UpgradeYourCat.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I managed to stop one of my cats doing this by saying “Ouch” and moving my hand away. Some cats seem to use licking as a way of telling their pet parents they’re hungry or want to play. Obsessed with cats. Cats have thirty of these receptor proteins, dogs have nine and humans have two. His major thing is the kneading or “making bread”, goes on and on. They can recognise us from a distance. My own article on cats tells how the purr is actually a healing mechanism. I have no idea if this is a common thread at all with cats who like to lick, however. As stress is bad for a cat’s health in the long-term. At night, the young male (he’s about four), gets locked in the bedroom with me because he occasionally attacks the other kitties and we don’t want that. It’s a frustrating cat behavior because no one wants their fingers bitten, gnawed, or licked. While this is typically hard to do, toys like these that allow cats to play by themselves make the job one heck of a lot easier. I know this behavior all too well. However, when a cat is anxious, it may compulsively lick its owner's hands in order to soothe itself. This was a question I was sent some time ago but never got around to answering. Hi, I'm Elise! Fond of my fluffies? 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. There are many reasons why a dog will sniff their owner, or indeed any other human. I know this worked after a while because she stopped doing it with me – but did it with my wife. I’d recommend having a “trigger word” like I’ve used “Thank you” to tell your cat what he or she’s doing isn’t naughty, but you’re ready for him or her to stop. I’ve written about why some cats bite, then lick you before, but I do feel the act of licking by itself is quite a bit different from biting then licking your hands and fingers. The act of grooming leaves that particular cat’s scent on whatever or whomever a cat happens to be grooming – it’s part of the reason cats groom their feline family members. If you don’t have some toys or kitty furniture to help keep them amused by themselves,  you should consider it. Not only does it appear blurry and large, but the scent is not familiar. Your email address will not be published. Others, however, say dogs win in this … My own article on cats tells how the purr is actually a healing mechanism. Have you ever wondered why cats do this? When Bjorn’s already got my attention, and is already getting the cuddles he wants out of me, there’s technically no reason for him to continue to lick if the only reason he was doing so was to flag my attention so that I would pet him. Some sources say cats have 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavity — more than most breeds of dogs. As does excessive grooming, chasing their own tail, and chewing on certain materials – cats love chewing plastic and wool in particular. Bjorn I do find prefers licking while some positive bonding time and socialization is taking place between the two of us, so with him I know it’s not just a matter of my hands smelling of food! Sniffing … Does your cat lick your fingers and/or lick the palms of  your hands at times? According to Applied Animal Behavior Science, cats have scent receptor proteins that help them identify different scents. Cat Barbering: Why Cats Excessively Lick & Over-Groom ‘Til They Bald, “My Cat Won’t Let Me Cut Her Nails!” Why Cats Hate Claw Trims & How To Do It, 17 Techniques You Can Try to Encourage Your Cat to Play with You. Cats are just curious creatures. That defensive vocalisation sound a cat makes when they are reacting to something they’re not happy with. She may also sniff your face to smell you and commit your scent to memory to help build trust and familiarity. My eldest cat Cheska does it fairly regularly. They have trouble seeing objects up close so they rely heavily on smell and touch. 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. When they are loved and well cared for, they definitely show it in one way or another! Whether cats are meeting for the first time or longtime housemates are catching up after three-hour catnaps, they usually greet each other by touching and sniffing each others' noses. Why does a cat smell something and then keep its mouth open for what seems like an abnormally long amount of time? I can smell the difference on my hand even after thorough washing, and she licks, gently bites, grabs with her paws, rubs my hand across her mouth/face, etc. My cats are in their senior years now and no longer do this, but they both did when they were kittens. When a cat licks you it's just trying to show some love. If your finger happens to be the most accessible thing at that time, that’s what they’ll use. I loved your article, and the happy-ending stories. I imagined this was kind of like what his mom would do. Nibbling, chewing, licking, and biting your hand or fingers are all one and the same thing for the most part. That was the 2nd thing that came to mind after my cat began the habitual licking of my hands… First, being a sign of affection, of course. In terms of why cats sometimes lick their owners’ hands and fingers, I honestly think there are so many different reasons, it’s hard to come up with a short list. Diabetes mellitus may produce a sweet or “fruity” smell or, when a cat’s condition has worsened, an odor similar to nail polish. If you sniffed one hundred cats, only a small percentage of them would get “creeped-out” for one reason or another. So when your cat sniffs your hand, he has an idea of … It’s just a little more painful than those other signs of affection. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Cats have a good sense of smell, thanks to the more or less 45 to 200 million olfactory receptors. Which is why it’s important you say “No” and make it very clear to your kitty that they can’t bite your fingers. Does your cat typically like to lick in general, or just when it comes to your fingers & hands at times? I have seven cats. Learn more here. 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. Why Does My Cat Bite My Fingers When I Pet Him? As soon as he starts, I will typically take the hint and start petting him, to which he either starts licking more or stops, happily accepting the cuddles. This makes it clear that biting is not on, and it’s not going to get them what they want. My Cat Keeps Waking Me Up in the Morning. Therefore it does seem a little strange that a cat should sniff us while we sleep. Sniffing and smelling is a form of communication that cats … Why does my cat sniff my face? Just fill in the form below and hit "Subscribe"! 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