Cats Lick Themselves

Why Cats Lick Themselves: 7 Common Reasons and When It’s a Problem

You see cats licking frequently, but do you know why? Cats groom themselves for various reasons, such as cooling comfort. In most cases, it is entirely normal; however, it can sometimes point to a complication. In this blog, we will discuss some of the frequent causes of excessive licking in cats and explain when it is time to be concerned. Learning what causes them to lick can assist you in maintaining the overall well-being of your fluffy pets. You can also take care of your pets with the best pet prescription discount card. Well, now, let us see more about the unique behavior of this animal.

1. Basic Hygiene

Cats are always involved in self-cleaning, and one reason they engage in this act is to be clean. To simplify, cats groom themselves with the intention of removing dirt and smell from their fur and surroundings.

Their tongues have small hooks known as papillae that enable them to groom their furs well. This grooming process ensures that they are presentable and that their skin is well taken care of through the circulation of oil on the skin and/or hair.

2. Cooling Mechanism

Cats also lick themselves and mainly use their tongue to regulate the temperature of their body. Also, cats do not sweat like human beings do through the skin. But, there are other techniques they use in the cooling process. They can cool their fur by grooming and keeping saliva present in their fur, which will help reduce their body temperature during hot weather. However, This cooling mechanism is beneficial in cases where the cat stays indoors, as it will not have a natural means of cooling its body.

3. Stress Relief and Comfort

Self-grooming can also be a form of play or a method of calming the cat down and giving him or her comfort. Cats are always trying to clean their fur; however, if a cat is stressed or anxious, it is possible to observe obsessive grooming behavior. In a way, it is similar to some of the things that a stressed-up human could engage in, such as tapping the feet or biting nails.

4. Marking Territory

As cat owners know, cats are very territorial animals, and one way they establish territory is through grooming. Licking themselves all over the body, cats rub their bodies on places to mark territory, communicating to other animals that this area belongs to them. Such behavior can be more conspicuous when two or more cats are in a given household, and every cat wants to set its own trap. Grooming makes them feel safe and establishes the space for their existence.

5. Removal of Loose Fur and Parasites

It is also important to note that shedding is a normal process in the life of cats, and grooming assists them in this process. Cats also use their tongue to groom themselves to help detach loose fur from their bodies; this way, they avoid the formation of matted coats. Moreover, grooming aids cats in reducing pests like fleas and ticks, and this is because cats spend time overcoming such barriers during grooming. Licking alone may not completely do away with the parasites; however, it decreases the number of parasites on the subject’s body.

6. Bonding with Other Cats

You may see cats grooming each other among multi-cat homes or feral cat breeding groups. Moreover, this behavior, referred to as allogrooming, primarily aims to create a bond between the cats and make them more friendly. Allogrooming is an effective way of forging crucial social bonds as it builds trust among cats. These are friendly social animals; if they groom each other, you can be sure they are on good terms.

7. Addressing Itches and Irritations

Just like humans have the urge to scratch an itch, cats have the habit of licking their furs to address itches and rashes. These irritations may come from other causes, such as allergies, insect bites, skin diseases, etc. If a cat encounters something that makes its skin feel uncomfortable, it can use its tongue to worsen the irritated area. However, if the licking starts becoming extreme, more than required, it may indicate something is wrong.

When Licking Becomes a Problem

Grooming is typical for cats; however, over-grooming points to problems that need the attention of a pet’s owner. It is also unhealthy to over-groom or obsessively lick the body; doing so leads to the formation of bald patches, skin diseases, and others. Here are some signs that your cat’s licking might be problematic:

  1. Bald Spots and Hair Loss: You can tell your cat is licking too much because you might see them with bald patches or thinning fur.
  2. Red, Inflamed Skin: Licking also causes skin sensitization due to constant rubbing against the skin, resulting in rashes.
  3. Open Sores or Scabs: It is quite possible to develop open sores or scabs during grooming, and they may easily become infected.
  4. Behavioral Changes: Consider stress or pain when your cat licks the fur excessively and displays other symptoms of anxiety or discomfort, including hiding or growling.

What to Do if You Notice Excessive Licking

Are you worried about your cat licking too often? It is essential to find the leading cause behind this behavior. So here are some steps you can follow:

1. Check for Parasites

Check the cat’s body for signs of fleas, ticks, or other parasites. If you find any, seek the help of a vet to manage the situation.

2. Evaluate Diet and Environment

Sometimes, certain foods or environmental factors cause complications to the skin, which lead to allergies. Some changes in your cat’s diet or environment may have led to the development of scratches; you should consider this.

3. Provide Enrichment and Comfort

Keeping your cat fit and active helps prevent stress, so you should engage them in many mental/physical activities. You can use toys and cat amenities such as scratching posts, beds, and conducive resting areas.

4. Consult a Veterinarian

If you cannot establish what led to the excessive licking or if the behavior continues, it is advisable to seek the services of a veterinarian. They can examine the animal closely and advise on the necessary treatments or behavioral modifications with the best pet medication discount card.


It is essential to understand these factors, which cause cats to groom themselves to be able to promote healthy behaviors only. This behavior, however, is entirely natural, and therefore, grooming is regular and healthy, while excessive licking may signal underlying problems. Being attentive towards your cats’ grooming behavior and dealing with them, even with minor issues, will always make your cat comfortable and healthy. Please remember, if you have any queries or concerns, you should consult a veterinarian for your cats’ health check.

On this path to staying healthy, discover great deals and get proper medication without any hefty medical bills with the help of an Pet RX discount card. Show this particular card and save money for your whole family and pets.


1. Why do cats lick themselves so much?

Cats usually follow licking as part of grooming to stay clean and comfortable with their body temperature. This way, they maintain their healthy and relaxed state.

2. Is it normal for cats to lick themselves all the time?

Yes, it’s common practice for your beloved pets to lick themselves. But something is wrong if the cat is overlicking or scratching on the bald areas. This is where you need the help of a vet.

3. How can I tell if my cat is licking too much?

If your cat is licking so much that it starts losing fur or developing some skin issues, it may be over-grooming. This can be due to stress, allergy, or any health complication likely to affect the patient. If you find any signs such as these, it is advisable to consult your vet.


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