Ask A Vet: Why Is My Cat Always Licking Me
We see mother cats grooming their babies and all cats grooming themselves.
We know that licking is the way that cats care for their coats, and even though we dont have fur, our cats lick us, too!
Cats groom themselves and their kittens for hygiene and health reasons. Their rough tongues act almost like a comb to smooth out matted hair.; They are also able to find and remove parasitic pests with their licking. Regular self-grooming in a cat is a sign that the cat is well because sick cats are less likely to groom themselves and can appear unkempt.; We dont often have matted hair and we dont usually have fleas or ticks, so why would our cats lick us?
We;cant explain to our cats that we dont have mats or bugs, but shouldnt it seem apparent to our cats that we dont have the same hair as they do? Maybe hair knots and pests arent the only reason our cats want to lick us. If we try to imagine what its like to be a cat and how a cat might view a human companion, the behaviors begin to make more sense.
For cats, grooming is a health necessity, but is also a bonding behavior. Social animals all have their own behavioral routines;or interactions. Some people do not think of cats as particularly social, but they are. Cats can exist happily as solitary creatures, but in settings with adequate resources , cats can also reside peacefully in a colony or group1.
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Signs Of An Attachment Issue
If your cat is experiencing hyper-attachment, that means shes overly dependent on being around you, and she needs to be with you pretty much always.
This may start out as following you from room to room, but watch out as this can generalize into separation anxiety, Dr. Spano explained.
And if your cat is suffering from separation anxiety, thats an even more serious condition thats going to require some help from your vet.
Signs of separation anxiety include:
- Going to the bathroom outside of the litter box
- Abnormal meowing and vocalization
- Harmful behaviors
According to Dr. Spano, your cats anxiety could also explain why they sit on certain things within your personal space .
A hyper-vigilant cat, just like any animal with underlying anxiety, may also like to sit on a certain surface to keep an eye on it, she explained.
If your cat is showing these signs, definitely reach out to your vet, because your cat might need medication to help with her anxiety.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me 13 Ways Your Cat Shows You Love
My cat never licks me.
But my friends cats act like they are grooming their humans as one of their own. It is perfectly understandable to want to know why cats do this.
We are spending so much time with our cats and understanding our feline companions behavior is key to a healthy relationship between us and our cats.
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How To Stop Your Cat From Licking Your Nose
Some cat owners might find this behavior cute, but others would prefer not to have their nose licked! With most undesirable behaviors, including nose licking, the best solution is to re-direct your cats attention elsewhere.
You may start to notice the signs that your cat is approaching you to give you a lick. If you dont want that to happen, simply distract them by encouraging them to play, jumping up to see if theyre hungry, or seeing if theres something else they need.
Dont roughly push your cat away or otherwise punish them for trying to give you a lick. Remember, this behavior is just them trying to tell you something the best way that they know how. As responsible cat owners, its up to us to be the detective and find out what our cat needs!
Featured Image: ECOSY, Shutterstock
Safeguards When It Comes To Letting Your Cat Lick Your Face
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of letting your cat lick your face, the decision is ultimately yours. If you plan to let your cat lick your face, here are some things you can do in order to make sure that you and your cat go about it safely.
- Always wash your face with an antibacterial wash or soap after your cat licks your face. You can also use facial wipes that are anti-bacterial.
- Make sure that you are following the schedule of your cats deworming programs.
- Undergo annual fecal examinations and use anti-parasite treatments
- Be on top of treating their ticks and fleas
- Make sure that you properly dispose of their poop
- Always clean the paws and mouth of your cat immediately after they go outside
- Feed a proper diet which is a mix of cooked, canned or dry food
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Why Is My Cat Licking Me
Your cats tongue is one of her most valuable tools. She uses it for around-the-clock, daily grooming. Her tongue is covered in teeny, tiny barbs that she uses not only to keep her fur clean but also keep her bowl spotless. Of course, her licking behavior doesnt just stop at her fur or her bowl, she loves to lick other things like bedding, plastic, cotton, and especially you, her pet parent. Most cat parents tend to wonder about their cats behavior, what shes trying to tell them, and even what she might be thinking. Even though licking isnt seen as a concerning act– most people view it as a cute, affectionate gesture; sometimes your cats licking could mean something else entirely. Sometimes her sandpaper-like tongue hurts, and youd rather her lick something other than your arm. Maybe you know the answer to why do cats lick themselves?, but when it comes to humans, you may be unsure of the reasons. Read on as we break down some pawsible reasons why your cats fond of licking you, and tips on what you can do to redirect those licks if they get too uncomfortable.;
Stretching, pouncing, biting, meowing, scratching, you name it your cat has done all of these things for attention. Its pawsible that licking is just your cats way of saying, Look at me! Look at me! or maybe You havent looked at me for a few minutes, I miss you pay attention to me!;
Stress and Anxiety
Rubbing Against Your Legs
Sometimes, when you come home after a long workday feeling very tired and your cat runs through the door to greet you, rubs herself against your legs and she;immediately makes you feel like she is happy to see you.
You are right to feel this because that is how she shows her affection. That, and she is putting her scent on you as a way of claiming you as her own. Just like when she head-butts you. It helps you develop a deeper bond with your cat to allow her to do it.
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How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Licking Me
Unless your cat is repeatedly licking you and grooming excessively, licking isnt usually anything to worry about its a natural cat behavior. However, with the rough makeup of a cats tongue, it can be annoying to have them consistently licking you.
If youre looking to curb this behavior, the best thing you can do is try to redirect their attention. If your cat likes cuddling, you might cuddle or start petting them to try and distract them from licking. Similarly, you might try and use a toy to divert their attention from licking to playing.;Finally, you might simply walk away or move away from your cat if the licking becomes excessive.
While your cat licking you isnt typically anything to worry about and can even be a compliment if at any time youre concerned with their behavior, we recommend that you reach out to your veterinarian for advice.
Cats Who Lick Humans May Do So Because They Enjoy The Act Of Licking
A lot of cats seem to enjoy the act of licking, and it seems to me that those particular cats are the type most likely to lick human faces.
As I said in the intro, while Ive never had a cat lick my face before, Im sure all the cats in my life who like to lick are most likely to do this.
Even though I have a cat who scents my glasses, nose, chin, and face regularly, I doubt he will ever lick my face, because hes not the type to lick my hands while Im petting him or anything along those lines.
The cats who like licking my hands even when theres no food on them? Im pretty sure would take to licking my face in the right circumstances.
Let me know what you think of this theory, and if you feel it lines up with your particular cats behaviours.
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Discourage Your Cat By Showing Less Affections
Now you might feel it harsh to follow, but this actually works. Now you might feel it harsh to follow, but this actually works. If you push your cats away when they come to licking you, your behavior will make your cat feel unwanted. After continuously repeating the same action, your cat will understand that you dont like when they lick you.
When The Bite Hurts
More often than not, our cat can hurt us if they bite us. What should we do then? The first thing to note is that under no circumstances should we scold them, since our feline is engaging in social behavior, even if it is not entirely pleasant.
How should we act when a cat bites us? Ideally, after the bite, we should stop caressing or paying attention to them. If we are constant and always follow the same pattern, over time, our cat will associate the bite with the end of the game or the caressing session.
At the same time, it will be essential to use positive reinforcement and reinforce behaviors that please us, such as being calm, licking without biting or purring placidly. To do so, we can use a simple “very well” or choose a tasty prize or treat, such as a piece of cooked chicken.
If you want to read similar articles to Why Does my Cat Lick and then Bite Me? The Answer, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.
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To Bond And Show Affection
As mentioned, grooming is the most common way through which cats express affection. It starts with mothers licking their kittens. Your cat wants to show you that affection too. Therefore, it does not matter to your cat whether it is in the middle of the night. You will get that loving at any place and at any time.
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Why Does My Cat Lick And Bite Me
Most cat owners will be familiar with this behavior. Cats will often be licking and suddenly turn on a dime and savagely attack you. There has been much bloodshed across the millennia from this one cat tactic.
Here is another from the AnimalWised channel with a few more reasons why cats lick us, and which weve again summarized below.
Your cat is lovingly licking you, showing their affection and bond, and then OW! What went wrong!?
Here are some of the reasons for cat biting and licking:
1. Play Sometimes your puss is just playing. You should discontinue the play when biting occurs so as not to encourage this behavior.
2. Warning A bite can be a warning that your cat has had enough petting, or that you are doing something it doesnt appreciate.
3. Affection Biting can be a form of showing affection as well as licking. Usually, if this is the reason, the bites will not be too rough. Dont you ever get the urge to nibble on your loved one every now and again!?
4. Grooming Biting also factors in the grooming process as well whether you like it or not, its part of the deal.
5. Agitation Perhaps your cat is agitated about something and is taking it out on you. Is there a new pet in the house, or any other major changes going on in the cats life?
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When To Worry: Psychological Signs
Stressed out or anxious cats might display erratic behavior, including excessive licking. With the help of your vet, figuring out the root cause of why your cat or kitten is stressed can greatly help you help your kitty cope.5
Some nervous cats may exhibit other signs of psychological stress, in addition to excessive licking, including:
- Biting themselves
If this sounds like your pet, you may want to check in with your vet.6
Why Do Cats Lick You Cats Lick As A Means Of Social Bonding
The first step in answering Why do cats lick you? is knowing that kittens groom each other, and older cats who arent related but get along well also spend time grooming one another. Often, theyll get the spots that are hard for a cat to reach by themselves, such as the top of the head and inside the ears. Exchanging scents through grooming also increases the bond between a pair of cats.
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Why Does My Cat Lick Then Bite Me
Heres the scenario: Youre hanging out with Dr. Tuna and youre gently scratching his cheek. Which he LOVES by the way. Then Dr. Tuna decides to start licking your hand ever so slightly.
You think, Well, his tongue is a bit rough but he seems to be saying thanks for all the petting. Ill allow it.
Not a second later, Dr. Tuna is chomping down! Not super hard but its not exactly gentle either.
Ouch! What the heck, Dr. Tuna?!
Ever wondered why your cat licks then bites you?
Youre in the right place. I set out to get the answer and do my best to solve this feline mystery!;Were going to dive deep into every possible scenario along with the context clue you need to look for to figure out what explanation makes the most sense.
But if youre just looking for a quick answer as to why cats lick and bite then here it is:
Cats that lick and bite are most likely showing affection in the form of a love bite. This is especially likely if youre just relaxing and not actively petting your cat. However, it could also be a sign of an overstimulated cat or just grooming behavior.;
Lets get started!
What To Do If Your Cat Is Too In The Way
If your cat really is lying down on you just because of how much she loves you , it can be a teeny bit inconvenient when youre trying to be productive, even if it is so stinking cute.
If thats the case, Dr. Spano recommends that you encourage your cats independence, especially if shes trying to get your attention for a little playtime.
Cats should receive three periods of play per day lasting about 10 minutes each, she said. This can be interactive play with you, such as with a wand toy or fetch, or this can be independent play with automated toys.
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Cats And Compulsive Scratching Licking And Chewing
WebMD discusses common reasons why your cat might be biting, chewing, or scratching itself.
Most cats are meticulous groomers, but what happens when the behavior goes into overdrive? For a variety of reasons, some cat licking, scratching, and chewing behaviors become compulsive, which can annoy you and damage your pets skin and coat.
If your cat is scratching, licking, or chewing themselves;compulsively, it is likely you regularly catch them in the act. But if you dont, your first clue may be the disappearance of your cats fur, often in strips along their back or stomach. Cats with self-mutilating behaviors may also cause red, irritated areas called hot spots to form, but they are less likely than dogs to do so.
Although compulsive cat scratching, licking, or chewing behaviors can develop in any animal, they are more commonly observed in Siamese cats and other Oriental breeds. Female cats are more likely than males to lick, chew, or pull on their fur.
Because there are a number of medical problems that may result in scratching and licking behaviors, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to help determine the cause and the best course of action.
Maintain Routines To Reduce Stress
Cats love routine, so if the hair loss is stress-related, try to create a comfortable environment and a predictable schedule. Change the litter box at least once a day, and feed your kitty at the same times every day.
Its best to incorporate changes gradually, such as the introduction of a new pet or changes in your living situation, to limit the amount of stress for your cat.
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Your Cat Licking You So Close To Your Mouth Likely Means He Or She Trusts You Considerably
I definitely think cats realize we can eat them with our mouths.
Go up to a cat whos not used to it and pretend to eat his or her head by making om nom noises and eating sounds he or shes likely to squirm, scream out of fear, or run out of dodge completely.
If you do this over and over, a cat will realize youre only playing, but the reason its so terrifying is likely because cats know what being eaten sounds like, and obviously, they dont want to be eaten themselves.
If your cat is licking you or cuddling in any way next to your mouth, its likely a sign that he or she is comfortable enough around you to get close to your mouth in the first place.
Theres no way a cat would be happy to do this to a person he or she doesnt trust.