Stopping Your Cat From Licking You
Despite their good intentions, you might not appreciate it when your cat interrupts your sleep just to lick you. And licking sessions can be rough. Unlike a dogs smooth tongue, a cats tongue is covered by numerous backward-facing hooks known as papillae.
These sharp hooks are made of keratin, which is the same material found in claws and nails. That is the reason you might not like the sensation of your cats tongue against your skin.
The best way of dealing with this behavior at night is by locking your kitty out of the bedroom. During the day, distraction works better. Avoid getting upset at your cat, as they will feel rejected.
Scenario #: Your Cat Is Happy But Overstimulated
Heres what it looks like: Youre giving your cat a good petting. Maybe youre petting her quickly or just focusing on one spot a little too long. Or maybe you like to live dangerously and youve gone for a belly rub. Either way, she leans in, gives your finger a lick or two, and then a nice chomp!
The Biggest Factors To Look For: What kind of body language are you seeing from your cat? Does she look loose and comfortable?
If youre not sure what to look for, Dr. Sophia Yin has an excellent poster showing you what to look for.;
Your Cat Thinks Youre Dirty
We all know that cats groom themselves with their tongues. As mentioned earlier, the barbs on their tongues help remove dead hair, debris, and parasites from their fur. So with this in mind, if a cat licks you, it could mean that he or she thinks you need a clean-up. This is because cats only groom those they consider as members of their group.
Whenever a group of cats is living together, there is usually a designated allo-groomer that licks and grooms the other cats in the group. This is their way of ensuring that everyone in the group is clean. The term allogrooming refers to social grooming between members of the same species. When it comes to cats, allogrooming only occurs in an established colony. And as we mentioned earlier, you could be considered part of that group.
This possibility can also answer the question: Why does my cat bite me, then lick me? Well, along with licking, biting is also a part of their grooming process. So if your cat is nipping at you while licking, dont get offended, because they are just trying to clean you the way they clean the rest of their family.
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Or They Could Be Marking Their Territory
Cats are territorial animals, which means;that;many kitties consider their humans to be their property or territory. Yup, that means that one of the answers to the question why do cats lick you is that theyre marking you to other cats as their own. Dr. Ochoa compares this behavior to sprayingthe way that cats use urine to mark their territory. So, it could be worse! According to Dr. Ochoa, licking is a way of letting other cats know that they care about you and that you belong to them. Thats kind of sweet, no? We just wish it wasnt saliva-based.
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Why Do Cats Lick Each Other
Domestic cats living together under one roof usually form social groups. So, why do cats groom each other? Mostly, grooming is a sign of a social bond. Cats wont simply groom any cat, only familiar members of their social group.
Mother cats and kittens from the same litter will groom each other as a sign of affection, and sometimes this loving gesture is continued into adulthood.
When cats groom themselves, they are usually not able to reach the top and back of their own head, and having a pal around to help out with those hard-to-reach places is helpful. Usually, the more dominant cat will do the grooming of the more submissive cat.
If a cat encounters another cat who seems ill or injured, they may groom them as a way to comfort them. The licking is usually focused on the injured or affected area, so if you have two cats and one is licking the other repeatedly in the same spot, perhaps a visit to the vet is a good idea.
What Is This Divine Scent Human
Have you ever noticed that your cat will lick you immediately after youve applied lotion, or showered, or even prepared something in the kitchen? Your cat is doing this because they want a taste of whatever it is youve got on you!
Some cats may also lick you because they want a salty sample of your skin, as salt builds up naturally on our skin throughout the day.
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Creating A No Lick Zone
While her reasons behind licking are heart-warming, and her checkered past as a kitten deprived of adequate suckling is sad, none of that will make your skin feel any better if she starts to really go to town on it. When her sanding gets to be too much, give her a little kitty massage to get a little deeper than surface petting. Or if another part of your body could use some exfoliation, redirect her there. But never reprimand or punish her for doing what comes natural. Distraction with a catnip toy or throwing a balled-up paper across the room is a much better way of dealing with getting peeled alive. She needs to know you understand.
Are There Any Other Reasons Why My Cat Might Lick Me
Maybe. Google this question and youll be flooded with answers like: cats lick to show love, or they lick because their mothers licked them when they were kittens, or because they were taken from their mothers too soon.
Do any of these answers have merit? They might, but there is nothing but wishful thinking and unscientific observation to back them up. In the absence of hard science, and without asking a cat directly , there is no way to know what a cat is thinking when hes doing what hes doing.
One theory that has merit is that some cats may lick to consume what tastes good on your skin. The validity of this theory is up to every individual cat owner. Does your cat start licking the moment you come out of the shower and apply a particular brand of lotion? If so, its possible your cat likes the taste of your lotion.
Does your cat lick you after a particularly sweaty workout? Its possible, as some other websites suggest, that your cat loves the salty taste of your skin. Be a scientific observer of your own cats for an answer.
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How Can You Make It Stop
First, don’t lose your patience. Remember that most of the time, licking you is a sign of affection on your cat’s part. If you scold, shout, or hit your cat for licking you, it will take it negatively. Your cat doesn’t understand that he’s hurting you, he thinks he’s just showing you affection and that you’re enjoying it as much as he does.
A positive way to prevent your cat from licking you is to distract him positively. If you realize that your cat is about to lick you then start petting it, the kitten cannot lick you and delight in your petting at the same time. Therefore, it’s a very positive distraction. Another thing you can do is to play with your cat, have a toy handy whenever you think your cat is going to start licking you.
If nothing reduces their compulsion to lick you or your cat compulsively licks itself and other things, consult your veterinarian or cat behavior specialist. You must do this if the compulsive licking is accompanied by body language that indicates nerves, anxiety, or fear.
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 And Bite Me
Ok, great. Now we know why your cat is licking you. But what does it mean if your cat gives you a few licks and then bites you? Is that different?
- Most commonly, cats will lick you and then bite you to get your attention. This usually occurs while youre going about your business, not petting or playing with your cat at all. Suddenly your cat will begin to lick you and then deliver a sharp nip. Thats attention-seeking behavior or a love bite.
The bites in this instance are pretty painful but not aggressive at all, and your cat is otherwise relaxed and happy.
If your cat sticks around and looks at you expectantly, this is a clear signal that your cat wants to play.
- Youre familiar with the three strokes and youre out rule, right? This is where you have a limited number of strokes and pets you can give your cat before you get bitten .
It usually takes a lot more than three strokes. But the gist of the rule is that after a period of petting, your cat likely gets overstimulated and will lash out with some aggression.
If youre petting your cat and they begin to lick and bite you, followed by them running away, this is your cue to leave them alone. Theyve had enough.
Why Are Cat Tongues So Rough And Spiky
Cats and kittens have rough-looking tongues. They seem to have lots of spikes on them, much like the bristles of a boar bristle brush. This bristly structure of the cat tongue is made up of backward-facing taste buds that are actually a tool for survival. They are used to deep clean the coat, while also helping them to eat. They help the cat to remove flesh from bones and help them to remove food and debris from their coats. These papillae on the cats’ tongues also help cats to drink. Believe it or not, they don’t just dunk their tongues into the water and swallow whatever water is absorbed. Instead, their tongues are capable of yanking water upwards into a miniature column of water, and then they close their mouths quickly around the water. How cool is that!?
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Its Possible That Your Cat Is Stressed
Stress and even aggression are commonplace in cats.;
Biting and excessive licking are examples of this behavior.;
Because she is nervous and anxious, your cat may start licking then biting you.;
Other cat breeds, such as the Siamese, may chew on things more than others, including your hands.;
If you feel that your cats unusual behavior is due to stress, speak with your veterinarian about the best course of action.;
Feeling Anxious Or Stressed
Unfortunately, licking is sometimes a sign of anxiety or compulsive behavior in cats. Usually this behavior will manifest in the form of your cat licking himself compulsively but occasionally itll emerge as licking humans.
If your cat licks you often, or licks himself compulsively, try to determine if something has set off this stress-induced behavior. It could be the result of interacting with other animals in the house, rowdy children, or something much more subtle. Talk to your veterinarian about your cats licking; they may wish to examine your cat to rule out any medical reasons for the behavior. Learn more about treating cat anxiety.
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Why Your Cats Tongue Feels Scratchy
If a cat has ever licked you, then you know their tongue feels very scratchy. Some people even compare the prickly feeling to sandpaper. This is because a cats tongue has backward-facing barbs that are made of keratin. These barbs help them scrape meat off the bones of their captured prey. After all, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they need to eat meat to survive.
Side note: An obligate carnivoreneeds meat because their diet requires nutrients only found in animal flesh.
So it makes sense that mother nature would equip them with tongues suited for meat-eating.Cats also have scratchy tongues to help them during the grooming process. As they lick themselves, the barbs help remove dead hair, debris, and parasites from their fur. Pretty neat, right? So, now that we know why cats lick themselves, lets talk about why they might lick you.
Which Reason Applies To My Cats Licking
So, now that youve heard this list of possibilities, how do you know which reason applies to your cats licking? Well, in order to figure out whats going on in their little mind, pay close attention to your cats behavior as a whole. And as you monitor them, try to think if any of the scenarios we mentioned apply. Do they seem anxious? Do they want to show affection? And so on. Just look out for clues. Now you may be wondering, in the meantime, how do you stop your cat from licking you?
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To Express Their Love
If your cat approaches you and gives you a couple of little licks and then a bite when you werent petting them before hand and if they seem happy and calm they are probably trying to show you their love. This little nip is a normal way for them of expressing their love. I am afraid that your cat most likely doesnt understand that this love might be a bit unpleasant for you to receive.
Kittens and sometimes grown-up cats will often lick and nip each other. Their skin is a bit tougher than ours so it most likely doesnt hurt them. Thus your cat thinks this is an appropriate way to express its love for you.
Your Cat Feels Unwell
I know, I know. This is a reason that every cat parent fears. But it has to be said. If your cat feels unwell or has some sort of medical condition, they might lick you. For example, ailments such as nausea, pain, or discomfort can lead to licking, which could be a coping mechanism similar to Possibility #3. And if you think this doesnt happen, we have a real-life example for you. Dr. Alison Gerken, a resident in veterinary behavior, says that she discovered inflammatory bowel disease was the cause of her cats licking. So when it comes to excessive licking, this is yet another reason to follow the rule: When in doubt, ask your vet!
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Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Attack Me 5 Top Reasons
When youre softly petting your cat, she licks your hand and then nips it. Many cat owners wonder, Why does my cat lick me then attack me? when they see this kind of behavior.
These so-called cat love bites dont usually result in blood, but they do happen quickly, leaving you wondering what caused your cats behavior to change suddenly.
One of the most common feline behavioral issues is biting owners while petting.
Your cat may lick and attack you as a form of bonding with you during the grooming process, while showing affection towards you or when inviting you to play.
She could also be licking and biting you to indicate that shes had enough of your attention and that you should stop stroking her.
Your Cat Wants To Groom You
When cats groom themselves, they usually lick their fur.;
They usually groom themselves by chewing their fur to remove tangles and then licking it to finish the job. Similarly, they may lick their fur first before nipping or biting certain portions of their bodies.
This is a cat behavior that also extends to their preferred humans.
Your cat may lick your hair or elsewhere before biting you.
As far as the cat is concerned, she is grooming you, much like her siblings, to enhance her bond and friendship with you. Your cat is merely showing grooming behavior as though she were grooming another cat.
Its possible that your cat is trying to groom you if she licks you several times, but if its only one lick followed by a bite, its most likely a love bite.
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Why Do Cats Lick Dogs
If movies, cartoons, and popular culture are to be believed, dogs and cats hate each other. In these scenarios, the cat is usually the one picking on the sweet, innocent pooch.
While in reality this simply isnt the case, it is still surprising to many pet owners to see their cat licking the dog.
So, why is your cat licking your dog?
This is a typical sign of pack behaviors. Both domestic dogs and cats usually live in social groups and will engage in social grooming as a way to show affection, acceptance, and care to those they consider family.
Basically, this is just your fur children accepting each other as pack mates. While this doesnt mean they wont occasionally fight with each other, it is a really good sign of a bond between them.