Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Striped kitten licking man's finger
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Though they don't have the same slobbery reputation as their canine counterparts, four-legged feline friends have been known to give all sorts of affectionate licks and kisses to humans when they want to.

General cat licking can have all sorts of behavioral explanations and motivations. But if and when they decide to lick the people caring for them, it can be a very good sign for everybody involved.

According to cat behavioral specialist Rita Reimers, kitties typically lick themselves for general grooming and survival purposes. When they lick others in their vicinity, it's a signal they've accept you and are attempting to promote a bond with you.

Cat people have already suspected kitty "kisses" are good for bonding, and have even created some unique products that help even more with this bonding process.

As a cat decides to accept you more and more into their world (and, let's face it, the world is their domain), you may find yourself getting more licks.

In general, cats may lick with the hopes of getting groomed in return. But don't worry if you're not yet an owner of a handy-dandy faux cat tongue licking device to return the favor. Reimers says that sometimes they just do it for the sake of affection, and some cats can even be trained to know and give licks willingly when asked.

Of course, if cats are licking excessively or causing hot patches on their skin, it could be a sign of distress, a health issue, or general anxiety. But, normal kisses are usually just your kitty's way of saying, "Hey. You. You're alright."

So if you're lucky enough to get a coveted kitty lick, consider it a good sign that you've been accepted into the cat's clique.