Why do cats lick you? 7 Things You Need to Know

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Have you ever wondered why your cat licks you? You are not alone! Sometimes cats lick you as a compliment, other times as a sign of stress.

Photo: ajr_images/Getty Images


Today’s strange scientific question is one that many cat parents encounter – why do cats lick you? Kendro says, “My cat really likes to lick me. She can tolerate pets, but when she needs attention, what she really wants to do is lick me anywhere on my body where she can lick skin. Luckily (my cat) doesn’t lick my face, but my arms, elbows and hands are her playground! It literally presses its paws against me and cleans me up. It doesn’t just lick me a little, it licks me thoroughly. I even tried bitter spray. But it doesn’t work. I know it’s a sign of love, but is there anything I can do to get it to stop licking me?

So, why do cats lick you? First, let’s talk about why cats lick you, and then we’ll give you some advice that will convince you that there are better options than grooming your cat until he licks your skin raw.

Why do cats lick you? Cats lick you for affection., Photography by Seregraff/Thinkstock.

1. Why do cats lick you? Cats lick you for socialization.

Why do cats lick you? To answer the question “Why do cats lick you?” question, it is important to first realize that kittens groom each other, and older cats who are not related but are very close spend time grooming each other. Often, cats will groom areas that are hard for them to reach, such as the top of the head and the inside of the ears. Exchanging scents through grooming also strengthens the bond between a pair of cats.

2. Why does the cat lick you? When a cat licks you, it is complimenting you.

“Why does a cat lick you?” Another answer to this question. When a cat licks you with its tongue it is showing that it feels safe in your presence. You are a true member of the cat family, and the cat reinforces this by cleaning you the same way its mom did when you were a kitten.

A cat licking you is not necessarily a good thing. Photography ©sjallenphotography | Thinkstock.

3. Why does the cat lick you? Cats may lick you because of anxiety.

Sometimes the answer to “why is the cat licking you” is not so positive. Some cats get so stressed that they start licking compulsively. (Cats that lick bald heads are usually trying to comfort themselves. Other compulsive cats may lick or suck fabric, plastic or even your skin.

Ouch Why is your cat licking you and why does it hurt or feel rough?

“Why does your cat lick you? Now that you know the answer to the question “Why does it hurt when my cat licks me?” The answer to this question, you may have a few more questions – such as “Why does it hurt when my cat licks me?” and other questions. The reason a cat’s tongue feels like sandpaper is because it is covered with papillae. Nipples are backward-facing hooks made of keratin, the same material used in cat claws. The papillae help your cat scrape the meat off the bones, and they also help groom your cat by acting like a comb to remove loose hair and dirt.

5. to prevent your cat from licking you and distracting him.

Know the signs that your cat is about to start licking you. Distract your cat with a toy before it starts licking your arm raw. If your cat likes catnip, place a catnip-containing kick toy in front of your cat when she is ready to lick you. If your cat doesn’t like catnip, try a toy that gives him treats.

6. Interactive play relieves stress in cats

Healthy play is always good for cats. It keeps your cat healthy, slim and attached to you. Not only that, the chemicals released during exercise can make your cat feel relaxed and satisfied.

7. Tolerating Cat Licking

Training a cat that has become accustomed to habitual behaviors such as licking is not easy. Remember to stay calm and avoid violent physical reactions such as yelling, pushing the cat or throwing the cat off your lap. Also, never hit the cat.

TELL US: Have you successfully rehabilitated a cat that licks compulsively? Let us know in the comments.

By JaneA Kelley

Thumbnail : image courtesy of ajr_images | Getty Images.

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