Do you ever wonder why does my cat lick me?
Well, this is something that most cat owners find weird. It seems very strange coming from the pet, which isn’t usually that much affectionate or caring. So, today, we are going to explore why cats exhibit this kind of behavior towards their owner and other people.
We will discuss every aspect of this behavior to understand- what does it mean when a cat licks you. Let’s take a deeper dive and learn more about your lovely cats.
Cats Don’t Just Lick Your Hair
If you think that it is just hair cats will lick, then you are wrong, my friend. They lick some other parts of your body as well. We all know that animals lick themselves for grooming purposes. And this is similar to that habit. That’s why cats put so much effort into licking your hair and some other parts of your body, such as:
- Top of your head
- Edge of your hair tips
- Your beard (if you are a man)
- Your brows
For cats, all your body hairs are similar. They don’t care about the length of the hair; they’ll do it whenever they feel like grooming you. And if your hairs are wet sometimes, then they might lick them for water as well.
Now, it is time to learn the various reasons for the question, ‘why does my cat lick my hair’. Let’s talk about the motivation behind this, and we’ll know our pets a little better.
Reasons Why Felines Wants to Lick You
We have gathered up all the possible reasons why cats lick humans. As far as we know, most animals express their emotions with their actions. Let’s discover them one by one to understand what emotion your cat is trying to convey.
1. Cats Want to Keep Their Loved Ones Healthy
Before you try to figure out what does it mean when a cat licks you, notice their behavior. They do the same with their own body and their offspring. And all this effort signifies that they want to keep you healthy as well. People ask,- why does my cat lick my hair after a shower. The answer lies in the behavior.
It means that they are trying to do one of the following things:
- Lick some left out food particles or crumbs on your body.
- They want to clean you.
- They are licking off the water droplets from your skin.
Cats are very different from other animals. Instead of usually letting their owners pet them, they pet their humans. So, if your cat is grooming you by licking, it means she likes you.
2. Licking Is Cat’s Basic Instinct
This point is tied to the first point as cats lick to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy. It is their basic instinct as their mothers did the same with them. The habit develops from the moment they are born. And as the cat gets older, they do it more frequently. So, if you can’t understand- why does my cat lick my hair, then it’s because:
- His/her mother developed this habit
- She is trying to figure out your scent
If the cat’s mother didn’t make it a regular habit for them, then cats will do this less frequently. One other reason to do this is to figure out the scent of their owners or the person they just met. Social cats love to do this. So, don’t think that this is a sign of disdain. It is just a natural way of expressing their love for people around them.
3. Cats-Licking Is a Sign of Affection
- Your cat has chosen you to be a part of her/his group.
- The cat likes you a lot.
- They want to take care of you.
If you observe that whenever you lie down or sit beside them, then they are mostly doing it for grooming purposes. For cats, this is a very intimate thing. However, for us humans, this habit can be very annoying sometimes. They leave drool over the surface they lick, sometimes pull the hairs, and the most irritating thing is the tongue feels rough.
No matter how much you love or they love you, after a certain point, this habit will become intolerable. Still, we would suggest that you try to get humanely rid of this habit.
4. Cats Exhibit Territorial Behavior
People who want to know- ‘why does my cat nuzzle my hair?’ will find this familiar. Marking the territory is a behavior that is exhibited by all animals. And felines aren’t much different in this aspect. So, if you are in doubt, why does my cat lick my hair, then now you know that they are marking their territory.
If they lick you in the following patterns, it means that they are marking their territory:
- Rubbing their body on you
- Trying to lick to remove the scent from your body
- Continuous licking abrasively
Cats don’t usually push so hard to lick unless they want you to smell like them. Again, this is a marking that you are a part of her pack and wants to make sure that you know this as well. If they smell other cats or dogs or any other animal on your body, then they will lick you until the scent goes away.
5. Cats Lick to Relieve Stress
Another way licking connects to grooming is that cats lick when they are stressed.
They do this because of the following reasons:
- It feels good.
- It helps in getting rid of the dirt.
- They are soothing a particular part of the body.
If you are wondering why cats lick that often, then you should know this. Licking feels like a massage for the cats. However, with humans, licking is a bit ticklish. Cats don’t even realize that, but it can be a little bit abrasive for humans sometimes.
If you have a couple of cats or more, then you’ll experience this kind of behavior from them. They lick you obsessively to intimidate the other cat, chase them away, or show the other cat that the human is like their property. Still, it is better to lick than pee for marking the territory.
6. Social Behavior
For all felines, licking is a social behavior. It is one of the best ways to communicate with others for all cats. Why do cats lick humans? Here are some of the reasons:
- They want a friendly relationship.
- They like to groom you.
- Licking spread their scent, which means that you two now share a bond.
- They are trying to create a family smell.
So, whenever you notice a cat licking you abruptly, you don’t have to wonder the answers anymore.
Why Cats Prefer to Lick Hairs Though?
Once you know- ‘why does my cat lick my hair?’, you must be thinking why the cats are attracted to hairs so much. The reasons are as follow:
- Cats are furry animals, and humans are not. So, hairs are the only part of our body that makes them feel some relation with humans.
- If you have fuller eyebrows, then they will lick those hairs too.
- Some people have very soft and smooth body hairs, just like our furry little friends. So, they like to lick the human’s hair as they like to lick their body hairs as well.
As long as the cats are licking the hairs, things will be fine. You might feel a little bit annoyed; still, it can be a very sweet thing. However, sometimes cats become very aggressive while licking and end up ingesting the hair, which can be bad for them. So, if the habit gets out of control, then you need to stop them before they end up hurting you or themselves.
So, now the question becomes, is it okay for my cat to lick my hair?
How to Stop Your Cat’s Frequent Licking Habit?
You now probably know about what does it mean when a cat licks you.
But, wondering how you can stop this licking behavior? Do you feel irritated when they do this more often? Well, there are certain things you can try for your cat, so they don’t bother you as much:
- Begin with moving your head away when they begin to lick your hair.
- Put something citrus in the hair products you use as that’s a repulsive smell to a cat.
- Don’t look at, touch, or talk your cat when they try to do this behavior.
- Get up and try to leave whenever they do it.
- If you are in a bed, then try to cover your head with something such as a blanket. However, be cautious because your cat may see this as a game like a hide-and-go-seek.
- You can try moving your hair from your cat’s reach.
These above are some personal, proactive things you can try to do if your cat is very infuriating with the hair licking activity. Of course, there are other things that you can try into your cat’s environment to stop this behavior.
The following are some different ways you can try:
- Use food dispensing toys.
- Give your cat frozen cat food that’s spread on a plate before going to bed.
- Buy one or more fuzzy stuffed toy for your cat.
These things might be sufficient to deter your cat from hair licking behavior if that’s something bothering you very much.
Things To Avoid
Cat owners wonder, is it okay for my cat to lick my hair? And as a result, they mostly don’t try to stop them. But if they are doing it excessively, getting rid of this habit becomes vital. Still, there’s one thing that you should not do, and it is to push your cat away or pet her back. Of course, that’s not the message you like to give. Isn’t it right?
If you try to do this, then it will certainly speak the following:
- That you love it.
- If you push your cat away, it is considered as a game by your cat.
- They will continue with hair licking activity.
In essence, this is behavior reinforcement. And reinforcement is not good for a cat because if you try to do that, then it speaks the following.
- That it is okay.
- You love or like this behavior.
- That they should continue doing it.
- If you try to respond in a way that perhaps be deemed playful, then your cat will think that this is a game or playtime when it’s surely not the case at all.
Therefore, if you don’t like to deal with your pet being annoying, then you should be cautious and don’t prompt reinforcement.
Cat Grooming: It Isn’t Always Bad
It’s worth mention here in our post, why do cats lick humans that cat grooming isn’t always a negative thing. Indeed, it should speak the following things most of the times:
- Big compliment.
- A sign of care or affection.
- It’s exactly the kitty corresponding petting.
Therefore, don’t be very put off by this behavior. Indeed, it’s simply what cats do.
Being a cat owner, you shouldn’t be offended by your cat grooming.
Last Few Words
Cats can be mysterious creatures when it comes to their behavior. Fortunately, we have figured out what does it mean when a cat licks you. Whether it is for grooming, communication, or to seek your attention, cats also like to be loved and give it back. Therefore, as a cat owner, it is our duty that we don’t get offended by this habit. Now that you know- why does my cat lick my hair, it’s because he/she loves you.