We all think it’s normal when a dog licks you because well, that’s just what dogs do. However, when your cat licks you, it’s a bit different. It can be alarming at first but there isn’t anything wrong if your cat licks you. In fact, it shows a degree of comfort they have around you.
They Are Grooming You
Although it may not feel like it at times; cats are pack animals. They will assist each other whether its with grooming or protection. As their owner, you are part of their pack. If your cat starts to lick you, it’s a sign of comfort and affection. They want to make sure you are clean and taken care of.
A cat experiences grooming the first day they are born. Their mother cleans them in order to get all the mess off of them. This helps bring one of their first sensations into the world. In part, when they lick you, they instinctively pass on this experience. However, we as humans don’t need it.
They Want Your Attention
Sometimes we are busy or distracted and it can be hard to gain our attention. Cats will sometimes meow or rub up against you to gain it. However, they may even lick you to gain it. This can be a common thing while on the bed or couch. You could be watching a movie, playing a game, or on your phone.
This need or want of your attention is another aspect of their pack mentality. They are coming to you because they need something from you. It could just be the simple fact of wanting affection. It also could mean you should go check their bowls or litter boxes too ;).
You Taste Interesting
After a long day of working or relaxing, you can tend to get things on you. Whether it’s sweat, food, or water, your cat may lick it off you. In short, you taste good to them at that time. However, don’t worry that they may eat you. They are just simply licking whatever is on you off.
If you work in a field that can leave hazardous or toxic waste on you, make sure you’re clean before having your cat lick you. You don’t want to have to worry about accidentally hurting your feline companion.
Showing You Affection
Some cats want affection more often than not. This is because they aren’t 100% solitary animals. Their affection can come in many forms ranging from the following.
- Greeting you at the door
- Meowing at you when you enter the room
- Rubbing up against your leg and purring
- Pawing at your legs
- Licking your hand or arm
- Laying next to or on you
All of the above are ways your cat shows affection that we may take for granted everyday. Maybe next time your cat shows any of these, you’ll take a minute or two to give them some scratches.
Marking You As Their Territory
If you’ve ever had a female cat, you’ll notice they do this weird tail fluff when they are next to objects. Although it sounds gross, they are marking/scenting their territory. A cat licking you is the same behavior. They are exhibiting that you are not prey and you are theirs. Although this doesn’t sound good out loud, at least you know your cat wants you around.
If you have multiple cats, you may notice that some cats will shy away from you when the other is around. This is because they can smell the other cat on you and don’t want to cause any trouble.
Things To Watch Out For
Sometimes there are reasons why a cat may lick you or themselves. If you notice that your cat is excessively licking themselves, it can be a sign of a skin issue. Whether its a rash, fleas, insect bite, or an infection. If you notice this, you should bring it up with your local veterinarian. They will be able to provide you with the proper remedies.
It’s also worth noting that if a cat does lick you, it could be a sign of anxiety or stress. If you suspect this is the issue, try to determine what is causing the issue. Did you recently get another cat or dog? Do you have guests over and your cat isn’t too thrilled about it? If you can’t identify the issue, you can always consult with your veterinarian.
It Hurts When A Cat Licks You
If your cat constantly licks the same spot, your arm can start to get raw. This is because a cats tongue is like sandpaper. It helps them not just groom themselves, but meat from bone. Don’t get upset or made if your cat licks you. Remember, they are just trying to show you affection. You can always move your arm away or pick them up and reposition them.
How To Stop Your Cat From Licking You
Never push your cat away or get mad at them for licking you. If it’s really bothering you and you can’t seem to get away from your cat licking you; there are things you can do to deter them. One example is to spray lemon juice on your arm. When your cat goes to lick you, they will get a very sour taste. A few times of this taste and they will stop all together.
You can also use things to keep them distracted. By simply playing with y our cat, you can keep their mind off of licking. Using a treat as a distraction can be another way as well. However, you don’t want to overfeed your cat with treats as this can pose a health risk. You also run the risk of teaching your cat that licking you results in a treat.
Exercise is another great way to stop your cat from licking you. This is because they will be more focused on cleaning themselves or sleeping instead of licking you.
We hope you found this article interesting and helpful. If you feel we missed something or would like to share with us your cats story, please feel free to drop us a comment down below.