Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Cat Kissing Owner

Honestly, it's possible you just taste good to your cat! Really though, why does your cat lick you?

Social behaviors in cats range from licking to kneading 'biscuits' and all pet owners want to know why our feline friends are acting this way. Licking must mean our cats love us, right? Cats also lick each other and their dog roomies.

There are five reasons experts tell us cats lick you. You'll love all of them.

1. Social bonding (just like dogs)

Cats are very sensitive and can tell when you're stressed or even sick! When they lick you or 'groom' you these felines are trying to calm down your anxiety. Think of this behavior as a gift from your cat-like when they leave mice at your door as a thank you for being such a cool pet parent.

If your cat licks you then you also need to reciprocate that behavior and show him some love in return!

2. Family...matters

PetHelpful.com experts tell us that cats want us to be clean and healthy too as we're family!

"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!"

3. Licking compulsively = anxiety 

Animals tend to lick obsessively when they're stressed. This also goes for dogs too. Experts at Catster tell us that some cats get so stressed that they begin licking compulsively and cats who lick themselves bald are often trying to comfort themselves because they're stressed. If this is the case you should consider your cat's routine and if anything has changed ranging from food, the loss of another pet or even a move to another house. 

4. Claiming you! (Kneading is also a sign of marking territory)

Cats use pheromones to mark their territory. They also knead their human and their scent glands rub off on the clothes or blanket they're kneading! By licking you they are claiming you as part of their property! This can't be all that surprising! The Spruce Pets tells us that they want all the cats to know they own you!

"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."

5. Curiosity 

In this case, curiosity did not kill the cat. You may taste good and left some 'tasty' morsels on your shirt after dinner. Cats are curious and will pick up all sorts of information by licking your face or your shirt. If this bothers you, then change your clothes!

Your cat's tongue is also rough like sandpaper! So if this excessive licking is bothering you then find an interactive toy or something you can play with as you never want to punish this behavior.

An animal behaviorist will tell us you that catnip may be a fun distraction. A cat's licking is mainly a sign of affection so embrace this body language as it's super positive! Cats groom each other and if they want to groom their cat owners and other family members then they must be pretty special.

This feline behavior is evidence of the strong social bond cats have with their owners and it should be celebrated. It's no different than purring.

Does your cat lick you? Please leave us a comment below!

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Why Does My Cat Lick Me?