This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your cat licks you when you scratch it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my cat lick me when I scratch it? Likely reasons why your cat licks you when you scratch it are that it is showing you affection, it is grooming you, or that it likes how you taste.
Your cat might actually lick you, when you scratch it, for a number of different reasons and it might do it due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Reasons why your cat licks you when you scratch it
Below are a number of possible reasons why your cat licks you when you scratch it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
It is showing affection
A possible reason 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 scratching 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 scratch it, might 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 might 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 your cat licks you 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 scratching it
It might also be the case that your cat does it because it wants you to scratch it more. This would be more likely if it rubs itself against you, purrs and brushes its head against your hand.
Things to consider about your cat licking you when you scratch it
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
If your cat has always licked you when you scratch it
If your cat did not always lick you when you scratch 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 scratching it differently.
What else is different when your cat licks you when you scratch 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 scratch it in a certain way, it might be because it likes the way you are scratching it.
What to do about your cat licking you when you scratch it
If you do not want your cat to lick you, when you scratch 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 scratching it whenever it starts licking. Doing this should teach it that licking you results in you not scratching it.
Pet it differently
Another option would be to scratch it in a way that makes it harder for your cat to licking such as by scratching 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.