A cat’s tongue is curved and roughly covered with small and needle-like papillae making it prickly to touch. These papillae are hair-like structures and made from the protein keratin.
Cats use their tongues for drinking, ingestion, tasting food, grooming, and brushing their fur. It also uses its fur for licking itself and humans as well. But Your cat licking does not mean just one thing. There can be several reasons as to why your cat licks you.
Why Does My Cat Lick Me?
Although it is not possible to find out the exact cause, in this article, the probable reasons that your cat licks you will be discussed.
1. To Show Affection
Your pet cannot express its feelings by speaking out aloud, but it sure has its ways of showing urs affection towards you. This way of expression probably comes from its childhood when the mother grooms the kitten to form the bond of love.
This behavior is carried along by the cat till their adulthood, and it is further used as an expression of fondness towards the owner. When your cat licks you, it wants to tell you that you are a part of the family.
2. To ‘Mark Their Territory’
One of the reasons your cat might lick is to mark their territory and make it known that you belong to them. It licks you or rubs against you to let you know how important you are to them.
This might specifically be a sign to the other animals or pets in your house that you are not for them. It is like leaving a mark through a scent that says, ‘this is mine’.
3. To Groom You
Your cat might find you in need of getting some grooming done and considers itself capable enough for the job. Roots of this habit again belong to the stage of a kitten when mothers groom their children, and this is a way of formation of special bonds.
In fact, cats in a group or even towards their siblings show attachment by licking and grooming or brushing each other using the tongue. They feel that the same goes in the case of humans and lick you to attend to your appearance and form connections at the same time.
4. To Taste Something Interesting
Your feline friend may find something tasty to lick on your body. Sometimes, it is even natural for the cats to find the human body’s scent and taste good. If it is covered with something that your cat finds worthy of tasting, it will come to you and lick you.
Studies have also shown that cats usually find the taste of human perspiration interestingly tasty. So, after a workout, if you are sweaty, it is normal for your cat to start licking you. They can also be appealed by items such as body lotions, moisturizers, or even medications on your skin.
5. To Get Your Attention
Your cat may feel a lack of attention from your side, which makes it try different ways to gain your attention. One of these ways is licking your body. It might want you to play with it, cuddle it, feed it, or something else.
They learn that licking is one good way to get attention because usually, from the start, you respond to their licking by petting them or trying to interact with them. So, you can show interest in it if it starts licking suddenly.
6. To Cope With Anxiety Or Stress
If your cat is licking you too much and also showing other signs of stress, it is probably a method to alleviate anxiety or stress. It is somewhat relatable to human behavior during stressful situations such as biting nails, procrastinating, or even changes in appetite. Just like human babies, they also go through the stage of oral fixation, in which they require licking to satisfy them.
This kind of licking usually has some underlying reason to it. Being taken away from the mother at a young age, moving into a new environment, being afraid of strangers or other animals are some of the most likely things to cause your cat stress or anxiety. It resorts to licking as a coping method in such situations. If the behavior continues for too long, you can even consult a specialist.
Cats display behavior different from dogs or other domestic animals. Their licking can mean various things. Showing affection is the foremost thing that comes to mind when your cat starts licking you.
But sometimes, it is related to other causes such as reducing stress, tasting something enjoyable on your body, grooming you, claiming you as their, or simply getting your attention. Reasons may even be apart from all of these, but they are the most common ones.