Why Does Your Cat Feel the Need to ‘Clean’ You?

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You’re lounging on your sofa watching your favorite show. In comes your cat, climbs up to your lap purring all along and then . . . bam! You feel that wet sandpaper-y rasp of your feline friend’s tongue on your skin. Your cat’s licking you . . . again!

cat dad

And while it’s not at all slob-by [and smelly] like your dog’s [assuming you have one, too!], your cat licking you can be disconcerting and you can’t help but wonder why your furry friend’s doing it.

From the simple reason of keeping you clean to the slightly weird one that your cat sees your skin as a tasty treat, here are the four main reasons why your cat grooms you and ways to stop them when the licking gets too much to bear.

The Four Main Reasons Why and How to Stop Them when It Gets Too Much

  1. Cat licking is your pet saying, “You need to bathe.”

Cat are known to be notorious groomers, cleaning themselves up every after meals and whatever that has their hackles of cleanliness up. They don’t want one of their hairs to be out of place wanting to appear as sleek and polished as much as possible. And they’re most likely to extend their penchant for cleanliness to who they consider their family!

So, if your cat starts to lick you, consider when was the last time you took a bath. It might be because your pet just wants you to be as clean, as sleek and as polished as he/she is. On a happy note, your mostly indifferent furry friend considering you family is one important feat so, rejoice!

  1. Cat licking is your cat saying, “I love you”.

Like some people, cats are not very good with words, err, meows. They may seem like they don’t care about you as their human and just seem to regard you as their food – and occasionally warmth – provider. But if your cat licks you from time to time, consider that his/her way of saying that he/she sees you, loves you and will actually feel sad if something bad happens to you.

  1. Cat licking is your furry friend saying, “I’m lonely”.

If your cat has taken to constantly licking you then, it could be because he/she is feeling lonely and that you’ve been neglecting him/her. Cats are like kids, too. Aside from food, water and a clean space for them to sleep and poop in, they need attention from their humans. And if you have been neglecting given some time to play or interact with them other than giving them the basic necessities then, you’re in for some good lickin’.

  1. Cat licking is your whiskered buddy saying, “I’m nervous/worried”.

If there’s human anxiety, there’s also cat anxiety and one of its signs is obsessive licking. If this happens, try to determine the culprit that has your feline buddy of his/her rocker — moving to a new home perhaps or having a new animal housemate. Even moved furniture or a change in diet could be the reason behind it.



When the Licking Gets Too Much

How much licking is too much? Here are the red flags to see:

  • When your cat spends long time bathing itself and doing it often than what you have observed as normal
  • When your skin becomes red and irritated because of your cat’s licking
  • When your cat only licks itself, you start to notice that his/her coat is thinning in some areas or he/she has bald spots

Aside from anxiety, obsessive cat licking can stem up from parasites to skin allergies and irritations. These skin problems can cause cats to react the only way they know how — lick and scratch the itch out!

In this case, you need to visit a veterinarian to pinpoint your feline’s problem.

However, if the case is just plain anxiety, determining the root factor will do and getting your cat used to it whatever’s new in your house will help ease the stress and anxiety your pet might be experiencing. This same thing is also applicable if you feel your cat’s licking you because he/she is feeling lonely.

Pets are part of your family. Having a pet means also taking the responsibilities that comes with pet owning. Let us all become responsible pet owners.


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