Why Do Cats Lick Humans?

Most cat owners know their kitty cats to be stand-offish to say the least. These fur babies will
slither out of hugs when they feel like, and rub against you when they feel like. Let’s face it. Cats
have strong boundaries.


And then just like that, one special day as you slither up you little pet baby, to scratch the head,
or belly (not too much on the belly though, Simba might just draw blood on that) you find
yourself getting a leisurely lick from your four-legged, miniature Bastet.
Dumbstruck? I don’t blame you.

Kitty Cat Loves You

Raspy, sand papery; it takes some getting used to, especially if you have never had a cat lick
you before. No! They are not developing a flavor for you to sneak in a bite later on, just in case
you forget to feed them. Just like the more demonstrative doggie pets, you cat loves you and is
licking you to show affection and to develop your social bond. How Sweet!


How totally unexpected for most emotionally starved pet owners, who follow their frustratingly
aloof, completely independent, fur baby cooing and begging, “Come here baby, Daddy…or
Mommy just wants to give you a hug.”

Strange though it is, it is true. We do not expect cats to begin PDAs for their humans,
considering we are mere mortals. This show of affection may stem from their babyhood
memories of mama cat licking them to groom them, and to show care and affection.


Okay they may just be trying to taste you, but we wanted you to be happy before we tell you the
rest. Here are some reasons why you cat licks you.

They are marking their territory

Better than the other way, any day. Yes spraying is the smelliest way, especially since we have
to scrub it out. But cats claim ownership in many ways: cheek rubbing, scratching, and licking.
Do you have other pets around? They’re subliminally informing them (and your loved ones) you
belong to them! Be proud, your cat has claimed you as their own.

Your cat is grooming you

Don’t feel bad, of course we’re sure you’re already pretty clean. Your kitty cat acknowledges
that you take care and groom them and are paying it back. Cats groom themselves with their
tongues. They may not understand that they aren’t really improving you in way, but hey it’s the
thought that counts right?

Also cats that live in groups often have one master groomer going around lick-grooming
everyone else: that’s allogrooming. Your cat accepts you as part of their clowder and is cleaning
you up because you’re family.

It’s Nerves

Animals feeling anxiety and stress deal with it in different ways. Normally cats lick themselves,
or you to sort the stresses they are facing, such as changes in their environment, shifting to a
new home, or missing a loved one. If your cat is usually affectionate this licking transfers to you
when they are anxious.


Excessive grooming or licking may indicate a medical issue such as skin allergies, fungal
infections, fleas, mites or ringworm. It may also be in reaction to pain from arthritis or bladder
problems.

You Tasty Thing

Ok, don’t freak out now, but they are tasting you. Probably because you have the scent of food,
or some other residue on your skin. Your cat finds it interesting and is testing it. Maybe some
moisture or sweat on you feels salty to the little sampler. Cats are unable to taste sweets.– your
chocolates cakes are safe here, but since chocolate isn’t good for animals, don’t let any pet get
it (especially dogs). Also, more for you!

What are those things on your cat’s tongue?

That sandpapery feel comes from scoop-shaped and hollow protrusions called papillae on their
tongues. Papillae are made of keratin, (like human fingernails) and are designed to hold and
disperse saliva during self grooming to remove dirt, detangle fur, and redistribute natural oils.
Cat licking feels good to your cat, so your pet doesn’t know it is hurting you. When my cat licks
me he’s just telling me how much he loves me. And that’s the reason I’m sticking with.