Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

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Cats are funny little creatures. We brush off a lot of their behavior as quirks, but there are usually explanations for some of the things they do? For example, you might wonder: Why does my cat lick me? It turns out there are several reasons our feline friends do this.


Bonding and Affection

From a very young age, mother cats will lick their kittens. While this is mostly done for grooming purposes, mother cats also lick their kittens to show affection. Cats will then replicate the same behavior with other cats and humans.

To put it simply, one reason cats will lick you is to show affection since grooming helps cats strengthen their social bonds. As long as your cat is healthy and behaving normally, licking is a positive display of affection.

Looking for Attention

Another reason cats will lick is that it gets your attention. You’ve likely taught your cat that licking will get an immediate response, even if subconsciously. 

No matter how minor the issue is, licking is a surefire way to get your attention when they need it. Your cat might be asking for treats, affection, or a clean litter box. 

You Taste Good

We use many products to take care of ourselves daily. Your cat might lick you to investigate the different scents on your body. These can include sweat, lotion, and shampoo.

If your cat is licking you to taste products on your skin or hair, make sure they aren’t ingesting something harmful. If your cat is licking you and no substances are involved, consider it a compliment from your feline.


Some cats will lick because they are feeling anxious. Stressed cats may start excessively grooming themselves, which can translate to grooming you.

Try and determine what your cat’s triggers are. Loud noises, new people, and crowded rooms can all contribute to their anxiety. Addressing your cat’s anxiety may help with anxiety-inducing licking behaviors.

How Much Is Too Much?

Cats lick themselves frequently, and we might not notice whether this behavior indicates any underlying health problems. Licking can become excessive and unhealthy for your cat. But it can be challenging to determine when it becomes an issue. 

Be on the lookout for excessive grooming periods. If you notice that your cat has been licking themselves for more than 30 minutes at a time, your alarm bells should be going off. After excessive licking, you may also notice your cat’s coat thinning or getting bald spots.

If the problem continues to worsen, your cat may develop irritated skin that can bleed or become infected. Speak with your veterinarian to find a suitable treatment for your cat’s discomfort. Compulsive licking behaviors could also be a sign of feline OCD. 

Why Do Cats Lick?

Overall, your cats are giving you a big thumbs up when they lick you. It’s common for cats to lick you to gain the attention and affection they want and strengthen their bond with their owner. 

You’ll know right away if your cat’s licking habits become an issue as there are tell-tale signs. If this happens, you should consult with your veterinarian to ensure your cats get the treatment they need.

Why does my cat lick me?

Kelsey Madison

Kelsey Madison is a cat lover, fostering enthusiast, part time vet tech & writer. She has fostered close to 300 animals over the last 10+ years, and currently has 3 beautiful tabby cats who love to stick their faces in her morning lattes. She is passionate about helping others develop a deeper understanding of their beloved felines and learn more about fostering.