Why does my cat clean me up by licking?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – Why does my young cat “clean me up” by licking, cleaning my hands, fingers, and/or face? It seems like he is on a mission to do this…like it fulfills some deep-seated need in him. Mostly does this while he’s in a relaxed state, like at my bedtime. Any ideas?

Sheryl Rogers


Hi – thanks for your email and question Sheryl. You asked why your cat “cleans” you by licking.

This type of grooming behavior is a form of cat communication. It is most often associated with affection. Many cats also groom each other as a hygiene ritual with cats they know well and are comfortable with.

I think this is a sign of love and affection from your cat.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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