Why Do Some Cats Lick?
Yesterday, I was introduced to my friend's new pet kitten, Speck (appropriately named as he has one distinct speck of black fur around his otherwise white mouth). When I began petting him, I immediately decided he was one of the cuddliest cats I had ever held!
He would lay on his back as I rubbed his tummy, and began to lick my hand. Obviously this made me smile. I'm not used to being licked by cats, but I must admit, it made me feel very loved!
A cat will remember the first time that it was licked by its comforting mother throughout his/her entire life. The mother begins licking her kitten as soon as possible after giving birth in order to clean any fluids from the afterbirth and to encourage the kitten to breath on its own.
Licking is also one way through which a cat marks its territory. Once licked, all other cats and animals know that these kittens belong to this mother cat.
How do the kittens feel about being licked? Well, they seem to like it! It creates a comforting feeling which serves to establish, maintain, and reinforce the bond between mother and offspring.
Once licked, kitties now understand that licking is a hygienic practice, as well as a form of endearment. So, if a cat licks you, it must mean they are cleaning you as staking a personal claim to you! And in the meantime, they're showing you how much they care!
There can be too much of a good thing, however. When a cat licks themselves too often, it may mean they are trying to relieve themselves from a skin irritation. If you cat is licking itself excessively, check for fleas, insect bites, or infections. Seek advice from a veterinarian if you find a cause or if you cat just won't stop overly licking themselves.
Does YOUR cat show affection by licking?