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Why Does My Cat Lick My Hand?

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Sometimes being licked by your feline pal is sweet, when you are cuddling, petting her.

However, when she excessively starts repeating her, licking action. That puts you in a dilemma.

Makes you wonder, why does my cat lick my hands? Right?

Because as we know, felines, generally, prefer to lick themselves or babies. However, if she starts licking your hand frequently, then there are possibilities she is trying to convey something.

Not always she will prefer licking to express her affection or love, when she is under stress or want something your feline will show this gesture.

So, here’s some insight for you, which will help you to give clarity and act smartly accordingly to it.

why does my cat lick my hand

Logical Reasons Behind Why Does My Cat Lick My Hand?

Usually, cats groom themselves by using their tongue. In other words, to clean their body and for other health reasons. The tiny spines on their tongues help to clean and regulate body temperature also.

However, it is found that apart from licking themselves, they also lick their pet owners.

So, to answer the question of why does my cat lick my hands? We have done some footwork for you, and come with quite possible reasons that can be there behind the kitty’s licking gesture.

1. Grab Your Attention

If you are in the middle of something and find that your cat comes close to you and lick your hands. Then sit back in her place, and start staring at you.

In this situation, she is trying to communicate with you, wants your attention.

cat licking hand to grab attention

It will be a bit different from other licking gestures when she needs your attention. She will do it only one time, and after grabbing your attention, she will indicate you with her body gesture.

If she wants something or wants you to pet her. Your kitty will simply stop licking you, once her demands get fulfilled.

2. Mark Their Territory

Cats lick to mark territory or drop their scent when they like someone or an object. It’s their way of saying that person, the object, solely belongs to her.

Just like mother cats lick their babies and claim that they belong to her or mark territory.

Similarly, your cat licks your hand, and mixing her smell by grooming you is her way of saying that you solely belong to her family.

It’s a gesture of indicating to other animals that you are her.

3. Connecting Social Bond

Even after giving your attention, time for cuddling, playing games, wondering why your kitty is still licking your hand so much.

Well, one of the possible reasons can be that she is socializing with you, or creating bonds by licking your fingers/hand.

cat lick hands for social bonds

While you pet her, she will simultaneously lick your hands and fingers, it’s her way of showing affection and socializing with you.

4. Something Bothering Her

The answer to the question of why does my cat lick my hand?

Something, might be bothering her, out of stress also, they lick your fingers and hands excessively.

Cats easily get stressed out due to small reasons also like change in food habits, place, litter, or even change in your daily routine, etc.

However, they are good at hiding their emotions. So, you have to closely observe her behavior to solve their issue.

If something bothering her, or she is stressed out, then your cat may lick excessively your hands, fingers.

Your kitty’s body language will also change, so observe it to identify the cause.

5. Your Hand Gives Her Taste of Some Flavors

One of the possible reasons can be that your kitty may typically like the taste of your hands, maybe because you have eaten something yummy, and she can still taste the food on your hands.

Or, because of soap or lotions, you apply them to your skin.

cat like the flavors of hands

Generally, cats enjoy licking the taste of soap and lotions because most of them are made from animal fats, which your kitty finds tasty.

Cats don’t like every soap or lotions taste, so if the one you’re using, she finds it tasty. There, is a higher tendency she will lick fingers and hands after you have put on the same.

6. Needs Medical Treatment

Apart from grabbing attention, showing love, or wanting something, etc.

Another reason can also be there behind licking your hand, i.e. She might be suffering from pain or feeling nausea or discomfort.

So, observe her action carefully and try to understand what she wants to convey.

If she continuously licks your hand, and you find any discomfort in her action, then it is advisable to consult her vet and start medication.

7. Wants You to Cuddle or Pet Her

Cats like to cuddle and feel warm, so when you are not paying attention to her. In that scenario, she will sit near you and lay her head on your hands and start licking your hand.

cat lick hands because she wants cuddling

It’s her way of saying that she wants you to pet or cuddle her.

So it is advisable for you to give some time to her, and pet her as she feels secure also when you show her love.

8. Might Be Nervous

If your kitty is licking your hand continuously, then there might be possibilities that she is nervous and needs your attention.

At that point of time try to calm her down, and soothe her body by petting, cuddling.

So, it will help in reducing her stress level, and she will get the security that she isn’t lonely.

You are there for her.

9. Expressing Her Love

Cats express their love for their beloved ones in many ways by meows, trills, chirp, purring, etc.

Licking hands is one of the actions through which she is trying to convey her love.

cat lick hands to express love

A cat licking your hand while you are relaxing or spending time with her means she is expressing her love and indicating that she feels safe when you are around her.

10. Recalling Kitten hood Memories

As a kitten, she used to get tongue baths from her mother. Her mother used to lick her body and clean her.

Now she is recalling her kittenhood memories, and giving you the same what she learned.

cat lick hands to recall kittenhood memories

She considered you as a part of the family and feel secure.

So licking your hand is just a form of nurturing you, keeping you clean, and claiming that you are part of her family.


Well, that’s a wrap, our blog article will help you to get a clear understanding regarding why does my cat lick my hand?

Like we have covered some theories behind this gesture, your kitty might be doing it because she wants your attention, expressing her love or creating a bond with you, etc.

They might be recalling their kittenhood phase, or want you to snuggle up with her. It can also be possible that they are facing some medical issue and not able to convey it properly.

A piece of advice for you, never neglect your kitty’s actions because that is the only way she can convey her message to you.


  1. Cat marking territory — Orange County
  2. How cat shows affection — Hill’s Pet
  3. Signs that your cat loves you — Blue Cross

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