Panel Pets

Why Is Your Cat Licking You?

Table of Contents

It’s a typical prevalence in my family: I’m watching TV late at night time when one in all my cats decides to curve up beside me. Then the nighttime ritual of kitty baths begins. Earlier than I do know it, there’s one other cat sitting on my lap, and the 2 start grooming each other. Quickly, I really feel a sandpaper tongue on my arm as they resolve that maybe I would want a shower, too. It’s pure for cats to wash each other earlier than settling down for the night time. However why is your cat licking you? Do they love you? Or do you simply want a shower, too? The reply is sure and sure.

Cat licking and mutual grooming

An older-looking gray cat licking his paw with his tongue out.

Is your cat’s licking conduct regular or not? Pictures ©sjallenphotography | Thinkstock.

When you discover that your cats resolve to groom and/or lick you, that’s a mighty excessive honor certainly! In nature, cats groom each other to specific acceptance and friendship and promote social bonding. Throughout mutual grooming, or allogrooming, cats will usually bathe each other in areas they will’t themselves attain, equivalent to the highest of the top or down their again.

It’s attention-grabbing to search out that the extra senior rating cat within the hierarchy will provoke grooming of the lower-ranking cats, quite than the opposite manner round. In my family, alpha cat BooBoo will decide one of many cats at random and begin bathing. I’m certain the aim is to obtain a great grooming himself in return.

At occasions, I’ve observed my cats ask each other instantly for some bathing help. They may go over to a different cat and decrease their heads, asking to be groomed, a lot the best way a parrot will decrease its head asking for a rub. Generally, cats will bathe each other concurrently as nicely, particularly if they’re siblings or a well-bonded pair. My brother/sister pair, BooBoo and Pinky, will usually curl up collectively forming a decent little circle to allow them to bathe one another on the similar time. It’s cute to look at!

One cause cats bathe a lot at night time earlier than going to sleep is to scrub away the scent of the day’s catch or, in our case, the scent of the meals we offer our housecats.

In nature, cats rid themselves of the scent of the day’s searching spoils, so no predators will come round on the lookout for meals. It’s how they shield themselves from assaults whereas they sleep and maintain their kittens secure from hurt. So, when your cat bathes you, you’re being accepted as one in all them, a member of their household to be protected against hurt, and she or he can be strengthening that bond between you.

Cat licking generally is a type of a ‘cat kiss’

There are occasions when a cat kiss is, nicely, only a kiss. I’ve to brag right here slightly bit: Every one in all my cats is aware of what to do once I ask them for a “kiss.” For instance, Tinkerbelle will come proper over to me and lick my brow once I ask for a kiss. Punkin will lick my cheek, and Pinky will give me a head bump (not a kiss, however I’ll take it!).

At occasions once I see slightly tiff brewing between two of my cats, I’ll go over to them and say “kiss,” and they’re going to begin to lick each other. Typically it will take the wind out of their sails and defuse the disagreement, leading to a bond-strengthening grooming session as an alternative of a combat.

The subsequent time your cat decides to present you a kiss/bathtub, go forward and let her. You’ll be strengthening the deep bond between you and your cat much more.

When cat licking means hassle

Generally cats use grooming as a method to alleviate nervousness and calm themselves in anxious conditions. Extreme grooming, referred to as psychogenic alopecia, can drive cats to lick themselves bald and trigger uncooked scorching patches on their pores and skin. Endorphins are launched when your cat licks, which is a self-soothing mechanism on your cat. In case your cat is obsessively grooming day and night time to the purpose of getting bald patches, seek the advice of your veterinarian. It may very well be parasites, situational nervousness and even plain previous boredom that’s inflicting this conduct.

Thumbnail: Pictures ©katerynap | Thinkstock.

See different causes cats lick you proper right here >>

Rita Reimers’ Cat Conduct Teaching has helped many cat homeowners higher perceive their feline buddies. Go to to learn her cat conduct weblog or to e-book a cat conduct teaching session. Rita can be the CEO/proprietor of Join together with her on Fb and on Twitter at @theCatAnalyst.

Editor’s word: Have you ever seen the brand new Catster print journal in shops? Or within the ready space of your vet’s workplace? Click on right here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly journal delivered to your property. 

Learn extra about cat conduct on


  • Adam Johanson

    Adam Johanson is an animal lover and a blogger at Panelpets. He writes regularly regarding pets and how to take care of them, as well as general news stories about animals. When he isn't writing, Adam can usually be found playing with his two dogs or cuddling his cat.