A happy cat with its tongue out

Cat owners often find themselves asking this question: why does my cat lick me? Understanding this behaviour can help strengthen your bond with your pet and ensure they're healthy and happy.

The Feline Language: Understanding Cat Behaviour

Understanding why your cat licks you requires delving into their language. Cats communicate in various ways - from their vocalisations to their physical actions, each has a unique meaning.

The Importance of Licking in Cats

Licking is a common behaviour among cats. It's part of their grooming habits and a way they connect with their fellow felines. But when this licking extends to their human companions, what could it signify?

Reasons Why Your Cat Licks You

There are several reasons why your cat might be giving you those tiny, ticklish licks. Let's explore them.

Showing Affection

Much like a mother cat licks her kittens, your cat may lick you as a sign of affection. It's their way of bonding with you and showing that they care.

Marking Territory

Cats have scent glands in their mouths. When they lick you, they're marking you as their own. It's their way of saying, "This is my human!"

Grooming Behaviour

Cats are meticulous groomers. They might be trying to groom you as they would another cat, especially if they consider you part of their 'clowder' or family.

Tasting Salt

Ever noticed how your cat licks you more after a workout? That's because they can taste the salt on your skin, and they love it!

Stress or Anxiety

If your cat's licking seems excessive, it might be a sign of stress or anxiety. It's their version of a nervous habit, similar to humans biting their nails.

How to Respond to Cat Licking

Knowing why your cat licks you is half the battle. The other half is knowing how to respond.

Responding Appropriately

If your cat's licking doesn't bother you, let them continue. It's a sign of their affection and trust. However, if it becomes excessive, try to distract them with a toy or treat.

When to Seek Professional Help

If the licking becomes compulsive or is coupled with other concerning behaviour, it may be time to seek professional help. A vet or animal behaviourist can provide insight and possible solutions.

Maintaining a Healthy Bond with Your Cat

Cats are unique creatures with their own set of communication signals. Keeping them happy involves understanding these signals and responding appropriately.

Spend Quality Time

Spending time together can help strengthen your bond with your cat. Whether it's playtime or cuddle time, your cat will appreciate the attention.

Keep Your Cat Mentally Stimulated

Cats love to play and explore. Providing them with toys or interactive activities can keep them mentally stimulated and reduce any anxiety-induced licking.

Regular Vet Check-ups

Regular vet check-ups can ensure your cat is healthy and prevent any potential issues that might trigger excessive licking.

Now that you've uncovered the mysteries behind your cat's licks, you'll hopefully be better equipped to understand and respond to this adorable feline behaviour.


Remember, each cat is unique and so is their behaviour. Why does your cat lick you? It could be a mix of affection, territory marking, grooming habits, salt tasting or dealing with stress. By understanding their behaviour, you're not just becoming a better cat owner, you're also strengthening the bond with your feline friend.


  1. Is it normal for my cat to lick me? Yes, it is perfectly normal and often a sign of affection.
  2. Why does my cat lick me then bite me? This could be a form of play, or they might be trying to communicate that they've had enough attention.
  3. What should I do if my cat licks excessively? If the licking becomes excessive or bothersome, try to distract your cat with a toy or treat. If it persists, consider consulting a vet.
  4. Do all cats lick their owners? Not all cats do, it depends on their personality and how they prefer to show affection.
  5. Can a cat's licking be harmful to humans? While rare, it is possible for cat saliva to transmit certain bacteria. If you have open wounds, it's better to prevent your cat from licking them.

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