why does my cat always lick me
Today s weird science question comes from Kendraw: My cat is obsessed with licking me. She will tolerate pets, but what she really wants to do when she needs attention is to lick me anywhere she can get skin. She won t lick my face, thank goodness, but my arm, elbow, and hand are fair game! She will literally hold me down in her paws and clean me. And it s not just a few licks; she gets quite thorough about it. I ve tried bitter spray. No luck. I know it s a, but is there any way I can gently get her to stop? ВHave you, like Kendraw, ever wondered Why does my cat lick me? ВFirst, I ll talk about why cats lick you, and then I ll give you some tips on how to persuade your cat that there are much more awesome options than grooming you until your skin is raw. 1. Cats lick as a means of social bonding
Kittens groom each other, and older cats who aren t related but get along well also spend time grooming one another. Often they ll get the spots that are hard for a cat to reach by themselves, such as the top of the head and inside the ears. Exchanging scents through grooming also increases the bond between a pair of cats. (One Catster writer documented her attempt at. ) 2. When your cats lick you, they reВ paying you a huge compliment A tongue bath from your cat is an indication that she feels totally safe in your presence. You are truly a member of her family, and she reinforces that by cleaning you like her mother cleaned her when she was a kitten. 3. Your cats tongues are covered with barbs Your feels like sandpaper because it s covered with papillae backward-facing hooks made of keratin, the same material that makes your kitty s claws. The papillae help cats rasp meat off bones, and they also assist in grooming by acting like a comb to pull out loose fur and dirt. 4. Your cats might be licking you because of anxiety Some cats get so stressed that they begin licking compulsively. (One mysterious condition is called. ) Cats who lick themselves bald are often trying to comfort themselves because they re stressed.
Other compulsive kitties might lick and suck on fabric, В or even your skin. 5. To stop your cat from licking you, distract her Learn the signs that your cat is about to start licking. Before she starts washing your arm raw, redirect her attention with a toy. If your cat likes, slip a catnip-filled kicker toy in front of her when she s about to lick you. If she s not a catnip fan, try a treat-dispensing toy instead. 6. De-stress your cats with interactive play. It keeps your cat fit and trim, and it strengthens the bond between you. Not only that, but the chemicals released during exercise help your cat to relax and feel content. Feeling stressed yourself? Try these 7. Be patient when your cats lick you It s not easy to retrain a cat who has gotten used to performing a habitual behavior such as licking. Remember to stay gentle and avoid yelling or intense physical reactions like shoving your cat, tossing her off your lap, or (heaven forbid) hitting her. Tell us: Have you been able to rehabilitate a compulsive licker? Please tell us in the comments how you did it. And, as always, if you have any other weird science questions, ask me by leaving a comment! Thumbnail: Photography ВMurika Thinkstock. Read more about cats and science on Catster. com: About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, since 2003.
JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats. Why does my cat lick me? Have you ever asked вwhy does my cat lick meв? Itвs a common question many cat owners have. The truth is there are a number of different reasons why your cat licks you в and many of them are to do with affection! One reason your cat may lick you is because itвs a way of creating a social bond. From a young age a catвs mother would not only lick them as a way of grooming them, but also to show affection. Cats then replicate this behaviour with you as a way of showing their own affection в it simply comes naturally. This licking behaviour is not just exclusive between pet and owner. Cats often lick other cats and even other animals to show their affection. Do keep an eye out, however, when your cat begins to lick other cats or other animals, as not all cats or animals like to be licked. In some cases some other cats or animals may retaliate or become anxious when a cat tries to lick them. Another reason your cat may lick you is because they are stressed or anxious. It is very common for cats and other animals to begin to lick things excessively if they are stressed. This can include licking you; if you think this may be the case it might be best to pay a visit to your local vet. If you think something has caused your cat to be stressed, try to identify the source of their worry in case you can remove it. Cats like to mark their territory so other cats and animals know what is theirs. If a cat sees you as theirs, they may begin to lick you to mark you as part of their territory. This is to let other cats know who you belong to. Whilst this type of behaviour is completely normal it could lead to problems in the house if you have more than one cat or pet, so watch out for territorial behaviour.
It can sometimes hurt when a cat licks you, especially if your cat does this excessively and in the same place. This is because of special back-facing barbs on your catвs tongue called вpapillaeв. These barbs are made from the same material as your catвs claws, which explains why their tongue feels like sandpaper. These barbs are important when your cat grooms themselves. The barbs help to remove dirt and debris from a catвs coat. If the barbs werenвt sharp they would not be able to pick up this dirt and a cat would not be able to keep himself or herself as clean. Whilst most of us enjoy the occasional lick from our cats, it can become too much if your cat does it all the time. Many cat owners want to discourage their cats from licking them without pushing them away or making them feel as if they are not wanted or appreciated. To avoid making your cat feel like this, distraction is the best way to encourage a cat to stop licking you. The first method of distraction we recommend is playing with your cat. This will still make your cat feel as if you want them because you are interacting with them and spending time with them. Cat toys such as wands and balls make for a great distraction. Another distraction technique you could use is food. Distracting your cat with a tasty treat is a great way to encourage them to stop licking you. We do however recommend trying to play with them first, as too many treats arenвt good for their health в they should always be part of their daily food allowance. It could also teach your cat that licking you means they will get a treat, which will only encourage them to lick you more! Make sure you take a look at our full range of cat articles on our. View our to find a complete cat food that is tailored to your cats needs.
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