What’s the deal with cats licking?

Generally you’ll have either a cat that licks everything or one that doesn’t lick at all. So if your cat falls into the first category this might be the article for you! There is a fine line between determining whether the extent your cat licks is normal behaviour or if it is bordering on excessive. Keep reading to find out!

I remember as a kid I really liked the raspy feeling of my cat licking me,Unbeknown to me at the time, my cat was one that favoured licking, I have since had cats that don’t, their tongues are really rough and it used to tickle so I really enjoyed that, and I always was amazed at how cats groom themselves, from domestic cats in the household to the big wild cats, the behaviours are similar when it comes to grooming.

Grooming is an important part of a cat’s life but it’s not only grooming, that leads to licking, there are a number of other reasons why our feline friends chose to lick

Understanding why cats lick is the most important first step, and there are a multitude of reasons! Most cats are very fastidious and it is believed that the average cat will spend at least 15% of their time grooming themselves.  When it comes to licking themselves there are a variety of reasons, besides cleaning/bathing themselves, some cats lick themselves as a way to relive anxiety as grooming can give them comfort by lowering their arousal levels. This behaviour however is one to watch as it can quickly become a compulsive coping measure that can lead to a series of other problems.

Another reason cats lick themselves is for heat regulation, as licking the coat can help your cat maintain its body temperature. It works both ways though, as during the winter time they may lick their coat to smooth it down thus trapping the air and essentially creating insulation for their body heat. In summer it’s pretty self-explanatory, they lick their fur and it keeps them cool!

When it comes to licking things other than themselves, there is a list of different reasons too. When a mother cat has kittens she will partake in a particular type of grooming called ‘allogroom’ which essentially means they lick and groom cats that are close to them. This can sometimes be passed onto humans that they care about. If you’ve ever felt your cats sandpaper like tongue lick you then it’s a sure fire sign she cares about you!