What It Means When a Cat Licks You
Has your cat ever licked you? Have you ever wondered what this means and if she’s trying to tell you something? What reason might a cat have for licking a human?
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about these things, you’re not alone! Many cat owners frequently question the behavior of their feline friends, including licking behaviors. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why your cat might be licking you and what, if anything, this could mean.
Cats lick humans for a number of reasons. These reasons range from territory marking, to anxiety soothing, and more. Read through the information below to find out more.
Cats are very territorial, and they see their human family members as an extension of their territory. If your cat is licking you, and especially if there are other cats in the household, she may be trying to show that you belong to her and not to the others.
This can become an issue if you have multiple cats who all want to consider you part of their territory, but for the most part, it isn’t a cause for concern.
It is possible that your cat could be licking you because they want your attention. If you frequently stop what you’re doing to pet your cat or talk to them when they lick you, then your cat may quickly learn to associate licking behavior with the attention they want.
If you don’t mind your cat licking you for attention, then you don’t have to worry about this behavior. However, if you’re hoping your cat will stop licking you, then you may want to try just ignoring the cat until they stop. Over time, your cat may learn that licking isn’t going to get them any attention at all.
Most of the time, cats lick their human family members because they’re showing affection toward them. If your cat is affectionate toward another cat, they will groom the other cat and providing soothing and comfort through licking as well. Since cats tend to see their humans as an extension of their cat families, they do this to humans, too.
A cat who licks you most frequently during times when you’re cuddling and spending time together already is likely showing you that they are affectionate toward you. If you don’t mind the licking, it can be a nice way to let your cat see that you accept their feelings.
Sometimes, when cats become very anxious, they want to lick other cats to calm themselves down. If there is no other cat around, your anxious cat may lick you to calm herself down instead. Licking behaviors that occur shortly after something that upsets or frightens your cat may be related to anxiety.
If your cat is licking you out of anxiety every now and then, that isn’t anything to worry about. However, if she is very anxious a lot of the time, you may want to talk to your vet about potentially trying some anxiety medication for her.
Kittens and very young cats still remember being licked by their mothers to comfort and calm them. In turn, they may do the same thing to you, as they feel like this is an important part of bonding and spending time together.
Eventually, most cats will grow out of this behavior as they forget what it was like to be licked and soothed by their mothers. However, some cats continue doing this throughout their lives, and not just when they are kittens.
Sometimes, your cat is just licking you to “taste” you! No, she isn’t interested in eating you, but she is trying to lick the salt and sugars that are present in your sweat. Humans sweat for a variety of reasons, and different types of sweat tend to taste differently to animals. Your cat may like the taste of your sweat at certain times of the day.
This may seem gross or uncomfortable to you, but to a cat, this is normal behavior. If you don’t mind your cat licking you, then you can let them go about their business. Just be sure you don’t have any lotions or ointments on your skin that could harm them if ingested.
As you can see, the majority of reasons why your cat may be licking you are nothing to worry about. Most cat licking behavior is perfectly normal and is not a cause for concern, but you can always speak to your vet for more information if you’re worried about sudden behavioral changes in your pet.
If your cat is licking you and you don’t want her to do this, consider redirecting her attention with a favorite toy. This way, she will soon learn that licking isn’t the preferred action she needs to take, but playing with her toy is okay.