If your cat licks you when you pet it, this post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my cat lick me when I pet it? Likely reasons why your cat licks you when you pet it are that it is showing you affection, it is grooming you, or that it likes how you taste.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your cat licks you when you pet it and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my cat lick me when I pet them?

Below are a number of possible reasons why your cat licks you when you pet it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

It is showing affection

A possible cause is that your cat is showing affection back to you. This would be more likely if your cat seems to be ok with the way you are petting it and it also starts purring and kneading.

It is grooming you

Cats will often groom each other to help keep their fur clean and to show affection. A part of the reason why your cat does it could be that it is grooming you. This would be more likely if your cat doesn’t only lick your hands and if it also licks things such as your hair.

It likes the taste of you

The reason why your cat licks you, when you pet it, could also be that it likes the way that you taste. This would be more likely if your cat tends to lick you more when your hands have food on them or after you have been cooking.

To mark it scent

It could also be the case that your cat has been licking you in order to mark its scent on to you. This would be more likely if your cat also rubs itself on you when it does it and if it does not only lick your hands. By marking its scent on to you, it will make it less likely that other animals will enter its territory and will help to keep it safer.

It likes the way you are petting it

It might also be the case that your cat does it because it wants you to pet it more. This would be more likely if it rubs itself against you, purrs and brushes its head against your hand.

Things to consider

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

If your cat has always licked you when you pet it

If your cat did not always lick you when you pet it, it would help to consider what else happened when your cat first started doing it. If your cat started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that your cat became more comfortable around you or because you started petting it differently.

What else is different when your cat licks you when you pet it

If your cat seems to do it more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to do it when you pet it in a certain way, it might be because it likes the way you are petting it.

What to do about your cat licking you when you pet it

If you do not want your cat to lick you, when you pet it, here are some options you have.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

It could be the case that it has learned that it gets rewarded for licking you. Instead, it could help to stop petting it whenever it starts licking. Doing this should teach it that licking you results in you not petting it.

Pet it differently

Another option would be to pet it in a way that makes it harder for your cat to licking such as by petting it on the head instead of under the chin.

Let it do it

If your cat seems to be doing it because it is showing affection, it would likely be easiest to let your cat continue doing it.

Why does my cat lick me after I pet it?

Your cat might lick you after you pet it for any of the reasons mentioned above. However, it might also be the case that it does it because it wants you to start petting it again. This would be more likely if your cat stops licking you when you start petting it again.

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.