Ouch Why Does Your Cat Licking You Hurt Or Feel So Rough
Now that youve got a few answers to the question, Why do cats lick you? you probably have a few follow-up questions like, Why does it hurt when my cat licks me? Your cats tongue feels like sandpaper because its covered with papillae backward-facing hooks made of keratin, the same material that makes your cats claws. The papillae help cats rasp meat off bones, and they also assist in grooming by acting like a comb to pull out loose fur and dirt.
Why Does My Cat Lick My Face When I Am Sleeping
See files for Cats
There is the widespread idea that cats are independent animals and are not sociable or affectionate. This description, however, does not define the majority of cats with whom we live. Thus, there are still people who are surprised at the demands of affection from their feline companions.
Cats show affection through many different ways, including: licking, cheek rubbing and purring. Licking for cats is considered a form of grooming and affection. In this AnimalWised article we will explain to you why your cat licks your face when you are sleeping.
As A Result Of Premature Weaning
Orphaned kittens, or cats who were taken away from their mother at a very young age, may excessively lick you as a result of the suckling they missed out on when they were young.
They are licking you as licking is the closest they can get to suckling and the comfort it gave them.
Other signs your cat was prematurely weaned are suckling on fabrics and kneading when licking or suckling.
Kneading is when a cat pushes a soft surface with one paw at a time and is what kittens do to their mothers while suckling in order to encourage milk flow.
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Why Does My Cat Lick My Hair
If your cat is licking your hair, beard or eyebrows they are most likely just grooming you.
Helping you to keep your fur clean and free from tangles.
If your cat does this when you are resting they are trying to be affectionate towards you, if they do it when you are awake and busy they may be trying to be more playful.
They Are Being Territorial
Cats, like dogs, like to mark things with their scent. This is to ward off other unfriendly cats and to protect the places that they consider to be their territory. In the wild, cats mark their own territory so that they can minimize the chances of coming into contact with other cats. Cats are not usually pack animals. Minimizing contact with other, possibly unfriendly cats, increases their chance of survival in the wilderness.
When a cat smells another cat that they are not familiar with, it warns them that they are in someone elses territory and that they could be in danger if they dont get out of there. If your cat is grooming your head, they could be trying to mark you with their scent. Your cat probably enjoys sleeping up next to your pillow, as discussed in one of our previous blog posts. If that is the case, then they are sure to want to keep your head, and their sleeping space, smelling the way they like it. They dont want any other cat to think that the most prime sleeping spot is up for grabs because it is not marked with their scent. Even if there is only one cat in your household, your cats natural instincts are telling them that they need to protect their territory by marking it, and they consider you to be part of that.
Advantages Of Letting Your Cat Lick Your Face
1. Wound Protection
There are researchers in the Netherlands that were successful in identifying the chemical that is present in cat saliva which is called histatins. In turn, this chemical helps speed up the healing of wounds. This is done by promoting the migration and the spread of new skin cells.
Therefore, if you have a wound on your face, besides putting medical creams on it, your cats saliva will help your wound to heal. This chemical is also responsible for healing your cats wounds and pretty much explains why they lick their own wounds.
Also, a doctor from the London School of Medicine, Dr. Nigel Benjamin, found out that once your cats saliva comes into contact with your skin, it produces nitric oxide.
This helps in containing bacterial growth and also acts as a barrier to the wound, which will lessen the chances of infections.
More than that, the researchers from the University of Florida where able to isolate a protein from cat saliva and it is called Nerve Growth Factor. This protein is responsible for at least halving the time it takes for wounds to heal.
2. Building Trust
As mentioned earlier, your cat licks you because he trusts you. Therefore, if you let him lick your face, it is a sign that you are honored for him to groom you. In turn, he will also feel that you trust him.
To Mark Their Territory
Something many people are not aware of is that cats are actually able to mark their territory by licking things.
When your cat licks you, they may be marking you as theirs to warn off any other animals as well as letting you know that you are important to them.
If your cat has started to lick you when something new has been brought into the house it could be a sign that your cat is feeling jealous or worried and feels that marking you as territory will help keep others away.
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Your Thoughts On Cats Licking Human Faces
Why do you think cats sometimes lick their humans on their faces?
Do you have a cat or multiple cats who do this? How often do your cats lick your face?
Do these cats have similar behaviours that seem connected ?
Do your cats lick your face at a particular time of day or during something else .
Would love to hear any and all thoughts you have on the topic in the comments down below!
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Elises Favourite Tip
One of the most frustrating problems Ive had to deal with as a pet parent is staying on top of my cats desire to play. While this is typically hard to do, toys like these that allow cats to play by themselves make the job one heck of a lot easier.
The hits in my household are ridiculously affordable: cat springs, ball track toys, & kick sticks. I have a slew scattered around the house, so when my cats get bored, even if Im busy or not even home, my furries are able to actively play.
Why Does My Dog Like To Bite My Hair
By biting or tugging at your hair it may be your pups way of saying Hey, pay attention to me.Its play time. Especially if you have long hair or a long beard, your pup could be trying to engage in a serious game of tug-of-war. On a less positive note, playing with your hair could also be a sign of anxiety.
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Why Does My Dog Eat Grass
Although most dogs enjoy being outside, some get bored when alone and need to do something to pass the time. Nibbling grass that is readily available helps fill the hours. Dogs crave human interaction and may try to get their owners attention through inappropriate actions like eating grass if they feel neglected.
How Much Licking Is Too Much Licking
Sometimes, our wonderful kitties may begin to lick 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 excessive amount of time licking itself or you , 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 several main causes for this issue:
- Skin irritation or allergies
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!
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You Could Have An Appealing Or Interesting Taste
If your cat has not shown much interest in licking you before but is doing so now it could be because your skin has an appealing smell or taste.
Maybe you spilt something, recently cooked a delicious meal or you used a certain product that interests your cat. In this case, your cat may simply be exploring the different scent and having a taste.
They may also like the taste of salt that is present on your skin too.
Is There A Reason Your Cat Focuses On Your Beard
Theres nothing inherently attractive to a cat about a mans beard. Not that Ive interviewed many cats on the subject, but there is, believe it or not, some research about this. In fact, cats appear to be visually repelled by facial hair.
A rather peculiar 2011 study involved researchers showing photos of various bearded men to cats and gauging their reactions.
The study found that cats did not like photos of men with long, dark beards. They were merely unimpressed with shorter-bearded men, and they were perplexed by men with partial beards.
Its worth noting that the partial-beard photograph was of Robert Bork he was President Nixons Solicitor General later, he failed in a bid to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Perhaps the cats in the study were just liberal-leaning.
For all the silliness of that study, it does suggest that if your cat is obsessed with licking your beard, its not an aesthetic thing. Most likely, the cat likes that your beard is close to your face, that its hair might be similar in length to the cats own, or that it smells vaguely of food.
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Is Licking Hair Bad For Cats
While most cases of hair licking are not harmful to cats, some may swallow hair the way a cat may ingest fur. If your cat is chewing on your hair, you should stop the behavior before it chokes on a hairball.
Also, some cats may become sick after licking your hair. When this happens, you must bring the kitty to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. The hair product you used may have a side effect on your pet.
If your cat isnt exhibiting or doing any of this, licking your hair is a harmless habit. The only thing that could be an issue is if the habit becomes invasive. So far, cats are not known to obsess on human hair except on some rare occasions.
How To Halt Hair Licking
You can take steps to stop such licking if it is bothersome. For instance, you should not look at, talk to or touch a cat who is licking hair, unless you are comfortable having the behavior increase in frequency. If you want to stop the behavior in progress, get up and leave, Dr. Christensen Bell says. If you’re in bed, cover your head with blankets until the cat goes away. Be careful, though, because some cats really enjoy this hide-and-seek game!
If you remove your hair from a cats reach as soon as she starts to lick it, the behavior should decrease in frequency.
In addition, Dr. Christensen Bell says, providing other oral outlets, like food-dispensing toys or frozen cat food smeared on a plate at trigger times , can enrich a cat’s environment and decrease the likelihood that she will lick your hair.
Dr. Christensen Bell also recommends making your hair less appetizing by spraying it with a scent that your cat doesnt like, such as citrus.
If your kitty is slow to respond to these tips, don’t fret. Hair licking is unlikely to harm your feline. Unless the cat is eating the hair or obviously becomes sick after licking human hair, this is usually not something to worry about, says Dr. Christensen Bell.
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Grooming Is Social Behavior
For cats, grooming is considered to be a social behavior. Cats spend about 50% of their time grooming. It keeps their skin healthy, and it keeps their furry coats glossy, shiny, and looking good. Grooming each other is how cats show each other affection. Families or a group of cats who are friendly and familiar with one another will often groom the head and neck areas of each other while they are relaxing together. This creates a bond between the cats so that in the future they are able to recognize and identify which cats are part of their social group and that they are friendly with.
If your cat is grooming your hair, then that means they are trying to establish a social, friendly relationship with you. They want to show you affection, and they think that theyre doing you a favor by getting rid of any possible dirt or debris in your coat. They consider you to be part of their friendly social group. And since humans really only have hair on top of their head, that is where your cat feels like needs the most grooming attention.
Signs Of Emotional Distress
If your cat is very frequently grooming you, some experts believe that it could be because they are stressed or unhappy in some way. Some studies show that if a cat was taken from their mother when they were too young, that they will groom more frequently as adults than cats who were left with their mothers until they reached an appropriate age. Cats find the act of grooming to be comforting, so if they are grooming excessively, it could be because something is upsetting them and they are trying to self-soothe.
If there is a recent change in your household, like adding another pet or if you have moved recently, this could be triggering anxiety in your pet. If you feel like your cat is having trouble with excessive grooming, and you cant pinpoint the stressor in your cats surroundings, it could be a good idea to take them to the vet.
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Why Do Cats Lick You Your Cats Might Be Licking You Because Of Anxiety
Sometimes, the answer to Why do cats lick you? isnt so positive, though. Some cats get so stressed that they begin licking compulsively. Cats who lick themselves bald are often trying to comfort themselves because theyre stressed. Other compulsive kitties might lick and suck on fabric, plastic or even your skin.
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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How Can You Dissuade A Cat From Grooming Your Face
So, you want to stop a cat from licking your face whenever it wants to? Best of luck with that!
Seriously, though: there are tactics you can use to dissuade a cat from licking your beard:
- Play with them regularly to reduce stress.
- Offer catnip to deflect their attention from your beard.
- Provide a treat when your cat lies next to your leg instead of your face.
- Gently move your cat away when they approach your face.
- Place your cats favorite toys near your feet to distract them.
You should temper your expectations for this conditioning, especially in the short term. Cats are notoriously willful, so you need to hold the line. It may take some time to sink in.
Why Does My Cat Keep Trying To Groome Me
Originally Posted by sbw999when I first read this post I thought it was from the same person that started this thread…the one with the beard!!!Then I realized they are from 2 different people………………….anyways when kitties do that, they are showing their affection for you….the big cats need grooming too!!!
Originally Posted by Zissou’sMomZissou licks my chin too but only while I’m asleep. I think its the same as us petting them. They can’t pet back, so they lick us instead. Plus, cats groom each other so maybe you have become an honorary cat!Or do you just have bits of food in your beard?
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