Have you ever wondered why your cat keeps licking you? It's a typical query that plenty of cat owners have. The fact is that your cat may lick you for a variety of reasons, many of which have to do with love.
It's an expression of love.
Your cat may give you a tongue bath occasionally since they view you as a member of their family and feel safest with you. They recall how their mother cleaned them when they were kittens, and they are now applying what they learned.
Kittens are trained to associate being licked with affection from the moment they are born.
Cats who live with other cats will frequently lick each other
Since cats express and receive affection by licking one another, it seems reasonable that they would also lick their favorite people. Consider it their way of sending you kisses and expressing their love and gratitude for you. Aw!
They're claiming you as their own
Cat toys, other animals, and you are all included in their territorial marking and establishment strategy of licking! Your cat's distinctive aroma, which alerts intruders to keep away—this person has theirs alone—is left behind when it licks you.
Your cat does the same thing to announce to the world that you are theirs, just as mother cats do with their babies to identify them as being hers. Licking serves as a kind of social bonding for cats that get along well together despite being siblings or from different litters. Licking you is a sign of affection between the two of you.
It calms them
While a cat may lick itself for a variety of reasons, such as routine grooming actions, licking may also be a kind of self-soothing. Similar to when a newborn sucks their thumb, because it's a common occurrence in their daily routine, in some situations, they do it automatically. In other cases, they may be licking too much to get their minds off of something uncomfortable or stressful.
If you observe your cat licking themselves, people, or items more frequently than usual, it's important to first make sure there's no actual medical cause by getting your veterinarian to evaluate your cat.
To help you
Your cat may not be aware that it isn't really helping you "get clean," but this behavior is quite normal for them. In order to teach them how to take care of themselves, to show them affection, and to establish a connection, mothers groom their young, as we already described.
In fact, a group of cats living together frequently designate an "all-groomer"—a cat that licks & grooms the other cats in the group.
If your cat is licking you, they may be trying to do their job as the "all-groomer" by cleaning you & making sure you belong to their group.
To experience an interesting taste
As obvious (and even foolish) as it may sound, it's possible that your cat is licking you because it detects something intriguing on your skin. Your cat could enjoy the taste of anything you spilled on yourself or came into contact with and left on your skin. If it's warm outside or you've recently worked out, it's possible that your perspiration has left behind a salty residue that your cat is attempting to taste.
Intriguingly, despite the fact that cats' tongues are designed for grooming, they have a far more subdued sense of taste than do people. The only animals known not to be able to taste sweets are cats, which makes them one of the only ones.
To draw your attention
Your cat could simply be licking you because they want your attention, as another explanation. Your cat may lick you in an effort to get your attention, whether they want to be petted, fed, or otherwise attended to.
In this situation, licking is the same as any other way a cat might try to get your attention, like pawing at you or meowing.
To deal with stress or anxiety
Finally, if your cat is nervous or worried, it may lick you. Although excessive grooming or licking occasionally points to a health problem, cats frequently lick you or themselves as a coping technique for stress or worry.
If you move into a new house or your cat experiences a shift in its surroundings, you could notice that they are licking you. Unless your cat washes themselves to the point that their skin gets raw or they develop bald areas, this type of licking usually isn't a cause for concern. In this situation, you should see your veterinarian to learn how to stop this habit.
This is why getting licked by a cat can be painful at times.
When a cat licks you, it can occasionally hurt, especially if it repeatedly licks the same area. This is due to unique barbs on the back of your cat's tongue known as "papillae." Their tongue feels like sandpaper because of these barbs, which are comprised of the same substance as your cat's claws.
These barbs are crucial for your cat's self-grooming. The barb's aids in cleaning a cat's coat of filth and grime. If the barbs weren't sharp, they couldn't take up the dirt, which would make it harder for the cat to maintain its cleanliness.
How to prevent being licked by a cat
While most of us like the odd lick from our cats, if your cat licks you often, it can get to be too much. Many cat owners wish to stop their cats from licking them, but they don't want to drive the cats away or make them feel unwanted or unappreciated.
The easiest approach to getting a cat to stop licking you is to distract them in order to prevent making them feel this way. Playing with your cat is our first recommended diversionary strategy. Because you are connecting with a cat and spending time with him or her, your cat will still feel as though you want them in this situation. Wands and balls are excellent cat toys for diversion.
Using food as a distraction is another option. A yummy reward is an excellent way to divert your cat's attention and get them to quit licking you. Although we do advise playing with them initially, too many goodies are bad for their health and should never be included in their daily calorie allotment. Additionally, it can teach your cat that licking you will get them a treat, which will just make them want to lick you more.