1. Spotlight
  2. Cat Behavior

To show affection

Cats groom one another as a sign of affection, even though this behavior sometimes turns into fighting and biting. When your cat licks you, it is often their way of letting you know that they love you and see you as part of their inner circle. So, being groomed by your feline friend is definitely a huge compliment.

To get your attention

When a cat licks you, it is hard not to respond to this gesture. Not only is the behavior insanely cute, but the feel of their sandpaper-like tongue on your skin is also pretty hard to ignore. By responding to your cat’s licking time and again, your cat will learn that grooming you will earn them the attention they crave.

Cat licking finger for attention

To mark you as theirs

Cats use scent to mark their territory. While they will usually rub their chin across something they want to claim, or spray it with urine, licking you is just another way of letting other cats know that you belong to them.

To give you a bath

Well, don’t take it personally, but your cat may lick you because they feel you could use a shower. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are stinky. Grooming one another, also called allogrooming, is completely natural behavior for cats. A mother cleans her kittens to teach them how to do it, but also to create a strong bond.

Cat giving human a bath

Because you taste good

Did you just take a shower, or grab a handful of chips? It won’t take long for your cat to pick up on the scent and if they like it, they lick it. Some cats are very attracted by both the scent and the taste of sweat, licking your salty arms when you come back from the gym, or even rolling around in pure bliss after having taken in a whiff of your dirty t-shirt or sweater.

To cope with anxiety or pain

When your cat licks you excessively, this might be a sign that they are stressed out or in pain. Cats will usually overgroom themselves when they are anxious, but sometimes they direct this behavior towards you. If your cat won’t stop licking you, a trip to the vet might be in order.

To cope with anxiety or pain