Revealed June 22, 2021
With regards to pets that prefer to lick their people, most individuals consider canine earlier than cats. However in case you’re a cat mum or dad who’s skilled the sandpaper feeling of your feline’s tongue, you’ve most likely questioned: Why does my cat lick me?
So, why do cats lick individuals, and what does it imply? Learn on to search out out.
What Does It Imply When a Cat Licks You?
First, why does a cat’s tongue really feel so tough? Cats even have tiny backward-facing barbs on their tongues to assist facilitate thorough grooming practices. These barbs additionally assist them get essentially the most out of their meals—whether or not that’s an out of doors kitty eating on a contemporary 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 diverse, however not often worrisome.
6 Causes Why Your Cat Licks You
We’ve explored why cats lick plastic and different unusual objects, lots of which may pose a hazard to cats if consumed. Fortunately, the explanation 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 option to seize your consideration. Just like how cats knock issues off tables to get consideration, there might even be a mischievous or manipulative factor to their licking conduct. In case your cat is feeling harassed or anxious, the licking may very well be a type of “performing out” so as to get you to concentrate. We’ll discover this in additional element in a while.
Exhibiting You Affection
One of many sweetest explanation why your cat licks you is to indicate affection. That is basically a type of social bonding, just like your cat cuddling you in your lap.
You will have observed that your cat licks you whenever you’re already engaged in a petting session, and questioned: Why does my cat lick me once I pet him? This could possibly 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 factor to the conduct. For instance, do you discover your cat beginning to lick you solely whenever you scratch one sure spot, reminiscent of his decrease again or tail? If so, it’s best to take into account that the licking could also be an indication of hysteria, 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 follow 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 risk for why your cat licks you. Don’t take it as a slight, because it’s not essentially your cat’s approach 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 might, in actual fact, be your cat!) that your cat is prepared to groom.
When you’ve got a couple of cat within the family, chances are you’ll discover that the cat that licks you can be extra prone to lick the opposite cat(s). In line with allogrooming research, it’s because the “dominant” cat within the group is extra doubtless to present nearly all of the grooming. Male cats are additionally extra prone to provoke social grooming than females.
Marking You as Their Territory
Cats follow territorial marking frequently by activating the scent glands situated of their mouths, chins, the perimeters of the face, and even the pads of their paws! Just like your cat rubbing in opposition to you as a type of scent marking, he can also lick you to mark his territory.
Do cats have a favourite individual? Properly, that relies upon fully on the cat—however a technique you may affirm this concept is that if your cat licks you and never the opposite family members. Sure cat breeds are extra susceptible to “singling out” a favourite individual, together with Russian Blues and Oriental Shorthairs.
Feeling Anxious or Confused
Sadly, licking is typically an indication of hysteria 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 forth.)—however often it’ll emerge as licking people.
In case your cat licks you typically, or licks himself compulsively, attempt to decide if one thing has set off this stress-induced conduct. It could possibly be the results of interacting with different animals in the home, rowdy kids, or one thing way more refined. Speak to your veterinarian about your cat’s licking; they could want to look at your cat to rule out any medical causes for the conduct. Study extra about treating cat nervousness.
Or… You Simply Have One thing Yummy on Your Pores and skin
Nonetheless discovering your self questioning why does my cat lick me? Subsequent time your cat licks you, take notice if there’s something, effectively, palatable in your pores and skin. Did you latterly put together meals? Use a selected hand lotion? Train? Sure, even your salty sweat may style nice to your cat.
Do you have to let your cat lick you? Needless to say sure meals and sweetness merchandise comprise substances which might be poisonous to cats. It’s greatest to get within the behavior of washing your fingers after you put together meals, and don’t let your cat lick you in case you’ve not too long ago utilized lotion, fragrance, and different pores and skin merchandise.
Is It Regular for My Cat to Lick Me All of the Time?
There’s no set frequency for what’s “regular” in terms of your cat licking you. Each cat is totally different, and lots of won’t 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 coated earlier, compulsive licking is usually an indication of stress and nervousness. It’s greatest to verify together with your vet you probably have any issues.
How To Cease Your Cat From Licking You
Why does it damage when my cat licks me?
Bear in mind these tiny tongue barbs we talked about? After a short time, the sandpaper really feel of your cat’s tongue can turn out to be irritating to the pores and skin, if not downright painful. In the event you’re searching for methods to cease your cat from licking you, simply take into account that this can be a bonding expertise to your cat. Due to this fact, 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 Can Redirect Your Cat, Too
Bored with all of the licking? You may merely must redirect your cat’s consideration to different stimulating actions, together with offering interactive cat furnishings 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.
Cowl picture by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash