them to wind up frustrated or enraged.

    This is when a cat may redirect its aggression toward something or someone else, such as its owner.

    Cats and humans share more things in common than you think, and one of them is the penchant for redirecting their aggression if they cannot direct it toward the trigger.

    It’s not uncommon for a person, especially one who’s terrible at expressing his or her anger in a healthy and acceptable manner, to yell at innocent people, smash things against the wall and slam doors. One may even resort to self-harm or alcohol or drug abuse to deal with his or her aggression.

    Well, cats are like humans in that sense. However, the majority of felines choose to redirect their aggression by biting just about anything that’s within their easy access, such as the leg or hand of their owners.

    Reducing aggression in your cat is essential if you no longer want to end up with scratches and bites due to its aggression redirected toward you. For instance, if you have several cats and some cannot seem to get along, it’s a good idea to separate your cats that act aggressively toward each other.

    In some instances, seeking the help of a cat behavior consultant or specialist makes perfect sense.

    Besides aggression redirected toward you, your cat may bite you out of the blue for different reasons. And this is why this question needs to be answered…

    Why does my cat bite me unprovoked?

    cat biting
    Image credit: Canva

    Cats bite unprovoked when they want something from their owners or feel that their owners are not giving them enough attention. In some instances, cats bite all of a sudden due to having an extreme startling reflex. Cats that hate surprises or being spooked can bite their owners unprovoked.

    There is one more very common reason behind a cat biting unexpectedly, and we’ll talk about it next.

    Pain

    Cats are known to be affectionate and expressive. Well, except during those times when they prefer to be left alone. It’s also their nature to deal with pain on their own, which is embedded in their DNA makeup — if their ancestors, wild cats, showed they’re in pain, their enemies would take the opportunity to attack and kill them.

    Because of this, it’s very rare for domestic cats to let their owners know that they are experiencing pain.

    And when the pain is too much for them to bear, they will inform their owners without delay. In many instances, felines will express their pain through a bite.

    Immediately check your cat for the presence of injuries, such as cuts, wounds, bruises and swollen joints. If there is no physical evidence that your pet is in some type of pain, the problem could be coming from within. For this, it’s a must that you take your pawed pal to the vet for a thorough assessment.

    Was your cat diagnosed by a vet with a health problem in the past? There is a possibility that it has come back or worsened, and it’s causing your cat pain. Felines are vulnerable to an assortment of chronic diseases, or diseases that last for a long time, which require ongoing medical attention and can affect one’s quality of life.

    In cats, some of the most common chronic diseases are skin conditions. Others include liver disease, endocrine disorders, cancer and obesity, which can cause many serious complications if not managed.

    Besides biting you when in pain, a cat may also vocalize. And this brings us to this question…

    Why do cats purr?

    Cats purr when they are in a positive and relaxing mood. They purr when they are chilling out, nursing and grooming themselves or their kittens. Cats purr, too, when their owners stroke them. However, cats may also purr when they are stressed or experiencing something unfavorable, such as pain.

    Because different cats tend to purr for different reasons, it’s important to understand your own cat.

    When cats are in pain, it’s not just biting and purring that they do. These furry creatures also exhibit reduced appetite, decreased interest in playing and socializing, lethargy and hiding away.

    Just Before You Play With Your Cat

    The so-called love bites rarely break the skin. But from time to time, depending on the mood of cats, love bites can draw blood, too, which can potentially lead to a secondary infection.

    When your cat rubs against you, avoid simulating it excessively to keep it from biting you. Needless to say, it’s a must to know some of the telltale signs that your feline pal is already overstimulated. And if it seems like biting while rubbing against you is a habit acquired from an earlier age, it’s a good idea to use toys during playtime.

    In some instances, cats rub against you and then bite as a result of aggression. If the cause is frustration, allow your cat to realize that taking it out on you is wrong. Similarly, give it time to cool off.

    Take your cat to the veterinary clinic if it seems like its aggression is the result of pain or discomfort from a physical injury or an undiagnosed health problem. Allowing your trusted vet to give your four-legged friend a thorough assessment is necessary for diagnosis and treatment, which can help put an end to unprovoked biting.

    Observing your cat’s body language and the sounds it makes can help you understand it better.

    The Pet Rescue is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We also participate in other affiliate programs which compensate us for referring traffic.


    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of The Pet Rescue.
    Why Do Cats Bite Their Owners?
  • Why do cats clean themselves so much?

    Why Do Cats Groom Themselves So Much?A Little Bit About Cat’s Grooming. Cats start grooming themselves at the age of 4 weeks. ...Grooming Reasons Apart From Cleaning. Cats like to stay clean all the time but there are some other health reasons why they do so. ...Cat Overgrooming. Most cats spend 30%-50% of their waketime grooming themselves. ...Cat Undergrooming. ...Final Note. ...
    Why Do Cats Groom Themselves So Much?
Why Do Cats Lick Themselves?

What Does It Mean if My Cat Grooms Me? Cats are social animals. They lick their people as a display of affection and trust, the way they would lick littermates or their mother. …

When it comes to personal hygiene, cats are the epitome of cleanliness. They are naturally equipped with the implements to groom themselves: a barbed tongue with which to lick, forepaws they moisten with saliva and use as a surrogate washcloth, and teeth to dig out tougher debris. Believe it or not, adult cats may spend as much as half of their waking hours grooming themselves, their relatives and friends.

The Onset of Grooming

Cats Are Meticulous By Nature

Thinkstock

Mothers begin licking their kittens, right after birth, to clean them, stimulate them to release urine and feces, rouse them to suckle, and provide comfort. Kittens usually begin grooming themselves when they are about 4 weeks old. At 5 weeks of age, kittens also begin grooming their littermates, as well as their mom. Mutual grooming amongst littermates, called allogrooming, often continues into adulthood. Allogrooming is a social activity that serves to strengthen the bond between cats.

Licking Patterns
If you’ve ever watched a cat groom her face, you’ve probably noticed the highly stereotyped manner in which she does it: first saliva is applied to the inside of one paw, then, using an upward circular motion, the cat begins rubbing her nose with her paw from back to front. The cat will then reapply saliva to that paw and, using semi-circular motions, groom behind the corresponding ear, the back of the ear, the forehead and over the eye. When finished with one side, the process is repeated with the other paw on the other side of the head. After the head is clean, the cat grooms the front legs, shoulders, flanks, anogenital area, hind legs, and tail with long strokes of the tongue. The order of body parts may vary, and not all of these areas are necessarily groomed in one sitting.

Problematic Grooming
It comes as no surprise to anyone that grooming has hygienic benefits. It helps eliminate parasites, keep the cat’s coat clean and smooth, cool the cat down through evaporation of saliva, and stimulate glands attached to hair roots that secrete substances to keep hair water-proofed. However, grooming can also have psychological benefits. A cat may groom to temporarily reduce conflict, frustration, or anxiety. Under these conditions, licking becomes what is called a “displacement behavior.” Displacement behavior can occur when an animal is motivated to perform two or more conflicting behaviors simultaneously. Unable to do so, a third behavior arises that is out of context with the situation. For example, during a social conflict a cat that feels threatened may be conflicted between running from its attacker and fighting. Caught in a bind, the cat decides to groom instead! Grooming appears to calm and reassure the cat.

Over-grooming, in the form of excessive licking, biting, nibbling, chewing, or sucking the coat or skin, with no underlying medical cause, is typically indicative of stress. Common causes of feline stress are: fear, lack of stimulation, isolation, new pet in the household, move to a new household, separation anxiety, or in some cases early weaning. Over-grooming becomes problematic when it results in self-inflicted injury (hair thinning, removal of complete tufts of hair, skin infections), a condition called “Psychogenic Alopecia.” This diagnosis is made when no underlying medical condition can be detected. In some cases, excessive grooming can start in response to a skin irritation (fleas, allergies, infections), but it can escalate into a behavioral problem even though the condition has cleared. It is thought that the grooming behaviors become self-reinforcing by reducing anxiety. The grooming actions become repetitive, called “stereotypies,” that may come and go, depending on the cat’s current level of stress.

What Does It Mean if My Cat Grooms Me?
Cats are social animals. They lick their people as a display of affection and trust, the way they would lick littermates or their mother. They also may lick to taste any substance that is on your skin, such as salt.

Should You Groom Your Cat?
If your cat enjoys being brushed or combed then I encourage you to do so. Grooming your cat can serve to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Grooming can also help you screen your cat for any problems that may be developing on the skin. However, many cats do not take fondly to being groomed by any tools but their own, so if you value your own safety, it’s best to leave these cats to take care of the job themselves! If your cat is prone to hairballs, matting fur, or excessive shedding, you may need to leave the grooming to a professional groomer.

5 Reasons Why Cats Lick Their Owners

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?

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!

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.

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

ObjectsSocialization

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

5. Anxiety

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:

  • Anxiety
  • Skin irritation or allergies
  • Parasites

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.

Why Do Cats Lick You? How Your Feline Shows Affection

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 …

07-01-2022

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.

Gather Scent

"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.

cat
A stock image of a cat with its tongue out. 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 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."

Cat licking finger
A stock image of a cat licking a finger. If your feline is licking you excessively it could be a sign of anxiety. iStock
Why does your cat lick you? The reasons are actually sweet ...

15-11-2021 · While we don’t fully know why cats lick people, the current theories all suggest that your cat is probably pretty comfortable with you to be licking you. So, if your cat licks you on occasion, you can probably take it as a compliment. However, like all cat behaviors, it’s possible for licking to become obsessive. If you notice your cat is licking you excessively or aggressively, then talk ...

15-11-2021

Often, cats like to be physically close to us. Your cat might curl up next to you on the sofa or even climb into your lap. But sometimes, cats take things a step further, and your cat might even lick your bare skin on occasion. Most cats will just give a lick or two and then stop, but this behavior might still have you puzzled. Is your cat grooming you? Trying to send a message? If you’re wondering, “Why does my cat lick me?” you’ll be pleased to hear that the potential reasons behind this behavior are actually pretty sweet. Once you hear these theories, you might feel differently about your cat licking you.

White longhaired cat grooming itself

Why do cats lick for no reason?

They don’t. Licking is a common cat behavior, and even though we might not yet understand it, there are probably reasons behind why your cat is licking you. According to BBC Science, there are three theories about just why cats lick people.

The first is one you’ve probably already thought of: Your cat may be licking you because he likes how you smell. Your cat might be attracted to the salt from your sweat or even the scent of a sandwich you just ate. Cats have highly sensitive tastebuds, and they can pick up scents that we can’t smell at all. Licking you might be your cat’s way of investigating.

There’s also a theory that a cat’s licking a person is similar to the mutual grooming some cats exhibit when they trust each other. Cats learn to groom and lick from their mother when they’re young kittens, and as an adult, grooming might be a way to show trust in another being — namely, you. Your cat may be demonstrating that he feels secure around you.

A third possibility may be that your cat is licking you to prove that he owns you. Cats love their own scent, and licking is one way that they spread that scent. Much in the same way that cats rub their heads against you to mark your legs, your cat may be licking you to mark you as his.

Keep in mind that it’s also possible that you may have inadvertently taught your cat to lick you. If your cat licked you and you reacted by laughing, looking at, and petting your cat, your cat may have learned that he can get your attention by licking you. If he repeats this behavior and you react the same way each time, then you’re reinforcing that message. In this case, licking you might be a learned behavior, and it could have become your cat’s way of getting what he wants, whether that’s attention or pats.

A brown and white cat licking a person's hand

Should I let my cat lick me?

In many cases, there’s no harm in letting your cat lick you a little bit every now and then. After all, kitty kisses never hurt anyone, right? You’ll want to wash your hands after if your cat is licking your hands or fingers, but usually, this behavior is pretty harmless. But because cats’ tongues are rough, things can get uncomfortable if your cat tries to lick you too much.

There are some instances where your cat’s licking might become unhealthy, like if he starts licking you excessively because he’s feeling stressed or bored. In these cases, you’ll need to distract your cat or move away from him. Often, keeping a toy beside you that you can toss to or use to play with your cat should be enough to distract him.

Final thoughts on a cat’s licking

Licking is a natural behavior for cats, and if your cat is licking you, chances are it’s a positive thing. While we don’t fully know why cats lick people, the current theories all suggest that your cat is probably pretty comfortable with you to be licking you. So, if your cat licks you on occasion, you can probably take it as a compliment. However, like all cat behaviors, it’s possible for licking to become obsessive. If you notice your cat is licking you excessively or aggressively, then talk with your vet. They might have some insight or might refer you to a cat behaviorist to help you better understand just what’s going on.

Editors' Recommendations

vet.cornell.edu

09-10-2017 · Cats will lick when an area of their body is itchy or painful, says William Miller, Jr., VMD, a board certified specialist in dermatology and a professor at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. If pain is the issue, the licking is focused on the painful area, like in cases of disc disease or anal sac impaction. With itchy diseases, however, the licking is more widespread.

09-10-2017

Some cats are more fastidious than others, but obsessive grooming signals a problem.

Nellie, a seven-year-old female spayed tortoiseshell, rolled over on her back and revealed a bald belly. That's when her owner suddenly noticed she had a cat that licked too much. Licking comes naturally to cats, but sometimes this normal grooming urge crosses the line into obsessive behavior. If your cat's licking seems excessive in frequency or duration, don't ignore the problem. Here's what you can do if you suspect your cat's habitual grooming behavior isn't so normal anymore. licking

Cats typically spend between 30 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves, says Pamela Perry, DVM, animal behavior resident of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "It's a huge chunk of their day," she says. "Because cats groom frequently, owners usually don't notice a problem until they observe significant hair loss or skin lesions," she adds.

Why Cats May Lick

Cats will lick when an area of their body is itchy or painful, says William Miller, Jr., VMD, a board certified specialist in dermatology and a professor at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. If pain is the issue, the licking is focused on the painful area, like in cases of disc disease or anal sac impaction. With itchy diseases, however, the licking is more widespread.

"We call these cats 'fur mowers,' and their problem is common in cats," Dr. Miller says. "The area being 'mowed' gives us a clue as to the cause [which can include anything from parasites in kittens to neurological diseases in older cats], but there is great overlap," he says. For example, compulsive licking at the tail head may indicate a flea infestation, while cats with pollen or food allergies may lick their backs, abdomens or other areas of the body.

Licking that causes excessive numbers of hairballs or hair loss is abnormal, Dr. Miller notes. "Bald skin is more prone to sunburn, frostbite or other environmental insults," he says. "As long as the licking doesn't break the skin's surface, no infection will occur. If the cat gets more passionate about licking and abrades the skin surface [with its rough tongue], infection can occur. Infection will intensify the licking and a vicious cycle will be set up, resulting in a serious infection," he explains.

The solution to "fur mowing" is to identify the underlying cause and correct it. "The owner can check for fleas, lice and fur mats, but beyond that, a veterinarian should intervene," Dr. Miller says.

"Over-the-top" licking does not always stem from a physical health problem; the behavior can occasionally have a psychological cause. Cats like consistency and predictability, and change can be stressful, Dr. Perry says. A recent move, the addition or loss of another pet in the home, or even a change of schedule can cause anxiety in cats. Licking - which in such cases is considered a "displacement behavior" - may calm and comfort a cat, but it can sometimes become habitual if the source of the problem is not properly identified and addressed.

When It's Stress-Related

"If all medical problems have been ruled out, then we normally treat overgrooming as the result of some form of stress in a cat's life," Dr. Perry says. If possible, she recommends making changes or introductions gradually; bringing familiar items (such as bedding) to a new home; adding cat-friendly vertical space - high places where cats can retreat and feel safe; and keeping their environment stimulating by finding a few minutes (ten to 15 minutes daily will do) to play with them each day.

"Most cats really enjoy interaction," Dr. Perry says. "Finding what your cat likes, whether it's cuddle time with you or a favorite toy that is like a security blanket, can relieve stress."

Finally, if your cat is seriously stressed, a form of temporary anti-anxiety drug therapy prescribed by your veterinarian may be warranted, she says.

In addition, like people who bite their fingernails, the repetitive act of licking may involve a stress-relieving pleasure component that reinforces the behavior, Dr. Perry says. Thus, feline licking can become a habit that persists after the cause is identified and resolved. "Usually, the behavior is forgotten [naturally or with the help of medication] in about a month," Dr. Miller says.

Whether the cause is physiological or psychological, solving an overgrooming problem will require time and patience on the owner's part. For Nellie, who had recently endured the loss of a companion animal in her home, the solution required consistent attention, affection and routine. It took a few months, but her hair is growing back and her life has returned to normal.

Cat Overgrooming: Why Is My Cat Licking Itself So Much ...

If your cat is licking too much, they can lose fur in strips along their back, belly, or inner legs. The affected areas may be completely bare or have very short stubble. Your cat may also have an unusually high number of hairballs. Here are some common reasons for excessive licking in cats and what you can do to help. Why Do Cats Overgroom?

It’s normal for cats to groom on a regular basis. After all, cat self-grooming is an important behavior that helps cats remove loose hair, dirt, and parasites from their coat.

Cats typically spend up to 50% of their waking hours grooming, but excessive amounts of licking, biting, chewing, or scratching may mean that your cat’s self-grooming habits have become problematic.

If your cat is licking too much, they can lose fur in strips along their back, belly, or inner legs. The affected areas may be completely bare or have very short stubble. Your cat may also have an unusually high number of hairballs.

Here are some common reasons for excessive licking in cats and what you can do to help.

Why Do Cats Overgroom?

To help manage your cat’s overgrooming habits, you need to understand what’s causing the excessive licking in the first place. Your veterinarian can address the underlying issues.

Here are the most common health conditions that can lead to excessive cat self-grooming.

Allergy or Infection

Irritated skin can be caused by an infection, an allergy to certain foods, parasites, or substances in the environment. Your cat’s fur-loss pattern may even hint at the source of the problem:

  • Flea allergy: irritation at the base of the tail

  • Ear mites: hair loss and scabbing on the neck and ears

  • Allergic response to pollen: excessive chewing of the paw pads

Pain

Overgrooming can also indicate that your cat is experiencing pain or discomfort, particularly if she is repeatedly licking one area of her body.

For example, disc disease can cause back pain so that your cat overgrooms a certain spot on their back, while a urinary tract infection or anal sac impaction may encourage excessive grooming of the genitals or perianal area.  

Stress or Boredom 

Some cats use overgrooming as a way to cope with stress or boredom.

It is thought that licking releases endorphins that help relieve anxiety, so when a stressed cat finds relief in licking, it can turn into a habit.

Compulsive grooming, known as psychogenic alopecia, is usually triggered by a change in the cat’s daily routine or environment, such as moving to a new house or the arrival of a new family member or pet. Cats are very observant and may even feed off of our stress levels.

Cats are also highly intelligent and prone to boredom if their daily routine lacks proper enrichment. This cause of overgrooming is especially common in indoor cats that are alone for a large portion of the day.

In these cases, grooming helps make up for the lack of mental or physical stimulation.

This condition can be seen in any breed but is most common in Siamese, Abyssinian, Burmese, and Himalayan cats, due to their sensitive and attention-demanding dispositions.  

How to Stop Your Cat From Overgrooming

The key to managing excessive grooming is to first address the underlying cause. Your veterinarian can diagnose the root cause and provide medical treatment or suggestions for deterring the habit if it’s behavioral.

Look for Medical Issues (Take Your Cat to the Vet)

First, your veterinarian will need to rule out medical problems.

Infections or allergies can be treated with the appropriate medications, which (depending on the cause) may include antibiotics, antihistamines, and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Keep your cat on flea medication year-round to help with flea allergies and ear mites.

If your cat is in pain, your vet can determine what’s causing it and how to manage the pain.

Maintain Routines to Reduce Stress

Cats love routine, so if the hair loss is stress-related, try to create a comfortable environment and a predictable schedule. Change the litter box at least once a day, and feed your kitty at the same times every day.

It’s best to incorporate changes gradually, such as the introduction of a new pet or changes in your living situation, to limit the amount of stress for your cat.

Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation

Be sure to provide environmental enrichment for your cat with cat trees, different types of toys, scratching posts, and frequent opportunities for play. This will help your cat build confidence and distract her from obsessively grooming.

Try Cat Calming Medications and Products 

Cats with persistent anxiety may benefit from anti-anxiety medications and/or supplements. You will need a vet’s prescription for medications, and calming supplements are available over the counter in the form of treats.

You can also try sprays and plug-in diffusers that disperse synthetic cat pheromones. Talk to your vet about the best course of treatment.

Be Patient With Your Cat 

Finally, the most important part of managing overgrooming is to be patient.

If you see your cat licking excessively, don’t punish her or try to interfere. This will only add to your cat’s stress and make her overgrooming problem worse.

After you’ve sought help from your vet, it may take a month or so for an overgrooming behavior to resolve, and even longer for your cat’s fur to grow back.

Featured Image: iStock.com/Konstantin Aksenov

Why Does My Cat Lick Me? 13 Ways Your Cat Shows You Love

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…

Why Does My Cat Lick Me

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.

Preening

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.

3. Head-butting

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.

6. Kneading

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?

9. Purring

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.

Why Do Cats Lick You? 5 Possible Reasons Why

21-09-2021 · If you’re a cat parent and want to know the reasons behind their licks, read on below to find out more about the complicated mind of your feline best friend. 1. Your Cat May Be Showing You Affection. The most common reason your cat may lick your hand or face is that they love you. Cats who are raised with their human families become accustomed to the affection they receive. Petting, …

21-09-2021

Cats are complex creatures. Yes, these beautiful animals are sassy and love to show their dominance around the home, but they also tend to show signs of love and affection. Occasionally, if you own a cat, you may think your pet shows its affection for you by offering a random lick. This is both true and false. Yes, cats show their love with a cute little lick, but they also try to express other things with this common gesture. If you’re a cat parent and want to know the reasons behind their licks, read on below to find out more about the complicated mind of your feline best friend.

1. Your Cat May Be Showing You Affection

The most common reason your cat may lick your hand or face is that they love you. Cats who are raised with their human families become accustomed to the affection they receive. Petting, scratches, and even soft words will make your cat happy. In an attempt to show you the same kind of happiness, your cat may offer you your very own tongue bath.

If your cat is being affectionate, the licks they offer may be their way of asking for return gestures from you. Often when your cat licks your hand, they want you to show love by petting them gently, or perhaps they want to be held. Cats are quite good at showing their feelings. If they are in the mood for special times with their owners, it’s best to give it to them. They are known for the tantrums they can throw when they don’t get their way.

Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Kitten Memories

You may not realize it, but licks from your cat may be their way of mothering you. As a kitten, your cat received love and nurturing from their mother. Her way of showing this affection was to lick. Mother cats use their tongues to clean their kittens, show them they are cared for, and even console their kittens in times of need. Having learned this behavior at a very young age, your cat may be showing off their nurturing side by trying to keep you well-groomed. No cat wants an owner they feel is not up to par.

Image Credit: Tom Pingel, Shutterstock

3. You Have Been Marked

Cats are known to mark everything they consider theirs. In some situations, this may mean urinating inside your home to mark their territory. This isn’t the only way cats do this, however.

Cats use pheromones to show other cats which people and things are most important to them. Instead of urinating on you, a cat will rub its cheek against you or offer a gentle lick to mark you as theirs. This is often why other cats you encounter avoid you or shy away when you approach. They smell your cat’s claim. Don’t be upset by these actions. If your cat considers you special enough to mark, you’ve shown it enough love and affection to gain its trust.

Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

4. Early Weaning

If your cat was weaned too early as a kitten or was possibly orphaned, it may tend to excessively lick. This is due to your cat missing out on its chance to suckle when they were kittens. Another sign your cat may have weaned too early is kneading you when they want affection. Both of these actions help your cat mimic the actions they missed out on with their mothers. In your cat’s eyes, you are now the mom they are needing and you will receive their extra love and lots of happy purrs.

5. Your Cat May Be Slightly Anxious

Cats may be considered strong, self-reliant pets but anxiety can get the best of them. When your cat is nervous or feels overly anxious, licking may be their way of showing you they need your attention.

If you notice your cat is licking excessively, staying near you, and wanting to be held or given extra pets, it’s your job to make them feel better. Take the time to offer your cat all the attention they need when their anxiety is at a high. This will not only make them feel better but will help the two of you form a stronger bond with one another.

Image Credit: karpova, Shutterstock

Yes, The Licks May Hurt a Bit

Unfortunately, if you have been on the receiving end of your cat’s excessive licking, you know it can hurt just a bit. While your cat may be trying to give you a little extra love, the feel of their sandpaper-like tongues may leave you cringing. Don’t worry, this is completely normal.

A coating called papillae covers your cat’s tongue. This coating helps your cat properly remove dirt and loose hair from its body. While the feel of papillae may not be the greatest thing to experience, knowing most of the reason behind your cat needing to lick you makes taking the slight discomfort easier. For your cat, experiencing licks is a good feeling. When they offer you this treatment, they don’t realize it doesn’t feel the same for you.

Image Credit: Piqsels

Licking Can Be a Bonding Experience

Now that you are aware of the reasons behind your cat’s licking, you can let your guard down. With some cats, a slight bite may follow a tongue bath, but in most instances, this isn’t meant to cause you harm. If your cat licks you, take the time to gauge their mood and understand their needs. You can then make sharing affection with your feline pal a bonding experience you can both enjoy.

Featured Image Credit: Svyatoslav Balan, Shutterstock

Why Does My Cat Lick My Face? 6 Reasons for This Behavior ...

17-02-2021 · There are a number of odd cat behaviors that we have a hard time decoding. We explain why cats lick our faces and what this might mean.

17-02-2021

Kitty kisses can be cute and endearing. But being incessantly licked by a tongue that feels like sand can be uncomfortable and irritating.

In order to correct this bothersome behavior, it’s important to understand exactly why your cat is constantly licking you. Here are six of the most common reasons behind your cat’s tongue baths.

1. Fond Family Memories

One reason for your cat licking your face is that she has accepted you as part of her pride and feels completely at ease in your presence. Mother cats will often lick their kittens to make them feel safe and secure. Now, the roles are reversed, and your kitty is showing you affection the best way she knows how – to by licking your face.

2. She’s Seeking Attention

If your cat is feeling bored or lonely, she may start licking you to get attention. Sometimes, the licking means that she simply wants to play or be petted. However, in other cases, the obsessive face licking could be a sign of stress or separation anxiety.

Excessive stress-induced licking, whether it’s grooming herself or grooming your face, may mean that your feline is stressed. If it’s gotten to the point where the licking is interfering with day-to-day life, you should schedule a wellness exam with your vet.

Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

3. Mine, Mine, Mine

Cats will lick items (and seemingly your face) to mark it as their own. Leaving her scent on you establishes you as her property. Mama cats will do the same to their kittens. Even cats that aren’t related but get along very well will lick one another to socially bond.

4. Grooming

When your cat licks your face, she may be trying to clean you. While a bath of cat saliva doesn’t really sound that clean, this grooming promotes bonding. In the wild, cats who are part of the same community will often lick one another to form tighter bonds. The face licking just means that your pet considers you part of her pride.

5. A Human Pacifier

Kittens who were taken away from or abandoned by their mother before they were eight weeks old may develop an oral fixation, making them susceptible to excessive licking. They didn’t get the appropriate amount of time to suckle and licking can be a soothing substitute for that.

6. She Finds You Tasty

Whether it’s from the salt of your sweat or a spill on your arm, your kitty may be licking you because she enjoys the taste.

Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

How to Stop the Constant Licking

Stopping excessive licking from your cat could prove to be difficult. This behavior is often rooted in love and affection, so it may be tough to stop without harming your relationship.

The best way to prevent licking is to redirect your cat’s actions. For example, if your cat goes to lick your face, simply move it away from her and pet her instead. You could also move away from your cat when she starts licking. This causes her to associate her licking with your disappearance.

  • See also: How to Make a Kitten Pacifier at Home

The Bottom Line on Licking

If your cat is always licking your face, it could be because of her deep adoration for you, wanting to mark you as her property, or because she wants attention. It may also be because of stress. Contact your vet if you think this is the case.

Above all else, know that your cat loves you and considers you part of her feline family.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Why Do Cats Lick Themselves So Often? 12 Reasons for This ...

09-02-2021 · Cat's mainly lick themselves to stay clean, but there are more reasons to lick than the occasional bath. We dive into what causes this behavior.

09-02-2021

When you look over to see what your cat is doing, we bet that half the time, they’re sleeping and the other half, they’re cleaning themselves! But why do cats spend so much time licking themselves? There are plenty of different reasons, so let’s explore them all.

1. To keep themselves clean

The most likely reason that you’ll see your cat licking themselves is simply to keep their fur nice and clean. Kittens start grooming themselves when they’re just a few weeks old. It’s estimated that cats spend roughly 50% of their waking hours preening that fur until it’s as clean as possible!

Image Credit: Pixabay

2. To regulate their body temperature

Cats don’t sweat through their entire skin surface like we do. In hot weather, they can sweat through their paws, but that might not be enough to maintain their normal body temperature. By grooming themselves, the saliva on their fur evaporates, which helps keep them cool. Pretty smart!

3. As displacement behavior

Some cats will start to groom themselves to distract from a stressful or unpleasant situation. Compulsive grooming can be a sign of anxiety at a change within their routine or the addition of a new pet.

Image Credit: Pixabay

4. To distribute natural oils

The process of licking helps distribute the natural oils produced by your cat’s skin evenly across their fur. This helps keep their fur looking in great condition and their skin smooth. The oils also help keep your cat’s fur slightly water resistant, as well as warm in colder weather.

If a cat is bothered by fleas or other skin parasites, they may groom themselves in an attempt to remove these annoying parasites. If you see your cat biting their skin at the same time as licking themselves, they may be irritated by bites.

Image Credit: Pixabay

6. To relieve allergies or infections

If your cat has an allergy or infection affecting their skin, they may try to lick themselves in an attempt to remove the irritation. If the allergy or irritation is caused by something airborne, like pollen, or by something that your cat has walked through or rolled in, then giving your cat a bath to wash the irritant off can help. Seek veterinary advice to be on the safe side.

7. To stimulate circulation

Grooming helps increase blood flow, keeping your cat’s skin healthy. You can achieve the same thing by regularly brushing your cat.

Image Credit: Pixabay

8. As a compulsion

Cats do groom and lick themselves frequently, but if it seems like your cat is grooming themselves more obsessively than normal, it might be time for a check-up with the vet. Compulsive grooming can cause lesions and hair loss, so your vet should be able to help you figure out why your cat is over-grooming.

9. To clean injuries

Have you ever noticed that if your cat has a small cut, they’ll concentrate on licking that area? Your cat’s saliva contains enzymes, which act as a sort of antibiotic to help keep injuries clean and free from infection. If your cat sustains a large cut, though, it’s best to take them to your vet for a check-up.

Image Credit: Pixabay

10. To hide their scent

Our domestic cats might not need to worry about too many predators, but they will still clean food or strong odors off their skin to try to hide their scent from potential predators. Depending on where you live, outdoor cats can be at risk from coyotes, snakes, or other wild animals.

11. To bond with another cat

If you live with multiple cats, you might see them licking each other. This is a sign that they’re bonded, as they’re happy to swap scents and pheromones with each other. It also probably reminds cats of being groomed by their mother when they were kittens.

Image Credit: Pixabay

12. Because it feels good

Sometimes cats groom themselves because it just feels good! The routine of licking themselves can help cats feel relaxed and safe. Your cat might groom themselves to relax before starting the other activity that they do so well: sleeping!

Under-grooming

Now that we know the main reasons that a cat will lick themselves so often, let’s look at the other end of the scale. What if your cat isn’t grooming themselves enough?

Under-grooming can be a sign that your cat has joint problems making them uncomfortable or dental problems or that they’re in pain. Signs of under-grooming include:

  • Matted fur
  • Greasy coat
  • Dull coat
  • Stains on paws
  • Food left on the face
  • Smelly fur

You can try to encourage your cat to start grooming themselves again by brushing them to stimulate the blood circulation. If your cat is over- or under-grooming, always seek advice from your vet so they can rule out any conditions causing pain or those that need medical treatment.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Why Do Cats Lick Each Other? 6 Reasons You Should Know I ...

24-01-2021 · Why Do Cats Lick Each Other – Allogrooming 1. Mothers Care for Their Kittens. Kittens are born extremely vulnerable. They’re blind and deaf, covered in blood, and... 2. They’re Family. Because cat litters generally contain three to five kittens – and …

24-01-2021

It’s one of the sweetest sights…one kitten leans into another and begins to lick its fur. As cute as we think this behavior is, there is actually practical logic behind it.

So, why do cats lick each other? For our finicky felines, licking is key to grooming, which, as any kitty owner knows, cats are obsessed with. They’re not just randomly flinging their tongues across each other but engaging in an elaborate communication system.

Many people think that cats who lick each other are showing their affection. While this is often true, there are many different reasons behind this conduct. And fortunately, if you have only one cat, it is a behavior you can replicate.

grey cat licks grey kitten

Why Do Cats Lick Each Other – Allogrooming

Allogrooming refers to animals grooming each other. This is a social activity that also provides health benefits. It’s common in many species. Among domestic animals, we see it most often in our felines.

Grooming themselves and each other is a behavior that cats learn from kittenhood and continue to practice throughout their lives.

large grey cat licks ginger kitten

Allogrooming is a multifunctional behavior that has many advantages. Understanding it will help you decipher your own kitty that much better.

1. Mothers Care for Their Kittens

Kittens are born extremely vulnerable. They’re blind and deaf, covered in blood, and generally relatively weak. The mother cat compensates for this by allogrooming.

By licking her kitten, the mother removes the blood (the scent of which could attract predators) from the newborn’s coat. In doing this, she also ensures that the young cat smells like its mother. This way, the mother can quickly find her baby by sniffing it out.

grey tabby licks smaller tabby cat

Furthermore, allogrooming, in this case, stimulates the kitten’s urinary tract and bowel system. This helps the baby pass urine and stool.

Finally, licking her kitten establishes a powerful bond between the mom and baby. This is crucial for a baby cat who is totally dependent on its mother.

2. They’re Family

Because cat litters generally contain three to five kittens – and as many as 19 – these animals grow up very socially. Kittens learn to groom after about four weeks, and, naturally, they begin to practice on each other.

black and white tabby kitten licks another

While you may think allogrooming only happens between cats who are related, this isn’t correct. Cats groom their family not because they are related by blood but because they have a strong social relationship.

That relationship is likely to have been established from birth, meaning it is full of powerful instincts.

3. They Want to Bond

Felines groom other felines when they want to bond. So, if you have more than one cat and they’re not related, they may lick each other’s coats.

white and tabby cat asleep on each other

This is most likely to happen once the animals have known each other for a while or if they’re both still very young. You may also notice it when you welcome a new cat into the home: the established cats may be quick to include it with a lick on the head.

Forming a social relationship is an essential evolutionary strategy for many species. Cats are friendly animals who live in loose groups in the wild. Social cohesion allows them to share resources. Our domestic cats retain this instinctual pull towards bonding.

This is the same logic your kitty uses when she decides to give you a lick or two. She wants to bond with you by making you smell like her.

woman asleep with grey cat in arms

4. It’s a Display of Dominance

Experienced cat owners know that when it comes to their kitties, things are never as innocent as they appear. This is true of allogrooming, too, which is also a tool for establishing dominance.

two tabby kittens

If you watch your cats when they lick each other, you’ll probably notice that there’s generally one cat who does most of the grooming. That is likely to be the dominant cat. Yep, even domestic cats maintain a hierarchy.

Research confirms this. Most grooming is unidirectional (only one cat is licking), occurs without invitation, and is most often initiated by the male/dominant cat.

5. Cats Need Help Grooming

Most people associate grooming with maintaining hygiene, and this is very true. Cats have a tongue designed for grooming. Their tongue can detangle knots and remove dirt from their coats.

black and white cat licks his paw

Thanks to their tongue’s design, they can also move a lot of saliva from their mouths right to their skin. This is important because spit has antibacterial properties and helps to regulate body temperature.

Because grooming has so many health benefits, our kitties need to do it. But like you and me, who struggle to rub the suntan lotion on our backs, there are some spots our cats just can’t reach. That’s where a helpful friend comes in.

Cats often lick each other on the head and the ears. True, this is where these animals like to be petted, but it’s also an area they can’t reach with their own tongues.

Beautiful grey cat smiling while being brushed

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6. There’s a Health Problem

Cats also lick each other if the other is ill. In such a case, the one feline will concentrate on a particular spot with an injury or wound. This is how they try to comfort each other and heal any scratch with their antimicrobial saliva.

Veterinarian listening to cat's heart

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If the cat receiving the allogrooming is looking unwell, it’s best to get a vet’s opinion. It could indicate something serious, such as kidney disease.

However, it could also be something more treatable, like a flea infestation. Cats who are stressed also tend to lick excessively, so it’s worth investigating if something may be causing anxiety.

grey cat licks its front paws

Even if there isn’t a particular diagnosis, excessive licking isn’t a great idea because it can lead to hairballs and balding.

Try to alleviate this nervous energy with a play session or provide a scratch post.

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How Can You Simulate Allogrooming?

If you have just one kitty at home, don’t worry about him missing out. You can easily substitute another cat’s licks with some petting and brushing.

ginger cat being brushed

Cats like it when you stroke them because it’s similar to how they show affection for each other. They tend to nudge each other with their scent glands, which is why they often rub against your hand.

Stroking also reminds animals of their mother’s tongue licking them when they were young. This is a positive memory that makes them feel safe and cared for. In this way, you can fulfill your fur baby’s need for affection and bonding.

person strokes black and white cat sitting in lap

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As for the genuine health benefits of allogrooming, well, you need to brush your cat! Short-haired cats need to be combed through a few times a week, while long-haired kitties should ideally be brushed every day.

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Persian cats require much more grooming than other breeds. You should brush your Persian every day.

white-persian-cat on side lying on ground

Final Thoughts on “Why Do Cats Lick Each Other?”

So, why do cats lick each other? It’s a communication tool and a form of healthcare.

Between family members, alphas and subordinates, newcomers and old kitties, cats and owners…allogrooming is practiced in all of these relationships. This means it’s a regular part of your feline’s life (and yours).

Knowing why your cats behave this way means getting to know their most primal instincts. Now you’ll be able to ensure that your cat gets all the benefits of allogrooming — from another cat or from you!

Ginger cat licking its paw why do cats lick each other

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Why Do Cats Lick Everything? ( Odd Behavior Explained )

22-01-2000 · Why Does My Cat Lick My Furniture and Couch? A lot of people equate a cat’s tongue to sandpaper. And when they’re licking the furniture, you can really hear the tongue working. Unfortunately for owners, if a cat concentrates on one spot on a couch or any other piece of furniture, they can actually start to wear down the area. This licking might cause some light damage to wood surfaces and ...

22-01-2000

Have you ever stopped to wonder, “Why do cats lick everything?”

The floors, the furniture, themselves, us, clothes, and sheets can all wind up being the target of a cat’s tongue. Nothing seems to be out of the question regarding what a cat is willing to lick.

Cats might be licking everything that isn’t food if they are suffering a condition called pica– the eating of non-food items. A major cause of Pica is a nutritional imbalance. However, this is only one of several possibilities and should be considered if the licking is excessive.

Pica can be the reason why your cat is obsessively licking carpets, floors, couches, furniture, walls, curtains, blankets, bedsheets, and litterboxes. Pica can happen if a cat suffers from anemia, which in most cases, can be treated with supplements.

Other reasons could be things that we can’t see or smell, that the cat is picking up on, and feels the need to take care of it the only way they can- licking. Not every strange thing a cat might get caught doing has to mean that there’s a health issue.

However, health concerns can play a role in excessive licking when it comes to cats. It can help you to narrow reasoning down if you pay attention to the different spots that they’re licking.

Sometimes, a glance can tell the tale as to why they’ve concentrated on a particular spot or an item.

In an effort to separate the natural and concerning reasons why a cat would feel like licking odd things, each section below is broken up into two parts.

They are “Cat Reasons” and “Health-Related Reasons.” Cat reasons are things that might come naturally to a cat, and health-related reasons are things that will need to be watched out for.

Why Is My Cat Licking Carpets and Floors?

Cat just licked the floor image

Have you ever caught your cat licking your linoleum floors or even carpets? Here are some possible reasons why.

Cat Reasons

Licking linoleum or wood floors can be due to several natural reasons. Maybe you could have spilled something while walking across the kitchen with a beverage? Maybe something fell off your plate?

The cool tiles on the floor may have a small amount of condensation on the surface. Is the cat out of water?

Something else to think about- do you have ants, and have you squashed any in the approximate area the cat is licking?

If you go and check out our post “Can Cats Eat Ants,” you’ll learn that cats love the scent of a squashed ant- even if you’ve gotten rid of the carcass.

All of the same thoughts apply to carpets as well (aside from condensation). However, there is a harmless form of pica that is known as “wool-sucking.” This rather self-explaining name might categorize why a cat might be licking the carpet.

It’s found that cats who display the wool-sucking behavior stopped nursing too soon from being taken away from its mother before it was ready to go.

Health-Related Reasons

Anemia can be a health-related reason why the cat licks the floor obsessively. A change in diet could be a quick fix to stop the cat from having this issue, or perhaps a supplement that increases the cat’s intake of iron.

If that doesn’t do the trick, your vet can help you to try and make sure that the cat doesn’t have any further health issues that could be causing this behavior.

Why Does My Cat Lick My Furniture and Couch?

A lot of people equate a cat’s tongue to sandpaper. And when they’re licking the furniture, you can really hear the tongue working.

Unfortunately for owners, if a cat concentrates on one spot on a couch or any other piece of furniture, they can actually start to wear down the area.

This licking might cause some light damage to wood surfaces and create faded-looking worn spots on a fabric couch.

Cat Reasons

Depending on the materials involved, the cat might just like the taste the furniture leaves in their mouths, or how it feels on their tongue.

Is it possible that a catnip toy was sitting in the same area of the couch that the cat is focusing on? Remember, just because we don’t see anything there doesn’t mean that the cat’s sense of smell isn’t hard at work.

Aside from that, perhaps the cat is marking the area? If rubbing follows licking, then it’s probably doing more to leave its scent behind, rather than trying to take anything in.

Health-Related Reasons

Many cats can exhibit a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This is a behavior that can cause your cat to obsessively clean the couch or go for quite a while, licking the leg to your favorite chair.

Any upset in the cat’s life or surroundings can cause this problem to be exacerbated.

Like the reasons above, licking furniture falls under the pica category. It could be something to cancel out with a switch-up of food to ensure the cat getting all of the necessary nutrition.

Why Is My Cat Licking My Walls and Curtains?

Cat behind the curtain

Cats can either lick or chew right down to (or through) the sheetrock if they do it often enough on the same spot. And licking curtains rarely end with licking alone when allowed to continue.

You may wind up finding your curtain with wear or discoloration in the spot of the curtain that the cat has been busy with.

Cat Reasons

Some of the most basic of reasons could be responsible for why the cat is licking the walls or the curtains. It could enjoy the texture, be attracted to the smell of the paint, or maybe even taken a liking to the taste of dust.

If the cat is concentrating on one particular area of the wall or a certain section of curtain, there’s a good chance there is something in that spot that was splashed, spilled, sprayed, or floated onto the wall.

Health-Related Reasons

Again, this is a form of pica. When there’s no clear evidence explaining why the cat is licking the walls and curtains, pica reasoning kicks in. This reasoning introduces other possibilities that have more to do with your cat than it would the objects of their attention.

Boredom or stress can be two reasons that have to do with your cat that could cause or intensify this behavior. As with the other strange licking behaviors, malnutrition can also play a hand.

Why Is My Cat Licking My Bed Sheets and Blanket?

Cats tend to understand where relaxation happens. If you allow your cats into the bedroom, there’s little doubt they associate the bed with rest- just as we do.

Cat Reasons

If you’re trying to figure out why your cat is licking the blankets or sheets, run through the reasons we’ve touched on above. Did you spill anything on them? Any ill-fated midnight snack crumbs?

Be sure to observe if the cat begins and ends with licking. Often, a cat might wind up sucking on the sheets or blankets as a means to relax. This is another form of wool-sucking behavior that we discussed with rugs.

That can be due to being removed from its mother too soon, or perhaps it just enjoys doing it as a means to settle down and relax. Some breeds of cats are more prone to do this than others. This behavior is often accompanied by the cat kneading the blanket.

Health-Related Reasons

Stress can also be a factor in this behavior. In this case, try to determine what could be stressing your cat and if there is anything you can do to help it to relax.

Per the usual, if the behavior is excessive or obsessive, it could be pica. Rather than trying to relax, it’s trying to consume, in which case the cat’s diet needs to be taken into consideration.

What if My Cat Licks the Litter Box?

Cat licking the litterbox

As clean as cats are, they don’t have certain prejudice toward nasty things in the same manner we do. If it’s something they’re willing to try out, they’ll do it without knowing why we’re freaking out over it. Yes, even eating or licking cat litter boxes, and the litter itself.

Cat Reasons

We all know what curiosity did to the cat, right? Well, curiosity can be one reason why they’re licking the litter box. This is especially true with a kitten that is in the midst of potty training. Even if an older cat has used the box, a young kitten will feel the squishy grit under its claws and see how it tastes- though it doesn’t occur more than a time or two.

Or, a litter box has a different type of litter than it’s used to. For example, switching the litter from clay to cedar or recycled paper pellets. This curiosity can tempt a cat to try it out and see what it is.

Most litter boxes are made out of plastic, which is attractive to cats, as cats often like to either lick or chew plastic. Though nobody knows absolutely why they have this attraction, suspicions are taste, texture, and scent of the plastic is something that they enjoy.

Health-Related Reasons

Pica, again, is a category that this would fall under if this is a common occurrence with your cat. The underlying source of this behavior could be that the cat has become anemic and seeks out a means to get in the nutrients that it’s lacking.

Final Thoughts

Cat licking the chair

Any one of the above behaviors is strange, but none of them are unheard of. Some breeds of cats like to lick things more than others, and some individuals within a breed will do so more than others.

Where it gets serious is when you’ve narrowed it down to anemia. Giving the cat supplements to increase its iron intake may be okay to see if it curbs the behavior. However, the question remains, “Why is the cat anemic in the first place?”

This question might have a simple answer, such as its diet. However, leukemia or kidney disease can also be causes for anemia. We go from an easy fix to a severe problem.

With such a spread of possibilities, it is better to err on the side of caution and take the cat to the vet if you find that the cat displays strong signs of pica.

What Does it mean when cats lick each other? 6 Reasons

02-03-2022 · The most apparent reason cats lick each other is because they enjoy doing it. Cats become familiar with each other by licking paws, faces, necks, and ears. This occasionally happens during the first stage of getting to know one another, which some experts call the “socialization period.”

02-03-2022

It’s a common sight of two cats sitting next to each other, licking one another’s body. But What does it mean when cats lick each other?

Is there a reason behind this behavior, or is it just an innocent way for them to kill time?

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why cats lick each other and what it means for their relationship. So if you’ve ever wondered about this quirky behavior, then keep reading!

What does it mean when cats lick each other?

Cats lick each other for many reasons, but the most common are showing affection, grooming and calming the partner, mother loving the kitten, making a solid bond, and displaying dominance, injury, or wound.

Why cats lick each Others?

Why cats lick each Others

Below are some of the common reasons of cats grooming each others.

#1. Love and Affection

Felines can lick each other to show love and affection for their partner. They do so by licking areas such as the face, neck, and ears, where the scent glands are located.

This way, they can mark each other with their scent and strengthen their bond.

#2. Groom and Calm the Partner

Cats that lick each other frequently might be just trying to groom one another or calm them down.

Grooming each other is an expected feline behavior where they lick each other’s fur while removing dirt, dead hair, or fleas.

They do that by using their rough tongue and very sharp teeth.

#3. The mother love for the kitten

Cats are known for being devoted mothers, so if your cat is licking her kittens, she might just be showing her love! Being their nurse, their mother might clean and lick them to ensure their cleanliness, safety, and health.

#4. Display Dominance

The way cats express their dominance or submission can vary from cat to cat, but it also involves showing affection! Cats that sense threat from another might show their deference by grooming the dominant one.

In return, the dominant cat might give the subordinate one few loving licks. There are other ways to show your dominance, like sitting on top of another cat.

#5. Injury or Wound

If you notice that one of the cats is licking an area of their body over and over again or even chewing on it, this could mean that they have injured themselves – either by getting into a fight or they hurt themselves while playing.

Similarly, some cats might lick their wounds to sanitize them and prevent infection.

#6. Welcoming ritual

Cats that haven’t seen each other for a while might be carrying out some welcome ritual. Like how dogs greet one another by sniffing each other’s butt, cats might be licking each other to the same end.

Your kitties might seem like they are mad at one another, but if you notice them licking each other, it could be a sign of an emotional reunion.

Why do cats lick each other’s ears?

Why do cats lick each other's ears

When two cats lick each other’s ears, it might indicate dominance or a friendly welcome. But it can also indicate love and affection, especially when they do it to the face or neck area. Felines can also lick the ears of another kitty when they sense any infection, ear mites, or wounds.

So next time you see your kitty licking one another’s ears, they might just be revealing their love.

Cats might lick their partner’s head because they love them. If you notice your cat licking your other kitty’s head, it could mean that they adore them. The same goes for cats licking humans; perhaps your kitties are trying to tell you something by showing their affection this way!

why do cats lick each other’s bums?

When your kitties start grooming each other by licking butts, it could be a sign they are trying to mark each other as they would do with their scent. If you notice your cats licking the genital area of another, this might be them showing dominance!

It could be that your cats are diagnosing each other for any wounds or injuries that happen on their back. When they lick each other’s bums, it might also mean they are trying to sanitize the area. Cats also do this when they come across poo!

why do sibling cats groom each other?

A study has found that cats might be more affectionate than we assume. The researchers found that our feline friends display more affection towards their family members, particularly siblings, than with strangers or a new family member.

Cats often lick each other’s faces or rub their heads together, which can be signs of affection.

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Conclusion:

What does it mean when cats lick each other? The most apparent reason cats lick each other is because they enjoy doing it. Cats become familiar with each other by licking paws, faces, necks, and ears.

This occasionally happens during the first stage of getting to know one another, which some experts call the “socialization period.” Still, it can also happen between two cats that have already developed a strong bond.

Cats are known for being entirely independent animals, but they enjoy physical contact now and then. Cats usually lick each other around the cheeks, the neck area, and the base of the tail, where it meets the body.

This can happen between any pair of cats; it doesn’t necessarily have to be mother-to-kitten behavior. If both kittens and adult cats display this behavior towards one another, it means they like each other very much.

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Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

While it's hard to determine if cats feel complex emotions like love, licking is a sign of affection. Cats usually lick themselves in order to groom. Mother cats will lick their kittens as a part of the grooming process as well. However, cats will also lick each other as a sign of affection.

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

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

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

Many people joke that cats think they're humans and given the way some cats behave towards their owners, it's easy to see why. A great example is a cat who will leave dead mice or birds on their owner's doorsteps in an attempt to share a tasty treat. Cats have also been known to present their owners with live animals in an attempt to teach its owner to hunt. It's clear that not only do many cats see their owners as part of the family, they also see them as a bit inept at being cats. Female cats especially will exhibit this sort of parenting or nurturing type of behavior.

When cats lick you, it can mean that they are attempting to teach you to groom yourself. It's a memory your cat had from being licked by its own mother and is a real sign of affection. Cats will also lick each other as a way to calm them down. Cats are very attentive to their owner's moods so you might find your cat is more affectionate when you're stressed or sick. Cats are attempting to calm your anxiety the same way you would pet your cat if they seemed nervous.

A thorough cat licking isn't always the most comfortable experience. This is because cat tongues have backward-facing hooks that are meant to pull and clean their fur the way a comb would. Remember, to your cat being licked feels good, it doesn't know it is hurting you. When a cat licks you it's just trying to show some love. 

Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me? Here's the Reason!

21-10-2021 · Cats don’t lick and bite just for the sake of it. If your cat does this frequently, it’s worth spending the time to discover the reason. As a show of affection and an invitation to play, your cat may lick and bite you. It might also mean it’s been overstimulated and needs to unwind.

21-10-2021

why does my cat lick me then bite me

A cat has a wide range of behaviors, and if you pay attention, you’ll see that each movement has numerous hidden meanings that experienced owners haven’t yet understood.

Some cat owners are used to cats licking and biting them, while others are not. Many people will be disturbed by this and want to know what is causing this behavior.

If you also own a cat and want to know ‘why does my cat lick me then bite me?’ keep reading to find out!

Why Does Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me

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Here are some reasons to understand what does it mean when a cat licks you then bites you:

1. You have an overstimulated cat

Your kitty likes being stroked, but a lengthy petting session might push her over the edge. Petting-induced aggressiveness is what happens to our beautiful and laid-back cats.

It’s assumed that this has something to do with the nerve endings in your cat’s fur and that excessive stroking might make cats uncomfortable. Overstimulation is most likely the case if your cat has been giving you a nice lick while you’re stroking them and then abruptly gives you a little nip.

The licking that occurs before the warning bites is a technique for your feline to soften the impact; it indicates that your pet wants you to stop but still loves you.

Dilated eyes, turned-back ears, and a flicking tail are all signs that your cat has had enough physical attention. Stroke your cat, and at the same time, notice whether your cat displays these signals, and stop petting before your cat gets overstimulated.

Certain regions of a cat’s coat will allow them to be stroked for more extended periods than others. You can make those petting sessions enjoyable if you pay attention to your cat’s body language.

2. Your cat is showing affection

When your cats lick you then bite you, it’s because it likes you and wants to give you a little love bite. It admires the way you look after it and has total faith in you. Biting is an indication of a close relationship between you and your cat.

If your cat grabs you after licking you, it means it feels calm and at ease around you and considers you a member of its family. Cats have firmer skin than humans, and they bite each other as a gesture of affection, so they don’t realize that they are hurting you when they bite you.

3. To ask you to play with them

A cat’s ability to communicate through words is limited. When your cat has a playful mood, they must find a nonverbal method to share with you. This is also an answer to the question “why did the kitten lick and bite my hand?”

Some cats groan. Others will pounce or scratch you. Some cats will stare at you until you get close.

There are several ways for cats to signal that they are ready for playing. They initiate playtime with the cat licking and biting combination, which is undoubtedly one of them. That is when you can immerse yourself into the feline universe.

4. They’re stressed

Excessive licking and biting might indicate worry or tension or behavioral problems. When stressed, some cat breeds, such as Siamese, may chew things. Unfortunately, this chewing tendency may extend to grinding your body parts. When cats are agitated, they may begin licking nonstop or in a compulsive manner.

It’s doubtful that your cat is genuinely furious with you if your cats lick then bite your skin.

You may have noticed your cat becoming agitated or afraid. An angry or frightened cat has an arched back, hair that stands on edge, and a lot of hissing. In the worst-case scenario, you may be irritating your cat due to overstimulation.

5. They’re preparing to groom you

When cats have itchy fur or need to get rid of anything on their skin, they will occasionally bite and lick themselves in their grooming process. Alternatively, cats may do this while grooming each other, especially when they are kittens.

Cats’ tongues have keratin spines, which is why your cat’s tongue may feel scaly. These spines help your cat to clean itself properly.

They may be grooming you as if you were another cat if there is a lot of licking but not much biting. And if they’re licking and chewing on your hair, grooming behavior is even more probable.

If your cat tries to groom you, it’s a good indicator that they’ve formed a strong relationship with you and you shouldn’t worry about behavioral issues. Cats don’t groom other cats at random; they exclusively groom the cats in their group.

6. Your cat is marking you

If you’ve just brought home one or more cats, your cat is likely to feel threatened about its place in the house. That’s why it may leave its smell on you through bites.

Marking territory is a natural cat tendency to show power over other pets and let them know that you belong with your cat only. It’s also a method for your cat to express its affection for you.

When your cat grows friendly or acclimated to the new pet, this behavior will decrease.

7. Health Issues

Although a health condition is unlikely, it might be one of the reasons for your inquiry: why my cat lick my fingers then bite them. If touching your cat elicited discomfort rather than a pleasant trill, there is an underlying health problem with your pet.

Some of the health conditions that may cause your cat to attack you include:

  • Tight hair knots that tug at the skin of your cat when you pet it. You must de-mat them if you do not want your pet to be unhappy.
  • Your cat’s skin has some scratches or wounds, and you accidentally inflicted pain by petting them.
  • Your cat’s skin has been irritated for whatever reason.

How Can You Stop Your Cat From Biting You

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Here are a few things you can do to stop biting from cats.

  • Make use of the positive reinforcement technique. The best approach to prevent one cat from biting is to use the positive reinforcement method to educate it from a young age. Make your cat believe that biting isn’t something you’re okay with. To reduce its behavior, don’t allow it to bite in any way.
  • Pretend that you are in pain when your cat bite you. When your cat nibbles you unexpectedly, show it that the little bite hurts. If the cat grabs your hand, try folding your fingers together.
  • Give Toys for Your Cat. Your feline’s need to bite will be satisfied if you provide him with chew toys. Make sure your pet has at least three different toys to gnaw on since they can rapidly become bored with just one. If your cat’s desire to bite is met, the odds of your pet biting you are reduced.

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What causes cats to bite?

The cat’s bite may have various meanings; nevertheless, anybody who an angry or scared cat has bitten understands that it has nothing to do with the gentle cat bites that a playful cat makes.

Cats who are truly furious or scared have a very expressive body language that is tight, stiff, and bristling, with hissing, fading meows, and a curled back.

Bites from scared cats (including painful scratches) are not related to bites during play, which generally occur when cats have got tired of being petted, or cat love bites, which are usually more controlled and recurrent.

2. Why does a cat lick?

The tongue of a cat is unlike any other: it is made up of tiny keratin spines that are very effective for cleaning, unwinding hair, eliminating dirt from their coat, and drinking water. It’s for this reason that they have a hard tongue.

That’s why, when a feline licks us, especially if our pet licks our hair, they’re grooming us as if we’re simply cats. That is a highly beneficial social act that demonstrates a strong relationship with the owner and a desire to make us feel at ease.

The cat licks are a show of affection since they’ve learned that it’s something people appreciate, which results in an unending amount of caressing and attention.

On the other hand, excessive and compulsive licking might indicate that something isn’t right and that our best friend’s well-being is in jeopardy; it’s consequently a cause of worry and concern.

3. When my cat licks me, why does it hurt?

As every cat owner who has a cat that likes to lick her hair knows, Fluff’s strong tongue may pull some strands out.

The papillae that cover your cat’s tongue, which are backward-facing hooks made of keratin, the same substance as her claws, can feel uncomfortably like sandpaper. The papillae act as a comb, removing hairs and fur to reach the dirt beneath.

4. Why does my cat lick and bite other cats?

As previously said, licking and biting other cats is relatively common in the feline world. It’s a sign that cats have bonded with each other.

Final thoughts

Why does my cat lick me then bite me? Cats don’t lick and bite just for the sake of it. If your cat does this frequently, it’s worth spending the time to discover the reason. As a show of affection and an invitation to play, your cat may lick and bite you. It might also mean it’s been overstimulated and needs to unwind.

If your cat’s biting habit appears to be connected to stress, speak with your veterinarian and ask for suggestions to reduce it. Take better care of your cat!

Why Does My Cat Keep Licking Its Paw?

25-06-2021 · This symptom is most commonly associated with food allergies that cause skin problems. However, cats may also lick their paws obsessively if they have seasonal allergies, pollen allergies, or contact allergies, depending on the individual cat and situation.

25-06-2021

If your cat is licking his paw often, there might be something wrong. However, this behavior may also be nothing to worry about. Either way, it’s important to take the time to try to figure out the underlying cause of this paw licking and determine when it’s time to go to the vet, too.

Cat licking paw

6 Reasons Why Your Cat’s Licking Their Paw

In this article, we’ll explain some of the most common reasons why your cat might be obsessively licking his paw. Read through this information to get a better idea of what’s going on with your cat and what you can do to help.

6 reasons why your cat is licking their paw include, but aren’t limited to:

Allergies

When your cat has allergies, he may be more prone to licking and chewing on his skin. This is because the allergies cause itchy rashes that feel some relief when your cat licks them. However, the licking behavior usually causes the rash to become aggravated, which makes the situation worse overall.

This symptom is most commonly associated with food allergies that cause skin problems. However, cats may also lick their paws obsessively if they have seasonal allergies, pollen allergies, or contact allergies, depending on the individual cat and situation.

Pain

Pain is one of the most common causes of licking any part of the body constantly, including the paws. If your cat is in pain, he may focus on licking his sore paw because he feels like it will give him some comfort or relief.

Look for any signs of a problem with your cat’s paw. If he will let you touch it, check to see if it can be gently moved around or if there is pain associated with movement. You can use this information to figure out when your cat needs to see a veterinarian for the pain in his paw.

Anxiety

If your cat has a lot of anxiety or stress, you may notice him chewing or licking his paw more frequently. This is because he is looking for a release from his anxiety, similarly to how humans may bite their fingernails when they feel anxious.

If your cat is so anxious that he can’t stop licking his paws, it’s probably time to ask a vet for more information. Your cat may need to be on anxiety medications to help manage his stress levels and give him a better overall quality of life as well.

Boredom

Similarly to anxiety, your cat may start licking his paws out of boredom. This happens when your cat isn’t receiving enough mental stimulation throughout the day. A cat who is bored will find something to do, even if that means chewing or licking on his own paws until the fur falls off.

You can reduce the risk of this problem by giving your cat lots of toys to play with and places to climb. Although your cat should not be allowed access to his toys without supervision, he can climb on a cat tower as much as he likes throughout the day even if no one is at home.

Injury

Acute injury or trauma to the foot, leg, or paw pad may cause your cat to lick the paw obsessively as well. If you think your cat may have an injury, try to get a closer look at the paw in question. If you see bleeding or notice anything unusual, you may need to take your cat to the vet.

Some cats may easily cut their paw pads when they walk on surfaces they should not be on. Your cat may also potentially break or sprain a bone, or could develop a variety of other acute injuries.

Fleas

Finally, a flea infestation may lead to more licking and chewing of the paws as well. Although you may notice other signs of fleas before you see your cat licking his paw obsessively, this is still an indicator that there could be some parasites you need to deal with.

If your cat has fleas, you will be able to see them by parting your cat’s fur and looking closely at his skin. Check in several spots on his body for fleas or flea dirt. Be sure to use a cat-safe flea medication to deal with this problem.

Talk to a Vet for More Information on Your Cat’s Paw Licking

Now that you know more about some of the most common causes of paw licking in cats, you can decide whether or not to take your cat to the vet. Most of the problems that are listed above do require at least some vet care to help them heal, but some can be handled at home on your own.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’re still not sure what could be causing your cat to lick his paw so much, be sure to go to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can give you more accurate information and a correct diagnosis as well. Our team members at The Village Vets are happy to help you find the cause for why your cat’s licking their paw and develop the best treatment option.

petstime.com

21-10-2021 · There are five main reasons why the cat may lick you: To mark you as theirs; To show you love and affection; To get your attention; To groom you; To comfort itself; Remember, however, that sometimes the explanation is more prosaic. Your cat may lick you just because it senses the food you’ve been eating and preparing not a long time before. Some pets like the smell of sweat, and they may lick …

21-10-2021

Despite their aversion to water, cats love to feel clean. They just take their bath a little differently than us, using the tongue instead. Sometimes, they groom the other cats, too. But why would they lick humans? Is that a way for your furry friend to tell you that you should take a bath more often? 

Well, that would be too simple – and cats are complicated beings, as all cat owners know very well. Understanding your pet is the easiest way to improve your relationship – and licking is one of the fundamental elements of its body language. By licking you, your cat may try to communicate different things. In today’s article, we’ll try to break this issue down for you. 

How does the cat’s tongue work?

Before we delve into the reasons why the cats licks their owners, let’s take a quick look into anatomy. The secret of the ability of the felines to clean themselves lies in the structure of their tongue. It works like a tender comb due to the presence of scoop-shaped papilla on the surface. It grabs excessive hair and all kinds of impurities, while allowing the saliva to reach the skin instead of sinking into the fur. That’s a very effective strategy that makes the cats one of the best groomers in the animal kingdom!

Why do the cats lick humans?

The behaviors of feline animals are often wrongly interpreted by humans. Sometimes, what we perceive as aggression is actually a defensive attitude – that’s often the case with hissing. In terms of showing affection, cats are also a hard nut to crack compared to dogs. Their ways of showing love are often much more subtle, and you need some practice to actually notice these signs.

See also:  +50 Anime cat names perfect for anime fans

However, in terms of licking, cats and dogs actually have a lot in common! For both, it’s a great way to express warm emotions. Dogs usually go all the way – if they really love someone, they’ll lick their face. Most of them leave this questionable pleasure for their owners since it’s a sign of ultimate affection. 

Cats are more restrained in the context of licking, but it’s also a significant element of their love alphabet. They usually lick the hands of the owners only – with some exceptions, of course.

There are five main reasons why the cat may lick you:

  1. To mark you as theirs
  2. To show you love and affection
  3. To get your attention
  4. To groom you
  5. To comfort itself

Remember, however, that sometimes the explanation is more prosaic. Your cat may lick you just because it senses the food you’ve been eating and preparing not a long time before. Some pets like the smell of sweat, and they may lick you because of that.

Licking as a way to express emotions

Your cat licks your hand when you’re stroking it? That’s a great sign – it means that it’s feeling 100% safe at the moment and is enjoying your company. The pet may use licking as a way to express affection and care. It doesn’t only apply to humans – cats can lick their four-legged friends for the same purpose.

Licking as a way to mark the territory

Cats have a strong territorial instinct. They use different strategies to mark their territory; all aim at leaving the smell and pheromones on a particular object or space. This way, it becomes theirs. Cats mark territory with their urine, but also through rubbing and licking. 

To leave their territorial mark, cats lick the accessories, but also… their owners. This way, they can transport their scent to you, making you their property. Of course, this smell is undetectable by humans – but the other animals can sense it. Cats lick their owners to send a clear message to their furry friends – this human is mine, and don’t you dare to try to steal them from me!

Licking as a way to groom you 

Cats love to feel clean, and sometimes they may want to clean you too. But grooming the human is never really about hygiene. By doing it, your cat is trying to establish your position in the group. By putting the familiar scent on you, they make you the herd’s member. 

It’s the same mechanism that makes the freshly made mother cats intensely lick their kittens. This way, she makes them a part of the herd. Their rejection has terrible consequences – the dominant males sometimes kill the kittens, particularly if they have another father. Even if the kitty lives in a safe environment where there’s no risk of herd rejection, these mechanisms manifest themselves in grooming the others.

So, if the cat is licking you, it may be trying to tell you: welcome to the family! It’s another way of expressing their care and protecting you from potential dangers.

Licking as a way to comfort themselves

The cats lick their kittens to protect them from the herd’s rejection but also to comfort them. Grown-up animals may reproduce these behaviors in adult life when they’re trying to fight stress. Such tendencies are particularly common among the young kitties that were separated from their mother too early. They often develop a tendency to groom themselves in search of comfort. It’s their surrogate of nursing. 

What happens, however, when the licking becomes compulsive? How to recognize that your cat has a grooming-related issue, and what can be its roots?

Excessive licking – what are the reasons behind it?

If your cat doesn’t lick you at all, there’s nothing to worry about – generally, cats do it way rarer than dogs or even don’t do it at all. What could bother you, however, is the excessive licking. Most of the time, it’s an issue tied to grooming. It manifests itself in very frequent fur-licking, often in the same areas over and over. 

See also:  Witchy cat names inspired by films and series (+50)

How to know when the cat’s behavior is abnormal? If you suspect that the pet’s grooming patterns are unhealthy, observe them closely throughout the whole day. See how much time it spends cleaning its fur. If it’s over 50% of the day, it may fall under the category of compulsive behaviors.

What causes the cats to over-groom? The reasons may vary. Some animals do it as a result of stress. Just as purring, grooming can become a coping mechanism that helps the animal deal with a stressful situation such as changing the environment or the introduction of a new cat to the space. Sometimes, the cats purr and groom simultaneously – that may be a hint that they’re trying to comfort themselves.

Over-grooming can also be a result of a disease. It doesn’t always have a psychological background – sometimes, it originates in physical discomfort experienced by the cats. They may lick some spots extensively when feeling pain or itchiness in the area. Licking may speed up the regenerations of the wounds, but if it’s excessive, it may actually bring an opposite effect. Sometimes, the rash and itchiness are caused by an allergic reaction to new food.

The cats can over-groom due to internal health issues as well – for instance, gastric problems or diabetes. Licking helps them deal with the discomfort and pain. 

What can happen if your cat licks itself excessively?

When you notice the unhealthy grooming patterns, it’s worth reacting right away and consulting the pet’s behavior with a veterinarian. Excessive grooming may end up in fur loss or even the formation of wounds. To prevent that, nip the issue in the bud by consulting it with a specialist and serving the pet the prescribed medication.

Cat Excessive Licking, Scratching, and Chewing Causes

If your cat is scratching, licking, or chewing themselves compulsively, it is likely you regularly catch them in the act. But if you don’t, your first clue may be the disappearance of your cat’s fur, often in strips along their back or stomach. Cats with self-mutilating behaviors may also cause red, irritated areas called hot spots to form, but they are less likely than dogs to do so ...

WebMD discusses common reasons why your cat might be biting, chewing, or scratching itself.

From the WebMD Archives

Most cats are meticulous groomers, but what happens when the behavior goes into overdrive? For a variety of reasons, some cat licking, scratching, and chewing behaviors become compulsive, which can annoy you and damage your pet’s skin and coat.

If your cat is scratching, licking, or chewing themselves compulsively, it is likely you regularly catch them in the act. But if you don’t, your first clue may be the disappearance of your cat’s fur, often in strips along their back or stomach. Cats with self-mutilating behaviors may also cause red, irritated areas called hot spots to form, but they are less likely than dogs to do so.

Although compulsive cat scratching, licking, or chewing behaviors can develop in any animal, they are more commonly observed in Siamese cats and other Oriental breeds. Female cats are more likely than males to lick, chew, or pull on their fur.

Because there are a number of medical problems that may result in scratching and licking behaviors, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to help determine the cause and the best course of action.

Parasites. Fleas are often the culprits behind compulsive cat scratching or cat licking behaviors. Because cats are excellent groomers, they may actually remove all traces of fleas. If you notice your cat licking their lower back obsessively, with or without scabs on the neck, it is a sign that fleas might be causing the problem. Other parasites, including ticks, mites, and ringworm, can also prompt scratching, licking, or chewing.

Allergies. Just as some people develop skin irritations in response to certain foods or environmental triggers, cats may have itchy, irritated skin if they are allergic to something in their environment.

Dry skin. Dry winter air or nutritional inadequacies can contribute to dry, flaky skin that gets your cat started licking or scratching in search of relief.

Pain. If you notice your cat licking or biting at the same spot over and over again, it could be that they are experiencing pain or discomfort in that area.

Boredom, anxiety, or compulsive disorder. Compulsive cat chewing, scratching, or licking behaviors often develop in cats who are bored, stressed, or anxious. These mental disorders are more likely to occur in indoor cats, which may be due to the fact that they receive less exercise and excitement than outdoor cats. Compulsive disorders often begin when there are changes in a cat’s environment, including a new animal or baby in the house or a move to a new location. Also, behaviors that started in response to a medical problem sometimes persist as compulsions after the condition is resolved.

Eliminating parasites. Because it can be difficult to diagnose flea infestation in cats, some veterinarians recommend trying reliable flea control products purchased from a veterinary office for six to eight weeks to see if it reduces the incidence of licking, scratching, or chewing. Similarly, treating mites or other parasites, if present, can eliminate your cat’s discomfort and the problem behaviors.

Changing foods. Putting cats that arescratching or chewing on a 6-week exclusion diet is a good way to find out whether food allergies are the problem. You may have to try several diets before you find one that works. Veterinarians may also prescribe the addition of certain fatty acids or other nutritional supplements if dry skin is to blame for your cat’s incessant scratching and licking. No other foods or treats should be offered during an exclusion diet trial.

Using medication. Depending on the extent of skin damage your cat has caused by licking, chewing, or scratching, your veterinarian may prescribe the use of steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics. Additionally, some compulsive cat behaviors caused by psychological factors can be addressed with clomipramine, an anti-anxiety medication, or amitriptyline, which helps fight anxiety and also functions as an antihistamine.

Addressing anxiety or boredom. If you and your vet determine that there is no physical cause for your pet's behaviors, there are things you can do to improve your cat’s state of mind. Making sure your cat feels safe, loved, and comfortable in your home is important, as is providing adequate stimulation and exercise. You may find that desensitizing your cat by slowly and carefully exposing them to things they fear can be beneficial. Be careful to take baby steps if you try this so as not to overwhelm your cat and make the compulsive licking, scratching or biting worse. Counter-conditioning, by training your cat to associate something pleasurable, like a treat, with something they fear may also help reduce stress and anxiety. Many times, boredom licking (also known as psychogenic alopecia) is improved by adding another cat or pet. But, there is always the risk that the second cat could be a new stress in your pet's environment that could make the hair loss worse.

© 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Why Does My Cat Lick Everything?

28-01-2021 · Some cats might lick you and then bite you, which can be a common behavior during playtime, or it could be a love nibble. Dr. Karen Becker explains this …

28-01-2021

Grooming is one of the many talents that make our cats special. They can turn their shaggy coats, or the coat of their fellow feline friend, into silky perfection, while lazily lounging in a sunny spot.

Most of us might also be familiar with the sandpapery feel of our cat’s tongue, and despite its roughness, we might even welcome their grooming capabilities from time to time.

But what happens when they also start licking other things around the house? Some cats just can’t seem to help themselves and their default way of exploring the world around them is…licking!

If you’ve made it here, you probably live with one of these cats and frequently find yourself asking, why does my cat lick everything? If your cat is licking non-food items occasionally, they might be feeling curious about a new smell or an item you’ve brought. This behavior is likely harmless unless it turns into obsessive licking which could be related to stress, dietary needs, or a form of pica.

If you’d like to know more about what makes a cat lick everything, we’ve got you covered!

Let’s get into it!

What Do Cats Normally Use Their Tongues For?

As with most feline related things, the tongue plays an important role in a cat’s wellbeing. Before we understand why outs cats lick certain objects and surfaces, it’s important to understand the big picture functions of their tongue. What we might perceive as just another simple act of self-cleaning can be a far more complicated task.

To Keep Clean

Cats are known to be self-sufficient animals especially when it comes to their basic needs and keeping clean is what they do best. Plenty of research has gone into the study of the feline tongue and researchers have found that a cat’s tongue is curved and hollow-tipped. It’s covered in tiny spines, called papillae, which may feel like sandpaper and can transfer large amounts of saliva from the mouth to the fur.

David Hu, a bioengineer at Georgia Tech states that, “a cat tongue works like a very smart comb.” But their tongue doesn’t only help our cats reach the skin beneath the fur and keep it clean, it also helps lower their body temperature, as the saliva evaporates.

So, during grooming, our fluffballs keep themselves clean and cool, but they also successfully detangle their fur. Alexis Noel, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering explains that “when the tongue glides over fur, the hooks are able to lock onto tangles and snags. As the snags pull on the hook, the hook rotates, slowly teasing the knot apart.”

Perhaps our cats aren’t lazy after all, maybe they’re legendary multitaskers!

To Make Friends

While the tongue’s role is mainly to keep our kitties presentable, as with most things in life, it can also serve more than one purpose. For cats, their grooming technique can be a way of becoming friends with another cat. Studies support this by saying that “allogrooming (which is a special term that describes social grooming) is a form of caregiving through physical contact.”

Cats usually learn this behavior from their mothers, a behavior the grown cats use later in their life as a sign of familiarity and relatedness with other cats and humans. So, if you see your kitties spending their grooming energy on each other chances are that they’re a bonded pair.

To Eat And Drink

In order to get their food into their mouths animals usually use their teeth, hands, paws, or lips, but cats also rely on their tongue. There’s research to suggest that the papillae in our cat’s tongue also helps them with gripping their food. “The sharp tip may help with tissue deformation and penetration into meat.”

Even when we might not see food particles lying on the floor, their tongue can easily scrape it off the surface. Their tongue can be rough and tear through soft meat, but it can also defy gravity. Unlike most animals, cats use the tip of their tongue to pull water upward, closing its jaws before gravity pulls the column of liquid back toward earth.

Roman Stocker, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states that, “by lapping at the right time, [cats] take optimal advantage of this balance between inertia and gravity.” These two eating and drinking functions are important to remember because they can give us clues when looking into the behavior in which cats lick everything.

To Explore Their Environment

Cats depend on all their senses in order to understand their environment and in many ways to claim it. Territory is really important to a cat and by exploring it through sight, sound, and scent they can make sense of it and claim it as their own.

But how does taste helps a cat navigate through the world, especially since they don’t really have good taste receptors? While cats are unable to taste anything sweet, recent studies have uncovered that cats have retained multiple functional bitter taste receptors.

Some believe that this ability helps cats to detect poison if they try to consume it, and instead of eating it, they’ll spit it out. Scientists believe that this discovery can explain why some of our feline overlords are picky with their food. But their poor tasting capabilities could also explain why they lick non-food objects.

For Comfort And Relaxation

Cats usually try to lead a chill life and grooming can be a cat’s equivalent of a bath before or after having a long nap. A healthy and clean coat is reason enough to believe that our fluffy feline familiars are happy and content. But sometimes grooming is a useful relaxation technique when things are a bit stressful.

As we’ve often talked about, cats can become stressed and anxious about many things in their lives. It might be a simple reason like missing us when we’re away on a holiday or something more traumatic, like losing their cat-friend. Whatever the stressor might be, there are cats that will try and soothe themselves, by grooming.

This behavior can come and go, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad for your kitty. Over-grooming or also known as “psychogenic alopecia,” on the other hand can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Your cat might be overstressed, or allergic to food, fleas, or to something in their environment.

It’s important to deal with this issue as soon as you notice it and a trip to the vet will help you find what’s causing this stress-relief behavior.

Okay, So Why Does My Cat Lick Everything?

Once you’ve understood how your cat’s tongue works you might start wondering if some of your cat’s licking behaviors are normal. Perhaps your cat is a professional licker that goes around the house tongue-inspecting all the surfaces. Some of you might find your cat to be a little pickier, but still feel that licking your leather bag or the carpet might be an unusual endeavor.

So, what does licking everything really mean?

Well, it depends on what your cat is licking! Obviously, “everything” is pretty expansive but let’s look at a few of the commons items that cats lick and see how it might connect to normal licking behaviors.

1. My Cat Is Licking Me

The sensation of your cat slowly licking your hands, face or hair might not be the most pleasant since their tongues are made to slowly take apart soft meat, but it can be the sweetest sign of affection. After all, cats won’t just lick anyone!

This behavior comes from their kittenhood when their mothers will lick them to keep them clean, stimulate breathing and circulation as well as help them go to the toilet. Of course, our cats are not trying to help us get to the toilet in time, but they are caring just like their mothers.

This is a nurturing behavior that shows us that they love us. Licking is part of a cat’s social behavior and this way they exchange scents that help them recognize you and in turn strengthen your bond!

Some cats might lick you and then bite you, which can be a common behavior during playtime, or it could be a love nibble. Dr. Karen Becker explains this behavior saying that, “this show of love from your kitty can be a bit painful, but your cat really doesn’t understand her love bite isn’t always pleasant to you.”

2. My Cat Is Licking the Carpets or The Floors

As much as we might try to keep our house clean, there are always things that can go amiss. Perhaps you’ve spilled a bit of cat food. I know I drop cat food all the time since both of my cats keep trying to knock me off my feet before I manage to place the food bowl on the ground.

Then again it might be a leaking grocery bag or a trash bag (I know gross!) you didn’t notice. Cats rely on their sense of smell more than their taste receptors, so a strange smell of a forgotten and shriveled piece of cheese might be what they’re licking of the floor and carpet.

Wooden floors can absorb smells, while cool tiles can have a small amount of condensation on the surface, which means that your kitty might be drawn to this wetness. If you see your kitty lick the floor or carpet, make sure they have water and food, and try cleaning that spot with a pet-friendly cleaner.

You might also find your fluffy companion licking your walls. It could be drawn by the texture or the humidity which can build upon them. Some of you might have the same experience with shower curtains! I on the other hand have seen my cats lick my windows during winter and when I tried to figure out why I saw droplets of moisture trickling from them.

I think this kitty has also found another source of hydration!

Now when it comes to carpets more food particles can get lost between their fabric, but there are also cats that are drawn to the material itself. Some cats love fluffy textures that they can knead and bite and in some cases digest.

Next time you notice your kitty licking and sucking your carpet, pay closer attention to see if they’re doing more than that. You might find your cat digesting parts of the carpet, in which case you might have to remove the carpet and of course consult your vet.

3. My Cat Is Licking My Furniture

This behavior can actually become frustrating to many cat owners, because of the damage a cat can make. Of course, we all know that having cats also means accepting this “destructive” behavior to some degree, especially if they’ve taken a liking to a specific piece of furniture.

Try not to blame your kitty for this behavior but try to see what might be causing it. There might be a food stain or the scent of catnip from a toy that was left on it. Washing the cushions on your couch or putting a cover on top might help you keep their rough tongues away.

If your kitty is not in heat or they’re threatened by a strange pet or guest, they might be marking their territory by rubbing against that spot and also licking it. This way they leave their scent some of their scent on it, in an effort to secure their ownership. Studies suggest that, “the odor may provide reassurance to the resident cat.”

4. My Cat Is Licking My Bed Sheets And Blankets

All the above explanations to your cat’s licking can be applied to your sheets, blankets, and even your own clothes. You might notice that your cat is more persistent at marking them after you washed them, in an effort to reclaim them as their own. If you have a new cat or guest staying over, they might be doing it for the same reason.

Then again, if you’ve been enjoying breakfast in bed, then there might be a few tasty crumbles left on your blanket. You might also notice your kitty knead and bite your blanket and even lick the fabric if it’s made of wool or a similar texture.

Studies have shown that this behavior can be linked to abnormally intense appetite, medical problems, or environmental factors. For example, “early weaning and small litter size were associated with an increased risk of wool-sucking in Birman cats.” But since all cats can adopt this behavior it’s advisable to visit your vet for further information.

5. My Cat Is Licking The Litterbox

This one might make your nose wrinkle and make us think that cats aren’t so clean after all, but this has nothing to do with cleanliness, at least not in their eyes. If you already have a cat and decided to adopt another kitten or even an older cat, you might find them sniffing and even licking the litter.

If you’ve recently changed the litter to a different variety, brand, or even to one that’s scented then your cat might lick it to understand the purpose of it. There are some cat owners who use pellets as cat litter and some cats might find the texture interesting to lick and chew on.

Then again it could have nothing to do with the litter itself, but with the plastic of the box. Some cats enjoy the chewiness of plastic, as well as the taste and texture of it. Dodman, author of Pets On The Couch suggests that licking plastic is a “texture-specific eating disorder,” and while simply licking plastic isn’t dangerous digesting can lead to intestinal blockages.

Eating the litter itself can also be unhealthy so, changing the brand or type of litter can be the first step. As always, it’s advisable to visit your vet, because digesting litter or a piece of plastic can be dangerous and the habit itself might be related to some medical condition.

Why Is My Cat Licking Everything Compulsively?

Finding out that your cat likes licking most things in your house, including you, can make you question their sanity. Of course, it could be a barely noticeable odd quirk, but what if it’s not. Cats are capable of developing compulsive behaviors that can become dangerous. That’s why it’s important to explore the reasons behind your cat’s non-stop licking routine.

Medical Causes

Cats spend a big part of their day grooming themselves, “because cats groom frequently, owners usually don’t notice a problem until they observe significant hair loss or skin lesions,” says Pamela Perry, DVM, animal behavior resident of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Overgrooming is usually caused by a dermatological problem, which causes itchiness or pain. William Miller, Jr., VMD a certified specialist in dermatology, explains that excessive licking can be caused by, “anything from parasites in kittens to neurological diseases in older cats.

What’s important to also notice when you observe your kitty grooming are the spots, they choose to excessively lick. William Miller suggests that licking the tail head may be caused by fleas, while cats that have food or pollen allergies might go for their backs, abdomens, or other areas of the body.

With over-grooming, you might find your cat producing excessive numbers of hairballs which could become dangerous on its own. A hairball can grow “too large to pass through the narrow sphincters leading either from the esophagus to the stomach or from the stomach to the intestinal tract,” explains Dr. Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Because of all this, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian when you see signs of overgrooming.

Stress or Boredom

If you’ve ruled out all possible medical problems, then it’s time to look into your cat’s psychological wellbeing. I’m sure we all try to keep our kitties happy, but there are a few things you might not be aware of, and with shy cats, it can be quite tricky.

As we mentioned before, cats might use grooming or kneading and sucking on blankets to relax and soothe themselves. It’s quite possible that your cat might be doing it with other fabrics and objects or even on you.

This behavior is often rooted in kittenhood and Rachel Barrack, a veterinarian of Animal Acupuncture says that, “many cats carry this behavior into adulthood and may knead their owners, other furry siblings or bedding.”

Major changes, like moving houses or bringing another human or pet into the family can make your cat feel neglected. That’s why it’s important to keep their environment filled with familiar scents, places they can hide, toys, scratching posts, and of course the necessary amount of litter boxes, food, and water bowls.

If you also find your kitty constantly licking you, then they probably miss you and it’s the owner’s responsibility to reassure their fur baby. Dr. Perry says that spending time with your kitty is very important, “finding what your cat likes whether it’s cuddle time with you or a favorite toy that is like a security blanket can relieve stress.”

Creating a steady routine and indulging our cats can help them feel secure and trust us more. You can also work in some fun activities that will relieve stress for you and your cat!

Pica

Excessive licking and biting of non-food materials, especially plastic or synthetic fabrics, could be a sign of an underlying medical condition called “pica”.

There are also cats that prefer fluffy and fuzzy fabrics, mostly made of wool. Unfortunately, unless it’s your favorite wooly jumper that they’re consuming, this behavior might go unnoticed. That’s why once you notice your cat licking something excessively then check if they’re actually consuming parts from it.

Cats with unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms and a history of eating unusual objects should be examined right away, says Arnold Plotnick, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the ACVIM. That’s why it’s important that you visit your local vet and see what can be done to manage your cat’s unusual love for artificial substances.

There are some breeds that might be more prone to “pica”, and specifically to wool sucking. Studies show that Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats can develop this behavior. But even if your kitty isn’t a purebred cat it could still show signs of pica which should not go unchecked.

OCD

Finally, excessive licking can be an obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to studies compulsive disorders in animals can occur without them suffering from dermatologic, neurologic, or other medical conditions.

You might notice your cat having repetitive, exaggerated behaviors that seem to have no purpose. It can be compulsive pacing, repetitive vocalization, as well as licking, eating, and chewing on fabrics, random objects, and their own fur.

There are a few factors that can cause this kind of compulsive behavior and usually, it’s stress related. It could be a change in your cat’s routine or life altogether, as well as our own intervention. Some owners might end up reinforcing this behavior or cause it by punishing their cats.

Mental disorders that could be unique to each cat or can develop with age are also possible causes for OCD. That’s why it’s important for your vet as well as an animal behaviorist to examine your cat and help you find what is causing this excessive licking and if OCD is to blame.

How To Treat Your Cat’s Excessive Licking?

Having a cat that’s licking everything can alarm you, especially if you notice them digest non-food materials. That’s why it’s important to deal with this behavior before it escalates, and your cat ends up being hurt.

Limit Your Cat’s Opportunities

Luckily, cats usually have a type of material that they prefer over others, even if it does feel like they’re liking pretty much everything.

If you notice your cat licking different surfaces, fabrics, and objects more than normal then one of the first steps you could take is removing them from your home or making them inaccessible. Try to hide the woolen blankets when you’re not there to observe your cat. Get rid of any plastics they enjoy licking or chewing on.

Some cats can become obsessed with plants, so make sure that they’re cat friendly because a lot of plants can be very dangerous and toxic. I’ve got a growing collection in my house and even though they’re all safe I still keep them out of my cats’ reach.

You could also buy some cat grass to divert their interest. While cats don’t need grass if their diet is balanced, Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, suggests that it can be a source of environmental enrichment. It’s also pretty easy to grow and if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to see if your cat likes cat grass you can check out this kit on Amazon.

Try not to scold your cat since they don’t perceive punishment or shouting in the same way we might do. Positive reinforcement and a stress-free environment should help your kitty limit their excessive grooming and licking.

Invest some money into interactive toys or create your own from safe household materials. Make sure you socialize with them and reward them for their good behavior with healthy treats.

I’m sure most of us love to spend our time with our feline overlords, but it’s also important to remember that pressuring them into cuddles, picking them up when they don’t want to can also cause stress. Some cats love spending time on their own and it’s important that we listen to their needs and respect their boundaries and personal space.

Regular Vet Visits

Paying attention and keeping an observant eye over our cat’s wellbeing is very important, but unless you have a veterinary degree you won’t be able to identify every single thing. That’s why regular vet visits are vital to your cat’s physiological and psychological wellbeing.

So, whatever the case is with your cat, their excessive licking is an important enough reason to make an appointment with your local vet!

Closing Thoughts

Ancient Greek philosophers have talked about the virtue of moderation in all things in life, but little did they know that this principle could be applied to a cat’s licking behavior.

A little licking here and there is cute. But licking everything?

Not so much!

Of course, grooming is essential, as well as your kitty’s curiosity, but even these two functions and traits can become dangerous if practiced uncontrollably. That’s why we should always be observant of our little feline companions and nudge them on the right path!

So, have you ever wondered, why does my cat lick everything? Let us know what is your definition of everything when it comes to a cat’s licking and how did you deal with it?

Why Do Cats Lick The Ground?

09-06-2020 · So, why do cats lick the ground? The most common reasons why cats lick the ground is a dietary deficiency or a mild case of pica, a compulsive eating disorder. Why do cats lick the ground? We usually observe cats licking their food, fur, or coat all of which are normal cat behavior. Cats also lick other pets and companion cats because it’s a form of social bonding. They also tend to lick their owners as a …

09-06-2020
Why Do Cats Lick The Ground

Cats are known to be finicky eaters, but did you know that they also tend to lick and eat unedible things as well? Take for instance their fascination for licking plastic bags, concrete, and even soil!

So, why do cats lick the ground? The most common reasons why cats lick the ground is a dietary deficiency or a mild case of pica, a compulsive eating disorder.

Why do cats lick the ground?

We usually observe cats licking their food, fur, or coat all of which are normal cat behavior. Cats also lick other pets and companion cats because it’s a form of social bonding. They also tend to lick their owners as a sign of affection and as their way of marking territory. But it’s another story when they lick inedible things like concrete walls, plastic bags, and soil. 

Here are the common reasons why cats lick the ground:

Your cat may be experiencing a dietary deficiency.

Cats tend to lick the ground because they may be suffering from a lack of dietary nutrients like vitamins and minerals in their food. Make sure that your cat is eating a balanced diet and should you need help, you may consult your veterinary nutritionist on what food to give your cat to meet her nutritional needs.

Your cat may have a mild case of pica. 

Pica is an eating disorder among cats where they have a behavioral urge to consume non-edible things like plastic, fabric, cardboard, paper, and soil. Cats with a mild case of pica usually lick non-edible things like the ground or a wall but will not consume it except that in severe cases they may consume objects entirely which could cause major damage like intestinal blockage and toxicity. 

Here are the common causes of pica in cats:

  • feline diseases like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, brain tumor, and leukemia  
  • a behavioral disorder like stress, anxiety, or boredom
  • dietary insufficiencies like lack of fiber, vitamins, or minerals 
  • genetic disposition or may be based on a particular cat breed 
  • weaning a kitten too early 
  • a disease of unknown origin 

The common symptoms of pica in cats include the following:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting 
  • unable to keep still 
  • decrease in appetite 

Some treatment options for pica:

  • keep your pet cats busy and active by providing interactive toys and structured playtime 
  • removing inedible things away from your cat so she won’t be tempted to eat them 
  • attend to your cat’s dietary needs
  • consult a veterinary behaviorist 

Your cat just loves to explore new tastes and textures.

Sometimes, your cat’s tendency to lick the ground may just be part of her inherent behavior. Cats tend to be curious and observant of their surroundings and they can be very nosy explorers, too.  So, if you see your cat lick the ground but don’t do it often and not in a compulsive manner,  then it may be that she’s just curious about its texture and flavor. 

How to stop your cat from licking the ground

Here are some steps that you can do to stop your cat from licking the ground:

1. Provide an enriching environment for your cat.

Make sure your cat is preoccupied with engaging and worthwhile activities so she’ll stay active and busy. Install a cat perch or cat tree, place and teach your cat to use a scratching post, and engage her with worthwhile playtime using interactive toys like cat laser, rollerball, and feather toys 

2. Keep your cat away from soil and dirt.

Try to keep your cat away from soil and dirt so she won’t be tempted to lick or even eat it. Keep her indoors and remove potted indoor plants away from your cat’s easy reach. 

3. Make soil or dirt unappealing to your cat.

Insert a strong smell that cats hate on the soil or dirt where your cat usually hangs out such as citrus and vinegar or you could also try a deterrent spray to keep your cat away from the ground or soil.  

4. Consult a cat behaviorist.

Should your cat’s licking behavior turn from moderate to worse then it’s high time to consult a cat behaviorist to assess your cat’s situation and help modify and treat the said behavior. 

Conclusion

There are times that we tend to worry too much when it comes to our furry pets. Cats sometimes act strangely, do weird stuff, eat non-edible objects. Felines usually tend to lick the soil and ground if they have a minor case of pica or if they have dietary deficiencies. But most of the time, it’s just merely a case of exploring new textures and flavors.

Why does my cat lick my eyelid

27-04-2022 · Cats may be drawn to lick your eyelids because humans secrete salt from their eyes when we cry or tear up, and they enjoy the salty taste. If you just finished a workout or came inside from a hot day, chances are you also were sweating, which also leaves behind a salty residue. Read more: Runt of the litter cats.

27-04-2022

It’s all the time cute to obtain a kiss out of your cat, however there are just a few locations you’d in all probability somewhat not be licked. Your eye space or eyelids might be excessive on that listing as a result of delicate nature of the pores and skin there. Some cats have a behavior of licking on this spot. So let’s reply the query, why does my cat lick my eye?

You are reading: Why does my cat lick my eyelid

You are reading: Why does my cat lick my eyelid

Cats lick your eye space as a result of they’re verifying that you’re their proprietor. Licking your eye is a approach for cats to let you understand they know who you might be and that they acknowledge your scent. It’s best to discourage this as cats can transmit illnesses to people by way of the eyes.

On this article, we’ll focus on just a few causes behind cats licking your eyes, what it means, and the way you need to deal with the scenario transferring ahead.

Why-Does-My-Cat-Lick-My-Eye.jpg

Causes Cats Lick Your Eyes

Though eye licking could seem cute, it’s positively a habits you wish to cease as it may be painful for you long run. Listed here are just a few causes to remember why cats do that.

Your Cat Licks Your Eye To Say Hey

Cats know that licking their proprietor is a certain option to get their consideration. The tough texture of a cat’s tongue is distinct sufficient it’s tough to not discover when a cat is licking you. Cats are sensible creatures, so that they use licking as a option to talk with people.

They Are Attempting To Present You Their Satisfaction

Typically cats will lick their homeowners to let you understand they’re happy with one thing. It’s possible you’ll discover they arrive over to lick you extra steadily within the hours following their mealtime or if you spend time taking part in with them. Licking is one in all their nonverbal cues to let you understand they care about you.

It is not uncommon for mom cats to lick their infants throughout, together with the attention space. The mom cats do that to assist clear their infants and stop eye infections. Your cat might have the pure tendency to do the identical to you.

They Scent Salt On Your Eye Space

It sounds unusual, however it’s completely true! Cats can scent the salt from our sweat and tears on our pores and skin, they usually might get near your face to lick your eye area after you’ve gotten simply had a protracted crying session.

They Have An Nervousness Tick And Compulsively Lick

Some cats actually can’t assist themselves relating to compulsive licking. It could be licked to underlying anxiousness your cat has or a compulsive behavior they’ve developed over time. Often, if that is the foundation trigger behind their licking, you possibly can pinpoint what the stressor is in your cat’s life, inflicting them to be compulsively lickers.

What Does It Imply When A Cat Licks Your Eyes

There are a lot of completely different motivations behind why your cat might lick your eyes, however there may be typically no deep which means behind why they do that. Cats like to lick themselves and their favourite individuals, and normally, all licking comes from a spot of affection. 

What Does It Imply When A Cat Licks Your Eyelids

Cats could also be drawn to lick your eyelids as a result of people secrete salt from their eyes after we cry or tear up, they usually benefit from the salty style. In case you simply completed a exercise or got here inside from a scorching day, chances are high you additionally had been sweating, which additionally leaves behind a salty residue.

Cats can scent the salt and sometimes lick in that space on account of their attraction to the style. Some cat homeowners who’ve a big downside advocate giving your cat a salt lick to redirect them from licking your eyelids as a substitute.

Why Does My Cat Lick My Eyes Once I’m Sleeping

Your cat may lick your eyes while you’re sleeping as a result of they discover your eyes twitching while you’re asleep. While you enter into the deepest a part of your REM sleep cycle, it’s common for individuals to have eyes or ft that involuntarily twitch.

In case your cat is close to you while you’re sleeping, they might this variation in your physique language and are available over 

and lick you to analyze the scenario. 

Why Does My Cat Lick My Eyebrows

Cats are sometimes drawn to lick eyebrows as a result of the hair on our eyebrows reminds them of their fur. Cats acknowledge that their homeowners aren’t similar to themselves, however the hair on eyebrows resembles fur, which feels acquainted to them.

Cats like to rub their face and lick fur or different gentle textures. It’s an act of consolation for them, because it reminds them of their early days as a kitten when their mom would equally lick them and their siblings.

Why Does My Cat Attempt To Chew My Eye

Your cat might attempt to chew your eye as an indication of their affection. They specific their emotions very in a different way than people do, and whereas it might be painful to you, they don’t imply to harm you with this chew. Typically cats do that while you’re cuddling or curled up collectively, and it’s a goodwill gesture.

Why Does My Cat Chew My Eyelids

Cats that act out and chew your eyelids normally accomplish that as a result of they’re in a playful temper and have an excessive amount of pent-up vitality. It is rather typical for cats to pounce or give light nips whereas they’re taking part in. Nonetheless, it’s higher when this habits is directed at one other cat or a toy and never at you.

Can You Go Blind If A Cat Licks Your Eye

It’s unbelievable, however you may go blind if a cat licks your eye and they’re contaminated with harmful pathogens. This occurred to 1 lady a number of years in the past when she was contaminated with Bartonella henselae, a micro organism that may be transmitted by way of the saliva of cats.

Over 40 % of cats will carry the Bartonella micro organism sooner or later of their life, so that is one thing to be aware of if you allow you to cat lick you. Nonetheless, it’s not typical for this to end in somebody going blind.

If the an infection is caught early on, a human shall be placed on antibiotics, which ought to relieve all signs. An individual can solely go blind from this if they’re by no means placed on antibiotics and the illness is caught a lot too late within the course of.

You’ll inform if you’re contaminated by this shortly, as signs seem fairly shortly after publicity. It’s possible you’ll discover lymph node swelling, fever, and native swelling.

Is It Okay To Let Your Cat Lick Your Face

It’s higher in case your cat doesn’t lick your face, but when they do, be sure that to take motion to wash your self afterward. Cats are keen on licking their homeowners, so it isn’t simple to get them to cease doing this completely, however cats can cross the illness on to their homeowners from their saliva, so you need to discourage this habits.

You wish to ensure you and your cat are staying wholesome if they’re doing this. Letting your cat excessively lick your face is rarely a terrific concept, as cats can carry germs they will transmit to people.

To make sure you and your cat each keep wholesome, ensure you are taking preventative measures with their hygiene to maintain them protected. As a human, ensure you wash your arms totally after taking part in together with your cat. In case your cat additionally licks your face, be sure that to clean it afterward, because the germs are unfold by way of a cat’s saliva.

To your cat, the very best factor you are able to do is be sure that they’re often handled with their flea remedy. Moreover, when you’ve got an open wound or damaged pores and skin spot in your physique, don’t let your cat lick close to there. Any open wound offers micro organism quick access to get inside your physique.

Last Ideas

Whilst you might not hear about it steadily, cat scratch fever is an precise situation that may occur when an contaminated cat’s saliva will get in your eyes or into an open wound. Whereas it is likely to be uncommon, if a human does get this an infection, it may develop into extreme and end in extreme bacterial an infection and even mind harm.

To maintain your cat from licking you, distract your cat by encouraging them to groom themselves as a substitute. In the event that they proceed to attempt to lick you whereas sitting close to them, rise up and take away your self from the room till they transfer on to a different exercise.

Category: Cat at https://uspetslove.com.

Category: Cat at https://uspetslove.com.

Why Does My Cat Lick Everything?

Why Does My Cat Lick Everything? Post by: Heather M. Cats are fastidious groomers and spend lots of time licking themselves. But some felines like to lick other things, including blankets, toys, and their humans. Let’s dig into why cats lick. Licking Themselves Clean. The number one reason cats lick is to groom themselves. Cats can spend as much as half their waking time licking their coat ...

Cats are fastidious groomers and spend lots of time licking themselves. But some felines like to lick other things, including blankets, toys, and their humans. Let’s dig into why cats lick.

Licking Themselves Clean

The number one reason cats lick is to groom themselves. Cats can spend as much as half their waking time licking their coat to keep it clean, smooth, and healthy. Mama cats also spend time grooming their kitties, and some cats groom other cats as a sign of affection.

Cats have the perfect tools for grooming. Their rough tongue acts like a brush that combs out the hair and cleans their coat. Their teeth help them get rid of more stubborn debris stuck in their fur. In addition, they use their forepaws as washcloths. They wet them with their tongues and use them to wipe their faces and hard-to-reach places.

All of that grooming can cause nasty hairballs. Regular brushing is one way you can help minimize hairballs in your cat.

Satisfying an Itch

When cats feel itchy, they might lick at a spot to try and stop that feeling. Itchiness can be caused by fleas, allergies, or other common cat skin problems.

If your cat has been focused on licking a particular area, you should check it out to see if there’s something going on. Be gentle when you look since the skin can get overly sensitive or painful after a lot of licking. If you see signs like redness, discoloration, or inflammation, you should contact your veterinarian.

Something Hurts

Cats sometimes lick themselves to soothe irritated skin or a spot that is painful. For instance, they might lick at a cut, abrasion, or joints that ache from arthritis. Licking places that hurt may seem counterintuitive since the excess licking can make the situation worse. It can also lead to infection.

Calming Themselves

Licking can feel very comforting to a cat, so they may do it when they feel anxious, stressed, or just want to chill out. As they lick, hormones called endorphins are released, which make them feel happy.

Stress licking can become excessive and start to damage the skin. In this case, you may need to do a little detective work to figure out what’s distressing your cat. Has there been a change in their routine? A new roommate or baby in the house? You may need to give your cat time to adjust.

If nothing has changed, it could be that your cat is feeling anxious because they’re bored. Try enriching their environment with an interactive toy, set up a birdfeeder outside that they can watch, or put a nature show on the television. You can also schedule a regular time each day to play a fun game with your cat.

tag: brown tabby cat licking a running kitchen faucet

Answers to Common Cat Licking Questions

Licking behaviors can seem strange, but there are good explanations for many of them.

Why do my cats lick each other then fight?

If you have more than one cat in your house, you’ve probably seen them licking each other in what seems like a caring interaction, only to suddenly start fighting. This is completely normal behavior that can happen for a few different reasons:

  • Sometimes, it’s simply a natural transition between activities your cats enjoy together. It might look jarring to go from grooming to playing, but your cats understand the game.
  • Cats use body language and behaviors to communicate with one another. When they pull back or bite, they may be saying they’ve had enough licking for now.
  • A cat might nip at the other cat’s fur during a mutual grooming session to try and work out a mat or a bit of debris. The cat who receives the bit might misinterpret that as a sign that it’s time to play fight.

If your cats lick then fight, there’s typically no need for concern unless either of the cats gets overly aggressive or upset.

Why does my cat lick then bite me?

The answer to this question is similar to cats who lick then fight with each other. They may want to switch from grooming you to playing with you.

Or they might be telling you they’ve had enough petting or attention for now. Some cats also give licks and little love bites to their humans as a form of affection.

Why do cats lick blankets?

Licking at blankets or fabric, called wool sucking, can feel very soothing to a cat. It’s reminiscent of nuzzling with their mama and littermates when they were young kitties. Wool sucking can be more common in kittens who were weaned from their mothers at an early age.

If you have a wool-sucking kitty, you don’t need to worry. Many cats outgrow this behavior as they mature. However, you’ll need to be careful that they don’t tear off and swallow pieces of the blanket, which can cause choking or block their digestive system.

Why do cats lick plastic?

Some plastic objects are simply fun for cats to lick. They might have a texture that feels interesting on their tongue or make a cool sound when they mouth them. Cats also like to lick plastic grocery bags that smell like the food that was in them.

Cats who lick plastic and other non-food things may have a disorder known as pica. Pica can be the result of a health condition, dietary deficiency, compulsive disorder, lack of mental stimulation, or a stressful change in routine.

You should talk with your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has pica. You’ll want to rule out an underlying illness and get advice on how to deal with the situation. Pica can harm your cat if they choke on or swallow something they shouldn’t.

Why is my cat licking the wall?

Like licking plastic, licking the walls can be a sign your cat has pica. It could also be that the wall tastes good to your cat. Maybe some enticing food or a drink was spilled or splashed on it. Sometimes the taste can linger even after you’ve cleaned up.

What can I do about excessive licking?

If your cat is licking things that concern you or overgrooming, you should visit the veterinarian to get to the root of the problem. Your veterinarian can determine if your cat is sick, hurt, or suffering from an allergy or skin condition. They can also give you advice on addressing the problem if your cat is healthy.

If something is wrong with your cat, pet insurance can help you cover the costs of treatment. Find out if coverage is worth it for you and your cat.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

kittycattips.com

Constipation can cause your cat pain, which leads them to lick their butt. Signs of constipation include frequent trips to the litter box without pooping, and dry hard stools. Infection An infection can also cause discomfort, which leads your cat to lick the area. Yeast infections can occur due to candidia, just as they can for humans.

Cats do not have the same sense of propriety that people do. They perform the necessary grooming anywhere and in front of anyone, often to their owners’ dismay. You’ve probably seen your cat licking their butt, and wondered why they do so. 

There’s actually an interesting explanation for this embarrassing behavior. 

No, your cat doesn’t lick their bum just to embarrass you, although it can certainly feel that way at times. You may even be tempted to scold your cat for licking their butt. 

However, it’s actually part of their normal grooming routine. As disgusting as it seems to us humans, it is necessary for your cat’s well being. 

Cleanliness

This is the most obvious reason cats lick their butt. Cats are very clean creatures. In fact, they spend between 30-50% of their waking hours grooming themselves. In addition to making sure every hair is perfectly in place, they also clean their bum. 

Cats don’t have access to toilet paper and wash clothes like humans do. Their tongue is their only grooming instrument. It’s natural for them to use it to clean their butt. 

You know that a dirty butt can cause health problems for humans. It’s possible for it to cause problems for your cat as well. Keeping their butt clean is not only part of grooming, it’s also good health hygiene. 

Anal Sac Problems

Cats have an anal sac on each side of their anus. They contain a smelly fluid. When your cat poops, the anal glands are squeezed. This causes them to release their fluid, coating the poop. The fluid contains important information about your cat. When other cats smell it, they learn about your cat. 

When the anal glands are functioning properly, you or your cat don’t give them a second thought. However, they can become impacted. Once they are impacted, they can’t release properly. 

The glands swell, causing your cat discomfort. You may notice the swollen glands. Your cats bum can become irritated and even infected, because they will begin licking the area frequently. This is an attempt to relieve the pain caused by the impacted anal glands. 

Other signs of anal sac problems include your cat scooting their butt on the floor, and a foul smell from their bum. 

Skin Irritation

Itchy bum is a very unpleasant condition. Humans have an assortment of wipes and creams to help with the problem. Your cat doesn’t have a medicine cabinet. Instead, they have their tongue. 

It’s their natural instinct to lick any area that is irritated or injured. Their saliva contains antibiotic properties that can help prevent infection. However, frequent licking can cause the skin to be further irritated. 

Your cat’s butt can become irritated due to constipation, food or environmental allergies, or a cut. Your cat will naturally lick it to relieve the pain and keep the area clean. 

Constipation

Constipation can cause your cat pain, which leads them to lick their butt. Signs of constipation include frequent trips to the litter box without pooping, and dry hard stools. 

Infection 

An infection can also cause discomfort, which leads your cat to lick the area. Yeast infections can occur due to candidia, just as they can for humans. Cats are also prone to urinary infections. 

The pain from these conditions is usually associated with their private parts. You can expect them to lick their penis or vagina, but they may also lick their butt to relieve the pain. 

Predator Protection

Cats in the wild must keep themselves safe from predators. Your domestic feline doesn’t have to worry about being anyone’s lunch, but their instincts remain.

They lick their butt for the same reason they cover their poop. To avoid being detected by predators. A clean butt doesn’t smell, which makes it less likely for predators to find them. 

Presenting the Bum 

Cats often greet each other by offering their butt. Its actually quite an honor to be presented with a butt in the cat world. Think of it as their version of a handshake. 

You wouldn’t want to shake if your hands are dirty, right? Your cat has the same manners. They don’t want to present a dirty butt to their friends. You may also find yourself presented with the honor. If you are, you’ll be grateful that it was clean. 

Parasites

Intestinal parasites, commonly called worms, can also cause your cat to lick their butt. Parasites are ingested by the cat. They then make their home in your cat’s digestive tract, feeding on your cat’s nutrition. 

Over time, the parasites reproduce, putting a strain on your kitty’s system. They can have a dull coat, weight loss, and a swollen stomach. Vomitting and diarrhea can also occur, because the parasites upset the digestive tract. 

Coughing, loss of appetite, weakness, and anemia are concerning symptoms that can occur if the parasites aren’t treated. 

Dead parasites, and sometimes live ones, come out in feces. This can cause your cat’s butt to itch. When their butt itches, they will lick it to get relief. They may also scoot their butt on the ground as a way to scratch it. 

Do cats like the taste their own poop?

It’s difficult to say for certain, since we can’t ask cats directly. However, it’s believed that cats don’t enjoy the taste of their own poop. They simply don’t mind it either. 

Cats will not only clean their butts. Sometimes they will even eat their own poop. Mothers will lick away the poop of young kittens as well. 

Avoiding Predators

As mentioned earlier, cats go to great lengths to avoid detection from predators. This is often their motivation for eating poop. They will particularly do this if they are in their home area, or if they have kittens. 

The area near their home must be kept free from smells that entice predators, including the poop of their prey. 

Is it clean for a cat to lick their bum?

Yes. For cats, cleaning their bum by licking it is actually the sanitary thing to do. It’s how they are designed. Their butt typically doesn’t get messy anyway. Nature has given them a fairly clean poop chute. 

However, it can get messy if they have digestive issues, and the occasional mishap is still possible. Their tongue and body are designed to cope with the duty of keeping their butt doody free. 

Why don’t cats get sick when they lick their bums?

It’s gross to think about, but your bound to ask the question. How can they lick their butt, or even eat poop, and not get sick? 

Is it Really That Bad? 

First, it’s important to remember what poop actually is. It’s simply your body’s waste. It’s a mix of undigested food matter, bacteria from the digestion process, and byproducts of digestion. 

It’s possible to have a disease in your body, that shows up in your poop. Typhoid is an excellent example of this. Typhoid Mary unfortunately spread the disease to so many people she was quarantined on an island. She diddn’t wash her hands after using the toilet, and before preparing food. 

However, most of the time, poop doesn’t contain anything particualrly harmful. Especially if it’s your own poop. Whatever is in your poop already exists within your body. So there’s some risk of catching or spreading a disease via your poop, but there’s a good chance that there’s nothing in it that would harm you. 

Of course, the human body is not designed to eat poop, either. Your cat, however, is well equipped to handle it. 

Accustomed to Bacteria

Your cat’s body is used to all the bacteria that are noramlly present in their poop. Just like you can be expsed to cold germs but not get sick due to your natural immunity, your cat’s body can fight off most diseases that might be in their poop. 

Stomach Acid

Your cat’s stomach acid can kill the bacteria lurking in their poop. It’s very difficult for anything to survive such an environment.

Short Digestive Tract 

Cats also have a short digestive tract, which helps flush out anything harmful. It’s a simple and functional design that helps keep them healthy, even when they chow down on butt dust. 

Should I prevent my cat from licking their bum?

Generally speaking, no. You shouldn’t prevent your cat from licking their butt. It’s part of their natural hygeine regiment, and its an instinct that helps keep them safe in the wild. However, there are some situations where preventing the behavior is neccessary. 

What’s Normal, and When Should I Step In? 

First, let’s look at what’s normal for your cat. Cats should lick their butt. If your cat isn’t licking their butt, you’ll need to step in and help keep them clean. This is a task no owner is thrilled to have, so breathe a sigh of relief if your cat is properly maintaining this area. 

You can expect your cat to lick their butt when they groom other areas of their body. Cats actually have their own grooming ritual. Typically they will start with their head and face, and work their way down their body. The gentials, butt, and tail are last. 

Your cat’s routine may vary slightly from this. If so, it’s nothting to worry about. With a little observation, you will learn your cat’s grooming pattern. 

If they are varying from this pattern, you can assume something is going on. They may have irritation or anal impaction causing them to lick more frequently. If they seem to spend a lot of time grooming their butt, this is also problematic, and not normal. 

Anal Gland Issues

If your cat has swollen anal glands, they need to be expressed. This is the best way to stop them licking their butt. You can do this at home. Put gloves on your hands. Trust me, you don’t want to get anal fluid on your fingers. Put newspaper or a towel down where your cat will be standing. 

Get someone to help you. Have them hold the cat from the front. Keep your cat calm with gentle petting and talking to them. You can also give them a cat treat. The anal glands are located to each side of the anus, at the 5 and 7 o clock positions. 

They should feel like peas or jelly beans. Push inward and upward gently until the gland releases. Repeat for the other side. 

If you arent’ comfortable oding this yourself, you can bring your cat to the vet. Your vet can also examine yoru kitty for signs of infection. 

Allergies or Irritation 

If your cat has allergies or irritation of their butt, you may need to prevent them from licking the area. If they are only licking occassoinally, it’s nothing to worry about. However, if they are licking often, this can make the irritation worse. You’ll also need to prevent them from licking off any cream you apply to the area. 

In this case, it’s best to speak with your vet. Your cat may need special creams or other treatments to solve the underlying problem. If you can’t get to your vet immediately, you can place an e collar on your cat. 

Cats hate the collar, and it can interfere with their balance, eating, and drinking. However, it does prevent them from licking their anal area. This can be a temporary solution while the area heals. 

Constipation 

If constipation is the problem, there’s an easy solution. Pumpkin is natural and high in fiber, making it a great constipation remedy. Give your cat 1 teaspoon of pumpkin once or twice a day to begin. 

If they are still constipated, increase the dose to 2 teaspoons. You can increase the dose up to 4 teaspoons. Too much pumpkin won’t be harmful, but it can cause diarrhea. If your cat’s poop becomes loose or watery, skip a dose. Then reduce the dose. 

You can also give your cat a teaspoon or two of pumpkin a day as a constipation preventative. It’s great for their digestive tract, and packed with vitamins and minerals. 

Why Do Cats Lick?

Why do cats lick their owners? When cats are kittens, the mother cat grooms them repeatedly with their tongue. It’s a sign of care and affection and it’s a way to keep kitten eyes clean and unmatted. Cat tongues are barbed and covered in hundreds of tiny papillae or spines that help with cleaning fur. It’s not uncommon for a bonded pair or littermates to groom each other, licking ...

Layne is an animal lover and grew up in a household full of rescued critters. She is a registered veterinary technician.

Why Do Cats Lick so Much?

You and your cat speak the same language. You love your cat and your cat loves you, but still you’re left wondering why your cat licks you so much. Is it affection, is your cat trying to groom you, or does your cat like how you taste? There are many reasons why your cat might be licking so much. They might even lick furniture in the house, floors, walls, toys (feather or soft toys), dead mice or birds, and all kinds of things that they find. Find out if your cat’s behavior is normal feline behavior or caused by something else like an underlying health condition.

10 Reasons Why Cats Lick

  1. Affection
  2. Instinct
  3. Anxiety and Boredom
  4. Territoriality
  5. Pica
  6. Grooming
  7. Tasting
  8. Health Issues
  9. Old Age
  10. Allergies
Cats licking each other affectionately.

Cats licking each other affectionately.

Ayelt van Veen via Unsplash

1. Affection

Why do cats lick their owners? When cats are kittens, the mother cat grooms them repeatedly with their tongue. It’s a sign of care and affection and it’s a way to keep kitten eyes clean and unmatted. Cat tongues are barbed and covered in hundreds of tiny papillae or spines that help with cleaning fur. It’s not uncommon for a bonded pair or littermates to groom each other, licking eachothe’s face, ear, fur, feat, and so on. It’s possible that your cat might be doing the same to you.

Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Your companion might have learned to lick you out of a show of affection from their kitten days. It’s possible that your cat also tries to groom other cats in your household or dogs or other family members that you cohabitate with. While this can be cute in some ways, other animals and people might not like it. In addition, a cat’s mouth contains harmful bacteria. Your other cat or dog might get up and walk away as soon as the unwanted licking starts. As cute yet sad as this might seem, your other pets are actually establishing a healthy boundary, and you should, too.

Does My Cat Like the Way I Taste?

It’s possible that your cat likes the way you taste, and no, they are not plotting to kill you. If you notice your cat tries to lick you especially after exercise or working out, it’s possible that they are simply enjoying the salt on your skin. Try taking a shower first before settling down with them.

Is Cat Saliva Harmful to Humans?

The short answer is yes, cat saliva is harmful to humans. Cats host the several types of bacteria in their mouth including Pasteurella multocida, Staphylococcus, E-coli, and Salmonella, which all have zoonotic potential (can infect humans).

Should I Let My Cat Lick Me?

For people with compromised immune systems, open wounds, who are susceptible to infection, or have slow-healing wounds, do not let your cat lick your skin directly. It is known in human medicine that cat bites are no joke. This is because of two things: the bacteria found in cat saliva and their needle-point teeth. Their sharp, pointed teeth inoculate human skin via bite and create a narrow entry point which then closes off, trapping the wound and creating a perfect space for anaerobic bacteria to thrive.

Cats will lick things out of instinct.

Cats will lick things out of instinct.

Aylin Bulek via Unsplash

2. Instinct

Cats are predators and their instincts are quite strong. Despite cat breeds being domesticated for several hundred years, they are still fairly predatory and wild. Any cat owner will know that they rule the house. They still retain quite a few instincts, whether that is hunting, chasing, trapping prey, or stalking (even you). When cats catch a mouse or bird as prey, they will play with it until it is dead. Sometimes, they sit down and lick the dead bird or mouse top to bottom until they get bored. In the wild, they would normally eat their kill, but house cats tend to have more leisure time and often kill things for entertainment. They will catch something, trap it, and lick it until there’s something better to do.

Why Does My Cat Bite Me and Then Lick Me?

Your cat might bite and lick you in the same way that he or she would play and interact with another cat. They might start out being sweet and playful and then dive in for a nip or two. While it can be cute, not everyone wants to be nipped when they go to pet your cat. You might consider withdrawing your hand or even avoid playing with your cat with your hands entirely. Opt for a feathered toy or a toy on a wand that does not involve cat-to-hand contact. The nips can be particularly harmful if your cat accidentally pierces skin (this is especially true for elderly adults and young kids or babies and sensitive people).

3. Anxiety and Boredom

Cats will exhibit strange behaviors when they are understimulated, bored, and anxious. Oftentimes, obsessive, compulsive licking can erupt first from boredom, then anxiety, and escalate to even hair loss and skin sores. Your cat might be over-grooming because they have nothing else to do. If they are understimulated, lack toys and affection, and more, they might turn to themselves and groom obsessively.

As for anxiety, cats can be anxious for several reasons. This might include changes in the house, the introduction of a new pet or person, the departure of a pet, person, or companion, hormonal issues, loud noises, stray cats outside, cat fights, too much scolding or discipline, or simply not having a safe and secure place to sleep or rest and retreat to.

Offer your cat a safe hideout, especially if they are shy. Consider covered cat beds and place them in a corner or tucked away somewhere between furniture where they feel they can really retreat. You might also consider trying Feliaway, which is a product that uses synthetic pheromones to communicate via the F3 facial pheromones cats use to rub up against objects to mark a space as “safe.” Follow all product instructions, of course.

Cat TV to Combat Boredom

4. Territoriality

Cats are territorial, and licking followed by headbutts and marking are common ways for them to claim you as their own. Your cat might be exhibiting this behavior if they feel challenged by other cats in the household, other pets in the household, and even other people in the household. If you recently moved into a new location, got new furniture, or even brought something small and new into the house, you will probably find that your cat feels a need to sniff, lick, and mark it. You can help your cat to feel more secure by taking something that they sleep on and distributing their scent around the house by using that object via scent transfer.

Placing a hand towel for your cat to sleep on in their bed works just fine. After several days, take the towel and rub it across fabric furniture. This will help your cat to feel more secure because everywhere they go they will find their scent. If you live in a multi-cat household, you might consider purchasing the multi-cat Feliaway wall plugin product. This product dispurses pheromones into the air to lessen the tensions and anxiety around multi-cat households.

5. Pica

Pica is a compulsive disorder in which a human or animal is driven to eat things that offer no nutritional value. Pica can be especially dangerous because it often leads to GI upset and impactions which might require surgery. Your cat might first lick and then try eating things like litter, sand, dirt, gravel, string, carpet, fabric, cardboard, plastic, foam, and so forth. While cats are generally curious and will lick or eat things they shouldn’t, frequent and obsessive licking or consumption of the above mentioned is abnormal.

The psychopathology of pica is complex, but there are numerous causes for it in cats, including being weaned too young, nutritional deficiencies, stress, boredom, and other underlying medical issues. Talk to your veterinarian if your cat has a tendency to eat non-nutritional foods and pica-proof your house as best as you can until you get the expert answers that you need.

6. Grooming

Cats groom, no doubt, and they do it for nearly ¼ of their day or even longer than that. Some breeds and cats groom more than others, and some require help with grooming. If you have a long-haired cat like a Persian, for example, you need to be diligent about helping them to stay groomed and mat-free. It is not uncommon for cats to lick their paws, face, and clean themselves throughout the day and in between naps.

However, if your cat is grooming to the point of hair loss, this could be because of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, flea allergy, or boredom. In addition, cats that are obese have trouble cleaning themselves, especially of urine and feces, and should really be more carefully cared for by their owners. If your cat has trouble grooming due to size, talk about a safe way with your vet to address what is causing their obesity and help them lose weight.

7. Tasting

Cats love to taste things. Unlike dogs, they often don’t consume everything that they taste, but they will try things with their tongues and even smell things prior to consumption. Cats actually only have a few hundred taste buds (humans have around 9,000), but their sense of smell makes up for it.

According to NPR, cats are “sweet blind”—they don’t taste sweet things as well as other species and humans. They do taste sour, bitter, and salty flavors. In fact, pets can become addicted to salty flavors which can put that at risk of salt toxicity. While a few licks of your arm after a workout might appeal to your cat, don’t encourage this behavior. Also make sure to talk to your vet about what food your cat is on and make sure they are getting all important nutrients.

Persians need help grooming.

Persians need help grooming.

Maxim Mushnikov via Unsplash

8. Health Issues

Cats are prone to health issues and licking might be an indication that they have a thyroid or hormonal disorder, a flea allergy, or perhaps they are in pain. Animals sometimes groom obsessively when they are actually experiencing discomfort in that region; it is not uncommon for them to maim themselves out of frustration from having to endure chronic pain. If the pain is joint related (arthritis and similar inflammation), they might chew obsessively or clean one spot over and over. This is also true of a nail bed injury.

Flea Allergies

Flea allergies are a huge issue in cats and can cause obsessive grooming, hair loss, and hot spots. Most owners like to claim that their cats don’t have fleas—“They are indoor only” or “I never see fleas on my cat.” Unfortunately, no matter what efforts you take and unless you are using flea treatment on the calendar dot regularly, most cats will host a flea or two. Flea allergy is actually triggered by the saliva of the flea; the proteins in the saliva of the flea triggers intense itching, thus your cat is forced to lick more and chew more. To resolve the issue, you must be diligent about using topical or oral flea meds.

As for hormonal disruption or metabolic disorders, hair loss and licking or itching can be triggered by such conditions. You will need to work with your veterinarian and preferably an internal medicine veterinary specialist to run diagnostics on your cat and get to the source of the issue.

9. Old Age

Senior cats might start exhibiting weird behavior due to cognitive decline, such as licking objects that don’t taste good (cardboard, plastic, wood, fabric), and this behavior might appear alongside other demonstrations of senility, like soiling themselves, sleeping more, or acting groggy and disoriented. Help your senior cat out by keeping them stimulated and offering them lots of affection. If you truly feel like your cat is on the decline, consider their quality of life or talk to your vet about ways you can deter obsessive licking if they are harming themselves, creating hot spots, or losing fur. You might even try new interactive toys or putting “cat TV” on for your companion (my cat loves it!) to keep them busy if they are indoor only.

Your cat might have a flea allergy.

Your cat might have a flea allergy.

Gotardo Ronitis via Unsplash

10. Allergies

As mentioned, flea allergies trigger an excessive amount of licking, chewing, grooming and hair loss in cats. While it is easily treated if you are diligent about eradicating fleas from your home and from your cat, a more difficult trigger of licking is environmental or food allergies. Environmental allergies can be anything from outdoor pollen to dust mites or sensitivity to chemical sprays used in the house. You can talk to your vet about this hypothesis and discuss ways you can rule out such triggers—like cleaning more or investing in a nice HEPA filter. You might even keep your cat indoors during certain times of the season if they are allergic to pollen.

Food allergies are harder to treat but you can start by talking to your vet and putting your cat on a hypoallergenic diet. Hypoallergenic foods can be bought in major pet stores. If you are switching your cat over to a new food, do so gradually to avoid giving them an upset stomach, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Food allergies trigger all kinds of skin flare ups which might force your cat to lick themselves obsessively in order to combat the discomfort.

While the list of 10 reasons why cats lick above is fairly comprehensive, there might be other reasons for your companion's behavior. Your veterinarian is always the best source for information regarding health issues and behavioral specialist recommendations. Licking, in general, might be quite innocent and simply be a sign of love and affection, but there can also be some more serious underlying reasons as mentioned. Best of luck investigating the cause of your cat's behavior.

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.

© 2021 Laynie H

Why does my cat lick me so much

22-02-2022 · Unfortunately, licking is sometimes a sign of anxiety or compulsive behavior in cats. Usually this behavior will manifest in the form of your cat licking himself compulsively (leading to hair loss, reddened skin, rashes, etc.)—but occasionally it’ll emerge as licking humans. If your cat licks you often, or licks himself compulsively, try to ...

22-02-2022

You are reading: Why does my cat lick me so much

When it comes to pets that like to lick their humans, most people think of dogs before cats. But if you’re a cat parent who’s experienced the sandpaper feeling of your feline’s tongue, you’ve probably wondered: Why does my cat lick me? 

So, why do cats lick people, and what does it mean? Read on to find out.

What does it mean when a cat licks you?

First, why does a cat’s tongue feel so rough? Cats actually have tiny backward-facing barbs on their tongues to help facilitate thorough grooming practices. These barbs also help them get the most out of their meals—whether that’s an outdoor kitty dining on a fresh catch or your spoiled house cat lapping up a plate of canned cat food.

So, what does it mean when a cat licks you? The reasons are varied, but not usually worrisome.

miron-cristina-HW_6USwudbo-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Miron Cristina on Unsplash

6 reasons why your cat licks you

We’ve explored why cats lick plastic and other strange items, many of which can pose a danger to cats if consumed. Luckily, the reason your cat licks you is likely a positive one!

Getting your attention

Whether it’s the feel of those tiny barbs or simply the “aww factor” of your furbaby licking you, your cat is likely aware that this behavior is a surefire way to grab your attention. Similar to how cats knock things off tables to get attention, there may even be a mischievous or manipulative element to their licking behavior. If your cat is feeling stressed or anxious, the licking may actually be a form of “acting out” in order to get you to pay attention. We’ll explore this in more detail later on. 

Showing you affection

One of the sweetest reasons why your cat licks you is to show affection. This is essentially a form of social bonding, similar to your cat cuddling you in your lap. 

You may have noticed that your cat licks you when you’re already engaged in a petting session, and wondered: Why does my cat lick me when I pet him? This could be your cat “thanking” you for the attention and showing affection in return. Pay attention to when your cat licks you while you’re petting him, as there could also be a compulsive element to the behavior. For example, do you notice your cat starting to lick you only when you scratch one certain spot, such as his lower back or tail? If this is the case, you should consider that the licking may be a sign of anxiety, reflexive of being scratched or pet in a place that your cat finds uncomfortable or ultra-sensitive.

Grooming you

Did you know that free-roaming cat colonies practice social grooming—also called allogrooming—as a means of bonding, reinforcing social hierarchies, and even redirecting pent-up aggression? 

So maybe you’ve wondered: Why does my cat groom me? Your cat “grooming” you might not be quite so complicated as the dynamics in a cat colony, but it’s nonetheless a possibility for why your cat licks you. Don’t take it as a slight, as it’s not necessarily your cat’s way of telling you you’re dirty. Instead, take it as a compliment! You’re part of a select group (whose only other member may, in fact, be your cat!) that your cat is willing to groom.

If you have more than one cat in the household, you may notice that the cat that licks you is also more likely to lick the other cat(s). In keeping with allogrooming studies, this is because the “dominant” cat in the group is more likely to give the majority of the grooming. Male cats are also more likely to initiate social grooming than females.

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Photo by Deziree Dufresne on Unsplash

Marking you as their territory 

Cats practice territorial marking on a regular basis by activating the scent glands located in their mouths, chins, the sides of the face, and even the pads of their paws! Similar to your cat rubbing against you as a form of scent marking, he may also lick you to mark his territory. 

Do cats have a favorite person? Well, that depends entirely on the cat—but one way you might confirm this theory is if your cat licks you and not the other household members. Certain cat breeds are more prone to “singling out” a favorite person, including Russian Blues and Oriental Shorthairs.

Feeling anxious or stressed

Unfortunately, licking is sometimes a sign of anxiety or compulsive behavior in cats. Usually this behavior will manifest in the form of your cat licking himself compulsively (leading to hair loss, reddened skin, rashes, etc.)—but occasionally it’ll emerge as licking humans.

If your cat licks you often, or licks himself compulsively, try to determine if something has set off this stress-induced behavior. It could be the result of interacting with other animals in the house, rowdy children, or something much more subtle. Talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s licking; they may wish to examine your cat to rule out any medical reasons for the behavior. Learn more about treating cat anxiety.

Or… you just have something yummy on your skin

Still finding yourself wondering why does my cat lick me? Next time your cat licks you, take note if there’s anything, well, palatable on your skin. Did you recently prepare food? Use a particular hand lotion? Exercise? Yes, even your salty sweat might taste great to your cat. 

Should you let your cat lick you? Keep in mind that certain foods and beauty products contain ingredients that are toxic to cats. It’s best to get in the habit of washing your hands after you prepare food, and don’t let your cat lick you if you’ve recently applied lotion, perfume, and other skin products.

Is it normal for my cat to lick me all the time?

There’s no set frequency for what’s “normal” when it comes to your cat licking you. Every cat is different, and many will not lick humans at all. However, if your cat is licking you all the time, it could mean something is amiss. As we covered earlier, compulsive licking is often a sign of stress and anxiety. It’s best to check with your vet if you have any concerns.

How to stop your cat from licking you

Why does it hurt when my cat licks me? 

Remember those tiny tongue barbs we talked about? After a short while, the sandpaper feel of your cat’s tongue can become irritating to the skin, if not downright painful. If you’re looking for ways to stop your cat from licking you, just keep in mind that this may be a bonding experience for your cat. Therefore, you shouldn’t push your cat away aggressively or otherwise punish your cat for licking you. Instead, gently disengage from your cat and walk away. Eventually, your cat should begin to associate this disappearing act with his licking—and hopefully cease the behavior. 

Licking is okay – but you can redirect your cat, too

Tired of all the licking? You might simply need to redirect your cat’s attention to other stimulating activities, including providing interactive cat furniture or toys such as a laser pointer.

So, what does it mean when a cat licks you? Now you know there’s a variety of reasons for this behavior, many of which are positive. If your cat’s licking becomes irritating, try to handle it with grace and let your cat down easy. If it becomes compulsive, talk to your vet. 

Resources:

Cover photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

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Why Do Cats Lick You When You Pet Them?

28-03-2021 · The main reasons cats lick you when you pet them is because they love you, you taste good, to show passion, to gain attention, grooming, and

28-03-2021
Why do cats lick you when you pet them

Cats spend a major portion of the day licking their fur. Of course, they do it for grooming and taking care of hygiene issues. But why do cats lick you when you pet them?

Many people assume a cat licking its owner is a sign of affection and care. We agree! The act of a cat licking is closely associated with love, but there are other reasons too.

Still, confused? Read on till the end to know why kittens lick you when you pet them!

The main reasons cats lick you when you pet them is because they love you, you taste good, to show passion, to gain attention, grooming, and to deal with stress.

#1 They Love You

Human beings kiss, but cats don’t. They have their own ways of showing affection for their humans. Licking is something more than just grooming. If your feline starts licking you, the kittens around, or other pets in your household, it means they want to strengthen the bond of love.

This habit is transferred from the mother to its kittens. The mommy cat will lick and groom its baby to show the feeling of love. The kittens grow into adult cats and start practicing the same thing with their owners. Emotional moment! Isn’t it?

#2 You Taste Good

It may seem weird, but cats can lick your body to taste anything unusual on your skin. Remember the place you recently visited? You may have dropped the leftovers of something on your skin. It can have a sugary, salty or even bitter taste. But your furry friend likes it!

A common example of this is when you pet your cat after you workout. It is most likely your sweat that urges felines to lick and enjoy the salty taste. Interestingly enough, cat’s sweet taste buds are almost non-functional.

#3 To Show Possession

Cats are possessive when it comes to sharing owners with other animals. Felines “mark their territory” in several ways. They will scratch your skin, rub their cheeks with your skin, or come in contact to show their possession. But licking humans indicates their claiming their territory. A cat’s lick brings them close to their owners. Licking also alarms other animals that you belong to them!

#4 To Gain Attention

Cats are lovely pets that need attention from their owners. But if you are busy somewhere, they start licking your hands, legs or face. They want you to concentrate and spend time with them. Cats lick when they want to play, need food, or something is bothering them.

Just like meowing or pawing, licking is also purposed for grabbing your interest. They want you to feed them, pet them, and just be with them. How sweet is this!

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#5 Grooming

Grooming is a natural feline behavior that is inherited from their ancestors. Cats lick their partners for cleaning, but, does licking benefit human beings?

When a cat tries to groom their owner, there is no hygienic benefit for the human. That being said, it does create a bond with the four-legged animal. Studies reveal when in groups, cats assign this grooming duty to one of the members known as the “allo-groomer.”

So the ‘allo-groomer’ role play can be another reason why cats lick you when you pet them!

cats grooming eachother

#6 Deal with stress

Is your cat feeling depressed? Or maybe it got separated from its partner? An anxious cat often shows prolonged licking or grooming behavior. Sometimes, cats do so when they are fighting with a medical issue. A lot of times, if you cat is going to the litter box every few minutes, they might have a UTI and might start licking you because they are stressed.

Excessive licking can result from a change of home, settling into a new environment, or the death of another kitty. In general, you should not be worried if your cat is licking a lot since it is natural behavior. However, if the grooming leads to the removal of fur, the appearance of dark skin spots, or other symptoms, we recommend a quick visit to a veterinarian.

Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose?

19-12-2020 · Cats lick their noses to keep their nose moist, for grooming and also due to stress. Keeping his nose moist. Your cat’s nose is one of his most vital organs. Felines use their finely-tuned noses to increase their awareness of the world as well as taste their food. Unlike humans, cats have few taste buds, numbering less than 500. People have about 9,000 taste buds. As such, they rely on their ...

19-12-2020
Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose

Cat owners are always alerted by unusual behaviors in their pets. Sometimes, these unusual things are a cause of concern, but in many instances, you have nothing much to worry about.

Take nose licking, for example. Nose licking is a behavior that is quite common in house cats. You probably may not have noticed it before but your cat licks his nose for a variety of reasons.

Reasons why your cat is licking its nose

Cats lick their noses to keep their nose moist, for grooming and also due to stress.

Keeping his nose moist

Your cat’s nose is one of his most vital organs. Felines use their finely-tuned noses to increase their awareness of the world as well as taste their food.

Unlike humans, cats have few taste buds, numbering less than 500. People have about 9,000 taste buds. As such, they rely on their noses to gauge whether a certain type of food is delicious. This is also one of the reasons why a cat with a respiratory infection has a poor appetite.

Your cat might lick his nose to remove tiny bits of objects that have landed on it. These small objects can interfere with his sense of smell. A feline will also deliberately wet its nose so that scent particles can better adhere, enhancing his sense of smell.

Excessive grooming and stress

A stressed cat will do a lot of unusual things, including excessive grooming and licking of his nose.

Cats are such fastidious creatures that their owners sometimes fail to notice excessive grooming due to stress. Unknown to many pet owners, cats and dogs lick their lips and noses when they are stressed.

But how can you distinguish between normal grooming and stress grooming?

First, check if your cat has enough water to drink. You should also check your feline’s face closely, looking for signs of irritation, especially around the nose and mouth. If you have eliminated these possible reasons, it is highly likely that your feline is distressed.

Why cats over-groom when stressed

According to animal behaviorists, pets over groom themselves because they do not know exactly how to handle stressful situations. This inability makes them turn to themselves and grooming to find some semblance of comfort.

Stress and anxiety often arise due to changes in a cat’s living environment. Cats cannot handle even the slightest changes as well as humans. It can be as simple as the arrival of a new baby or pet in the house or changes in his daily schedule.

Apart from licking his nose and excessive grooming, stress in cats can manifest itself in a variety of ways. These include aggressive behavior like growling and hissing, stomach and bladder problems, and skin irritation. 

Helping your cat cope with stress

The most important thing that you can do to help your cat deal with his anxiety is to get to the root cause of the issue. Once you have identified the source of the stress, you can try to eliminate it or at the very least, safeguard your pet against it.

Some cat owners have found success in alleviating stress in their felines by using natural remedies like herbs and flower essences. However, before you try one for your cat, consult with your veterinarian. Also, do not use multiple products at the same time. Use one at a time until you find one product that works best for your furry little pal.

You can also try products that contain pheromones like collars and sprays. Pheromone is a hormone that felines use to mark their territories and these products mimic that, making your pet feel calmer.

If you have more than one cat in your household, you should strongly consider giving your pets multiple litter boxes and feeding stations. Sometimes, a cat can become stressed because he feels he needs to compete for food and the use of a litter box. Adding a cat tree can also help your cat achieve a state of calm by giving him space to hide away from you and the other feline members of the household.

Set aside time for play. Sometimes, pent up boredom can manifest itself in the form of anxiety or aggressive behavior. Stimulate your cat’s mind and body by honing his instinct to hunt.

If your pet does not respond to any of these, your vet may recommend the use of anti-anxiety medications or prescription diets.

It is also worthwhile to point out that cats tend to pick up on their humans’ energy levels. If you are also stressed out, dealing with your issues can help both you and your pet.

Wet or dry cat nose

Some cat owners mistakenly believe that a wet cat nose is a sign of good health and dry nose means that a cat is sick.

The truth is, some cats have wetter or drier noses and in most cases, these have nothing to do with the health of a feline.

It is natural for a healthy cat to have a wet or dry nose, changing from one state to another. As long as your pet is not exhibiting other symptoms, his health is just fine.

Wet cat nose

Your cat’s nose can get excessively wet for a variety of reasons. For one the skin close to the opening of his nostrils have sweat glands. These sweat glands produce moisture, making the cat’s nose wet, especially when the temperature is hot. 

Sometimes, a cat’s nose will feel excessively wet because he just licked his nose while grooming. And it is possible that he just finished grooming himself when you felt his wet nose.

It is also possible that your cat just drank from his water bowl.

Take note that there is a difference between a wet cat nose and a runny nose. A runny nose is a sign that your cat may be suffering from an upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria and viruses. A runny nose is also a symptom of an allergy.

Dry cat nose

On the other hand, a cat’s nose can become dry due to spending time near a warm or sunny location. The moisture on the nose can also be affected by humidity levels inside your home.

But if the nose has gotten too dry to the point that there are cracks on the skin, your cat might be dehydrated. Apart from dry nose and cracks on the skin, other signs of dehydration that you should watch out for include sunken eyes, dry mouth, appetite loss, panting, and lethargy.

Should you worry about your cat licking his nose?

In most cases, you do not need to worry about your cat licking his nose. But if you notice him doing it more than usual, observe his behavior and watch for other changes in his habits.

Image: istockphoto.com / vauvau