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Cats are often considered mysterious creatures whose behavior is difficult to understand. However, if you understand cat communication, you begin to see that their actions are completely in compliance with how they experience the world.
Many people wonder why their cat licks them. This is a natural part of their behavior and can convey a number of different messages. Licking is a part of cats' grooming and bonding behavior. Licking helps to remove dirt and debris from the surface of the coat.
Cats will often lick each other, especially around those hard-to-reach areas that they have difficulty cleaning themselves. This action helps to bond individual cats into their family group and also distributes their scent to the group so they can tell each other from unfamiliar cats.
Being licked by your cat means that he or she feels you are a part of the family and that you must be cared for and scented just like other family members. This is high praise indeed in the world of cat communication.
Licking is also sometimes a way for the cat to calm itself. You may want to discourage your cat from excessive licking by spraying a bit of lemon water on your skin to provide a bad taste. You can also distract your cat by giving him a cat treat or providing some playtime to divert the animal's attention.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|