Cats Health and Wellness Lets Demystify Why Your Kitty Licks You

Cat’s Health and Wellness – Let’s Demystify Why Your Kitty Licks You!

Parenting a cat can be enriching. Cats’ innocence, emotional bonding, frolics, and other traits make them endearing. You will care more for your little kitty if you are an invested pet parent. Depending on the situation, you will observe everything about her and may feel happy or concerned. For example, you enjoy it when she looks at you patiently after you return from office. Her gesture shows she missed you. At the same time, her patient demeanor allows you to hold and interact with her calmly. However, specific behavioral displays can still be a mystery for you. Imagine your furry friend suddenly starts licking you. How will you react to this?

You will feel happy, considering it a sign of her fondness for you. Still, your concern will make you prod more. Responsible pet parents have this tendency. They want to ensure their little friend is hale and hearty. So, let’s solve the query—why does my cat lick me?

  • Reasons for cat licking you

You are tucked in your couch with a fluffy blanket on a weekend night and watching your favorite TV show. Suddenly, your intelligent, cute cat emerges and sits on the sofa beside you. You put her in your lap, and the two relish this bonding. However, to your surprise, she starts licking your hand. You notice this because of the rough touch of her sandpaper-like tongue. The very incident makes you curious as to why she is licking you. You want to understand if your furry friend has something to tell. After all, animals use body language to communicate their feelings, emotions, and health. Licking behavior may indicate multiple things, like her habit of kneading you and toppling things over. So, here are some common interpretations of licking.

  • A display of affection

Licking hints that your kitty has accepted you as part of her circle. She loves you. Vet experts explain that cats don’t bother if you are a human. If they like you, they will treat you as one of them. Their vocalizations, head butts, and eyes say it all. The same way their lick exhibits they care for you. 

  • A sign of comforting you or themselves

A cat will be concerned when you appear low for stress or health reasons. The kitty does this to calm you down or make you feel better. It’s their typical wild behavior. Vets say that cats are good at recognizing the illness of their group members. That’s why you find her lingering around you when you seem less energetic. It’s a perk of having a pet. Their unconditional cuddle helps you recover from your breakup or cold.

However, there is one more possibility – the cat may lick you to relieve her stress. You can identify this issue if she continues to do it for a long time. Cats indulge in such behavior with someone close. They may also lick themselves for the same reason. No matter what, excessive licking is harmful. You can take her to the vet for consultation.

  • A way of establishing territory

Felines tend to be territorial about their favorite persons, cats, objects, etc. So, she may lick you to demonstrate you belong to her. Doctors compare this act to spraying urine to demarcate their territory. 

  • An attempt to draw attention

Cats are attention seekers. If they notice your reactions, they will repeat their licking behavior. They can demonstrate this to get you to give them food, pet them, cuddle them, or play with them.  

  • An effort to teach or nurture you

People find it amusing when cats leave dead birds or mice on their owners’ doorsteps. They think the furry friends do this because they consider themselves human. But the underlying fact can be different—they do this to show you how to hunt because you are like a family to them. At the same time, they see you as a little less skilled. If you have a female cat, you will witness her parent-like behavior. 

Likewise, licking can be a way for them to guide you about grooming yourself. Cats do this out of affection and the pleasant childhood memory of their mothers licking them. That’s why they can also indulge in licking when you are stressed, anxious, nervous, or sick.

  • A hint of early weaning 

Orphaned cats or those weaned from their mother at a very tender age can resort to licking to compensate for the oral stimulation they missed. You can conclude this if your cat persistently licks you and flexes its claws and paws in your skin to make biscuits. It shows she didn’t live with her mother for long.

  • A way to enjoy good taste

Your cat can lick you because you held one of her favorite foods, such as meat, fish, etc. So, she wants to indulge in that goodness.

  • A hidden medical condition

A cat can lick you due to pain, a feeling of nausea, or discomfort. Excessive licking or sudden development of such behavior can be a warning. You can take her to the vet for medical evaluation.

  • Techniques to control your cat’s licking behavior

While her licks can be harmless, you cannot overlook potential risks. Bacteria in their mouth can infect your open wound. People with compromised immunity need to be more careful. Cat disease transmission incidents can be rare, but preventing her from licking your face or skin injury is better. It’s good for their health, too. After all, most humans use different hair and skin products, which can be hazardous. At the same time, excessive licking can annoy you or make you uncomfortable. Some people scold, squirt water, and spray themselves with bitter-tasting scents to discourage them. These acts can ruin your bond with her. She can become anxious and, eventually, lick more. Hence, choosing the proper means is essential. Let’s explore a few ideas in this context:

  1. Wear long sleeves or wrap your exposed skin with a towel during interactions with your cat.
  2. Avoid giving her attention when she licks by walking away. It will reduce this behavior. However, be careful about the timing. She will feel ignored if you get up as soon as she starts licking. Also, consult a vet if the cat continues licking for over a week.
  3. Divert her attention to a food puzzle or cat toy and slowly slip away from the place.
  4. Reward her when she engages with you without licking. You can play, pet, and praise her.
  5. Enrich her environment with different toys and setups. Install cat trees; play with her for about 15 minutes thrice a day, etc.
  6. Take her to a doctor if her licking behavior persists.
  • Cat Licking FAQs 

No matter how much you enjoy your cat’s company and her different traits, you may still have many questions about her licking behavior. Every pet parent goes through this phase. It’s good to address them appropriately for your well-being and your kitty’s. So, here you go!

  • Why does a cat lick your face and then bite?

Overstimulation can trigger this behavior. Other possible reasons can be pain or boredom. You can control her biting tendencies, but consulting a vet can be the safest option. They can investigate their health for underlying medical conditions.

  • Why do your cat’s licks feel weird or uncomfortable at times?

Sometimes, a cat’s licks can cause pain or discomfort, regardless of your fondness for her. The primary reason for this is the presence of papillae, or sharp keratin-based hooks on her tongue that resemble sandpaper in texture. Papillae are an essential grooming tool as they work like a comb, enabling cats to smooth and clean their fur.

  • How much licking is too much licking?

Pet parents often struggle to determine if their cat is indulging in excessive licking. They worry about their health, too. While there is no definitive answer to this, it all depends on your experience. If you feel annoyed or think it’s getting too much, you can be right about it. However, any strict action from your end can be counterproductive. Instead, take corrective measures to minimize such events so that you can enjoy a harmonious life with your pet. You can find positive results by probing into the possible underlying causes of her licking behavior. 

Remember, her gentle licks can be enjoyable as long as they last briefly. However, you can become concerned if she starts biting as well. Some cats bite playfully. It’s a normal behavior for her. It would help to delve into their motive and steer them to overcome such behaviors. As mentioned, you can contract a disease from her, even if the chances are minimal. Someone with weak immunity can be at greater risk. Hence, watching over this behavior when kids, seniors, or pregnant women are around is essential. 

Does it solve the suspense around the licks you get from your lovely furry friend? As a pet parent, one must always be alert about their pet’s behavior. When interpreted correctly, their actions, silence, and movements reveal much about their wellness and quality of life. You can use those cues to create a conducive environment, which they need to thrive.

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