Why Does Your Cat Like To Lick You?


I bet you think you own your cat, don’t you? Well, according to your cat, it is them that owns you! And, they demonstrate this by licking you.

Taking ownership, taking a bath.

When her kittens are born, a mother cat will lick them, and this is a way of marking them out as belonging to her. The same principle applies when your cat licks you: they are establishing a connection with you and claiming you as their own! Cats lick their kittens to stimulate their breathing, as well as to clean them. Washing is a caring, social activity in the feline world so when your cat gives you a bath with their tongue they are trying to do something nice for you! So make sure to thank them with a stroke (before heading off to wash at the faucet!).

Your cat’s way of stroking you.

When you stroke your cat, they may well want to return the favor. Cats tend to enjoy the slightly rough feel of their own and other cats’ tongues on their fur – though this can feel pretty ticklish on human skin! So, licking your skin is also your kitty’s way of petting and stroking you: they are taking what feels good to a cat and transferring it to you. Again, they are kind of treating you as an honorary cat at this moment.

Tasty salt.

Human skin can often taste salty to a cat, and you may notice that your kitty licks you most often when your skin is not slathered in moisturizing creams or aftershave (which taste pretty gross to a feline). So, another reason that your cat licks you could simply be that you taste good. In particular, if you have been sweating and have salt on your skin as a result, you may find that your cat is interested in licking you.

Should I be worried about my cat’s licking behavior?

As we can see from the above, your cat licking you is usually a very positive sign of their affection (and their design to own your soul). However, if your kitty is demonstrating excessive licking behavior then you may want to investigate the cause. If your cat has fleas or a skin infection, they might use their tongue to try and scratch itches on their skin. And, once they have developed compulsive licking habits they can transfer that onto you as well. One tell tale sign that your cat’s usual grooming routine has got out of hand is bald patches anywhere on their fur that are due to excessive licking. Make sure to treat your cat regularly for fleas, and to get any skin infections dealt with as soon as possible.

So, in short, why does my cat lick me?

Any number of reasons! When it is not caused by compulsive grooming behavior, a cat licking you is something affectionate and caring. If your cat starts licking you, then you can pat yourself on the head because you have truly made it in cat society. Or, it could simply be that your skin tastes good.

Should you lick your cat back?

Whether you should or shouldn’t is up to you to decide. But if you want to, now you can with the new Licki Brush. The Licki Brush is a synthetic cat tongue for humans to use on their pets. You stick it in your mouth, much like a baby’s pacifier, and use the extended brush to simulate the act of feline grooming. All this, of course, brings you closer to your pet. We won’t be trying it out anytime soon… but if you do, drop by and let us know!