Why is My Cat Licking Me?
posted: Dec. 29, 2020.
My cat keeps licking me with its scratchy little tongue… why?
Typically, there are two major reasons as to why your cat is grooming you:
Affection and the need for social interaction-
Cats often will groom each other, especially in a social group. This is called “all grooming” and it is quite common as multiple animals groom each other to strengthen their social bond. Did you know that this also helps lower the chance for conflict within their group? Maybe we should mention this to politicians. Since your cat is an active part of your household, you are in their “social group”, it is natural for them to feel the need to groom you. In the case your cat is in good general health, licking could be a positive indicator that your cat likes you and wants to be closer to you! Maybe they will stop knocking your cups off the table.
Do not be silly though, there is a chance that your cat is licking you because they enjoy your taste. Often things like your perspiration, or the lotion you wearing are a big hit to your cat’s taste buds! However, we should be aware that some lotions or medical ointments can be poisonous to your cat. Things like corticosteroids, and diaper creams. If you are wondering about a cream you use, just ask your veterinarian!
When your cat becomes anxious or fearful, they can lick you to help self-soothe themselves. You can correlate it to how humans will sometimes bite their nails when they feel uneasy. It is very common in kittens that are taken away from their moms too early, they will develop an oral fixation which is something that also happens with human babies! If your kitten is excessively licking, it might be wise to contact your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.
What do I do if my cat is licking too much?
As cute as it is, many people do eventually find the licking unpleasant. The rough texture of the tongue is important because it serves almost as a brush to remove excess fur, dirt, and fleas. The small spines are made up of keratin and are called papillae, think of them as a hairbrush or comb. To deter your cat from licking you can try positive redirection or distraction.
- You can try to brush your cat, something as simple as grooming is very soothing to a cat and they find it difficult to lick and be pampered at the same time.
- Bring out some toys, it is playtime! Redirect their attention from you to a fun toy.
- Make sure your cat has other places to lounge, such as a cat tree or window perch.
Hopefully, if your cat is licking you it is because they like you, and not because they like your taste and they are sizing you up for dinner. Try these simple steps to make the time you spend with your feline friend an enjoyable one.