Feeling Peeled Alive? 5 Reasons Why Cats Lick Us

cats lick

Have you ever wondered why cats lick us? Naturally, when our pets lick us, we assume they are merely showing love. But just how accurate is that assessment?

Reason 1: Cats Lick Us Because They Feel Secure With Us

According to petmd.com. perhaps your cat is giving you a tongue bath because she sees you as a member of her tribe and feels secure when she is with you. She may recall how her mom gave her cleanings as a kitten. Now, your cat is emulating that behavior towards you as an act of nurture, keeping you clean and claiming you as one of her own.

Reason 2: Cats Lick Us To Establish Territory

Another reason your cat may lick you is to establish her territory. Licking allows her to mark her scent, telling others to back off because this is her property. Just like mother cats lick their offspring to mark them as their own, your cat licks you to declare to the world that you are hers. (Remember! You don’t own your cat; she owns you!)  Licking is also seen as a bonding mechanism.

Reason 3: Weaned Too Early or Orphaned

Cats lick us because they may have been weaned too early or were orphaned, developing an oral fixation making them excessive lickers. Without an appropriate means by which to get the same comfort that nursing gave them, they turn to licking, which is the closest they can get to that sensation.

Reason 4: It’s Cat Version of Petting Us

Licking is also a cat’s version of petting you, another form of affection she has towards you. Because she can’t really pet you, she lets her tongue do the work for her.

Reason 5: Anxiety

Excessive licking on your cat’s part can be attributed to anxiety. This may be a sign she needs to be petted and cuddled to relive her stress. If your cat does seem to be licking too much, offer her more attention and affection.

While there are varied reasons as to why your cat might lick you – and we know it can hurt at times – never punish or reprimand her for doing what is natural for her.  If you need to distract her, try massaging her a bit or engaging her with a catnip toy. No need to be peeled alive!

Written by Ann Butenas

Ann Butenas

An internationally-recognized author and writer, Ann began her professional writing career at age 12 and began speaking while in college. She has been published thousands of times over the past three decades in all media forms, was former editor and publisher of KC Metro Woman magazine, and has also hosted three talk radio shows in the Kansas City area.

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