Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

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Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Is your cat a little too friendly these days?

While it is good to bond well with you, it can indicate other things that you should keep an eye out for. Cats are susceptible to nature, and even minor changes in their behavior can indicate some serious problems, for example, excessive licking. Licking isn’t that bad when you think about it, right? Well, let’s find out what it can add to.

But first, have you ever thought about why cats lick people?

Expressing Love

What comes into mind instantly when we’re talking about cats licking us is that they want to show affection. This usually happens after you treat them or come back after a trip. But don’t limit yourself only to these two options; they can also give you a little peck even if you’re in the next room on your laptop reading this article. Licking is a way to express love to their owners or interact with them easily.

Marking Their Territory

If you have a cat around you, you know that they like to keep their loved things to themselves. They are extremely possessive and will always want to keep you close. So by licking, they are informing you that ‘you belong to them’ in literal meaning. Similarly, mother cats also lick their children to instill the feeling that they belong to her. In addition, other cats may lick each other to show their bond and closeness.

They Want Attention

Another reason why they frequently lick you is that they crave attention. If you have other cats in the house, you might be a target more often. However, don’t fret because your kitty needs some love and affection. Don’t hold back on some cuddling while they are at it!

Bengal cat licking its owner's hand

They Like Your Taste

Yes, cats can like the way your skin tastes. When you spill something on yourself, like maybe coffee or some eateries, there can be some residue left on the skin that your cat likes tasting; therefore, they keep licking you. Other times, it might just be the taste of your skin after, let’s say you’ve taken a shower or you worked out. That salty sweat on your skin is what the cat might find interesting.

They Are Anxious

Anxiety in cats is quite often. It’s usually hard for them to adapt to a specific lifestyle change or a change overall. You would notice them sticking around you more when you’ve shifted or maybe had some alterations in your routine. But that’s just for them to feel comfortable because, in these situations, they often feel endangered. If this is the case, you should make an effort to judge the situation thoroughly and find the root of what is triggering the anxiousness.

It’s Self-Soothing For Them

You know how a baby sucks its thumb for pleasure; cats have a similar case. Sometimes, they lick themselves to ease tension or distract themselves from something bothering them.

Indicating Hurtfulness

Another reason for excessive licking might be that they try to communicate or tell you that they are hurt. In a case like this, they might be licking themselves, you, or the wound on their bodies, so you check out for any injuries. If you think that something might be wrong, don’t hesitate to consult a vet; get in for a thorough check-up until you feel satisfied because this might be concerning.

Cat licking its owner's finger

Why Does It Hurt When Cats Lick You?

Cats have little spikes on their tongues known as papillae made out of keratin. Keratin is found in the fingernails of a human body, so you can imagine that keratin makes their tongue papillae rigid. Because of this tongue feature, cats can easily detangle fur, lick off dirt, and spread oils evenly.

This is why, when a cat licks you, it might tickle a bit, because it’s nothing you can’t handle, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Is It Safe for a Cat To Lick You?

Definitely! As mentioned earlier, licking is a measure of expression for felines.

However, it does carry some likely risks. An unprotected cat saliva contact to your skin can transfer a good amount of bacteria and infections, especially when a cat licks an open wound. If your immune system is not strong, or you have just gone through a health issue that might have weakened your immune system, then make sure that your cat doesn’t lick you on the face or on open cuts and fresh wounds as it passes on diseases. This happens quite rarely, but it’s not impossible, so be careful.

Similarly, keep away from cats when you have ointments on because they contain heavy chemicals which might be disastrous for your cat’s health.

Cat licking a man's face

How To Stop a Cat From Licking You?

Understandably, excessive licking might irritate you at a point, but one thing you should never practice is provocative punishment. Don’t scream, yell or hurt them in any way because most of the time, they are just trying to show affection.

However, there are certain measures that you can practice to minimize the licking for a good while;

  • Treat them with their favorite food, but keep it away from where you sit. This will allure them in another direction until you get your work done.
  • Cover yourself. Wear full-sleeved shirts when you hang out with them if you don’t like a lot of licking.
  • Get your cat a distraction. If she’s licking you for attention, perhaps a new toy might distract her, keeping her away from you.

Wrapping Up

Cats are one of the most popular pets globally, and if you are a pet parent, then they are your responsibility, and you need to take care of them. Cats are very picky and petite, but making sure they get what they want will keep the environment peaceful and happy for both of you. Cats are animals that can’t speak or communicate in simple words; therefore, something as small as licking can be their expression of emotion or love.

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