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Cat Licking Hand

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My new cat seems to lick my hand as a sign of affection. However, I just read on another website that licking is not a good thing. It didn't elaborate why, however, and it has me mystified. Why would this be bad? Is it a health thing or a behavioral thing?
post #2 of 18
Hmm that's interesting.. I have never heard of that being a bad thing I think its cute and a sign of affection.
post #3 of 18
He's softening you up for the kill!!

It's affection, that's why this site rocks... we have the RIGHT answer(s).
post #4 of 18
I agree with the others....licking is a positive thing. The only downside is that their tongues are rough, so sometimes it might hurt. I don't think the folks on the other site know what they are talking about!
post #5 of 18
In general, licking is a great thing; it's your cat showing affection. There's only one case where I can think of it as a bad thing. Some cats bite you when you're petting them (overstimulation), and I've heard of a couple of cases where the cat learned to lick the hand instead of biting to tell the owner that they've had enough (because they were somehow reprimanded for biting). I doubt that this fits your case though, so enjoy the free skin peel
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
I agree. I see nothing wrong with it. I only see positives. Socks clearly loves us.

She showed up one day on our back porch (just four months ago). Little did we know at the time she had kittens! I think that's why she was there--she was looking for help! Pretty smart cat if you ask me--going door to door looking for a home for her kids.

The day after we decided to take care of her, my 5-year-old daughter went out to her playhouse and she said, "Mommy, mommy! Look!!" My wife said, "Not now, we have to go!" My daughter fires back, "But Mommy, we have kittens!" My wife says exasperated, "WHAT???!!!"

So we raised these three cute kittens until they were big enough that we gave them to a local pet store. It was sad but there was no way we could take care of four cats let alone one! One was yellow striped, another was pure black but really fluffy, and the other was grey striped. Funny that they were so different and they had unique personalities too. We figured that out after only a few minutes with them.

The most shocking thing was that Socks appeared to be only a year old. She is so little! It was the furthest thing from our minds that a cat this size could have three kittens.

Anyway, this cat is really gentle and shows her affection readily. She loves to play with our daughter--they run around the house all the time with the cat chasing her and a shoe string. She has never scratched us.

We have been blessed with such a beautiful, loving cat.
post #7 of 18
My tabby Oscar will lick my face or arm and purr when he knows that it is time for bed. That is his way of telling me goodnight every night since he was a little bitty thing.
post #8 of 18
The only thing that I can think of is a possible spread of cat-scratch-fever, which contrary to some beliefs, is contained within the mouth and not on their paws. People can get it from being scratched if the infected cat licks their paws. Perhaps that is where they are coming from with this article?!?!?
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
"People can get it from being scratched if the infected cat licks their paws."--Momofmany

Can you post some references to this because for the life of me I can't find anything on the internet. I haven't found any website yet that definitively states the mechanism. It seems to be quite a mystery. The only thing I've found is that researchers have never found any of the suspected bacteria on a cat's claws--but that doesn't say anything about the mechanism of action. Please let us know some sites. Thanks.
post #10 of 18
Here are a couple of websites. You can find hundreds of references if you do a google search on "cat scratch fever". You are right - there is a lot of inconclusive studies on the topic. This probably doesn't tell you any more than you have already read.
post #11 of 18
Peedoodle and Kahu always lick me, Peedoodle likes to lick me between the eyes and on the nose, I like to think of it as his kitty kisses, Kahu licks my hands and fingers, sometimes he will try and chew on them lightly - that is his way of showing affection.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
See, that's what I'm saying. Neither of these articles says anything about the mechanism. It's anyone's guess at this time. Saying that a person can get cat scratch fever from a cat licking its paws is not necessarily true. We know that they haven't found the suspected bacteria on a cat's claws, but we don't know that the cat necessarily has to deposit them there from their saliva. Sounds plausable to me though.

If saliva were the culprit you would think that you could get cat scratch fever from licking or from kissing a cat (we all know you do this--admit it!) But as we know from AIDs, what you think and what is reality are two very different things.

I do agree though that it is a possibility. Fortunately, cat scratch fever is rare and it seems to be more prevalent in kittens.

Excuse me while I have a drink-->

post #13 of 18
Molly always licks our hands. . . . usually when we are petting her head. . . . she wants us to "clean" her head with her saliva (that's our theory anyway!).

post #14 of 18
Ashley licks me too. The one time I thought was completely odd of her, was back in 1997 or so.

She was pregnant and while in bed (she always sleeps next to me) she started kneeding really harshly and purring like she had a megaphone hooked up. She purred and kneeded and purred and licked. She licked my arms, my face... I thought this was really odd, as usually she's not THIS clingy.

Came home from school the next day. She had kittens. I think she was trying to use me as a bed.
post #15 of 18
Legolas is the licky one in my house. It doesn't matter what you're doing he will come to you and just start licking your fingers, hands and yes even parts of your face. As for the reason why, I have no clue.

There is one strange thing about Legolas though and that would be his tongue. It's not rough like it should be it's actually nice and smooth. I love it when I get licks from Legolas he starts purring and I start smiling.

He's a great cat even though he chose my hubby over me and my hubby didn't want him in the first place. My hubby wanted Aragorn but Aragorn chose me. TeeHee
post #16 of 18

Cat licking is very good, because they are happy and it is their showing of affection BUT.... if you let them lick you in the same spot for a long time, they will unintentionally lick your skin raw...

My neighbor's kitty was happily licking y hand, when her mother told me about licking my hand raw...and he hadnt done it for tooo long but it had been about a half hour or more that he had been licking my knuckle.

When I went to bed about 2 hours later, i found that my knuckle was sore and became chapped and itchy. I had to keep cream and vasoline on it because it hurt (not very much..but it was itchy sort of pain) and im not even allergic to the cats, but it made that little spot he had been licking a little sore.....


had i let him lick it longer, he may have accidentally licked me a bit raw...and make me really chapped (bleed a little).

post #17 of 18
I was wondering more about the meaning of licking. My cat licks when she is in a good mood or I just get home or I just wake up. I think she is happy to see me. She licks all over. Not just one spot, thankfully. And don't cats that live together lick each other, like to clean one another? I figure she thinks I'm one of her crew! Haha! She did scare a guest who had never been lucked by a cat and the guest thought she was biting her and got scared! I said that the guest was my Kitty's now! I haven't ever heard it was a bad thing either...I know this is a pretty old post...sorry!
post #18 of 18

It could be your cat is bonding with you.One of my cats will completely groom and lick my head and my hands and will also give me little massages on my arm.I have 3 cats all together and all 3 lick on me.One likes to lick my forehead.

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