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Why Do Cats Lick Us?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sometimes when we reach over to pet our kitties, or just lie down next to them on the bed, they reach out their paws and put one or both of them on our hand or arm or head - then they'll reach over and start licking our fingers. Or our forehead or nose - or whatever's there.

Is there something tasty or salty there that they're interested in? Or is it like the grooming thing they do with each other? Are we part of "the gang" so to speak? IS it a kind of affection? We sure want to think so, but thought I'd ask if anyone knew.

post #2 of 14
Laurie, I heard it's because they think we are kittens and therefore they are grooming us because they think we're unable to look after ourselves.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yola - love that one! LOL!!!!
post #4 of 14
Laurie, We alternate between Mommy and kitten. When they bathe us, or bring us a tasty mouse for dinner, we are their kittens; when they knead us (I call it making bread on us), we are the mommies. They also enjoy our slightly salty taste. Then, there is a story which I think will explain the most important reason.

My sister does not like cats, (but she fed a feral mother and her kittens years ago) but we had kittens and who can resist? So she was lying on the couch and I put two kittens on her abdomen. She was enjoying them until Mother Cat came looking. She picked each one up and carried it back to my bedroom, where she gave the kittens a VERY thorough bath. My sister marveled at the mothering skills cats have. I laughed, and said, "I distinctly heard Fluffy saying, 'I just can't stand that people smell in the house!' "

Maybe that's the real reason we get bathed! :laughing2
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Jeanie, that's great!
post #6 of 14
I like to think it's a sign of affection, but after seeing Yola's theory I may change my mind.

Corky is an avid cleaner, especially of Jinxy, she never seems to be content untill she ha spent a good 10-15 mins of grooming us all.

post #7 of 14
Laurie, I can't resist telling that story, because it happened. However, everything else I put in that post is a fact, according to all the books I've read on cat behavior. According to the literary poetic fallacy, animals don't have human characteristics, but I think that is often not the case. I do believe they feel affection, sadness, loneliness, etc. Therefore I believe the poetic fallacy to be a fallacy!
post #8 of 14
My kitty Jo Jo licks and kneads at the same time. She drools on me when she does it. I assume she is "nursing".
post #9 of 14
Suki licks my hair all the time. She's like grooming me
post #10 of 14
Suki the brylcreme eating cat - don't deny it, I've seen the picture . . .
post #11 of 14
Sorry this is a long story!!! Read only if bored LOL!

I had a black kitty when I was a little girl named Peeps! We got her when she was extremely young as I recall the people that owned the mother just wanted them out so anyway I used to go play with them and always love the little black one because it was the runt of the little and the tiniest little thing! When they told me they were going to give them away that weekend they asked if I wanted one (I was about 4-5 years old) I said yes and put her in my pocket and went home. My poor mother was used to me bringing things home from chameleons, baby scorpions (I was born is Sth Africa) to stray dogs, cats and people (what can I say) so she said I could keep her.

I know this sound like it has nothing to do with this post but I am getting there hehehe!!

This cat and I had an incredible bond, I used to dress her up in dolls clothes and wheel her around in a dolls pram till my mum would take pity and rescue her LOL! She always stayed there until I finished playing though. She used to sit on my comic books or home work so that I would play with her instead. Now I am sure I used to mother her but when she got to be over a year old she started mothering me big time!!!! I used to wake up crying in the middle of the night because she used to sit on my head and proceed to lick me until my hair was completely plastered to my head in one great big spit ball! She also used to follow me around and meow if I disappeared from sight!

I got a tortoise for a pet and she used to watch over him also, when he was outside she used to pat him away from stairs or the balcony and guard him! We went over seas and my darling cat mummy went into quarantine so that she could come with us but sadly she refused to eat and became very weak and caught pneumonia and died! She just didn't understand that we would be together again! Sometimes at night I still feel her jump onto the bed and sit by my feet! I know that sounds weird and funny but I still miss her so much and it's 30 years ago!

My other furbabies also lick me and pad! Tatyana is the most affectionate cat I've had since Peeps and will smooch and head butt and dribble and pad and lick all at the same time so we kinda get in a bit of a mess but it's worth it! Now!!! how to stop her doing it at 5am in the morning hmmmmmm........
post #12 of 14
Bundy - Aw that's a lovely story and sad at the same time. They say that people with close bonds to animals are still close even when they die.

Yola - Are you trying to say my hair is greasy? Okay it was, I'd been out and got wet through, and it dried badly. I never use Bril creme, I have my own grease and it's free.......EEK!
post #13 of 14
I have felt a cat jump on my bed when neither of them was in the bedroom. I think it was my special black cat, Pixie, the Royal Pix, the world's greatest furry purrer and bed buddy, who died 5 years ago. In fact, I feel sure of that. I always say, "Hi, Pix!" I know it's impossible, but I am pleased to hear that someone else has had that experience. Has anyone else out there had an old friend jump on the bed?
post #14 of 14
Yes I too have heard that they are "grooming" us, very much like they do themselves.

Whatever Jedi's reason is for licking, I don't care. I LOVE when he does it...it is like HIS way of saying the HE loves ME!
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