My arm had gone numb and I didn’t feel the licking. Some cats are OK with snuggling, but many do not like to confined in any way, including in your arms. I think it’s just a behavior that gives her pleasure. You might be able to find a connection between something you handle and your cat taking a nip. The nose touch is an even social exchange that puts both cats in an equally vulnerable position. The other is to make them aware that they can’t react by biting. It’s worth exploring this as an option if you can rule out the other reasons I’ve listed. Cats use smell in their social interactions, to create and identify chemical cues and to locate food, enemies, and friends. Either way, allogrooming seems to be about dominance, and not really all or even mostly about showing affection to another cat. They often can be found allogrooming – licking & cleaning – felines they co-exist with, and as a result, it would make sense if they also lick human hands and fingers because they are treating you as though you were one of the clowder. I think he enjoys licking skin over clothing, for example, and considering his like of soap for the fact that it contains animal fat, and the fact that human hands have trace oils on them, I do believe this one adds up. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. One is to recognize when your cat is reaching that point. They have trouble seeing objects up close so they rely heavily on smell and touch. This makes it clear that biting is not on, and it’s not going to get them what they want. He also licks things like plastic bags and hard plastic in general. It might be a compulsive behavior (explained in more detail below), or something that feels nice or fun for them. However, when a cat is anxious, it may compulsively lick its owner's hands in order to soothe itself. I have a cat that used to do this (not as much anymore), he wanted me to clean him with what he licked. Cats are also obsessed with being warm, and the human body is a great source of heat. Such as a new arrival to the home, different food, a trip to the vets, and so on. Voted up-across and shared. Skin Odor. Dig KittyClysm? Some cats – like my first cat, Avery for instance – just don’t really seem to enjoy licking all that much, so you’ll rarely ever catch him licking fingers. The kinds of signs to look out for that your cat is reaching the point of being annoyed are: If you see any of these signs or any other signs that your cat is getting restless, stop petting them immediately. Grooming helps cats to relax and exchange scents with each other, cementing their acceptance into the colony. Cats also have a tolerance for how much stimulation they can take, and a bite is a warning that you’ve overdone it. Why does my cat sniff my face? $\begingroup$ Searching for an answer, because our cat does the same thing, she goes crazy for my hands if I've gotten plain Clorox bleach (sodium hypochlorite) on them. I loved your article, and the happy-ending stories. Don’t let your cat chew on your hands and fingers. Here are some of the most common reasons why cats react in this way: Sometimes, cats will do something they know will get your attention because they want to play. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Give your hands a good scrub before petting kitty and see if this makes a difference. Finally, I had a cat from birth (back in 2003) – and this kitty just loved to lick. I have seven cats. This is why you may notice your cat approaching a new object with caution. Why? The act of licking, like the act of kneading, is likely to be self-soothing and stress reducing, just like sucking on a thumb is for kids who still do it well past the age where it’s technically needed or useful. Cats can be very finicky and, if she just washed herself, she may not want you to put your scent on her. That’s a good point! As soon as one cat meets another they touch and sniff each other's nose. She grooms it for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day – just lick, lick, lick. When your cat does this to you, it is like giving a hug and kiss in greeting a friend. It’s called the flehmen response, a.k.a. When a cat smells our nose or mouth, they are extracting information from its most potent source. As well as nudging us, staring and blinking, weave between our legs, and even have a nip to get their point across. When they are loved and well cared for, they definitely show it in one way or another! Some cats seem to use licking as a way of telling their pet parents they’re hungry or want to play. Learn more here. Therefore it does seem a little strange that a cat should sniff us while we sleep. She is marking you with her scent but, sometimes cats smell our hands and fingers to decide whether we smell ok to touch them. I always talk to my cats, so I’d speak to them in a soft voice to reassure them too. Interrupting this behavior is equivalent to you stopping a friend from shaking hands with someone they are meeting: it can annoy or upset the friend and can make the introduction awkward. Remember, to your cat being licked feels good, it doesn't know it is hurting you. – Standards & Colors, Do Cats Have Ankles? She does not seek you out to lick you. Fond of my fluffies? I had no idea cats could do that. If you don’t have some toys or kitty furniture to help keep them amused by themselves,  you should consider it. They may enjoy the salty taste, but also may have a salt deficiency or are dehydrated and inherently crave salt, just as, for example, military soldiers are given salt tablets for hydration purposes. If so, you know it was the reason. Just be mindful of what you’re doing when it happens, where you’re petting them, how long for, and so on. As kitten rescuer Hannah Shaw writes on Instagram, it’s “a cat’s way of analyzing an unfamiliar and interesting scent. Immediately after doing it, remove your hand, and your cat should also over time develop an intuitive understanding that it’s time to stop. It gives them information about their world. When cats are comfortable with humans, they lick human hands to indicate and reinforce their feelings. Is your cat exhibiting any of the following signs? One of the most frustrating problems I’ve had to deal with as a pet parent is staying on top of my cats’ desire to play. Older cats like to chew on certain materials too. 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