Why Do Cats Lick? Cat’s Licking Behaviour

Why do CATS LICK? In animals, hygiene is just as important as it is with humans. It is one of the most basic needs that exist and, of course, you must have them well covered if you decide to welcome a cat (or more!) at home. Knowing how to carry out this responsibility implies learning in depth about the characteristics of each pet, as there are cases in which the animal in question only needs a little help, something that is due to the fact that they already take care of their own hygiene.


This is, in fact, the case for cats. Accustomed to grooming themselves and other cats with their tongues, you have probably observed this behavior on more than one occasion. If you have them at home, surely you have seen it, but… why is this really? if you want to discover why do cats lick themselves and if this behavior can lead to a problem, at OneHOWTO we recommend that you continue reading this article.


Why do cats lick their fur?

Before delving into why cats wash with their tongues, it is important to note that they have almost 500 taste buds on their tongues that allow them to properly wet the base of their fur. Due to these licks, cats get keep your hair soft and avoid the formation of uncomfortable knots.

Another factor that explains why cats lick their fur is that, in this way, they manage to remove external parasites such as fleas, as well as traces of dirt deposited on the body. Their saliva contains great cleaning power that allows them to maintain good hygiene by licking, so it is correct to say that cats lick themselves to groom themselves and maintain optimal hygiene.

Physically, the perspiration of cats is only produced by the pads of the paws, so in very hot times, licking allows them to cool down the body and protect yourself from such heat. Finally, it should be noted that thanks to the licking of the fur, cats stimulate your blood flow.

Why Cats Lick - Why Cats Lick Their Fur

Why do cats lick each other?

A frequently observed behavior between cats that live together is mutual grooming. If you wonder why cats lick each other, there are three main reasons:


Licking between cats is part of their social relationships. It is a show of affection and affection towards the other feline, a gesture that expresses trust and complicity between them. In this case, the licks serve to strengthen their bond and show that they are relaxed in coexistence. To express all these things, the licks are usually directed at the ears and the facial area.

family bond

Many adult cats lick their young to forge a family identity and mark territorythat is, notify other cats that those puppies are theirs.

The licking between puppies and between parents and members of a litter is essential to strengthen emotional and family ties and have a differential aroma from the rest of the feline families. If you notice that your cat licks you regularly, it is a great sign: he considers you a member of the family.


Taking in a cat at home is not always easy, since the adaptation process is sometimes complex (especially if you already have other felines in the home). If you get your cat to socialize quickly with his new family, he’ll be more relaxed and open to getting to know you, and at that point, they’ll start licking each other like sign of welcome, affection and protectionsince the new member will be as loved as the rest of the cats.

Why Cats Lick - Why Cats Lick Each Other

Why do cats lick when you touch them?

To finish discovering why cats lick themselves, it is important to know the reasons why they lick themselves or lick you when you touch them. One of those reasons, as we have explained previously, is that they consider you part of their family and that is how they express their affection towards you.

Another factor that explains this behavior is territoriality. The cats are especially territorial, and it is through personal hygiene that they maintain an aroma with which they mark distances and show that certain places belong to them. So if you notice them preening right after petting or playing with them, don’t worry: it’s a way to recover the smell that characterizes them.

Discover here other 10 signs that my cat loves me.

Why Cats Lick - Why Cats Lick When You Touch Them

What happens if cats lick themselves a lot?

licking in cats not always positive, because if this is excessive, it can lead to some consequences that should be taken into account. In this case, the most serious thing that can happen is that your cat begins to present skin and hair problemsbecause having such a rough tongue, it is possible that the licks are accompanied by irritations, wounds or even hair loss in very severe cases.

In case this starts to happen, you should take into account what causes excessive licking of your cat The most common options are the following:

  • psychological or physical discomfort: it is possible that your cat has a clear ailment and licks itself to try to alleviate the discomfort of said problem (dermatitis, wounds, etc.) If you physically believe that your cat is fine, it is possible that it suffers from stress or boredom, because in these cases cats tend to lick themselves out of restlessness. Don’t hesitate to take your pet to the vet if you think he may be suffering from any ailment, and if you think his licking is a consequence of stress or boredom, spend more time with him or her; Here you will discover which are the best toys for cats. Catnip can also help you, a plant that we talk about in more detail in this article on Catnip: what it is, what it is for and properties.
  • Stains: Excessive licking can also sometimes be due to the appearance of a stain, however, in these cases the licking should subside once the area is completely clean. If it is a difficult stain to remove, help your pet to wash its fur well.
  • External parasites or allergies: Finally, it is possible that your cat licks itself excessively due to the presence of parasites such as ticks or fleas. We help you find out with this article on How to know if my cat has ticks and this other one on How to know if my cat has fleas.
Why cats lick themselves - What happens if cats lick themselves a lot

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