Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

by Michael
(London, UK)

For me the answer to the question, “why does my cat lick me?” comes from personal observation. My cat looks upon me as a mother cat. All domestic cats do the same. Our cats are kept in a state of perpetual kittenhood with us as we provide for them and unwittingly dominate them by our sheer presence. Kittens are licked by their true (cat) mothers during the early days. When I stroke my cat she thinks I am licking her as her mother did. It feels that way and is a very similar action.

Photo by tilaneseven – this is a Flickr photographer

In return my cat will lick my hand sometimes. It is a friendly return gesture in recognition of my friendly gesture. I might not be stroking her, in fact. It might be a human form of friendship that she has picked up as being equivalent to her mother’s lick. For example, I might talk to her quietly and cuddle her. There are a whole range of intimate and friendly gestures that might provoke her to lick me and it is not always on the hand. She sometimes licks my face as is the case for the person in the photograph.

There might be other reasons as to why my cat licks me. It might be the taste of my skin (maybe there is something on my hand or my skin might be salty through sweating) but this is relatively rare for me compared to the friendly exchange of linking.

Sometimes my cat will do a lick/bite. The lick extends to a very gentle nibble on the hand or even my face if it is near her face. You can see a mother’s lick going to a gentle bite (loving bite) in this video of F1 Savannah Cat MAGIC. It is about 2/3rds of the way into the video.

Why does my cat lick me to Why Do Cats

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Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

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Jul 21, 2010
why do cats lick?
by: Anonymous

my partner had a mole removed off of his chest about 2 years ago,while laying in bed my cat will proceed to lick the healed scar.we are not really sure why she does it,but we think that it maybe because she knows it is a wound.very amusing when she does it though

May 15, 2010
by: Anonymous

I’ve got a foster cat who just lost her litter to probably chlamydia, and I’m trying to give her a little extra attention to fill in for the loss. She is licking me ALL THE TIME. It’s actually a little concerning since I hope to get her adopted soon. She’s a wonderful lap cat, but she licks my feet, legs, arms, hands, and whatever she can when I’m sleeping.

I’m also concerned about the URI spreading to my other cats, so I have to try my best to disinfect……

Yikes, she’s wonderful, but I’m hoping the licking will stop…..

Sep 11, 2009
Thank you
by: Ruth

Another very well written article to add to my ‘Why do cats?’ collection.
Thank you Michael.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Why Does My Cat Lick Me? — 7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Why does my cat lick himself where I have stroked him? | Pictures of Cats

  2. Lts of typos but a wonderful story I wish I had a perfect relatinship with my ca he does not trust me at all. I wish he does, thx 4 sharing

    • I’ll fix those typos! Thanks for the comment. Update: I see no typos! 🙂 I think you mean in the comments. Yes, that is very possible. I don’t edit comments.

    • If you want your cat to trust you make your relationship as loving as possible and the environment as stable as possible. Do you trust him? If you have some doubts it will be reciprocated.

  3. I hav had a cat for 2 1/2 years and he had been very lonely yu would say because he was an unwanted kitten and they kept all of the kittens but him because he had a broken tail. I adopted him 2month after he was born and I ended up being just like his mom and he trusted me almost instntly. You could say it was love at first sight. Well now I try to pet him but nly after he licks my had and is situated perfectly on my lap, I love him so much.

    • Beautiful. Well done. I believe a relationship with an unwanted kitten/cat develops into a stronger relationship than with cats from better backgrounds.

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