Why Do Cats Lick You: Know These Cat Facts

Have you ever wondered why your cat licks you all the time? Many people think that dogs are the pets that lick so much. However, cats lick their owners a lot, too. There are many reasons why cats might lick you.

The first thing to know is that a cat’s tongue has many papillae on it. These are curved spines that are used mostly for grooming. However, there are some other reasons for cat licking, as well. 

Showing Affection 

Cats don’t just lick to groom themselves. Your cats might also lick you to show affection. When your cat licks you, someone else, or even another animal, they are socializing. They are showing they like that person or animal. Some of the reason they do this is because their mother did it to them when they were a kitten.

They knew their mother cared for them and did this, partially, by licking them. So, as the kittens get older, they lick other animals and people to show they care about them. 

Marking Territory

There are many different ways that a cat will mark its territory. One of the cat body language you will notice is they rub their cheeks on a person or on another animal. This is their way of saying that is my owner or my companion. Your cat may even try to scratch something to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws. This scent is released when they scratch something. Sometimes, this is a cat’s way of saying they own the thing they scratched. Cats also lick people as a way of marking their territory. They want you and others to know that you are theirs. 

Grooming You

Your cat might be licking you to groom you. Cat cleaning is quite a common reason for licking. Your cat probably doesn’t realize they aren’t actually cleaning you. However, their mother licked them when they were little to clean them. As they get older, they think they can clean other animals, or even people, to clean them.  

Tasting Things 

Cat licking might be happening because they are trying to taste something. For example, you might have something on your skin such as a sauce from your lunch. Your cat might be licking that because they think it tastes good.

As odd as it may sound, if your skin is sweaty, your cat might lick you because your sweat tastes salty. 

Getting Their Owner’s Attention

Your cat might be licking you to get your attention. Sometimes, when you are sitting there talking to someone, your cat might come and start licking you.

If this is happening, your cat might be telling you to pay attention to them instead of whoever else or whatever else you are paying attention to. 

Getting Their Needs Fulfilled

One of the other reasons why your cat might be licking you is to get their needs fulfilled. For instance, a hurt cat or a hungry cat might lick their owner. If your cat is hurt, they might lick you and then meow or even whine.

This could mean they are hurt. If your cat is hungry or thirsty, they may walk around in circles and stop to lick you. They may even lick you and then go to where their food and water bowls are at. 

Handling Emotions

Sometimes, cat licking is caused by emotions. If your cat is stressed or anxious, they might lick you to relax. This could be your cat’s way of coping. Also, your cat might lick you because they are excited or happy to see you. 

Getting Cats to Quit Licking

Sometimes, it might bother you that your cat is licking you a lot. However, it is important to understand that cat licking is natural. It is the way that your cat is communicating with you. It could be cat cleaning for themselves or for you. They might be hungry, thirsty, or expressing their emotions. There could be a wide range of other reasons why your cat is licking, as well. 

The best way to get your cats to quit licking you is to take care of their needs. For example, if your cat is licking you to get attention, spend some time with them. If you play with them and their toys, they might get tired out and go take a nap. If they are licking because they are thirsty, getting them a drink of water could get them to stop licking you. 


There are many reasons why your cat might be licking you. Cat licking can be caused by being hungry, being thirsty, handling emotions, needing attention, marking their territory, and due to many other things.

Cats need to lick sometimes. If you want your cat to stop licking you, taking care of their needs is the best way to do that.

What does it mean when your cat licks you?

There are many things that cat licking could mean. It could mean they are grooming themselves. They might be trying to say they need attention. Your cat might be licking you because they are hungry, thirsty, stressed, or excited. Cats also lick their owners to mark their territory or to show affection.

Why do cats lick themselves?

Cats might lick themselves to keep themselves clean. They also lick themselves sometimes to handle emotions such as stress, anxiety, and excitement. Cats also lick themselves to regulate their body temperature.

How to stop your cat from overgrooming?

If your cat is licking itself too much, there are some things that you can do. The first thing that you can do is to keep them on a routine every day. Your cat might be licking themselves a lot because they are stressed. A routine can help them to feel less stressed, so they stop licking as much. You can also make sure your cat gets more exercise because they might be licking due to boredom.

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Written by Leo Roux

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