Why does my cat lick me? Mystery solved

Par Pawtounes 7 Min de Lecture

Understanding cat language – Why cats lick

First of all, to understand why your feline might lick you, it’s important to understand a little about cat language. Cats, like many other animals, hide a set of communication signals that we, as human beings, must learn to read.

Decoding licking behavior in cats

Licking is an integral part of a cat’s behavioral repertoire. But why would a cat lick its owner? To answer this question, let’s break down the cat’s behavior. Licking is a behavior that can have several meanings in cats. Sometimes this can be a sign of affection. At other times, it can be a way for them to mark their territory. Sometimes it’s even a form of play.

For example, if your cat licks you right after you’ve petted or played with it, it’s probably a sign of affection for you. On the other hand, if they lick you when you come in from outside, it could be a way for them to mark their territory. Basically, your cat could be using licking to “claim” you as his own.

Feline communication: what licking means

Cats don’t have the gift of speech and use physical signals to communicate. Licking is one of these signals. Does a cat lick to make itself understood? The simple answer is yes, a cat licks to make itself understood. This can take many forms, such as needing something, wanting your attention or simply showing affection.

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Although it may seem contradictory, licking can also be a sign of stress or anxiety in cats. If you notice your cat licking you too often, it could be an indicator of stress. They may try to seek comfort or relief.

Licking or grooming: a family connection

Feline tenderness: mutual grooming and licking

Cats have been known to groom each other, a behavior known as mutual grooming. It’s a way for them to strengthen family and social ties. So when a cat licks its owner, it could well be a proof of affection and a way of strengthening its bond.

Another theory is that licking is a form of grooming for cats. Your cat might just be licking you because it loves you and wants to contribute to your hygiene. Yet another theory suggests that licking is a form of olfactory marker. Cats have numerous scent glands on the surface of their skin, so they may lick to “mark” their scent.

Understanding the social aspect of licking in cats

Cats use licking as a means of establishing and maintaining social bonds. For example, they lick each other to express belonging to a group. Licking is also thought to help cats establish a social hierarchy. Generally speaking, the most dominant cats are those that lick the others.

Licking: A show of affection or a quest for salt?

Feline feelings: licking as a sign of affection

As mentioned above, licking can indeed be a way for your cat to express sympathy. It could be their version of a hug or a kiss. This is a grooming behavior that cats already learn as kittens. They groom their mother and siblings, and want to continue in the same way with their owner. By licking you, your cat is simply treating you like a member of its family.

Cat licking: the salt quest theory

Another theory is that cats lick humans because they like the taste of salty sweat on their skin. It’s well known that cats have a dietary requirement for sodium, so this idea may have some merit. However, it’s also important to note that not all cats are attracted by the salty taste. So it’s quite possible that some cats lick humans for taste, while others do it for other reasons.

Excessive licking: When should you be concerned?

Excessive licking: signs of anxiety in cats

So when does licking become a problem? As a general rule, if you notice your cat licking you frequently or excessively, it may be a sign of stress or anxiety. Cats who are stressed or anxious may lick or groom themselves excessively as a means of relief. In such cases, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian or feline behaviorist for advice.

Compulsive cat licking: cause to consult a vet?

This is particularly the case if licking is accompanied by other unusual behaviors, such as changes in eating or sleeping habits, weight variations, aggression or nervousness. In addition, excessive licking can also be a sign of an underlying health problem that requires veterinary care.

Mystery solved: Why cats lick us

In short, there are many reasons why your cat may be licking you. Licking can be a form of communication, express affection, represent mutual grooming, demonstrate social dominance, or simply be a way of seeking salt. Understanding these reasons will help you better understand your cat’s behavior and respond appropriately.

On the other hand, excessive licking can be a sign of stress, anxiety or an underlying health problem. In such cases, it is advisable to consult a veterinary professional to ensure your cat’s well-being.

Cats are fascinating creatures with their own unique behavior. Understanding why your cat licks you can not only help you understand your pet, but also deepen your relationship with it. So the next time your cat licks you, remember that it’s their way of showing you affection and reinforcing the bond they share with you.

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Par Pawtounes
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