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Why Do Cats Lick People? Should You Be Concerned?

Why Do Cats Lick People? Should You Be Concerned?

If you’re a cat owner, we’re sure you’ve found yourself being a lollipop alternative for your feline friend. Yet, have you ever wondered why cats lick people? And should this raise a concern?

Cats use licking as a grooming technique but also to express affection. Your cat establishes a social link by licking you. Therefore you shouldn’t be concerned. Part of this behavior may arise from your cat’s mother licking them as kittens to groom them and to demonstrate care and affection.

Why Do Cats Lick People?

Cats are complex animals as it is, and with that, we couldn’t narrow it down to one reason why your cat may be licking. Therefore, here are the suggested reasons as to why you can find your cat licking you;

Showing Affection

Domestic cats are notoriously difficult to read. Nonetheless, “gentle ‘love’ nibbles or light licks” are considered to be a way for cats to communicate affection, and some even deliver kisses!

Kittens, in particular, will use licking to relieve tension in the same way as humans do with embraces.

Grooming expresses a cat’s appreciation for a person, as well as a sense of belonging and a social link, in the same way as mother cats lick their kittens.


Adult cats brush themselves for nearly half of their waking hours.

Adult cats will only lick other cats they trust and are not in competition with because of their maternal origins. This trustworthy grooming behavior could be given to humans.

To Identify Taste


Despite having more limited taste buds than others, cats appear to distinguish between sour, bitter, salty, and umami flavors. This result is most likely owing to the cat’s exceptionally keen sense of smell. Cats cannot experience sweetness; this is a reason why your cat might be on a licking hunt.

However, you can find a cat licking someone or something to determine the taste due to this nature.

Marking Their Territory


Although urinating on items is the most well-known activity that cats may employ to claim something as their own, did you know they also mark territory through licking?

When your cat licks or rubs against you, it’s reiterating that you’re essential to them and that they want the other cats to know it. You may notice that other cats avoid you sometimes; they likely detect a scent that you belong to another cat.

Possession and ownership are at the root of so much other cat behavior. Everything a cat does is territorial.

Coping Mechanism


Cats will also lick each other to soothe themselves.

Cats are susceptible to their owners’ emotions, so you may notice that your cat is more affectionate when you’re stressed or sick.

If your cat is worried or stressed, he or she may lick you. Many cats lick you or themselves as a stress or anxiety coping method. It could also be a feline’s way of expressing comfort.

If you’re a cat owner, you understand that these reasons may vary due to their natural complexity, but if you’re not, let me tell you that cats are a tough animal to read.

Now that we’ve discussed the possibilities as to why they lick people, let’s cover this: Should you be worried?

Should You Be Concerned?

Licking should not be considered weird because it is part of the animal’s natural behavior. Therefore you shouldn’t be concerned. If you believe something has made your cat anxious, attempt to pinpoint the source of their anxiety to see if you can eliminate it.

If you have any concerns about their conduct, we recommend that you seek guidance from your veterinarian.

Why Does It Hurt When My Cat Licks Me?

The tongue of a cat has a coat of papillae, which are tiny spines. Keratin, the same component that builds up human fingernails, is used to produce these papillae.

The slight discomfort from your cat liking is due to the backward-facing hooks on cat tongues, which act as a drawer and fur cleaner the same way a comb would. Remember that being licked by your cat feels lovely, and it has no idea that it is hurting you.

Cats’ tongues are strong enough to bring saliva down to their skin, untangle their fur, remove things like dirt, and redistribute oils since they are self groomers.

As a result, when a cat licks you, its spine-covered tongue rubs against your skin repeatedly. It’s likely to hurt a little. Cats’ tongues have a reputation that leads them to be linked with sandpaper because of this.

Can I Make My Cat Stop Licking Me?

When your cat starts to lick, the quickest method to stop it is to stand up and walk away. Don’t terrify the cat by moving too quickly; remove the animal and leave the room. You’ll probably need to keep this up for a few weeks or months for such behavior modification to be effective.

If you want to stop them from doing this, the best thing you can do is divert their attention.

If your cat enjoys hugging, you might try snuggling or patting them to keep them from licking. Similarly, you may try to distract the feline’s interest away from licking and toward playing with a toy. If your cat’s licking becomes excessive, you can walk away or move away from your pet.

Alternatives To Help My Cat’s Licking

If the methods suggested aren’t working out for you, no need to worry.

Here’s a list of items that will work as a perfect alternative to assist your feline friend to cope with their anxiety and stress rather than licking:

Consult with your vet before supplying your cat with any of these:

 Alpha-capsazepine, a natural substance derived from cow’s milk with soothing effects, is used in this veterinary supplement to assist cats and dogs in rest. 

The non-drowsy mixture gives your pet a sense of relaxation and satisfaction without sedating or tranquilizing him.

Use before or during stressful situations, including moving, adjusting to new people or new environments, traveling, veterinarian visits, and behavior training.

Veterinarian Fighting, scratching, hissing, and other violent behaviors among cats in the same household are all reduced by this product, which has been clinically tested to be over 90% effective.

 The all-natural mixture calms and soothes your cat while also addressing stress-related behavior problems.

This product is made with organically simulated cat pheromones to encourage calm behavior in your feline companion.

Natural-source plants like passionflower and jasmine medley give relaxing characteristics.

The colostrum calming complex is a mixture of active bioactive proteins extracted from bovine colostrum through a unique microfiltration method. C3TM Complex contains molecular precursors that help to enhance the calming response by restoring normal cognitive and brain functions that are disrupted by excessive brain activity. L-Theanine is a trademarked dietary supplement that can help you relax and reduce stress.


To summit it up, cats are unquestionably one of the most complicated animals we’ve been able to domesticate.

Sudden changes in feline behavior could indicate a severe medical or psychological problem that needs rapid veterinary intervention.

Their high sense of individuality will continue to create questions amongst owners and cat lovers; however, you must understand that cats don’t abide by rules, and their behavior will vary on each one.

In conclusion, be on the lookout when it comes to your cat’s behavior and response to things, be aware of their surroundings and factors that could lead to them licking, as well as grasping the concept that you must treat your cat as an individual.