Why Does My Cat Lick Me? – 10 Real Reasons Behind

If you own a cat, then you probably might have experienced its licks too. Perhaps on your face, feet and hands? This may sometimes make you wonder why does my cat lick me? Let me tell you why your cat behaves like this. After reading this article, drop your comments and tell us the kind of bond you share with your cat. Let the world see how much your pet means to you.

Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

It might be hurting at times to see your pet, whom you care like your own baby – licking your feet. But why does it lick you by the way? Well, there are 5 true reasons associated with it. I will explain you each below.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

Why Does Your Cat Lick You? – 10 True Things It Is Trying To Tell

Why Does My Cat Lick Me

1. A Cat Feels Extremely Comforting During Licks

Experts say that many kittens, who are weaned early from their mums or the ones that are orphan, develop oral behaviors like licking and suckling sooner. In fact, they exhibit such babyish habits even in their adulthood. To put it in simple terms, its generalization. Cats just love to lick and be licked. They find it very soothing and comforting. Hence, this is one primary reason why it is licking you. So whenever your cat licks you, he or she is trying to return its favor.

2. When Cats Lick Each Other, It Is Social Bonding

If you own more than one cat, then you might have seen them licking each other. They do this to not only bond with each other but also to reach spots, which are hard for them to reach themselves. For example, inner ears, top of the head etc.

3. When a Cat Licks You, It Means That He Or She Loves You

One major answer to the question why does a cat lick me is that he or she loves you to the core. Your cat knows that you are the caretaker and you love him or her just like your other family members. Once they get used to you, they feel 100% safe with your presence. Now, your cat shows its love by cleaning you with its tongue just the way his or her mom once did when it was a kitten.

A mama cat licks her kittens after their birth:

  • To rub the ears, coats and her entire little body thoroughly
  • To eliminate afterbirth fluids
  • To stimulate kitten’s breathing
  • To re-establish her scents on them
  • To clean the body
  • To strengthen their love and bond

Since you’re the caretaker, your cat likes to do the same. So it is none other than showing affection she has on you. They express their fondness by licking you. Sometimes, it wants you to do the same for her so that it feels pampered and soothed. Moreover, doing this develops better social interaction.

4. If Your Cat Licks Often Or In Excess — There Is Something Wrong

Besides showing their love and affection by licking, there can be something beyond too. When your cat licks in excess, remember that it is a red sign. The first thing kittens experience before even opening their eyes is their mom licking & washing them. Undoubtedly, grooming is a sign of affection, feeling secured and care but excess licking could mean that it is in pain. For instance, if you have a cat (older), who has never shown you such affection until now but all of a sudden starts licking you or your clothes then PAY ATTENTION. This is the time when you have to change its behavior.

Cats begin to lick vigorously when they have
  • Skin Irritations
  • Insect Bites
  • Fleas
  • Infections

As an owner, you will certainly know how your cat’s behavior changes. If you happen to see your cat licking excessively and indifferently then soothe your kitty. Give her a nice clean bath and take her to the vet so that her skin is examined. If there are any problems noticed in its fur, have the right treatment done at the right time.

5. Cats May Lick You Out Of Anxiety. So Pay Attention!

Apart from the above reasons, yet another significant answer to your question why does my cat lick me is: “Stress”. Yeah, some cats can become so stressed that they start licking compulsively. Cat, who licks itself is often comforting because it is stressed. This behavior is seen in some cats whereas few compulsive cats may suck and lick on plastic, fabric and skin. If you notice such behavior in your cat, then just try to relax her. If you aren’t aware of how to handle it then below are some pro tips to help you.

6. Your Cat Licks You To Pull Off Dirt & Fur From Its Tongue

A cat’s tongue is more like sandpaper, covered with papillae, which facilitate them in rasping meat from bones and helps in grooming by combing out all the dirt and loose fur.

7. Your Cat Is Licking You Because It Needs Your Attention

Yet another reason why your cat is licking you is because it seeks attention. He or she wants to be pampered by its master. Whenever this happens, you will see them licking your hands, feet and sometimes, all over the face.

8. Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You That He or She Is In Pain

Not only cats but many other animals in pain, tend to lick themselves and even their masters. If your cat begrudgingly bestows the infrequent meager lick to excess, then it clearly shows that it is in pain. So, look closer.

  • Ensure that there aren’t any irritations on the cat’s skin
  • Check if there is any injury
  • Check the claws and paws — if a cat’s claws are not properly taken care of, they easily grow into paw pads. This is very painful. In fact, this is the time when you will see your kitty licking to soothe herself more.

9. Your Cat Is Licking Out Of Stress

Certain cats take licking a step beyond and start to bite & suckle on the person’s clothing or skin. This behavior possibly results when they leave their moms and other littermates very soon. Hence, this suckling and licking behavior is a way for your cat to comfort herself. It increases when he or she feels highly insecure or stressed. If this does not bother you, it is okay to let him/her continue. But, if it reaches the stage where you feel it is very annoying, consider redirecting this behavior by offering a yummy treat, distracting him or walking away.

10. Your Kitty Finds Your Skin Tasty

If your cat licks your face and mouth, it means that it has detected something yummy on your skin. Maybe, it is the aroma of your lunch you just had or perhaps, it is your new face cream. Whether something tastes good or looks fascinating, cats just love to explore them. In fact, they are more interested in facial products, which contain few animal components like lanolin and gelatin. So, this is the reason why it is licking you.

How To Stop Your Cat From Licking?
  • Distract Your Cat = Observe your cat properly and learn the signs when it is about to lick you. Now, before even she starts to lick your arm or leg – just distract her. Perhaps, with a toy or diverting her attention to something else. Learn what kinds of toys your cat likes and try to divert her attention with it.
  • De-Stress Your Cat = To stop your cat’s behavior from licking, try the trick of “interactive play” because this is something they really love. This not only helps cats from relieving stress but also strengthens the bond you share. Whenever it plays, toxins and chemicals are released, which instantly helps your cat to relax.
  • Never Be Harsh = Let me clear you that it isn’t easy to retrain a cat that has developed a “licking” behavior. So you need to be very patient with them. Being harsh, cruel, tossing her from your lap, yelling, hitting and other forceful physical reactions can worsen the situation.
  • Apply Lemon Juice / Bitter Apple Juice / Other Citrus Fruits On Your Face = If you want your cat to stop licking you then one of the best ways is to apply the juice of citrus fruits on your arms and face. Cats just hate that taste. Do this for few days and soon you’ll see her turning off from licking you.
  • Assure Her That You Still Love = Never punish her for such a behavior because it is pretty common for cats to do so. Gently and gradually, discourage your cat. Move away when she tries to lick you. Instead, pet her with your hands or stuff terrycloth toy in order to show your affection. Let her know that you still love but it’s that licking you don’t want.
  • Praise When Your Cat Does Something Good = You can do this by petting her. However, each time she licks you, just ignore. Now, when he or she does not lick you for 10 seconds, praise this behavior. Soon she will get used of your likes and dislikes. Your cat will practice what you have exactly taught.


Something Important To Note…
  • Now, if your cat hasn’t licked you until now, it doesn’t mean that he or she has no affection on you. Only few cats exhibit its affection and love by licking while others rub or don’t even demonstrate at all.
  • Make sure that your cat doesn’t licks your wounds, burns, cuts or sores on skin. Often, you must have heard people saying that animals licking a human’s wounds help in faster healing, however this is just a belief. Practicing this can trigger “skin infections”. Bacteria from your pet’s mouth can pass onto your wounds, leading it to serious consequences at times.
  • Almost all cats spend time in grooming their coats. So, it is important that as its caretaker, you maintain its fur in good condition. And if you see your cat licking its skin at one particular region often, then it is a sign that there’s a problem there. So, have her checked.

I hope I have answered your question why does my cat lick me correctly. If you have found it useful and wish to express cute little things your cat does to you, drop them in comments section. Let the world know what a beautiful bond you and your cat share.

Category Misc