Savvy Pets

Why does my cat lick me?

Family-friendly cats usually lick. This behavior helps to strengthen the bond and the exchange that occurs helps to create a familiar scent for the group. Cats rely on smell as an important means of identification. When your cat licks you, it is also a way to strengthen your bond and show affection Although it is important to know that licking doesn’t have a single meaning. Why does your cat lick you exactly? 

A cat licking you can have several other reasons and to know the exact reason behind the behavior can be somewhat challenging but it can be distinguishable if you are observant enough.

Some cats lick to relieve anxiety and, in some cases, even produce bald spots as a symptom of excessive stress. Your cat can also lick you as a form of comfort. If you notice areas with thin or bald hair on your cat, talk to your vet, as there may be a basic medical cause or your cat may be stressed. If your cat licks you while tapping its paws while also curling close to the skin it is like their return to the kittenhood in his memory when he was breastfeeding. This displayed behavior indicates that your cat is comfortable, safe, and protected with you.

It hurts when my cat licks me

Sometimes it can hurt when a cat licks you, especially if it does it excessively and in the same place. This is due to the reverse facing barbs papillae which is present in your cat’s tongue. These tips are made of the same material as your cat’s claws, which is why the tongue of a cat can feel somewhat like sandpaper.

These tongue textures are important when your cat is grooming itself. The barb helps to remove dirt and debris from a cat’s coat. If the tongue were not as rough, they would not be able to pick up this dirt by licking their body and they would not be able to clean themselves.

How to Discourage your cat from licking you

Although most of us enjoy getting licked our cats occasionally, it can be too much if your cat always does. Many cat owners want to discourage their cats from licking them without rejecting them or making them feel that they are not desired or appreciated.

To prevent your cat from feeling like this, distraction is the best way to encourage a cat to stop licking. The first distraction method we recommend is to play with your cat. This will make your cat feel the way you want it to because you interact with it and spend time with it. Cat toys like sticks, wands, and balls are a great distraction.

Another distraction technique that you could use is food. Distracting your cat with a treat is a great way to encourage her to stop licking. However, we recommend trying to play with them first, since too much food is not good for health. It could also teach your cat that licking means that he will receive a gift and that is counterintuitive.


  • Edna Williams

    Cat licking can be a very nice expression of affection. I really like it when mine does it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dana Rodriguez

    Two of my cats are lickers. My Siamese gets mad and swats if you move away. I think our cats do it to show affection.

    • mcushing7

      I had a cat when I was growing up that was sicker and it is affection for sure. My current… rarely does but when he does I get super excited because I know he is giving me some love 🙂

  • Tamra Phelps

    I had a cat who licked my shirt around mt shoulder while pressing on the area with his paws, first one paw, then the other. I had no idea why but now I do. Thanks for the information.

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