Bonding--When a cat licks you, they are saying, “I trust you.” They are comfortable getting close to you and giving you the same attention they would give their kitten.
Territorial--Cats lick each other as a means of social bonding. They rely heavily on scent. When they lick you, they are marking you with their smell. In other words, they are saying, “this is my person.”
You might need grooming--If you are one of the lucky people who receive “baths” from your cat, you know their tongues feel like sandpaper. A cat’s tongue is covered with papillae (backward-facing hooks made of keratin) which help them keep things clean. They remove meat from bones and dirt from fur. When your cat licks you, they might be saying, “you need help keeping clean.”
They might like the taste of you--Sweat contains sugar and salts, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. When your sweat evaporates, it can leave sweet or salty residue on your skin that animals can smell and/or taste
Anxiety--Some anxiety can be normal for cats—especially when their environments change—but any time a cat begins licking more excessively than normal, it is best to schedule an appointment with us. Beyond extreme anxiety, medical concerns include:
- Fleas, allergies, and skin infection; pain, excessive stress, to name a few.
- Male cats who excessively lick their genitals may suffer from urinary infection or obstruction—this requires immediate attention.