December 10, 2018

Why does my cat lick me?

Why does my cat lick me?

(Q) Why does she lick me?

(A) Behaviourist Jon Bowen says: Cats will groom each other, but this is a display of affection and part of creating a social bond rather than anything to do with keeping each other clean.

It is interesting how much variation we see in grooming behaviour between cats. Some do it a lot, and others hardly at all. Even those who do like to groom other cats are very selective about which they will do this for.

Grooming also helps to build a ‘group odour’. Cats use this to quickly check whether a cat they meet is part of the same social group as them, which is important because in the wild a cat’s camouflaged coat would make individual identification quite difficult. It is not necessary for all cats to groom each other in order to build up this group odour, so some get away without making as much effort. 

Most likely your cat is just showing affection for you in the same way that he might for another cat – and that’s all anyone could want!

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