There are many reasons why cats like to lick their owners, but it’s generally thought of as a positive behavior. She would do that on my nose tip or ears and while it was a nice gesture I'd have preferred she not do that. If the lick is to the mouth or face, a cat is showing genuine love for you. Playing with our pet is really beautiful. She is most likely licking you to grow closer and form tighter bonds. If your cat gets a clean bill of health, a certified animal behaviorist can help you address the issue quickly. Cats who were weaned before it was time or who were orphaned develop an oral fixation that makes them excessive lickers. Koski says some people will attempt to prevent the behavior altogether by applying something that tastes bad to cats to their own skin. What I'll typically do is simply move my face away from him and either offer my head to nuzzle against or I will pet him so that he just enjoys the petting and stops licking.”. Any cat owner whose kitty is fond of licking her hair is well aware that Fluffy’s powerful tongue is capable of actually pulling some strands out. The answer to this is probably because you’re making your nose accessible to your cat when they want to lick you. Cats then replicate this behaviour with you as a way of showing their own affection – it simply comes naturally. If you noticed, the kittens would often lick each other which are a sign of social bonding. Featured Image: Pashin Georgiy/Shutterstock, Copyright © 2020 Chewy, Inc. Sometimes, this might mean they want to play or be pet, but in other cases, it can be a sign of something more serious like stress or anxiety. 2. Licking their humans is a way to calm themselves 3, somewhat like how humans will chew their nails when they feel anxious. You’re sitting on the couch, watching TV, when your cat comes up and starts licking you, and you don’t know why. … Your cat is informing you that it has your best interests at heart. But never reprimand or punish her for doing what comes natural. Your cat is nurturing you in the best way she knows how – by keeping you clean and claiming you as her own. Again, it could be a sign of affection and possession—she loves you and you belong to her. Both petting and licking are forms of affection to her. “I usually take my cats’ licking as a compliment,” Koski says. When cats have bonded, they look out for each other. Overall, your cat licking you is often their version of a validating pat on the head. “Cotton, plastic, bedding, and rubber are common materials cats will lick,” says Dr. Megan Maxwell, a certified applied animal behaviorist and owner of Pet Behavior Change in Virginia. Affection and Bonding. So you can feel good each time you feel that rough little sandpaper tongue that you and your kitty are … While it may be a form of flattery, cat licking still has the potential to become excessive or tiresome. Why does my cat lick me, when I pet him? They could be “licking for a certain period of time, then using their incisors to get a particular area. It's a memory your cat had from being licked by its own mother and is a real sign of affection. When your cats lick you, they’re paying you a huge compliment. Why does my cat lick me and then bite me? While stress-induced licking is more commonly associated with a cat grooming herself, Koski says that excessive licking that persists after a stressor has been removed from a cat’s environment is a cause for concern. If you find your cat licking you, some object, or herself to the point that it’s interfering with daily life, you should first speak with your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems that might be to blame. If your cat grooms your face, it is ensuring that your important body parts are kept in good condition. If so, you have probably wondered, “Why does my cat lick me when I pet him?” And you’re not the only person to have wondered this. Overall, your cat's tendency to lick you whenever you pet her is a positive sign. A cat’s tongue is one of her most versatile body parts. When cats lick you, it can mean that they are attempting to teach you to groom yourself. Here are the four most common reasons why your cat licks you. Because it can be difficult to diagnose flea infestation in cats, some veterinarians recommend trying reliable flea control products purchased from a veterinary office for six to eight weeks to see if it reduces the incidence of licking, scratching, or chewing. For cats licking their peers reminds them of early … You can take these “kisses” as a sign that your cat feels safe and happy. Or is there some other reason they are so obsessed with delivering incessant tongue lashings? As a game. When kitty is especially anxious, she may begin licking compulsively. Your cat could be enjoying the lotion you just put on your hands—or maybe you were cooking, and the food scents smell really good to her. Safety isn’t necessarily an issue with another one of your cat’s favorite targets: you. “I have a cat who loves snuggling with me and licking my face. Licking your face might be one of them. Cats use licking as a means of marking territory.Licking marks you with your kitty’s unique scent, establishing the fact that you are their human. That’s a good sign that she needs to be petted and cuddled to reduce her stress. The same thing goes when they groom their fellow cats as it is a sign of social bonding and respect. This ability comes from the papillae covering it – hooks that face backward and are made of keratin, which also is the material that her claws are made of. Why does my cat lick me when I scratch her? When your cat licks your face, it’s likely a form of socializing & showing affection, like when we pet … Cats show affection in funny ways. Eliminating parasites. Some cats will lick humans because they feel anxious and/or fearful. Mother cats lick their kittens to establish them as belonging to her, and your cat does the same to tell the world you’re hers. Why Does My Cat Lick My Hand? Licking Is Like Petting. Why does my cat lick me and then bite me? Why Cats Bite Then Lick, or Lick Then Bite. She says it can have an undesired effect, however, and the cat may begin to associate the unpleasant experience with you in a more general way, which can be problematic. The papillae actually function like a comb to separate hairs and fur to get at the dirt underneath. “Usually, the members of the group are related to each other, so licking a human may be the cat's attempt to include you as part of her group.”. From a young age a cat’s mother would not only lick them as a way of grooming them, but also to show affection. It’s a common question with cat owners, and the truth is far more complicated than you might think. Licking is important for coat maintenance Licking removes the scent of prey after a meal It’s how mothers clean their kittens and help them eliminate their waste In a multicat environment or in a cat colony, allogrooming helps create a familiar group scent Why do cats lick you? I had a cat (sadly she died last summer at the tender age of 22) who would sometimes lick me and then kind of chew. This play-fighting can get out of hand and your cat may start to become a little aggressive with you. This is because, unlike us, cats have tiny barbs on their tongue that are meant to … Terms of Use Privacy Policy Interest-Based AdsChewy Careers, Understanding Dog Body Language in Senior Dogs, Boredom in Dogs: Signs Your Dog Is Begging for Attention, 8 Unmistakable Ways Your Cat Says ‘I Love You’. In certain cases, your cat might lick you due to anxiety or stress. We humans tend to think that when animals lick us, they are showing us their love. That’s why one of your cat’s favorite daily activities is licking. Distraction with a catnip toy or throwing a balled-up paper across the room is a much better way of dealing with getting peeled alive. This behavior is also observed in cats that were too young to be taken away from their mothers. Cats groom to hide smells that alert predat… Don’t be surprised to find Fluffy sidling up next to you to get a taste. My cats sometimes lick me but frequently don't. “Unfortunately, some of this licking can be problematic when it leads to chewing and then ingestion of these materials.”. Terms of Use Privacy Policy Interest-Based Ads Chewy Careers, Copyright © 2020 Chewy, Inc. Below are common reasons why cats lick their humans. Caitlin UltimoSeptember 12, 2016Behavior / Pet Body Language. “If you feel like your cat is licking you excessively, the best thing you can do is redirect her actions,” Koski says. Why Does My Cat Lick My Face? 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