Cats have very specific tongues. They are a bit rough, as they use it for grooming themselves and keeping their fur clean and beautiful. However, besides licking themselves, many cats also love to lick their owners. You may wonder why is that, and here are some possible reasons and explanations about why your cat licks you so much.
Reasons Why Your Cat Likes to Lick You
- To show you love and affection. That is their way of expressing their feelings towards you. They are creating a bond with you, showing you that they feel safe and loved when they are close to you. This is in their nature because when they are small kittens, their mother licks them to show them affection. Now when they are adults, they lick you to show you the same affection.
- Your cat licks you to groom you. They are “cleaning you”. This is also a part of their nature, as their cat mothers were doing the same thing to them when they were kittens. They are showing you that you belong to them, and they take good care of you.
- To mark you as their property. It may sound silly, but cats want to mark things that are their “territory”. Licking, rubbing, and spraying are things they do to claim that something belongs to them, in this case – you. They are also giving signals to other animals to know that you belong to your cat.
- It licks you to taste something delicious. They may smell something nice on your skin, so they naturally want to lick it. Perhaps you have spilled milk, or there is some residue on your skin that is attractive to your cat. Sometimes even your sweat may attract them to lick you because it reminds them of you. They love licking salty skin, so that might be a reason why your cat licks you so much.
- Your cat is trying to get your attention. When they need petting, feeding, playing, or something else, they will likely let you know with their excessive licking. That is their way of grabbing your attention. So, it is a good idea to check whether your cat is hungry, thirsty, or just wants to play when it starts licking your skin.
- Your cat may be licking you excessively to better cope with stress or anxiety. Cats can be stressed for many reasons, and them licking you is their way of calming down their nerves. Sometimes excessive licking may also be an indicator of a more serious medical problem. However, oftentimes it is just their mechanism for better coping in stressful situations.
- Your cat may start licking you more when you move into a new home, or when there is a sudden change in their familiar environment. This should not worry you at all, because they are emotional little beings and are afraid that you may leave them. They lick you and kiss you, so you will keep them close forever.
Why Is My Cat’s Tongue Harsh on My Skin?
This is because cats have different tongues than other animals. Their tongue is covered with papillae, which are little spines made of a substance called keratin. Their tongue must be strong to be able to clean their fur well and remove all kinds of obstacles and substances. It is normal to hurt a little when your cat licks you, and that is nothing serious to worry about.
How to Stop My Cat to Lick Me?
Licking is not something that should give you worries. It is perfectly normal behavior of cats, no matter how often it happens. However, their rough tongue may not always be pleasant on your skin. If it annoys you seriously, then you can do a few things to prevent such behavior. The important thing is to try redirecting their attention to something else when it starts licking. Perhaps start cuddling or petting your cat, or divert its attention by throwing a toy or a ball to play with.
You can also just walk away from your cat when it starts to lick you excessively, but never ignore your cat. Sometimes cat licking may be a sign that something is wrong. If they do not look well, perhaps you should schedule an appointment with the veterinarian’s office for inspection. The veterinarian may give you some advice regarding cat licking and tell you some valuable tips about how to stop it if you do not like it.
The bottom line is that cat licking you is often a big compliment and you should accept it as such. In the same way, humans kiss each other, cats are licking their owners to show them their affection. By licking, they acknowledge that they feel safe, loved, and very happy when together with you.