Why does my cat lick me?

why does my cat lick me
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*Cat meows*. Little paws come towards you, jump on your lap and here it goes. You feel that rough and spiky tongue rubbing against your cheek again. At this moment you are probably thinking “why does my cat lick me so much?” I know it might look confusing to you at first but don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one dealing with this!

I myself and thousands of other cat owners have experienced the intensive licking process when it feels like your beloved one is going to lick your entire skin until there is nothing left of it. Although the feeling might not be very delighting, the underlying reasons for this type of behavior might put a smile on your face. 

If you are a curious owner who wants to know what does it mean when a cat licks you, this article is definitely for you. Keep reading to find out the most interesting facts and keep scrolling to the end if you are looking for advice that could help your cat keep its tongue in its mouth. So, let’s begin!

why does my cat lick me
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Reasons why cat lick their humans

Why does my cat lick me? Is this the question that has been circling in your mind for some time now? Here is some good news for you! You’ve made it to the right place. Here you will get to know the top secrets that hide under your cat’s tongue…

I really like you

Why does my cat lick me when I pet him? Well, your beloved one is giving you some response to your actions by showering you with cat love. As humans don’t understand cat language, the only way for their pets to show some love is by taking direct actions and licking is one of them. 

Your cat is probably thankful for the attention you are giving it and it’s trying to be affectionate to you too. This tendency can be seen not only in a cat-to-human relationship but also in a cat-to-cat relationship.

what does it mean when a cat licks you
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I’m cleaning you

Some good news for you! You won’t have to wash anymore as your cat will do it for you! A possible reason why do cats lick you might be that your pet is just cleaning you. Note that the structure of a cat’s tongue is unique with its rough spines in order for the animal to be capable of grooming itself properly.

Cats often lick themselves many times throughout the day – after eating, when they get wet, just randomly when they feel like it. These pets also help their cat friends groom by licking them. So, nothing surprising if your cat approaches you with its tongue too – it thinks that you need some grooming.

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You’re tasty

For those who are currently thinking “why does my cat lick me”, I advise thinking about what type of food you have recently eaten/touched or did you rub some strongly-scented lotion into your hands. A cat’s nose is designed to smell a big variety of scents, and it is more sensitive than the human nose.

Your beloved one might be smelling the ice cream that you have recently eaten, so don’t be surprised if you get directly licked in the face! Also, your pet might be sniffing and licking your hands if you have lubricated them with some type of lotion/medicine. Even though simple body lotions don’t bring any harm, you should be careful when letting your cat lick your hands when they have strong medicines rubbed in as some components such as hormones, antibiotics, antifungal substances can be harmful. So, better keep your cat away from your hands if this is the case.

Let’s play

If you are a cat owner who is currently asking himself “why does my cat lick me in the middle of the night” or “why does my cat lick me then bite me”, there might be a very simple answer for these questions. Your pet is probably trying to grab your attention so you would play with it!

Cats don’t care about the timing of the day. If they sleep during the daytime, there is a high chance that you will be woken up at night by a sharp tongue on your face inviting you to play. The same goes for biting. If your cat’s licking is accompanied by some nips, it’s an accurate sign that your pet is being playful. So grab that mouse toy you got there and let your kitten chase it or close your door for the night if you don’t want unexpected guests bothering you during your power sleep…

what does it mean when your cat licks you
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You’re mine

Cats are possessive animals. They leave marks in places which they believe to be “their territory”. The same goes for toys, blankets, their friends, and even their owners. Have you recently gotten a new pet and started thinking “why does my cat always lick me since I got my new dog?”

Well, I’m here to inform you that this type of behavior is completely expected from such an animal. Your cat might be licking you to mark you as its own so no other animals (or even people) would possess you from it.

I’m stressing

Just like humans have stressful moments, cats can also feel anxiety. There might be different factors contributing to the stress level of your beloved one. Maybe you have moved to a new place, maybe you have got another pet, maybe your kitten is just not feeling well physically (e.g. constipated, hurting stomach, a cold, etc.)

Your cat can start intensively licking you when loaded with stress. It’s very important to find the underlying reason for this and remove it. If you tried calming your pet down (petting/massaging it, engaging in playtime, giving some snacks) but nothing has helped, it might be the time to see a vet as your cat could have some type of physical illness. So, better not waste any time now and get more information on your pet’s health ASAP.

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My mommy did this

Why does my cat lick me? I feel the need to say that cats also save memories from their kittenhood. So, if your cat is showering you with licks, it might be remembering how the mother cat used to do the same when it was little. Also, your pet might be thinking of the times when it was nursing.

Nevertheless, don’t be surprised that you, your clothes, and other soft things get constant cat licks if you adopted your kitten when it was very young. Cats who are separated from their mothers sooner than 3 months are very likely to lick, chew, and suck on different parts of the human body (e.g. earlobes) and soft things.

How to stop excessive licking?

Since the question “why does my cat lick me?” has been already answered, I feel the need to shortly discuss another one. You might be wondering how to prevent the licking activity as it has been getting on your nerves lately and, of course, the sharp tongue doesn’t feel pleasant. In spite of these facts, I recommend trying the following tips.

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If your cat is bragging you for attention with its licks, give some. Try engaging your pet in some playtime every day at least for 20 minutes and it should be thankful. The next time your beloved one starts licking you, show it a toy it likes and play for a while.


If some type of stress is provoking the intensive licking, you should definitely try discovering the underlying reason for it. It would be best to take your pet to the vet and explain the entire situation there in order to come up with proper decisions.

New friend

It’s obvious that you might not be capable of giving your cat all of the attention it wants. A new friend could solve this problem. Your pet could engage in playtime and stay more active when you’re not around or busy. However, remember that proper adjustment is required before making best buddies out of two cats.

NOTE: Don’t go rough on your cat for licking you. The animal doesn’t understand that it’s doing something wrong as it is natural for them. If you want to remove your beloved one from your skin, always do it gently, so it doesn’t start thinking that it’s doing something bad.

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All in all

I deeply hope that you have got all of your questions answered and the next time when you will think “why does my cat lick me when I pet her?”, you will remember this article and adjust the right reason. 

Keep in mind that licking is a natural behavior in cats and it shouldn’t be considered something unusual. However, the only time when you should think that something might be wrong with your pet if it is intensively licking you out of stress. Regarding this, a visit to the vet would be the best idea. Wish all of you luck with your little meows!

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