Most cats spend at most 50 percent of their day licking themselves. But as a cat parent, you will notice their instances where your cat licks you with their papillae tongue leaving you wondering why does my cat lick me? There are arrays of reasons why they do so.
While it’s impossible to give a definite answer to this question, there are different reasons why cats lick on humans, according to vets and researchers. This piece will therefore be focusing on some of them.
Licking you demands attention. Whether it’s an aww factor or the sand-paper feel on your skin, it’s a sure way to make you focus on your felines for a while. It’s just like when they push things off a table just to demand more attention.
You will notice there is always a manipulative and mischievous element with this kind of lick. Nevertheless, you have to pay extra attention because it can be a form of acting out, more so when your felines are feeling stressed or anxious.
Cats like licking other pets and even the owner to demonstrate social bond. When your felines lick you, they are simply trying to demonstrate affection. It’s like when they cuddle up on your lap. This happens more often when you are in a petting session, and from nowhere, you get that barb-like feel from their tongue.
Licking here shows gratitude. It’s the pet’s way of showing gratitude for the attention provided by offering the same back. At times, the licking goes hand in hand with a particular scratch.
You will also notice your cat will lick you when you start scratching her at a particular area like the tail’s lower back. This may be due to anxiety- and is, therefore, a reflexive mechanism. The licking can be a sign that your cat finds the scratching as unpleasant or sensitive. Try scratching the cat in another area to see if the licking will stop.
Sometimes your kitten will lick on you to simply reinforce social grooming. There is a type of roaming cat colony that specializes in this- a phenomenon called Allogrooming. It is a way of bonding, releasing pent-up aggression, and showing social hierarchies.
The dynamics of this kind of phenomenon may display itself by a simple sandpaper cat lick. It is not as complicated as the dynamics in a cat colony. Don’t read much into it. It’s not like the cat is telling you, “You are dirty.” Instead, the pet is simply telling you that you are part of the selected group. And as a member of the group, they are more than willing to ensure you are perfectly groomed.
When you have several cats in your home, you will notice the one licking you will also lick the rest of the cats. Allogrooming research shows that dominant cats are often more likely to introduce social grooming than female felines.
You are mine (Territorial Marking)
Licking at times is a gesture indicating territorial boundaries and marking. Well, cats also practice territorial marking to things and people they like. This tells the world that they belong to them. They practice scent marking by activating their glands on their month, chins, on the other side of their face, or the paws. They can either lick you or rub against you as a sign of scent marking.
How do I know I’m my cat’s favorite human? This will highly depend on your kitten. But when you notice that the cat likes licking you and doesn’t do so with the rest of the members, then count your lucky stars as this is an indication that the cat favors you among the rest.
The Kitten is Stressed or Anxious
As stated earlier, a cat licking you may be due to stress or compulsive actions. The feline may start by licking itself aggressively and then goes further to lick you. The aggressive licking can make the fur on your kitten fall off, become reddish or even have rashes.
It is therefore important to find the root cause of your cat’s acting out behavior. Several factors can induce stress in your kitten. For example, the presence of rowdy kids or other pets within the house can make the kitten anxious. It can also be fast and wise to seek advice from your vet and rule out things that can cause such an outcome before it becomes worse.
Yummy Stuff on your Skin
So, you have ruled out all the above factors, but you still wondering why my kitten licks me. Well, you may just have something palatable within your skin. Did you just prepare food? Apply a sweet-scented body lotion? Or exercise? Yes, that salty fluid tastes better for your kitten.
Amazing as it all sounds, it is vital to be extra careful. Some ingredients and body products have toxins that can affect your kitten. Be intentional; wash your hands after every food preparation. Do not let your kitten lick you when you have applied body lotion or perfumes.
How Frequently Can my Cat Lick Me?
There is no exact frequency of how many times your feline is going to lick you. Every kitten is different; some will lick you, and some will not. However, if you notice that your kitten is constantly licking you, then something is wrong. Compulsive behavior means they are stressed or experiencing anxiety. Make sure you consult a veterinarian to have a clear picture of what might be wrong with your cat.
Overall, it’s no cause for alarm when your pet starts licking you from time to time. The sandpaper feeling might somewhat be annoying because of the barbs on the feline’s tongue. Remember that the kitten is trying to bond or show you affection every time the cat licks on you.
On the other hand, constant licking means compulsive behavior and should be checked out by the doctor. A professional veterinarian will be able to tell you how you are going to treat the anxiety or stress the cat is experiencing.