I have been in cat rescue and cat care for over 30 years. I have no degree in the cat arena.
All I can offer you is my thoughts, experience, and common sense when living with cats and their many behaviors over so many years. And yes, people have referred to me as “The Crazy Cat Lady.”
While some cat owners agree that cats are a big question mark, others agree that cats are the easiest animals to understand.
All you have to do is be diligent and look for signs in your cat’s actions and behaviors to understand what your cat is trying to communicate.
You can often translate your cat’s mind into human language and answer an imminent need. The bottom line is, cats love to lick almost everything and everyone.
Why Does My Male Cat Lick My Female Cat?
It is not suitable for a cat to be alone. It is best to have two or more cats, because cats are accustomed to living together in groups. A cat develops friendships with other cats and some dogs for companionship and protection.
They keep each other busy and often spend a great deal of their day licking each other. Some cats and dogs are known to spend a lot of time licking each other as a show of affection.
It is also true that you never know how two cats will react to each other when they live together if they were not littermates who usually develop lifelong friendships.
Instead of your cats licking each other, your two cats may swat at each other as one passes by the other. Sometimes, licking is,
- A show of affection
- One is ready for play or,
- “I don’t like you much, so keep your distance.”
I have had cats that can only tolerate each other to coexist where neither would dare lick the other.
When your cat licks a female or male cat, or vice versa, and even a person, they may be displaying a few different things.
- Your male cat has developed a bond with your female cat or you.
- Cats take their bath by licking their fur. Sometimes one cat will bathe another cat or you.
- The male cat (or female cat) wants to place their scent on the other one or you.
- The most likely reason your male cat licks your female cat is that they like each other. However, unless you want a brood of little kittens, make sure your vet has spayed or neutered your cats because, in this case, licking can mean more than adoration for one another. Yet, this is not always the case.
Our Obsessive Licking Mama
Our first cat, Baby, aka Beebe, aka Mama Beebe, aka Grandma Beebe, was about one year old when we adopted her. Soon after adopting her, she had two kits (one died a few weeks later.)
Shortly afterward, she had a second litter of three before it was OK to get her spayed. About a year later, she became a grandmother of six, thanks to one of her sons and a sweet one-year-old female named Silly, my son rescued from a college dorm.
We experienced three litters because a cat was not ready to be neutered or spayed. However, they were ready to mate and have families, go figure. Beebe started me on my path toward being “A Crazy Cat Lady.”
Mama Beebe spent her days bathing herself by licking her whole body, including ears, toes, nose, hinny, and everything in between. When she was done, she ran around licking each of her four adult kits.
She began on all six of Mama Silly’s kits when she finished her four kits. Silly looked like a princess and acted like it was beneath her dignity to take care of all those kits.
She was too young and did not know how to be a mama to six babies. Silly would make sure she fed them all, and then when she was done feeding, grandma Beebe took over.
The father, Mama Beebe’s son, Pudge, now known as Papa Pudge Bear, was a doting father. He did his share of licking, in addition to teaching all the kids to climb up on my sofa and hunt inside the house.
A study by the University of Georgia several years ago found that there is a lot of licking between littermates, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews.
As you can imagine,
- Beebe’s days were full. As I watched Mama Beebe’s routine, I discovered that she was an excellent mama who deserved a gold medal in licking. She deeply loved and adored her brood, and it was never beneath her dignity to give one of her kits or grandkits a swat if they were naughty. Does this sound familiar?
Why Does My Male Cat Lick and Bite My Female Cat?
We have already covered the whys and wherefores of a male cat licking a female cat, and there is not too much more to add.
However, because of all the licks your female cat is receiving from your male cat, you wonder why the male cat is biting your female cat. A couple of reasons for this are:
- Showing male dominance
- Showing affection and interest in mating
- Is in pain or not feeling well
- Part of the grooming process
As I have watched my male and female cats lick, there seems to be some method to this madness.
What I usually observe in any of our cats is lick, lick, lick, bite, bite, bite, lick, lick, lick, and this process continues whether they are licking themselves or another cat. I always felt that this was part of the grooming process.
I have never had a cat injured by another biting too hard.
Why Does My Male Cat Bite My Female Cat’s Neck?
Sometimes there is no reason why cats do what cats do, much like us humans. I have been around cats long enough to tell anyone that cats are one of the most amazing animals.
When a male cat consistently bites a female cat’s neck, it is usually a big part of its mating behavior, but not always. Your female cat may allow your male cat to let this happen a few times before she exits the area. Other reasons may be perhaps,
- A show of dominance
- A marking of the female
- A sign of illness
- A sign of wanting to play
Our youngest cat is a male. Lil’ Luke is three years old. His close friend is our female cat, Willow, six years old. Lil’ Luke has more energy and wants to play much of the time with Willow, who is older and has less energy.
When Lil’ Luke wants to play, he may or may not start biting her neck. When she is not in the mood to play, she gives him a swat, a hiss, and walks away.
Both cats have been spayed or neutered. However, spaying and neutering is never a guarantee of any hanky-panky. In the case of these two cats, we have seen no evidence of them wanting to mate, and it seems all about play.
If this neck biting is all about mating, the male must stimulate the female’s hormones by biting her neck so she can become pregnant. This neck biting process is necessary to hold the female in place.
It sounds as though the male is hurting the female. However, his bites are not hard, nor do they cause even a minor injury to the female.
Why is My Male Cat Licking My Female Kitten’s Privates?
- Grooming and teaching this kitten how to keep clean
- A bonding process
- The show of affection towards the kitten
- Becoming a protector of the kitten, transferring its scent to this kitten
How to Get My Male Cat to Leave My Female Cat Alone?
It makes a difference if you are a cat breeder or you simply love to care for cats. I am not a breeder, but my youngest, Lil’ Luke, enjoys picking on two of our sister cats, who are 13 years old.
He knows they do not like this but continues to do it anyway because he knows he can do it.
One sister always comes to the rescue of their sister by hissing and swatting Lil’ Luke. We intervene and separate them for a while. However, later we may see them all curled up on the couch or bed napping together as though nothing ever happened.
We found them licking each other. If Lil’ Luke comes into the house from the porch, one sister, Isabella, always has to say hello by rubbing Luke’s nose, and she tries to lick Luke’s head. I believe they cannot hate each other that much.
Another idea is to keep a spray bottle of water nearby. Most cats hate water, and one quick spray of water when your cat is naughty is enough to tell them that they best not do what they are doing if they don’t want to get wet.
If you are a cat breeder, you probably already know the drill on how to keep a male away from a female. Breeders seem to all agree for the most part in taking the following steps to keep a male away from a female cat in heat.
- Find a safe, comfortable place for the male cat apart from the female cat and provide essentials such as a litter pan, fresh daily food, water, bedding, and favorite toys.
- When you care for your male cat, be sure to wear a covering on your clothes to keep their scent off you.
- Male cats know when a female is in heat and can become a Houdini escape artist trying to get to your female cat. Keep your male inside a firmly closed room.
- Never overly fuss when visiting your female kitty, since she may pick up the male’s scent on your clothing.
After considering all the information on why a male cat licks a female cat, I believe the answer is simple from my years of personal observation. Licking is the normal progression of things in the life of a cat.