Why does my cat keep licking me? Have you ever wondered why your pet cat never misses any opportunity to lick you? And let’s admit it—it’s not entirely a pleasant experience. Being licked by a cat is as good as being rubbed with sandpaper. This is because felines have tiny barbs on the surface of their tongues which help remove dirt effectively when they groom themselves. So, a cat that licks you for more than a few minutes at a time can cause a little discomfort, and even a bit of pain. If your cat is in the habit of licking you, here are the possible reasons why.
Your cat is showing affection towards you.
Cats may seem aloof as compared to our canine pets, but they also know how to show affection. For one, cats like to sleep with their owners because they like being close to you. Licking is also another sign that your cat is fond of you. It’s your cat’s way of “nurturing” you the same way its mother did when he was but a wee kitten. If your cat licks you, it means that he accepts you as a member of the family.
Your cat is marking his territory.
Cats like to leave scent markers to claim its territory—and that often includes people and animals, as well as objects. So why does my cat lick me after I shower? There’s a good chance that he wants to leave his scent on you as a way of telling other cats that, he belongs to you. The scents he left earlier may have been washed off when you took a bath and your cat simply wants to start over. It’s also possible that he simply likes the smell of your soap or shampoo.
Your kitten was weaned too early.
If a kitten licks you aggressively, this could be a sign that he was taken away from his mother too soon. It’s not uncommon for stray or orphaned kittens to get in the habit of licking their human parents much more than normal, since they didn’t get enough chance at suckling.
Your pet cat is anxious.
Compulsive behavior, such as excessive licking, can be a sign of anxiety in cats. Cuddling and petting your cat should help ease his stress, but if these don’t seem to work, find out if there’s any reason for your cat to be stressed. Stress or anxiety in cats may be due to unfamiliar people or surroundings, boredom, or a medical illness.
Your cat is grooming you.
Why does my cat lick me all the time? Apart from sleeping and taking lots of cat naps, grooming is the next favorite past time of our feline pets. It’s why they always look so clean! And it may not be a surprise that your cat wants you clean and healthy, too. Think of it as his way of caring for you.
Your cat wants to socialize.
Licking, or “grooming,” can be considered a social activity among cats. They often do it with other cats as a way to bond with each other. If your cat can’t stop licking, he may be feeling a little lonely and is likely seeking some attention. Try spending more time to bond with your cat. Pet, groom, and play with your cat if you notice him licking you more than usual.
It’s instinctive behavior.
Maybe he just can’t help it. In case you haven’t noticed, cats like to groom themselves right after a meal. This is to get rid any evidence of food, as part of their survival instinct. So, if you’re asking “why does my cat lick me so much?” it’s possible that he’s actually trying to protect you. Now doesn’t that make a quite interesting thought?
Your cat likes the way you taste.
Why does my cat lick me? The explanation could be as simple as it’s only because he likes tasting you. Did you have a delicious meal that you didn’t share with him? You’d know he’s out for a quick taste if he licks your fingers, your face, or your clothes where bits of food may have fallen off.
How to Minimize Licking Behavior
Why does my cat lick and nibble me? Whatever the reason for your cat’s excessive licking, you can spare yourself some discomfort by knowing what to do whenever your pet engages in this kind of behavior. Once you have an idea on what’s causing your cat to lick you so much, here are some steps you can take to discourage excessive licking.
Distract your cat.
Offer food or treats whenever your cat starts licking you. Beware not to overfeed, though, as you don’t want to end up with an obese cat. Spend time playing with your cat first and offer him treats afterward. Playing with your cat is an effective distraction that your pet is also sure to enjoy.
Give him a kitty massage.
When the licking starts to hurt, try petting or rubbing your cat a little more firmly than basic petting. Cats can never resist a good massage. It might also be a good idea to redirect him to another part of your body if you’re starting to feel discomfort or pain on the spot your cat is licking.
Some cat owners would apply scents their cat dislikes on their skin. However, this method comes with the possibility that your cat may associate the unpleasant smell with you, and you don’t want that. Some experts would recommend walking away or redirecting the licking as the best way to deal with compulsive behavior.
Why does my cat lick me like a dog? As a loving pet owner, it’s important that you should be able to tell if your cat’s licking has gone beyond normal behavior. Social and instinctive grooming is healthy and can be dealt with through distraction and redirection. But if your cat’s excessive licking is caused by anxiety, you need to observe closely for other signs of anxiety in your cat. Stress in cats only gets worse if you ignore it. If your cat is stressed or anxious over something, it’s urgent that you pinpoint the source of stress to be able to provide your pet with the help he needs.