Why does my cat lick me? Cats even have tiny backward-facing barbs on their tongues to assist facilitate thorough grooming practices. These barbs additionally assist them get probably the most out of their meals—whether or not that’s an out of doors kitty eating on a recent catch or your spoiled home cat lapping up a plate of canned cat meals.
So, what does it imply when a cat licks you? The explanations are various, however not normally worrisome.
6 reasons why your cat licks you
We’ve explored why cats lick plastic and different unusual gadgets, lots of which may pose a hazard to cats if consumed. Fortunately, the rationale your cat licks you is probably going a constructive one!
Getting your consideration
Whether or not it’s the texture of these tiny barbs or just the “aww issue” of your furbaby licking you, your cat is probably going conscious that this conduct is a surefire method to seize your consideration. Just like how cats knock things off tables to get consideration, there could even be a mischievous or manipulative component to their licking conduct. In case your cat is feeling confused or anxious, the licking may very well be a type of “appearing out” with the intention to get you to concentrate. We’ll discover this in additional element afterward.
Displaying you affection
One of many sweetest the reason why your cat licks you is to point out affection. That is primarily a type of social bonding, much like your cat cuddling you in your lap.
You will have seen that your cat licks you while you’re already engaged in a petting session, and questioned: Why does my cat lick me after I pet him? This may very well be your cat “thanking” you for the eye and exhibiting affection in return. Take note of when your cat licks you whilst you’re petting him, as there is also a compulsive component to the conduct. For instance, do you discover your cat beginning to lick you solely while you scratch one sure spot, reminiscent of his decrease again or tail? If so, you need to take into account that the licking could also be an indication of tension, reflexive of being scratched or pet in a spot that your cat finds uncomfortable or ultra-sensitive.
Do you know that free-roaming cat colonies observe social grooming—additionally known as allogrooming—as a way of bonding, reinforcing social hierarchies, and even redirecting pent-up aggression?
So possibly you’ve questioned: Why does my cat groom me? Your cat “grooming” you won’t be fairly so difficult because the dynamics in a cat colony, however it’s nonetheless a chance for why your cat licks you. Don’t take it as a slight, because it’s not essentially your cat’s manner of telling you you’re soiled. As a substitute, take it as a praise! You’re a part of a choose group (whose solely different member could, in reality, be your cat!) that your cat is prepared to groom.
If in case you have multiple cat within the family, it’s possible you’ll discover that the cat that licks you can be extra more likely to lick the opposite cat(s). Consistent with allogrooming research, it is because the “dominant” cat within the group is extra doubtless to offer the vast majority of the grooming. Male cats are additionally extra more likely to provoke social grooming than females.
Marking you as their territory
Cats observe territorial marking regularly by activating the scent glands positioned of their mouths, chins, the perimeters of the face, and even the pads of their paws! Just like your cat rubbing towards you as a type of scent marking, he may lick you to mark his territory.
Do cats have a favourite individual? Nicely, that relies upon solely on the cat—however a technique you would possibly verify this principle is that if your cat licks you and never the opposite family members. Sure cat breeds are extra vulnerable to “singling out” a favourite individual, together with Russian Blues and Oriental Shorthairs.
Feeling anxious or confused
Sadly, licking is typically an indication of tension or compulsive conduct in cats. Normally this conduct will manifest within the type of your cat licking himself compulsively (resulting in hair loss, reddened pores and skin, rashes, and so on.)—however sometimes it’ll emerge as licking people.
It may very well be the results of interacting with different animals in the home, rowdy kids, or one thing rather more delicate. Speak to your veterinarian about your cat’s licking; they might want to study your cat to rule out any medical causes for the conduct. Be taught extra about treating cat anxiety.
Or… you simply have one thing yummy in your pores and skin
Nonetheless discovering your self questioning why does my cat lick me? Subsequent time your cat licks you, take observe if there’s something, effectively, palatable in your pores and skin. Did you latterly put together meals? Use a specific hand lotion? Train? Sure, even your salty sweat would possibly style nice to your cat.
Do you have to let your cat lick you? Remember that sure foods and wonder merchandise include substances which can be poisonous to cats. It’s finest to get within the behavior of washing your arms after you put together meals, and don’t let your cat lick you in the event you’ve just lately utilized lotion, fragrance, and different pores and skin merchandise.
Is it regular for my cat to lick me on a regular basis?
There’s no set frequency for what’s “regular” in terms of your cat licking you. Each cat is totally different, and lots of is not going to lick people in any respect. Nevertheless, in case your cat is licking you on a regular basis, it may imply one thing is amiss. As we lined earlier, compulsive licking is commonly an indication of stress and nervousness. It’s finest to verify along with your vet when you’ve got any considerations.
The way to cease your cat from licking you
Keep in mind these tiny tongue barbs we talked about?. When you’re searching for methods to cease your cat from licking you, simply remember that this can be a bonding expertise to your cat. Subsequently, you shouldn’t push your cat away aggressively or in any other case punish your cat for licking you. As a substitute, gently disengage out of your cat and stroll away. Finally, your cat ought to start to affiliate this disappearing act along with his licking—and hopefully stop the conduct.
Licking is okay – however you may redirect your cat, too
Bored with all of the licking? You would possibly merely have to redirect your cat’s consideration to different stimulating actions, together with offering interactive cat furniture or toys reminiscent of a laser pointer.
So, what does it imply when a cat licks you? Now you recognize there’s quite a lot of causes for this conduct, lots of that are constructive. In case your cat’s licking turns into irritating, attempt to deal with it with grace and let your cat down simple. If it turns into compulsive, discuss to your vet.