Does your cat ever lick you? Licking is a natural behavior for cats, but to us humans, it can come across as a little odd. If your cat is licking you excessively, there could be a few reasons why. Let’s take a look.
There are a few reasons why cats lick. First and foremost, cats lick themselves and each other as a method of grooming. Cat also use licking as a sign of affection. When cats lick themselves, it releases endorphins — the hormones that increase feelings of pleasure.
A cat licking its paw may be grooming itself- or it could potentially have an injury on its paw. You may notice your cat licking other objects, too. A cat licking a blanket might be signaling that they feel safe, happy, and comforted. A cat licking their owner might be trying to communicate something entirely different.
If your cat licks you on a regular basis, he or she might be expressing affection toward you, just like they would to another cat. If you react to your cat’s licking by petting them or talking to them, they may lick you to get attention. Cats can also sometimes lick humans to mark them as part of their group, or to simply explore the taste of the lotion on your skin. They may also be stressed.
However, if your cat seems to only lick you when in a new environment or stressful situation, it could be because they feel anxious, so pay attention to the context in which your cat licks you. For instance, a cat who licks you when you have company might be feeling stressed, but a cat that does it when you’re relaxing on the couch together probably just feels safe.
Too much licking might signal a problem.
If your cat licks itself enough that it causes hair loss or an excessive number of hairballs, this is something your vet needs to look into. Your cat may have parasites or a neurological disease. In other cases, excessive grooming might be stress related. Environmental factors such as loud noises or moving to a new home can give cats anxiety, so consider any additional factors that may be at play.
Licking can be dangerous depending on what your cat licks. If your cat licks peppermint oil, call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline right away. Peppermint essential oils are poisonous to cats. If your cat licks flea medicine, it can be toxic as well.
If you notice your cat excessively licking objects like blankets, dirt, elastics, plastic bags, and other inedible items, he or she may have something called pica disorder. This can be caused by nutritional deficiencies or gastrointestinal issues5. Speak with your vet to rule out any underlying issues.
The bottom line is if your cat is licking itself or other objects excessively, it could be normal. Or it could call for a trip to the vet. In cases like this, it’s good to have an active MetLife Pet Insurance1 policy2, should you choose to take your cat to the vet.
Looking for more ways to protect your kitty? Consider investing in a cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Our cat insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your kitties deserve. Get your free quote today.