5 Reasons Why Cats Lick Their Owners
Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
We all love our cats—from their cute little claws to their rough, bristled, tongues that they lick us with every single day. However, we often find ourselves wondering why our cats do half of the things they do. I mean, is it really necessary to try to scale a wall only to fall on their butts, or to yank your favorite teddy off of the shelf a thousand times a day? Better yet, there's another question that we all would love an answer to: "Just why does my cat lick me?"
There are so many different answers available, and it is up to you to determine which one fits your cat. So here I am to give you the different reasons that may cause your kitty to lick you at any hour of the day!
1. She's Grooming You
One of the many reasons that our cats lick us is because they are grooming us. Cats are notorious bathers! They love to lounge for hours at a time while only bathing and napping the day away. Cats are very clean animals, as you can probably tell by their neat appearance and well-maintained coats. For the most part, there is never a single hair out of place!
Cats will also turn this attention to us. Kittens and cats tend to be social groomers; that is, they love to groom their family members. They lick us because they want us to be clean and healthy too. They will commonly try to bite and pull off any foreign object on your body. This could be a ring, a sock, or even a mole. Should your cat groom you, you should take it as a sign that they care for your well being. Then again, many of us may take it as a sign that our cats are telling us, "PHEW! You're stinky and need a bath!"
How often does your cat lick you?
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2. You Taste Good
Of course, this one might be a given. If you taste like a delicious steak, your cat is going to want to lick you- especially if you were not courteous enough to share a few bites with him or her! Kittens and cats love our food just as much as your dog does. If they don't get the chance to have any, they will resort to the next best option: getting a taste from you! Kitties may lick your fingers or face to see what they were missing out on, and will also lick your clothing if you dropped food on yourself. Don't worry though: these quick tastes won't be enough to harm your cat if you're worried about them ingesting human food.
3. It's a Survival Strategy
Also, cats are accustomed to bathing after eating in order to eliminate any evidence of food. It's a survival strategy to fend off predators! Therefore, it is quite possible that your kitty is trying to save the day by ridding you of any meal evidence!
4. Your Kitten Is Lonely
"Why does my kitten lick me, is it because she's lonely?" This is quite possible! Grooming (licking each other) is a very common social activity among cats. It is their favorite way to bond with each other, other than stampeding through the house together while terrorizing your breakables. When a kitten or a cat begins to feel lonely, they are going to try to groom and play. If you are away from home often (perhaps work or school), it is quite possible that your kitty just needs more bonding time. In this case, the best way to react is to "groom" her. You can do this by brushing the cat, petting her, or by scratching the kitty's favorite scratch spots (usually located behind the ears and at the tail base). Ensure that your cat or kitten gets enough attention; and if nothing else, get a playmate for the kitty!
Ways to Keep Your Kitty from Becoming Lonely
Leaving the TV on
Hiring a pet sitter
Get another kitten
Leaving Your Favorite Music Playing While Gone
Asking family to visit
Cats will overgroom due to anxiety, which might carry on over to you, the owner. If you notice that your cat has been off its rocker lately, then anxiety might just be the cause. Moving to a new home, gaining a new roommate, moving the furniture, and even a change in diet can bring on an anxiety issue. Try to determine any problem causing factors that may be in the kitty's environment if you think this might be the cause. No one likes to be stressed out or anxious; especially animals!
Why Are Cat Tongues So Rough and Spiky?
Cats and kittens have rough-looking tongues. They seem to have lots of spikes on them, much like the bristles of a boar bristle brush. This bristly structure of the cat tongue (the bristles are actually papillae) is made up of backward-facing taste buds that are actually a tool for survival. They are used to deep clean the coat, while also helping them to eat. They help the cat to remove flesh from bones (not a common occurrence for the modern house cat) and help them to remove food and debris from their coats. These papillae on the cats' tongues also help cats to drink. Believe it or not, they don't just dunk their tongues into the water and swallow whatever water is absorbed. Instead, their tongues are capable of yanking water upwards into a miniature column of water, and then they close their mouths quickly around the water. How cool is that!?
How Much Licking Is Too Much Licking?
Sometimes, our wonderful kitties begin to lick way too much. At first, we might not even notice it. All we see is an adorable kitten bathing in the sunlight or a kitty who might be licking some messy spills from the night's meal off of our clothes. Unfortunately, there is a point where licking becomes excessive and unhealthy. How and why does this happen?
When your cat begins to spend an absurd amount of time licking itself OR you (let's say 30 minutes to an hour or more per session), it should set off a red flag. After a while of licking, your skin will become irritated. If the cat is only licking itself excessively, you may notice a thinning coat on your cat or even bald spots. As the problem worsens you will probably see irritated patches of skin that may even bleed or become infected.
There are three main causes for this issue: anxiety, skin irritation or allergies, and parasites. Anxiety triggers cats to compulsively clean; anxiety may be a part of a cat's personality, or it can be due to environmental stress. Skin irritations, allergies, and parasites can all cause itching or odd sensations on the cat's skin, enticing the cat to eliminate the problem the best way it knows how: licking and scratching! For most of these issues, a veterinarian can prescribe medications. Yes, there are anxiety and allergy medications available to pets!
Did this help to solve the question "Why does my cat lick me?"
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.