Why Does My Cat Lick Me? 7 Reasons Behind This Behavior

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A cat’s tongue is one of the most blissful parts of her body! Which has multiple uses, apart from licking herself she also licks her kittens and her humans!

Now the number of reasons, why does my cat lick me? Are many. Usually, this kind of behavior suggests that your kitty compliment you!

But it does get annoying and hurtful when she engages in excessive licking every day, we will help you to understand the reasons behind it and how and when to stop your feline from licking you.

why does my cat lick me

1. A Cats Way of Creating a Social Bond

Every creature on this plant needs to socialize, and they all have different ways to be socially active. Just like you say hello, your dogs wag their tails to say greet other dogs or humans, in the same way, our cute cats lick people/humans or other cats.

If your cat is licking you, that means she’s trying to create a social bond with you. Mother cats lick their kittens a lot to either clean them or it’s a sign of affection.

a cats way of creating a social bond

If your cat had a healthy childhood, which means no traumatic experience with humans or other wild animals, then she’s going to replicate this learned behavior as a way of socializing with others.

2. Your Cat Can Be Stressed or Anxious

Out of many reasons behind, why does my cat lick me? There’s also a reason for concern. It’s true that your cat might lick you when she is anxious or stressed.

Now, you might get confused that how to detect your cat’s lick? If it’s due to happiness or stress! Well if your cat is licking compulsively then that’s a sign for you to understand she is feeling anxious or stressed.

What can you do to reduce your cat’s anxiety?

If your cat’s licking you impulsively, all you need to do is give her some love, you can pet her slowly or cuddle with her, she needs it the most.

your cat can be stressed or anxious

As you can see, anxiety and stress are very common in cats, just like it is in humans. All you need to do is pay attention to her and pet her, however, avoid excessive petting.

Do you need to worry?

Well If you notice that your cat is licking you and other objects to the point of interfering with daily life, then you need to worry as this can be related to other medical issues. You need to call/take her to the veterinarian.

3. Marking Their Territory

Cats use various actions to represent their feelings, especially they love to mark their territory using their scent by releasing pheromones.

Cats usually pee on the spot to pose their marking, but this is not the way they use it!

Of course, not all house-train cats will pee on you or outside the litter box in order to show their dominance. Instead, she will rub against you and lick you.

marking their territory

So when your cat is licking you, that means she’s claiming that ”this person is mine and no one can steal it away from me as I have marked him with my name.” that’s the reason some cats would just shy away from you if they smell other cats from your clothes!

4. Cats: Let Me Taste My Human

One interesting fact that you might not know is, that cats have 14 times stronger smelling sense, which means that they can smell what was on your hands even after you’re done washing them.

So if you just had smokey or grilled chicken and your cat is sniffing and licking around your hands, she’s more interested in the smell of food or whatever your hands were on, rather than you.

5. She Wants to Groom You

Being a cat parent, we believe that you are well versed in the fact that cats love to groom themselves as well as their loved ones. This is one of the learned behavior of cats. They need to remain clean no matter what!

Social grooming is cats’ favorite thing to do!

she wants to groom you

So if you find your cat licking you in the middle of the night, don’t get scared, she’s just making sure that you are neat and clean.

6. Pay Attention to Me, Human!

Many times our dear cats, when they are done playing, chasing imaginary things, being an alone wolf, and completely ghosting you.

After coming out from all of this, they tend to remember that they also have humans, who love them infinitely!

Also, it’s time to be petted, so they will come to you and will lick you until you raise your hands and cuddle them in your arms.

pay attention to me human

Cats will also lick you if their needs aren’t fulfilled, for e.g. the need of being fed! If somehow you forgot to feed her, then there are 100% chances of your cat asking for food by licking you!

7. Sign of Early Weaning

Your kitty might have adapted the licking habit if she was weaned too soon. It can be one of the possible reasons behind her unusual behavior.

They may have begun licking you in an attempt to find the comfort of breastfeeding. In this instance, your cat may lick you while kneading and purring. This will help to identify if your cat was separated from its mother as a kitten.

Why Does It Sometimes Hurt When Your Cat Licks You?

It’s no hidden fact that any cat parent in the initial stage will take the licking, biting, and chewing of his/her cat with full dedication and affection! But it can annoy you after a certain level. Especially the licking of your cat.

Why does my cat lick me? No matter what all are the reasons behind it, It can hurt you if she continues it for a longer time.

This is due to the special tongue of cats, Each spine on their tongues is curved and hollow-tipped, according to a paper published today in the journal PNAS.

why does it sometimes hurt when your cat licks you

Just imagine if their tongue can help them in grooming, powerful enough to get saliva down to their skin, as well as detangle their fur, separate substances like dirt, and redistribute oils.

It’s often compared with sandpaper! Which gives you all the answers that why a cat’s tongue can make you feel hurt.

How to Stop It?

So after getting all answers to your question, Why does my cat lick me? It’s time to help you guys find ways how to stop your cat from excessively licking you!

Firstly, let us make it crystal clear to you that there’s nothing wrong with your cats licking you!

how to stop it

It’s completely normal as it’s a natural behavior of any cat. But when it starts to hurt, you need to stop it in gentle ways. Here we have mentioned the most effective ways:

  • Redirect her attention: as soon as your cats come up to lick you, engage her in other activities like cuddling or petting.
  • Use cat toys: cat toys such as chew toys or cat interactive are a great source of distraction and fun for your cats, which will help you in successfully diverting their attention.
  • Walk away: if your cat is not able to get the message that it’s a no for excessive licking, the last step you got to do is walk away or move your hands away from her.


The most natural behavior of any cat is licking, after all, they are blessed with a unique tongue type. According to a report published in the journal PNAS, cats have unique tongues, which have curved and hollow-tipped spines. They are often compared to sandpaper!

That’s why excessive licking can hurt you. So it’s very natural for you to seek ways how to stop it. Also, We hope that we gave you all the answers, why does my cat lick me?


  1. Cats that lick too much — Cornell University
  2. Signs of cat affection — Bensalem Veterinary Hospital

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