Cats lick themselves constantly to keep clean. However, some also do this to their owners and other people they are bonded to. They may lick not only for grooming purposes, but also as a sign of affection. But what does it mean if your cat licks you after your shower? In this article, we discuss some of the reasons cats might do this, and other facts about licking.
Why does my cat lick me after I shower?
Your cat may be trying to help you groom.
Cats lick and bite at their fur when they groom themselves or other cats. Your cat may be applying this behavior to you when you step out of the shower. She may try to clean the water or moisture from your skin in an attempt to groom you, just as she would her fellow cats.
Your cat is marking you as part of her territory.
When you take a shower, scents are washed off your body. If your cat had previously rubbed against your feet or licked your hand, these scents will be gone after you have showered. Your cat licks you after you come out of the shower to mark you again. This is her way of establishing her scent on you just as a mother cat would lick her kittens when they return to her from the outside world.
Your cat may also be marking you before you go outside so that no other cat will “claim” you. Some cat owners even believe that their cats lick them after a shower because they do not smell “right”, so the cat is fixing this by licking them.
Your cat may be anxious or concerned about you.
Most cats avoid being near water, although certain breeds like Maine Coons adore it. When you go into the shower, your cat may become anxious or concerned. They know what it feels like to be uncomfortably wet, so their reaction when you come out is to lick or bite you as a fearful response, and to reassure themselves that you are alright after being in the water.
Some cat owners theorize that their cats may lick them after a shower because they like water. As mentioned above, some cat breeds adore water and may even swim in the tub or pool. Another cat parent notes that her cat may be licking her after she showers because her kitty was simply thirsty.
What does it mean when your cat licks you?
Cats do not lick only to groom themselves; licking can also have other meanings. When they lick their owners or favorite humans, it could mean that they are taking ownership of you or marking you as part of their territory or clan. It could also be their way of returning the favor when you are petting them.
Your cat may also lick you because your skin is salty, which tastes good to her, or she may lick you to get your attention. Felines will also lick their humans to clean or groom them, and some do it because it relaxes and calms them to be near their humans’ scent. However, in some cats, this behavior could be a sign that they are stressed or anxious.
Ways to stop your cat from licking you
If you become uncomfortable when your cat licks you, do not punish her. Instead, distract her and train her with repetition. Observe her behavior to know when the licking is about to start, and redirect her with catnip toys, cat grass or food-dispensing puzzle toys.
Excessive licking in cats may be due to insufficient nursing when they were kittens, resulting in a form of oral fixation. This is usually the culprit if a cat is a compulsive biter or licker. Try giving your cat a fuzzy blanket, a stuffed animal toy or a companion cat if she tends to lick excessively. Redirect her actions and, if nothing works, just walk away. Your cat will eventually learn that you do not enjoy being.
Cats are clean animals that spend a lot of time licking and grooming themselves. They may also lick their owners and other favorite humans. This may be to groom them as they would another cat, or to show affection.
If your cat licks you after your shower, she could be marking you as her territory or trying to help you groom. She may also do this because she is concerned that you are drenched with water, which she hates. Some owners, however, theorize that their cats lick them after a shower simply because they are thirsty.
Image: istockphoto.com / LeviaZ