Oh, the cat’s tongue. It’s as cute as can be when it’s peeking out just a bit from the cat’s mouth as she drinks water or delicately grooms herself. It’s small and pink and so adorable. Yet, when the cat’s tongue starts licking you, that little sandblaster seems as if it could take off several layers of skin.
Licking serves many social and practical functions:
- It’s how cats remove meat from bones
- Licking is important for coat maintenance
- Licking removes the scent of prey after a meal
- It’s how mothers clean their kittens and help them eliminate their waste
- In a multicat environment or in a cat colony, allogrooming helps create a familiar group scent
- Licking is a way cats cool themselves
- Licking is used for stress relief
- Licking helps remove external parasites
That’s just a few of the ways that cute little tongue is kept busy. In a previous article I discussed in detail why cats groom so much (access article here) but in this post I want to cover the licking that cats tend to do toward family members.
When your cat licks you, is it the feline equivalent of a kiss? Is she marking you as hers? Well, let’s examine some of the reasons cats lick us.