<iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-PK9D66" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden" title="gtm-frame"></iframe>Why Does My Cat Lick Me? | Agria Pet Insurance
03330 30 10 00
Get a quote
My AccountGet a quote
Get a quote

Back to Guides and advice

Why does my cat lick me?

Does your cat lick you? And have you ever wondered why?
Why does my cat lick me?

As it turns out, there are actually several possible reasons why your cat licks you.

Bonding and affection

Cats who live as part of a social group will often groom each other to help create a firm bond. It starts in kittenhood. Mother cats lick their kittens to clean them and to show affection. Your cat will replicate this when they become adults.

Licking for affection is known as allogrooming. Sometimes cats will lick your other animals or the humans they live with. It’s their way of showing their love and securing a social bond.

Stressed-out feline

Sometimes, when cats become stressed and anxious, you may find they start licking you excessively. This is a displacement behaviour and it helps them release any stress they are feeling. You’ll generally see the excessive licking aimed at their own grooming but it could be directed to you too.

If you suspect something is upsetting your cat and causing this behaviour, try to identify the problem. Could it be loud noises? Maybe a new cat in their territory or visitors in your house?

It’s definitely worth talking to your vet about this if you suspect your cat is anxious. Without treatment, licking can become a compulsive behaviour which is a far more complex problem to solve.

To share their scent

When cats live together and are bonded, they share their scent to create familiarity. This is done through licking each other and the sharing of saliva.

It could be that cats do exactly the same to their bonded humans so you smell just as familiar to them as their feline friends.

Cats also share their scent to mark their territory. One way of doing this is through licking and that can include you! It is a way of telling other cats that you are their property. If they begin to become territorial of you when your other cats or dogs are around and it starts to cause a problem, you may need to address it.

A happy feeling

When cats lick either you, themselves, other cats or animals, their brains release endorphins. These are the feel-good hormones you might experience when you partake in sweat-inducing exercise. Because endorphins create a natural ‘high,’ it’s no wonder that your cat may wish to recreate the feeling by licking you as well

A fantastic cat fact!

Have you ever wondered why it feels like sandpaper on your skin when your cat licks you?

On your cat’s tongue, there are special barbs that face backwards. They are called papillae and are made of the same substance as their claws, hence why these barbs are relatively hard and rough.

Your cat’s papillae help to remove dirt and grime from their coat when they groom themselves by licking. It’s thanks to these barbs that your cat’s coat stays fabulously clean!

Previous article

Microchipping for cats becomes law on June 10th, 2024

Next article

Why does my cat snore?

Related guides and advice

Follow us

  • Cookie policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • UK tax policy
  • Terms and conditions
  • Modern slavery statement

For UK customers:
Agria Pet Insurance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Register Number 496160. Agria Pet Insurance Ltd is registered and incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 04258783. Registered office: First Floor, Blue Leanie, Walton Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7QW. Agria insurance policies are underwritten by Agria Försäkring who is authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority.

For Jersey customers:
Agria Pet Insurance Ltd is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC). Ref: 0001498. Registered office: As detailed above.

For Guernsey customers:
Clegg Gifford Channel Islands Limited is licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Ref: 2722221. Registered office: Admiral House, Place Du Commerce, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2AT.

© 2024 Agria Pet Insurance Ltd. All Rights Reserved.