One of a cat’s most valuable attributes is its tongue. Cats groom themselves using their tongues coated with curved spines called “papillae.” Many cat parents ask, “Why does my cat lick me?” after spending so much effort on cleanliness.
In my life now, I have many cats who lick and groom me in some way. When I’m stroking or grooming, my second cat, Bjorn, and a couple of the other cats who frequent our garden will do the same thing.
When I pet these cats, they only lick my hand or me if they’re sitting near my lap or anything else close by.
I don’t promote licking, but I’m confident that they’d do a lot more of it if I did.
Why does my cat lick my face?
When it comes to licking body parts other than my hands, it’s rare, to begin with, but I think they’d lick my face if I was curled up with them and they happened to be sitting or sleeping near my face.
It’s amusing since my other cat, Avery – my first fur child – has a habit of smelling my glasses and, sometimes, my nose.
He does it regularly, but I never expected him to start licking my face.
This is because he isn’t the type of cat that licks humans, and I believe that cats who lick and groom their humans are considerably more likely than cats who aren’t prone to licking their owners to engage in this odd cat habit of licking human faces.
There are so many behaviors that I believe are linked to this one in some way.
Cats that bite then lick or lick than bite, as well as cats that nibble on their owners, exist. In addition, some cats deliver broad, friendly love bites, while others bite specific body areas, such as the feet or fingers.
Based on my experience, many of them appear to overlap, and I believe you’ll discover at least two or three more behaviors that go along with your cat licking your face that seem to be related.
Maybe it’s because some cats enjoy grooming other cats and people in addition to themselves, while others don’t?I’m not sure, but if you have a cat who licks your face, I’d like to know whether they also lick your fingers or bites your feet so we can see if there’s a trend.
In any case, there is a flood of ideas out there about why cats lick faces, and while the bulk of them revolve around the concept that they’re grooming you, there are several other possibilities.To my knowledge, there are no scientific studies that examine anything connected to cats licking human cheeks, but that’s fine!
It just means that we’ll have to speculate on our own, and if there is an answer one day, it may be based on one of the theories we’ve proposed based on our experiences living with our dogs. That would be fantastic!
6 Possible Reasons why do cats lick you and your face?
Although it’s hard to know for sure, researchers, veterinarians, and cat behavior specialists have proposed a variety of reasons why your cat might lick you now and then. Let’s get started…
1.They’re Showing You Affection
Licking is not just a grooming technique for cats, but it is also a way for them to demonstrate affection. Your cat establishes a social relationship by licking you, other cats, or even other pets. Part of this habit may originate from your cat’s mother licking them as a kitten to groom them and to demonstrate care and affection. Many cats continue this habit into adulthood, licking their owners to convey the same message.
Many cats maintain this habit into adulthood, licking their owners to express their feelings.
2.To “mark their territory.”
Although cats may “mark their territory” in various ways, including face rubbing, clawing (and, sadly, spraying), licking is another way they can claim something as their own.
If your cat is licking you, it’s because they want other cats or animals to know who you belong to — them!
3.Your cat is likely grooming you
Even if your cat isn’t aware that licking you isn’t truly helping you “get clean,” it’s a regular activity for them. As previously said, mother cats groom their kittens to teach them how to groom themselves, express affection and form a relationship.
According to Marci Koski, a professional feline behavior and training expert, a group of cats living together frequently select an “all-groomer” — a cat who grooms and licks the other cats in the group.
If your cat licks you, they’re likely attempting to play the role of “all-groomer,” cleansing you and establishing your participation in their group.
4.They Taste Something Interesting
Your cat may be licking you because they taste something intriguing on your skin, as simple (and even stupid) as it may appear. You may have spilled something or been in contact with anything that left a residue on your skin, which your cat enjoys. For example, if it’s hot outside or you’ve been exercising, your sweat may have left a salty residue, which your cat is attempting to get rid of.
Interestingly, even though cats’ tongues are designed for grooming, they have a considerably weaker sense of taste than humans. As a result, cats are one of the few mammals that cannot taste sweets.
5.The want your attention
Another reason your cat licks you might be because they want your attention. Your cat may lick you to attempt to get your attention, whether they want you to pet them, feed them, or pay attention to them.
Licking may be equated to any other attention-seeking cat activity, like pawing at you or meowing, in this situation.
6.To deal with worry or stress,
Finally, your cat may lick you if they are worried or stressed. Although excessive licking or grooming may signal a medical problem, cats frequently lick you or themselves as a stress or anxiety coping strategy.
After relocating to a new house or experiencing a shift in their surroundings, you may see your cat licking you. Unless your cat grooms themselves so much that their skin gets raw or develops bald areas, this type of licking is usually not a problem. However, it would help if you spoke with your veterinarian about what you can do to correct this situation.
When my cat licks me, why does it hurt?
“Why does it hurt when my cat licks me?” is a question that is closely connected to “Why does my cat lick me?” However, when it comes down to it, the solution is straightforward.
As previously stated, a cat’s tongue is coated in tiny spines known as papillae. Keratin, the same material that builds up human fingernails, is used to form these papillae. Cats’ tongues are powerful enough to bring saliva down to their skin, untangle their fur, remove things like dirt, and redistribute oils since they are self groomers.
As a result, when a cat licks you, its spine-covered tongue rubs against your skin repeatedly. As a result, it’s likely to sting a bit. Cats’ tongues are sometimes compared to sandpaper because of this.
How Can I Stop My Cat From Licking Me?
Licking isn’t generally a cause for concern unless your cat is constantly licking you and grooming excessively – it’s a natural cat activity. However, because of the rough texture of a cat’s tongue, having cats lick you regularly might be irritating.
If you want to stop them from doing this, the best thing you can do is divert their attention. For example, if your cat enjoys snuggling, you might try cuddling or caressing them to keep them from licking. Similarly, you might try to distract their focus away from licking and toward playing with a toy. Finally, if your cat’s licking gets excessive, you may walk away or move away from him.
While your cat licking you isn’t usually a cause for concern – and can even be praised – if you’re concerned about their behavior, we recommend seeking counsel from your veterinarian.