Are You Wondering Why Does My Cat Lick Me When I Pet Him?
Have you ever been petting your cat peacefully, then it aggressively grabs hold of your hand and starts to lick you? If so, you have probably wondered, “Why does my cat lick me when I pet him?” And you’re not the only person to have wondered this. It’s a common question with cat owners, and the truth is far more complicated than you might think.
Today, we’re going to take a look at all the possible reasons for why your cat licks you when you pet him. Sometimes it’s a soft licking, and sometimes it almost seems angry! So, let’s get to the bottom of this feline mystery.
One of the most popular reasons that your cat is licking you is because it’s creating a social bond. You may notice that mother cats usually lick their kittens nonstop. It’s not only a way to keep the young kittens clean, but it’s also a way to show affection. It’s the cat equivalent of giving hugs. And because this kind of behaviour was shown to your cat when it was a kitten, it’s now doing the same thing to you, showing you affection.
And it doesn’t stop just at owners. You may have noticed your cat licking the house dog, another cat, or any other animal that it feels a close connection to. This is simply the way that your cat is bonding with other creatures in the household.
On the complete other side of the spectrum, your cat may be licking you because it feels stressed or anxious. For a reason so beyond science that nobody truly understands it, it’s very common for cats and other types of animals to lick things or people when they feel stressed. Imagine licking a stranger on the street when you’re having a bad day. As weird as it is, this could be the reason why your cat is licking you.
If you think your cat is stressed, always to try to identify the source and remove it if possible. But if the stress licking continues, be sure that you seek the advice of your veterinarian.
Everyone knows that cats and dogs mark their territory. Most people think that animals do this only by peeing on things, but that’s not true. Cats will actually lick their owners to mark them as part of their own territory. This is a way for your cat to let other cats know that you are part of their territory and to keep their grubby paws off.
If you have just one cat in the house, this is totally fine behavior. But if you have other animals or other cats in the house, it could lead to issues as your pets compete over territory, and that territory just so happens to be you!
How to Stop a Cat from Licking
Regardless of what the motive is, not everyone is happy being licked. While you would be insane not to enjoy the occasional lick from your cat, it can prove too much if they do it nonstop. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to discourage your cat from licking you without being a jerk about it. You definitely don’t want to push your cat away, make them feel unwanted, or make them hate you!
The best way to stop your cat from licking you is going to be by distracting them. This can be as easy as just playing with your cat. This will make them feel very happy because you obviously want to give them lots of attention, and it will immediately stop them from licking you. It will also probably prompt them to run away shortly after.
If you don’t want to get scratched up, you can always get cat toys or cat wands to distract your cat from licking you.
And of course, the best distraction of all is food. If you have a tasty treat handy, you can stop the licking immediately. Obviously, you don’t want to give your cat too many treats as it’s very unhealthy for them. You should always have a set number of treats that your cat can have in a day, otherwise your carpet is going to be covered in vomit.
Do keep in mind that the treat technique can actually backfire. If every time your cat licks you, a treat is given, it’s going to teach your cat that licking you rewards them with a treat, and this will encourage them to lick you even more. If you’re going to distract them with a treat, do it tactfully so they don’t get used to it.
Why Does It Hurt When My Cat Licks Me?
Yes, sometimes licks can be painful. There’s nothing more unbearable than having your cat lick the back of your hand when it feels like fire! You don’t want to be rude by pulling your hand away, but it hurts and you hate it! So, why does it hurt when you get licked by a cat?
It’s because of the cat’s tongue. Your cat has special barbs on its tongue that face backwards, made from the exact same material as your cat’s claws. This is why your cat’s tongue feels like scratchy sandpaper. While you may wonder why your cat has tiny little claws on its tongue, the reason is actually quite simple.
The barbs on your cat’s tongue are incredibly important for grooming. The barbs work to remove dirt and other debris from your cat’s fur. If your cat didn’t have a sharp tongue, it would never be able to get its fur clean. Think of your cat’s tongue like a comb that picks out all the pieces of dirt and grime from its hair, while also keeping its hair nice and fluffy and clean.
Of course, another reason that it hurts when your cat licks you is because it’s licking you in the same spot over and over again. This is obviously going to hurt because it’s repetitive!