Some cats just love to lick their owners. Hands, ears, toes, hair- nothing is off limits!
It would be really nice if we could ask our kitties this directly, until then here are some explanations as for why.
- Maybe you just taste good
- They just love you. Mummy cats lovingly lick their young, and bonded cats groom each other, they must just be showing the same expression of love to you
- It comforts them- it may be a stress relieving exercise for them and a throwback to the comforting days of grooming with mum
- They want your attention. Licking at night might wake you up reliably for example, and get them that attention when they want it (they’re not silly!)
- They are establishing their territory- being you!
- They aren’t well- a problem with the gut can result in more licking.
Should I be worried?
If your kitty isn’t much of a licker but is suddenly now doing it and skin, hair, or other objects are all fair game, it’s a good idea to have them checked out by your local veterinarian to rule out an internal health issue (particularly gut issue) as the cause.
If you’re wearing a medicated cream on your skin you should definitely be worried if your cat is licking at this. They could be swallowing some of it. Even regular creams could be a concern- best to chat to a vet about this.
Something you’d rather avoid?
If the feeling of your kitty’s raspy tongue on your skin is unnerving and you’d rather go without, the main aim is to avoid the behaviour as much as possible so you don’t reinforce the habit. Firstly prevent access and keep yourself covered up! Also learn the cues from your cat that they are about to start licking and redirect their attention to something else, such as a toy or game they like.