Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

In this monotonous world, we aim to discern what our cats want to say to us by staring at us or licking us. Could there possibly be something on our faces aside from a warm smile after spotting our beloved pets?

It is pretty common for a cat owner to be covered in cat saliva on a sunny afternoon and a boring weekend while he/she is simply cuddling with his/her feline friend. It is not uncommon for a cat owner to wonder why. The instant article will attempt to discern this truth, possibly related to displaying affection.

My Cat is Licking Me

It has been reported by statistics and reported data from Petmd that cats are in the habit of spending approximately 8 percent of their time awake while grooming themselves, which includes 50 percent of their time going to calming naps.

It has been well established and assured by veterinarians that our feline friends licking themselves or us is completely normal behavior for cats. Although the correct reason for our cats licking us has not yet been identified by scientists, we have compiled a list of possible reasons.

Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Why Does it Hurt When My Cat Licks Me?

A common pet owner being tongue-bathed by our feline friends is not shy to confess that rather than feeling a soft sponge-like tongue, they feel a rough, porous, sandpaper-like texture on their skins when their cats lick them.

A lot of cat owners have expressed concern and discomfort regarding the scratchy touch of their cats licking them and resorted to finding out the meaning of this contact. 

After a scientific study being conducted on a cat’s anatomy by common veterinarians, it can be discerned that this is because a cat’s tongue is covered in more than a hundred tiny and backward-facing spines, commonly known as ‘papillae.’ For cats, it has been reported that such a feature helps them get rid of dirt and loose fur in addition to keeping themselves cool.

Is It Safe If My Cat Keeps Licking Me?

There are always some potential risks when contact with foreign saliva is made, whether it is with cats or infected bats, leading to zoonotic diseases and leading viruses.

However, when it comes to our cats licking us, we must vary as pet owners to not be subject to bacteria carried by our pets in their mouths, which can potentially cause an infection at our end.

It must also be noted that persons who are immunocompromised are considered to be more at risk for falling prey to such lingering bacteria.

Thus, responsible pet owners must make sure not to let their cats lick their face or any other open wounds on their skin due to our usual exposure to medical ointments such as moisturizers- products that may prove to be harmful to our feline friends.

What Happens If My Cat Licks Me?

  • When cats lick their owners, both of them are considered to be at risk of infection. 
  • Cats may be exposed to dangerous chemical products that their human friends use on their skin or hair, leading to health complications. 
  • Cats carry bacteria in their mouths, which has been proven to be harmful to human beings to interact with. 
  • People who are considered to be immunocompromised are considered to be more at risk of developing infections in case their feline friends lick them. 

Reasons My Cat Might Be Licking Me Because Of

Expressing affection

“Thank you for taking care of me, human friend!” is what our feline friends want to say when they go ahead and lick their owners, who they are fond of. Licking them is their method of establishing social bonds with other beings and organisms in this world. 

Seeking attention

“Pet me, please let me / feed me / pick me up!” is what our feline friends often want their owners to do. They communicate the same by licking their owners and trying to get their attention so they can be showered with love and pamperedness.

Identification purposes

Not only cats but most of our furry friends have a habit of identifying their human friends by memorizing their scents and marking their objects. This is one such reason for our feline friends to lick us, i.e., to create a sense of familiarity with our senses, as a means to identify us as their family.

Kitten-related behavior

It is considered to be natural for baby cats to knead and suckle when nursing. Thus, in case your feline friend had been weaned too early, they can seek comfort from their owners by licking them and simultaneously kneading and purr as well.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and one of the sole reasons why your feline friend may have been licking you is to investigate the different kinds of scents the planet Earth possesses. Oftentimes, cats find it comforting to lick persons wearing scents that seem similar to their owners’ scents.

Marking its Territory

Cats are furry balls that are extremely jealous and possessive creatures. Naturally belonging to the wild, our feline friends have a habit of exerting dominance on their territories to ensure that others know their boundaries. In the instant case, cats may lick their pet owners to mark their territory and ensure that other animals do not mistakenly believe their owner is their caretaker.

Expressing anxiousness

Like all human beings, even our feline friends are not uncommon anxiety and stress. Our cats may find peace and comfort by licking us to communicate to us that they are distressed. In such situations, trying to find comfort for our cats is the best point of action for a worried pet owner.

Attempt to Groom their Owners

Yes, our cats do not know that licking us does not help us in ‘grooming’ ourselves. However, as the classy and sophisticated society of cats represents themselves, even their human friends must look presentable to the animal kingdom with a shiny fur coat.

It is also interesting to note that this process is known as ‘allogrooming,’ which is a behavior that is common amongst a variety of mammals and birds.

Why is My Cat Licking Me?

  • Your cat is simply expressing its love and affection to you as its loving pet owner.
  • Your cat is lonely and wants to seek your attention by licking you.
  • Your cat licks you to properly identify you as a part of its clan.
  • Your cat is displaying kitten-related behavior while kneading and licking.
  • Your cat is simply expressing its curiousness on its fond subject, i.e., its pet owner.
  • Your cat wants to mark its territory to tell other beings to stay away from it/him/her, being a naturally wild creature.
  • Your cat is expressing its anxiousness to you by licking you and trying to grab your attention.
  • Your cat is attempting to groom you, i.e., its pet owner, by licking you just like it licks itself to groom itself.
  • Your cat may be having some concerning underlying medical issues that you must go get checked with a veterinarian in case of excessive licking.

How Do I Stop My Cat from Licking Me?

Sometimes, even human beings get moody and irritated. To avoid human beings at risk of scratching their feline friends instead, pet owners must keep in mind the following to discourage their feline friends from licking them.

  • Use forms of punishment only if you would want to compromise your bond with your cat.
  • Avoid making your cats anxious and upset. This may lead to a cat on an exacerbated licking journey.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing when interacting with your cats.
  • Get up and walk away the minute your feline friend starts to lick you.
  • Try to ignore your cat, trying to get your attention by licking you.
  • Try to distract your cat by tossing a toy or a treat away from you.
  • Reinforce good behavior (not licking) by rewarding your cats.
  • Evaluate your cat’s health, medical, or emotional status by contacting your veterinarian in case the licking does not stop despite the above-mentioned methods.

How Do I Discourage My Cat From Licking Me?

  • Long sleeves generally prevent cats from licking their owner’s skin. 
  • Ignore your cat consciously when it starts to lick you. 
  • Get up and simply walk away from your cat when it starts to lick you. 
  • Reinforce the good behavior of your cats, i.e., not licking, to reward and teach your feline friends. 

What Else Do Cats Like to Lick?

As a fond pet owner, you may curiously notice your feline friend privy to licking a variety of objects around the house, such as blankets, perches, and toys, aside from their owner’s skin and hair. As it turns out, licking is not at all worrisome behavior for our feline friends, but at the same time, it must be looked into if it becomes incessant.


Our cats licking us may mean several things, especially when it comes to our furry friends who cannot speak. Licking us is one of their methods of letting their human friends know what they are thinking.

What those deep green, amber, blue, or multicolored eyes want to convey is something all their human friends want to discern.

As it turns out, when our feline friends lick us, the most common thought to be conveyed is about the expression of affection. 


Why is my cat licking me?

Our feline friends lick us to express a variety of things, some of which include expressing affection towards their owner, expressing their anxiousness over something that stresses them, and attempting to seek their owner’s attention, amongst other varieties of reasons that have been elaborated upon in the present article. 

Why is my cat’s tongue so rough?

After a scientific study on a cat’s anatomy, it can be discerned that this is because a cat’s tongue is covered in more than a hundred tiny and backward-facing spines, commonly known as ‘papillae.’ Papillae help cats get rid of dirt and loose fur in addition to keeping themselves cool.

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