Licking is usually associated with dogs, but some cat owners find that their cats also like to lick people. Licking also plays an important social role in cats. Studies have shown that an adult domestic cat spends 8% of the awake time grooming their body.
The grooming behavior of cats is a way of social connection. Just as big cats and kittens lick each other's fur, and even help blood unrelated cats groom their fur, cats that groom each other get along better with each other. Under normal circumstances, cats will lick the places they cannot lick for each other, such as their heads and ears. When two cats are grooming each other, they can exchange each other's taste, and the familiar taste will enhance their relations.
So why does the cat lick its owner?
1. Trust the owner
Adult cats will only lick cats they trust and are not competitors. This kind of trust grooming behavior may be transferred to humans. After all, cats don’t think that I am a cat and you are a human being. For them, animals are either competing with them or not. Licking the owner can show that he trusts his owner and does not regard the owner as a competitor.
2. Express needs
When a cat has a need, such as hungry, bored, or litter box is dirty, he will lick the owner. At this time, the cat is actually asking the owner for help.
3. Interested in the smell of the owner
Cats’ taste buds are very sensitive. They can smell human skin, including pheromone secretions from other animals. It may be the smell of salt, moisturizer, or other food on the owner’s hands. For cats, all of these are interesting scents, which can be found with a lick.
4. Declare sovereignty
Cats generally use urine to mark their own areas and objects, but there are exceptions. If the cat keeps licking the owner and rubbing against the owner, it is because the cat wants to leave its own scent on the owner and tell others animal this people belong to him.
If the cat is licking his owner all the time, and always in the same part, this indicates that the cat may feel stressed or anxious, so he is licking to relieve emotions. At this time, the owner should carefully observe the cat's source of stress and accompany the cat more.