Why Do Cats Lick You?

by Dianda on 31 May 2013

in the Health section of The Anipal Times

My cat Hiro is quite the licker. He’s always licking my hands, my face or my hair. And Hiro isn’t the only licker among the cats. Some do it to wake you up in the morning or because they are hungry. Some lick your hair, some prefer your fingers. But why do they lick?

Instinct

Hiro, licking my finger.

Hiro, licking my finger.

The first things kittens experience before they open their eyes is their mother licking and washing them. Grooming is a sign of love and caring but they also get a lot of information through licking. They start to explore the world through their tongue. Kittens also learn to associate licking or being licked with the safe, secure feeling they have around their mother when they are still little.

This could mean that if a cat is licking you, he is grooming you and also accepts you and wants to take care of you–he loves you. Grooming is a form of social interaction.

Some cats might like the salty taste of your skin, but it could also be the hand lotion you just put on. Or the taste of your shower gel. They may also be trying to get rid of the weird taste you have on your skin.

Behavior

suki-hiro-lickingWhen your cat keeps licking you–even keeping you awake at night–you might consider options to stop this behavior.

  • Spray a bit of bitter apple or citrus fruit on your face. Cats hate the taste (watch out for your eyes).
  • Make things more appealing to them. For example: You can place a warmed blanket by your feet. They may prefer the warmth of the blanket to licking your hands.
  • Praise good behavior. You can do this with treats or just simple petting. But every time your cat licks you, you ignore him. If he doesn’t lick you for about ten seconds, you praise him.
  • You can also distract your cat. If you figure out he is grooming you because he is bored, go play with him.

 

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Kittey 18 July 2013 at 11:05 am

OR, you can just laugh yourself silly cuz it tickles and you LOVE it!!!

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kathy dottery 18 July 2013 at 11:12 am

i love the fact that my kitty licks me .i feel loved and special because we share a special bond that only we share,

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joyce herr 18 July 2013 at 12:27 pm

My cat licks me, to thank me for giving her special food.

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random lady 18 July 2013 at 1:56 pm

i love it when my cat Sebastian licks my hands its so cute and it tickles XD

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Daniel 8 October 2013 at 2:46 am

I just noticed we have cats with the same name!!! Such an awesome name for a cat. What color/type is yours?. Mine is black and white, and my daughter Lisa-Ann calls him Mr. Basti-pants because he has 2 black legs like pants! He also has black on his head like a top hat!! I work construction and boy, does he ever make my day better when I come home to him and his soft fur (and licks!)

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Theresa 18 July 2013 at 3:16 pm

aaaw. I have a girl cat named Sally. I rescued her in 2011. She licks my hand with her tounge when u try to pet her or put her hand a front of her. Its so cute. It feels awesome. I love cat licks. <3 <3 <3

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Kate 18 July 2013 at 4:27 pm

Many of my cats lick me, from my hands to my face. I would not think of changing their personality. They love me and many I have rescued and saved from death. Lilly my little calico will lick my hand and then I wipe her face, we continue until she is satisified she is clean. Oliver, he will lick and blow on my face when I am not feeling well and he needs to know I am ok, I have COPD and breathing is hard. These are my family and my kids, I love them as much as they love me.

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CB 18 July 2013 at 8:41 pm

I love when Jasper licks me! He prefers my lips and sometimes is a little rough. He also likes to suck on my neck. I believe he may have been taken from his mom too soon. He is a love bug and I am very lucky to have him in my life.

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Columbine Darling 19 July 2013 at 4:19 am

I had Frosty for many years, he was a black cat with a few white hairs mixed in here and there. He would start at the back of my head and start washing. I often woke up in the morning with a hairstyle like no other. All my hair washed to the other side of my head. I didn’t mind, it felt great, I slept even better knowing my boy loved me, and it made me feel he loved me. Plus, I was going to take a shower and wash my hair before work anyway. I miss my baby. But my girls (3 female cats) all love me back but in smaller ways. Hand licks and cheek kisses.

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Carol 19 July 2013 at 8:34 pm

When my friend had my cat, she was hospitalized twice with cellulitis on her arm. The doctor for infectious disease control told her that the culture showed it was cat saliva, one of the worst sources of infection. I refuse to let her lick me, although I have not been able to find a method to make her stop trying.

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Sweetie 9 September 2013 at 10:33 pm

My cats name is sweetie and she licks me all the time so I guess she loves me cuz I love her a lot she’s my everything and I have had her for 10 years and I’m only 12 so I’ve had her since I was 2

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Rufus 7 October 2013 at 10:11 am

My cat Rufus lovez to lick me all the time and I do like it but often I get a little annoyed because makes it hard for me to sleep. So I figurd out how to stop him which is great but maybe a little wasteful because I now spray him in the face with hot sauce from a spray bottle.

He hates it, and if I get him good it can give me a while lick free! Lol.

It’s funny watching him bat at his kitteh eyes. One time he fell down the stairs but he was fine.

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deja vu 5 March 2014 at 12:19 am

that is horrific and cruel

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Roy 7 October 2013 at 1:15 pm

My cat Lix me allllllllll the time esp when she’s in heat so I spray her lots with hot sauce and she stops. That’s all my sugestion for other people who don’t want their cats to lick them!

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Baron fancy pants 7 October 2013 at 1:19 pm

That is crewl. I use vinegar and bleach because I have a lot of cats and they all look similer and I need to make the ones that lick too much stand out from the theothers.

They don’t like it but hot sauce can get in their eyes. I no bleech can too but if you just use a little it’s not that bad.

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ummm no 10 January 2014 at 2:39 am

This is a joke right? You absolutely cannot spray your animals with hot sauce or bleach. This literally turns my stomach. Bleach is so noxious for animals, it can kill them. As for hot sauce…it’s so painful, your basically spraying them with pepper spray. These are both extremely cruel.
Please stop hurting your animals and use a reasonable tactic to get your cat to stop licking you: just put something lemon scented in your skin…like rub a lemon rind where they lick…and they will learn to stop. They had all kinds of citrus.
Or use Google to find something else. Just stop spraying your cats with hot sauce and bleach. Please.

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Hating you 20 January 2014 at 9:34 pm

I am reporting your first two to animal control…you’re more animals than your pets. I want to put bleach on your face you slimy scum! In fact I think I might track you down by IP address and do just that.

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Daniel 7 October 2013 at 10:16 pm

So glad I found this! My cat Sebastian (or Mr. Basti-pants as my daughter calls him-he has to black legs like pants, and markings on his head that look like a top-hat!!), licks my toes ALL THE TIME. I work construction, so must have salty feet, but it’s so annoying!!! I’m going to try the hot sauce idea, but bleach sounds pretty dangerous IMHO. Do you water the hot sauce down? What type do you use. Like a habanero, or will cayenne get the message across. Lol, can’t wait! P.s. If you want to see funny, rub margarine on your cat’a forehead. My daughter loves to laugh at mr. Basti as he struggles!!!

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Allison McQuade 7 October 2013 at 11:22 pm

You people are sick spraying hot sauce on your cat.

I’m a member of the SPCA and also PETA and we are always busy thanks to cruel pet owners like you. I hope your animals are able to be freed from your evils. How would you lik it to be sprayed with hot sauce?

My cat Peepers is a rescue and I know he has a better home with me. He stays in bed with me every night and licks my neck and shoulders. When he does it while I’m sleeping I have the best dreams.

I don’t know what life he would have without me treating him as an equal and as a partner. I love him like I would love a human.

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Daniel 8 October 2013 at 1:48 am

Ur a bassterd, Allison. You don’t understand what it’s like, clearly. I work construction 10 and more hours per day sometimes. I barely see my Lisa-Ann (my beautiful daughter), even when she IS with me in my house. And that’s only every other weekend as the rest of the time she is with her mother (who loves DOGs). If Sebastian keeps me awake, I’m too tired to spend quality time then with L.a. Which makes us both sad. If a little hot sauce will help me sleep better and also give my daughter and I a bit of a laugh, then I’ll do it!!
Sorry, I’m a little sensitive about this issue.
I do agree, it does feel nice when mr. Basti licks my toes. When L.A. is with her mom, I let Sebastian do it as long as he wants, but I just was here to look for a solution when I don’t want the licking! I’m not bad person…

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Brian 9 October 2013 at 3:35 am

Of course your not a bad person. Your just an ignorant person.

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Daniel 31 October 2013 at 9:10 am

I HATE this!!!!!! Why does this hapen??!? I just came on here for advice and now u call me names. You make me sick
Ishowed this to Lisa-Ann and now she cries all the time. Ur whats wrong today!!!! Always better, right? Always above the people. Well I
Don’t like it one bit and you can take your fancy I’m beter than u crap and stick it were it fits!!

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Bob Smith 31 October 2013 at 7:06 am

Daniel, you are just an ignorant, lower middle class , blue collar trash construction worker.

Go have an accident on the job today you cruel moron.

ps take a class and learn how to spell too

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Will 12 March 2014 at 5:20 am

Not siding with daniel with the hot sauce thing but bob….you are a total piece of shit. How dare you propose that people treat animals differently based upon their position in society. Obviously you are doing fairly well for yourself if you are going to degrade someone based upon what they do and make an hour/year compared to yourself. You should be ashamed if yourself period. Congrats for being thoughtful and caring to animals but way to be a genuine dousche as a person in general by degrading and generalizing the working class as animal abusers and degenerates. Without them where would any upper class be. If thays not exactly how you wanted it to sound I strongly recomend you think hard about your bashful wording next time. Way to go dbag.

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Will 12 March 2014 at 5:25 am

My appologies for the typos. Typed on a phone. Ashamed of yourself* and….if thats not exactly*

Tanya 9 November 2013 at 2:18 pm

Not meaning to sound rude but, just imagine how you’d feel having had hot sauce sprayed in your face, You would have stinging eyes due to the spices. Doing so to your cat isn’t very kind to them so it’s best to just use water or a spray of citrus (not near their eyes though) They hate those things just the same so no need to use hot sauce when plain water does the trick and is a more humane way of doing things (stopping puss licking) but anything used might detere cat forever as they know when they get sprayed they associate it with doing wrong (what they were doing at time they were sprayed) so there is a chance he won’t ‘lick’ again ever because cats are naturally diciplined easily by their owners. Very clever creatures cats. Hope you never took offence with my adivice.

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Allison McQuade 8 October 2013 at 11:20 am

Animals are not alive for your amusement.

Our furry friends give their love without question and shouldn’t be controled lik that.

All of my cats get to live how they want in MY Ouse and the y love me more for it. I don’t ever want to tell them to do what I a human wants them to do because NATURE.

If you’ve ever seen Jurassic park you know life will find a way. It’s a silly movie but it’s really true because you know that what they mean is that when people try to control animals it jut makes them do something else to get around that control.

If you spray your cat with hot suace or something your cat will find a way to get even and I hope it gets you back good.

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Will 12 March 2014 at 5:44 am

I hope you don’t raise your kids the same way. Animals or even kids, while living amongst people do not need to be controlled but still given guidelines. There is nothing more sad than to see those who should be in charge and raising anything halfway respectful to just let them do what ever they want. There are rules and guidelines in place for all things within the enviroment in which they are in. My animals have fun, have toys, play, love on me, play with me, and show me love and affection. They also respect me and do what they have been taught. Neither of my cats (5 and 7 years old) scratch anything, spray, eat anything thats not their food, and listen about as well as a dog. My two dogs ( 3 and 5) are the same way. Actually my wife is a lot like you. She let’s them get away with anything and everything and I’m the one that punishes them when they are in trouble. Yet I’m the one they come to, to be loved on, played with, give kisses to, and get all their attention from and she can’t figure out why they want me more and give me more affection. Showing Love is one thing, but another basic instinct in all animals is order of dominace and respect. So either your pet owns you or you own them. Whatever you are cool with so be it. But showing dominace to your pet isnt cruel. It is the way of the animal kimgdom. Now beating your pet is cruel. Don’t take dominance as beating. But all things have order and a pecking order. Now do you want to be on top or on the bottom? Your choice.

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Baron fancy pants 8 October 2013 at 11:23 am

Allison – you sound like you’re judging pretty hard for someone who has “great dreams” while there cat licks them.

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George the Duck 8 October 2013 at 12:27 pm

Comments do not reflect the views of The Anipal Times and we advise to always consult a licensed veterinary professional in the health and care of your cat.
@GeorgeTheDuck, Publisher

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Allison McQuade 9 October 2013 at 10:23 am

THANK YOU admin!

I can’t believe that people would do this to their pets let alone think it’s ok and tell people about it.

I think any real vet would be horified that people would ever use hot sauce on an animal. Who doesn’t like being licked??? Even by a cat? It’s one of the most basic pleasures in life is to be licked.

I am away for the weekend (school sux, I’m doing a crazy course in uni and have to do research out of town) but as soon as I get back I’m hopping into bed with peepers and cuddling him because of all this. I feel sick inside to think these people have done this.

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rebecca 20 December 2013 at 1:56 pm

this is dumb

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ML 23 December 2013 at 11:21 am

What is wrong with you people?!!?
I am horrified that someone would spray bleach on an animal!
Please provide your address so I can call animal care and control who can go to your home throw the snare around your neck, drag you down the sidewalk, toss you in the back of the truck, lock you in a small cage and someone sprays bleach on you, you sicko!

As for hot pepper sauce it is not meant to be sprayed ON the animal but on the objects you want the animal to stay away from, pepper spray is used to ward off an attacker hello!?

I have had cats for over 30 years, spray bottle with water!

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Mike Lee 23 December 2013 at 2:10 pm

People like Allison, Brian, and Bob are just stupid ass people who treat animals like humans. They’re pets…Period! Get a life you Fucking losers!…lol.

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Christopher Sandri 7 January 2014 at 3:43 pm

Mike your a moron. My cat Nikoda is like a little brother. My parents can’t have any more children and do to military service I will never be able to help produce children or be able to adopt because of mental disability. So screw you if you think I don’t have a reason to treat a animal like it’s human. I am working on getting a service dog for my disability……guess what. That animal will be more than just some “pet”. It will be a life line.

So please Mike explain what gives you the right to judge these people on there views of their respective choice on the feelings of their animals. Get off you low grade high horse and troll someplace else. I am sure if I found it nessesary I could judge the hell out of you for no reason.

To the rest of you enjoy those furry friends.

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tuggy tiger 23 March 2014 at 7:04 pm

Christopher, ignore those idiots who clearly think an animal is just another posession. I personally agree with you, my pets are part of my family, even long after they are gone. My dog (rest her soul, she passed away 5 years ago) was everything I could ever hope for. After having my daughter I fell into a deep depression. She was amazingly receptive to my moods, when my daughter woke in the night, my puppy dog was there by my side in a flash, if I cried, she was nudging my head for a hug, I honestly think I would have completly crumbled without her. As my daughter got older, she tollerated little fingers poking her, even walked slowly while my daughter used her as a walker! Truely an amazing dog, and SO much more than just a pet. Dax was my baby, and she always will be.
I really hope you can get an aid dog, theyre incredible! So trusting, loyal and loving…and a darn sight smarter than some of those stupid comments on here! Good luck!

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deja vu 5 March 2014 at 12:29 am

I must be a real stupid ass person – I treat my cat better than I treat myself %)

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better way to enjoy cat 10 January 2014 at 2:44 am

Instead of hurting your animal, I bet you can also laugh and enjoy your cat by playing with it or watching it do cute cat things with toys you buy it. That’s what I do. It seems to be working for both the cat and I.

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Hating you 20 January 2014 at 9:38 pm

Mr. Hot sauce and mr bleach, you don’t need to get defensive, if you didn’t know it hurts them or didn’t stop to think about it, then you didn’t know, just admit it and make the corrections. But defending your actions will land you in jail, or in a bucket of bleach and hot sauce up to your eyes.

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LisaD 25 January 2014 at 11:32 pm

My cat Abe likes to wake me about about 3 or 4 in the morning by licking my face. I find the best way to get him to stop is to blow in his face. I used to do the same thing when he was a kitten to get him to stop biting. Works like a charm and you don’t even have to reach for anything.

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tuggy tiger 23 March 2014 at 6:51 pm

First off, I cannot beleive that I have just read about people spraying their cats with hot sauce and bleach!!! Oh my lordy! Yes, I have squirted my cat before (with only pure water to stop her raiding the bin, worked a treat after 2weeks) but I would never do something to hurt her! And i’ll explain why (apart fron the fact that shes just too.cute!)

In august 2013 my Lula went missing, I was heart broken, emailed vets, council, rspca (im in the uk) everywhere had her picture and details but I heard nothing. In Jan, I finally had the news I had only dreamed of! 5 months after she’d run off, my baby was found! In amazingly good health, but very under weight. Now she follows me everywhere, cries if shes on her own, and loves licking my fingers! And I relish every second with her more than ever before! I knew I loved her, but didnt realise quite how much until she vanished. Now shes home, pampered, but still banned from the bin!

If your cat licks you at night Daniel, preventing to from sleeping so you cannot spend quality time with ur daughter (im assuming you either sleep through it every other night or your work also suffers…rather dangerous on site), then surely the simple answer is shut the cat out of your bedroom?! You get sleep and he isnt abused with hot sauce.

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The only smart one here? 17 April 2014 at 5:13 pm

I realize this article is a bit old, but stumbling across it, you all DO see that these people who claim to spray hot sauce or bleach on their cats to discipline are messing with you (see ‘Internet trolling’). In fact, it’s most likely one person using different names.

No sane person would do this to their cat, and they would be ripped to shreds afterward if they did. Certainly not typing it out.

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