Why Do Cats Lick You? Is It Their Way Of Showing Affection? | Kidadl

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Why Do Cats Lick You? Is It Their Way Of Showing Affection?

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Have you ever wondered why your cat licks you, well then you will be surprised to know that cats lick each other for grooming-related requirements.

Well, there's one reason that cats lick the owners because they want the attention of their owners. Maybe a cat wants to play with its owners, or it wants them to pet.

But, it can also mean that cats wants to clean. Cleaning is a way for the cat to bond. Cat licking is often related to the calm behavior of the cats. It is their way of showing love.

For most people, cat licking means they are showing love. Well, this is one of the reasons, but there are others too. Cats are complex creatures, so you can't say whether it is love or a sign of affection. One sure thing is that cats lick themselves to groom them. The mother licks their kittens to do the grooming process with help of little spines called papillae that are covered all over the tongue. But, they also lick each other to show affection. What about humans? Cats lick humans for several reasons, and the most common is to show love. Some of the reasons for this cat behavior are signs of love and marking territory.

So, are you curious what else cat licking could mean? Then read on to the rest of the article. Afterward, do check our other articles on why cats fight and why do cats sneeze as well.

Why do cats like to lick you?

When cats or dogs lick us, we humans believe they are expressing their love. Is that, however, genuinely accurate, mainly when your cat's tongue seems like it's sanding away at your skin like sandpaper? Is there another reason they're so fixated on slapping their tongues?

Cats lick you because it is their way of creating a bond with you. A mother licks its kittens to groom them but also to show love and affection. Cats do the same things to humans. It comes naturally to them. These pet animals are telling you that you are their family and their licking is regarded as positive behavior.

Keep an eye on your cat licking other animals or cats because not all animals enjoy being licked. So, if one cat tries to lick another animal or cat, it may react aggressively or get anxious.

Cats are called the queens, and so these pet animals have their territory. We all know that cats mark their territory. They want to tell other animals and cats that it is her territory. So, licking could also mean these pet animals are marking the territory. This is to identify yourself with other cats. While territorial behavior is quite normal, it can cause problems in the home if you have several pets, so keep an eye out.

Your kitty might also lick you when it is anxious or stressed. Yes, licking is also related to these emotions. Like humans, animals get stressed too. Animals can only show their feelings through bodily movements. That's why your cat can lick you when you're stressed.

This includes licking; if you suspect this is the situation, you should see your local veterinarian. If you believe something has made your cat anxious, attempt to pinpoint the source of the anxiety to know if you can eliminate it.

Is it normal for cats to lick you?

The sandpaper-like tongue of a cat coated in lots of tiny spines known as papillae is significantly more complex than most of us believe.

Cat tongues function as complex combs in their regular cleaning activities, in addition to primary duties such as tasting. They assist them in consuming their beverages. Papillae have even been discovered to aid cats in holding on to thick meat while eating. The tongues of cats, on the other hand, aren't only for show. Licking their owner is another way for these felines to demonstrate affection. And yes, it is entirely normal for them to lick you unless there's no medical reason.

For cats, licking is a natural behavior. When cats lick their owners, these pet animals usually go for the face, arms, and hands. It is so because these parts aren't hidden by clothes and partially because these pet animals have the most excellent engagement in these areas.

Tastes and fragrances that cats enjoy can be found in those same regions. If your cat loves to sit near you when you bathe, it might lick you on your feet and legs.

Licking is perfectly natural for cats, but some licking activities may indicate a health or behavioral issue. Keep an eye out for the following warning signs like when your cat is licking a body part excessively. Overgrooming may be a sign of a medical problem. A cat licking its stomach excessively might be suffering from gastrointestinal pain. If a cat licks a specific region more than usual, or if there are unexpected behavior changes, it's time to go to the vet.

Why do cats lick you and then bite you?

So, you are sitting, and your cat comes and starts licking you. Everything is going fine; then suddenly, it bit you. Why does a cat do that?

Is it a love bite? Well, it is. It can be a love bite, or it is their way of saying it's enough.

Another explanation for a cat that licks and then bites is that it will bite if not given more attention. Stop stroking and petting your cat if you observe these signs. You'll know when to quit after you get to know your cat.

Cats can also bite while grooming them. It is usual for them to bite while grooming. Or maybe your cat is asking you to play with you.

How To Make Your Cat Lick You

Does your cat not lick? Well, there's a reason for that. But we have to first understand the regular cat order.

The less dominant cat bows its head to the more dominant one. Then the dominant one will lick the head. So, humans are the dominant cat. So, for your cat, it might be inappropriate to lick the dominant creature, as they are the ones who are supposed to lick.

You can get your cat to lick you. You can cuddle with them, pet them, play with them, give them toys. Let your cat come to you.

Cat tongue is covered with sharp little spines that can pinch on human skin.

Do cats lick you when unhappy?

Yes, when cats are stressed or unhappy, they might lick you to calm themselves. Because cats groom themselves so often during the day, over-grooming can occur when they are stressed. 

When cats are agitated, they may lick to soothe themselves. Cats may lick their skin or that of others. If the licking continues over a longer length of time, it is likely to be stress-related. Because the cat is so attached to the owner, it may lick them to release stress. It's recommended to take the cat to the veterinarian if they lick themselves or owners continuously.

If your cat is licking compulsively, maybe your cat is bored, or perhaps it wants your attention. If the cat is licking more than usual or if there is excessive licking it is because it is agitated, try giving it more awareness, engagement, and fun. Alternatively, see whether soothing snacks or pheromone spray can help. If nothing works, you should consult your veterinarian.

Should I let my cat lick me?

Cats show their love by licking. Should you allow them to lick you? Do you want your cat to stop licking you? It's a debatable topic. If a cat is licking your arms, hands, legs, it's OK. But according to experts, cats should not lick your face and lips.

Allowing the cat to lick the lips, eyes, or nose is not advised because cats pick some pathogens when cleaning themselves. This isn't to say you should be alarmed every time your cat comes and licks you. All you have to do is avoid making direct contact with your cat's mouth.

However, there are benefits of cat licks too.  Their saliva consists of a chemical that stimulates wound healing; thus, having a cat lick a wound will speed up the healing process and reduce the chance of infection.

You might feel a bit hurt when a cat licks you, and it is because of the structure of its tongue. They have barbs on their tongues which are known as papillae. They are made of the same material present in their claws. When the cat grooms itself, these barbs are pretty crucial. The barbs aid in cleaning a cat's coat and fur by removing the debris, dirt, and dust. So, that is why these barbs are sharp to pick up dirt.

Do cats give kisses? 

Kisses are a sign of affection. This is the reason why cats lick you. However, it doesn't mean that it is the only way to show appreciation. Cats do give kisses to humans. If your cat comes up and kisses you on the lips, that means it loves you. We know cats right, they are not known to express their feelings fully. But if a cat shows this much affection, that means the owner and the feline share a close bond.

Your cat is copying human behavior if it kisses you on the lips. It might have witnessed you kissing your lover, kids, or seen another animal doing the same. Or it might be because your mouth smells of food! 

But it is not the only way. Cats tell you they love you through their eyes. Cats make eye contact with the person whom they like. They will stare at you with their half-closed eyes and then will blink slowly and repeatedly. In short, they are telling you that they love you.

Rolling over and showing their bellies is also another way cats can display their affection and vulnerability. This indicates that your cat fully trusts you. 

So, now you know why cats lick you. The use of a cat's tongue is not only to groom themselves but to show you affection. Since petting our pets whether it's a dog, cat or any other animal gives us pleasure, the same goes for them too. They show their love by licking us. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do cats lick you then why not read about why cats get the zoomies and Australian mist cat facts?

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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