Updated by Sheryl on Aug 13, 2021
Cat kisses can be cute and endearing when they are given properly. However, being licked repeatedly by a tongue that feels like sand can be both painful and irritating. Many people believe that cats lick them as a gesture of affection, which isn't all that farfetched of an assumption. Cats groom themselves by licking. Mother cats will also lick their kittens as part of the grooming process. Cats, on the other hand, will lick each other's faces as a sign of affection. But cats lick humans for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are given below.
Here are six of the most prevalent causes of cat licking, as reported by veterinarians.
If your cat is licking your face, it could be since she has accepted you as a member of her family and feels entirely at ease in your presence. Mother cats will frequently lick their kittens to ensure that they are safe and secure in their care. Now that the roles have been reversed, your cat expresses her appreciation for you in the most natural way she knows, i.e., by licking your face.
In the wild, cats who are members of the same colony would frequently lick one another to strengthen their relationships. The face licking is simply a sign that your pet regards you to be a member of her family.
If your cat is bored or lonely, she may begin licking you in an attempt to get your attention. The licking can also indicate that she simply wants to play. In other circumstances, though, the compulsive face-licking could be an indication of stress or separation anxiety, which should be addressed immediately.
Your cat's excessive stress-induced licking, whether it's grooming herself or grooming your face, may indicate that she's feeling anxious. If the licking has progressed to the point where it is interfering with your daily activities, you should schedule a kitty wellness exam with your veterinarian.
Most people are aware that cats mark their territory by releases pheromones or by urinating on objects. Cats can also indicate their territory in various other ways. Cats use licking, and head rubs to claim you as a member of their family, and they do so in an affectionate manner. The fact that your cat licks or rubs against you confirms to them that you are essential to them and that they want all the other cats to know it as well. So that other cats will likely avoid you because they believe you are a member of another cat's household.
It is possible for kittens that have been separated from or abandoned by their mother before they reach the age of 8-9 weeks to acquire an oral fixation, which makes them more sensitive to excessive licking. Licking might be a calming substitute for sucking if they haven't had the opportunity to do it properly.
Your kitten may be licking you because she enjoys the flavor, whether it is due to the salt in your sweat or a spill on your arm.
Your cat's tongue is uniquely developed to thoroughly clean and remove debris and loose fur from its mouth and mouthpiece. Cat owners who have noticed their cat licking her hair are well aware that Fluffy's powerful tongue is capable of actually pulling some strands out of her hair when she does so. This capacity is derived from the papillae that cover it, which are hooks that face backward. The papillae actually perform the job of a comb, separating hairs and fur in order to reach the dirt beneath them.
Stopping your cat's excessive licking could prove to be a difficult task at times. Because this conduct is frequently motivated by feelings of love and affection, it may be challenging to break the cycle without endangering your relationship.
The most effective technique to keep your cat from licking is to redirect his or her actions. Simply pull your cat away from your face and pet her instead if your cat attempts to lick your face. When your cat starts licking your face, you could also move away from her. This leads her to equate her licking with your disappearance, causing her to get rid of it.
While your cat's motivations for licking are heartwarming, and her harrowing history as a kitten that was denied enough suckling is tragic, none of this will make your skin feel any better if she begins to lick it excessively.
As soon as your cat's licking becomes too much to bear, rub her away gently. Alternatively, if another portion of your body could benefit from some exfoliation, refer her there. Distracting your cat with a catnip toy or hurling a balled-up piece of paper across the room is a lot better method than trying to fight it. Your cat will understand what you are trying to tell her.
The reason your cat is constantly licking your face could be due to her profound affection for you, her desire to brand you as her property, or just because she craves attention. It's possible that it's due to stress as well. If you consider this to be the case, contact your veterinarian.
Always remember that your cat adores you and considers you a member of her feline family, regardless of what else you do. Never, therefore, should you scold or chastise her for doing what comes naturally to her.