Many of you cat owners might have asked ‘why does my cat lick me’? To answer that I tried to understand the cat behaviors and went through information portals and compiled a list of reasons as to why your cat loves to lick you.
Even a baby can understand that a cat licks you because she is trying to create a social bond with you. Form an early age, mom cat constantly licks her children to clean them up properly and shows her affection towards her kitten. Kittens learn this particular behavior trait from their mother and replicate the process with other kittens and humans or any creature that they make friends with.
Sometimes when your kitty licks you, it hurts you. Your cat has back facing bards on her tongue so when your cat licks you out of some serious affection, it may get a little painful on you. The pain can also be created because of continuous, fast licking on a particular location of your skin. You may get a feeling that sandpapers are being rubbed on your skin.
Now! Let’s get to the bottom of it, let’s see the main reasons why your cat licks you
1. Your Cat Is Seeking Attention
Cats are animals who desire constant attention. Not when you want them to give attention, but when they need it. You’d see them sometimes sitting around the corner of your balcony, thinking perhaps ‘how to conquer the world’. When you want to pet her while she is busy with herself, chances are that she might move away from you and lock herself in her self-obsessed bubble of individualism.
The scenery is just the opposite when they want attention. They will not leave you alone when it is their turn. They will grab you by your hands and feet and ask for attention. Licking, in this case, is a very common tactic. Your kitty is licking you perhaps she wants to be petted and rubbed on. Most of the times she licks you for attention but this can have different interpretations as well.
For instance, if your cat is licking you obsessively and to the point that it seems unnatural to you than it can be something serious. It may indicate inner stress which your kitty is suffering from. She probably is trying to tell you about something that she is not happy with. I would suggest you visit a vet if your kitty is persistent in abnormal licking actions.
2. Cleaning You Maybe?
When cats are in a group, they get into this amazing licking party, where each cat licks the other for grooming. Cats tend to clean and groom each other up sometimes. The trick is learned from their mother when cats are born mom cat licks the kittens to clean them up. Mom cat continues to lick them as long as they do not start to mimic her actions and starts cleaning themselves up.
Further, she probably is also convinced that you are dirty fella and you need some cleanups (I don’t prefer cat saliva to be a healthy cleaning material though). So, when your kitty is giving you this serious licking, you may consider that she is only trying to clean a friend of her. (or you probably need to take a shower)
3. Do Not Rule Out The Inevitable
Have you spilled something on your arm? Something cool and tasty? Your cats may run up and lick it away with ease. Yes! Cats do lick you when they find something tasty on your skin or anywhere. ‘But how does that explain when my cat licks me when I haven’t spilled anything on my arm’?
Yes, that has an expert answer as well. The cat may enjoy the salt that your skin produces naturally, and that could explain why your cat may lick you even if you do not have any tasty food on your arm.
4. Love and Affection
Licking in cats has always been associated with love and affection. The reason your cat is licking you is perhaps that she is expressing her affection towards you. When the mom cat is licking her kittens, it does not only reflect that she is trying to clean them up. It also displays her loving, motherly nature towards her kitten.
In these continuous acts of licking, there is a feeling of love and fondness attached. Similarly, when your kitty is trying to sit beside you and tries to lick you. You can count it as a loving gesture towards you.
5. Hooman! You’re My Property!
Isn’t that cute? Yes, chances are that your cat licks you because she is marking you as her territory (a moving island maybe?) Pheromones are something that they use to mark their property. But licking and rubbing heads are also a sign to declare her proprietorship.
When your kitty is rubbing against your feet and licking you, it can mean that she is marking you down as her property, a property that is not to be messed with. Your cat is implying ‘you are only mine’! (tell me if it’s not cute). This is perhaps the reason you find other cats shy away from you. Perhaps they smell things which says that you are the property of someone else (a bit sad indeed).
6. Part Of Her Family
Many pokes joke that cats assume they are humans and seeing some cats’ behaviors, you may consider those jokes seriously. One of the striking instances is that cats leave dead mouse or cockroach in front of their owner. When they do this, they are probably being the father figure bringing every day goods for his family.
There are other examples, such as bringing live birds or mice. Although you may go into a state of panic, she does not mean harm. She is again trying to be the man of the house and perhaps teaching you how should prey mice. Female cats also display extreme examples of motherly love towards your babies. Cats often are seen protecting human babies as they are her own babies. They look after them and can even attack you if you scold your baby.
The examples discussed convinces me to the fact that perhaps cats think humans as a part of the family. So, now let’s get back to licking. Licking, similar to the other instances may display her idea of counting you as a member of her family. When your kitty is licking you, it is possible that she is trying to teach you how you should groom yourself. It is the replication of much-discussed mom cat behavior towards her kittens.
7. Don’t Be Sad
Cats are highly sensitive and smart animals, (no wonder Egyptians worshipped them). One interesting fact is this, that they are sometimes able to understand if you are sad or depressed. Based on this understanding they might lick you to comfort you. In this case, they are trying to calm you down. She is trying to remove your anxiety and sadness.
Cats, as I understand, are animals who love to return back favors to their understanding. They have a sense of pride and perhaps does not want to be a useless pet. They will get you mice and birds in return for the favors you have done for them.
Similarly, when they were stressed and sad, you were there to pet them. Perhaps you rescued your kitty from a difficult situation she was in. Or you have been by her side when she injured herself or had any health-related issues. There is a possibility that your kitty remembers every bit of favors that you have done to her. And when they rub you and lick you it can be mean that she is trying to also return you the favors you have done for her.
I have watched a video on YouTube a couple of days back. In it, a girl of 12-13 was crying for some reason but her cat won’t let her. She just stayed there by her side and did everything necessary to calm the child. When she couldn’t stop her from crying, she started to lick away her tears. It is a visible representation that your cat is a highly emotional being and licking is just one medium to show that.
Now as I have answered your question ‘why does my cat lick me’, I would like to address the people who say cats are jerks, naughty and selfish creatures. Id requests them to observe cat behaviors thoroughly before they come to such conclusions. Cats are creatures who deserve love just as any other being should. And from what I discussed above; it can be concluded that licking is just a display of their pure emotion towards you. But do get her to vet if her licking seems strange and unnatural. Except that you can now be relieved that your cat loves you so much! So be happy whenever your cat licks you from now on!