Do you know why your cat licks your hands, feet or face?

Do you think your cat licks your skin out of love? Have you ever wondered why our four-legged friends are so obsessed with licking? According to scientists, it is estimated that an adult domestic feline can spend up to 8% of its waking hours grooming itself with its tongue, as well as licking another feline or… you.

But then what about humans: why do cats lick people? The good news: There’s no evidence to suggest that your cat views this as part of a pre-mating ritual like licking a sibling would be. The bad news: Scientists and feline behavior experts aren’t completely sure why your cat might run its tongue across your face or hand.

However, while there is no overarching, definitive explanation for this behavior, there are several theories that may explain why domestic cats lick humans. Here are the main theories explaining this behavior: They show that they trust you; they access biochemical information from your skin and… they mark you as another of their possessions.

In the first case, the one who would like your cat to lick you to show you that he trusts you, this could also mean that he does not consider you serious competition. “This type of licking is similar to a cat-on-cat behavior known as allogrooming, which is essentially mutual grooming. A cat will learn this from its mother when it is a very young, blind and deaf kitten. “It’s basically to clean the kitten and strengthen social bonds,” Dr David Sands, an expert in animal psychology, told the BBC. This means that if your cat licks you, it is not a positive sign of attachment. This is not a negative sign either.

The second theory, biochemical, would therefore like to explain this licking by the fairly logical idea that a cat will lick you because it is interested in the smell on your hand: “cats’ taste buds are extremely sensitive – they can detect odors from our skin which could include pheromone secretions from other animals,” explains Dr David Sands.

The third and final explanation for licking a cat is that your animal would like to transmit its own scent to you, the one it prefers! “People always think that when cats rub against you or things you touch, they are expressing love. But in reality, cats are very possessive individuals. For them, the more they can brush against you and drop their smell, the better!”, concludes the specialist. This is how your cat tries to overthrow the established order by making you one of its possessions…