It’s a frustrating cat behavior because no one wants their fingers bitten, gnawed, or licked. Cats (and dogs) operate of their sense of smell. Perhaps it’s the salt from your skin they crave. A reader said she has long acrylic nails and her cat loves trying to bite them. I loved your article, and the happy-ending stories. It’s an action that fosters feelings of safety and security, meaning it likely reduces stress considerably. When cats are comfortable with humans, they lick human hands to indicate and reinforce their feelings. Nowadays, I tell him, “Thank you!” and move my hand out of the way once I’m done, and he stops trying to lick. She will literally hold me down in her paws and clean me. Why Does My Dog Sniff Me So Much? It wouldn’t surprise me to learn the texture of skin on hands and fingers is really appealing to some cats. Behaviorists suggest that because the butt sniffing routine is a normal part of cat behavior, it’s best not to interrupt it if the cats seem friendly. Sometimes the licking with Bjorn got to be a little too much for me to be happy. She does not seek you out to lick you. By finding out why they feel the need to nibble on your fingers, you can do something to stop and change their behavior. Maybe that’s the reason why your cat gets so creeped-out! Therefore it does seem a little strange that a cat should sniff us while we sleep. Cats with severe liver disease or an intestinal blockage may have breath that smells like feces. 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. According to Dr. Is your cat exhibiting any of the following signs? The less dominant cat will sometimes reciprocate, and begin to groom back, but also sometimes will not. Required fields are marked *. If your finger happens to be the most accessible thing at that time, that’s what they’ll use. Your cat may really enjoy the act of licking. Every so often, he got carried away and continued licking after I took away my hand, so I’d say, “Okay, okay, enough” gently, then pick him up and move him, or block the spot he was licking with my arm. If your hand is in a resting position after handling food, the cat will smell this and explore. Love to hear your thoughts! Then petting her without letting her nibble me again. Which is why it’s important you say “No” and make it very clear to your kitty that they can’t bite your fingers. Licky was a wonderful kitty who sadly passed in January 2020 due to nonregenerative anemia. Oh maybe it could be! I know how enjoyable it is petting and fussing a cat, but we have to remember that they might not want to be petted. KittyClysm* is a reader-supported site. As stress is bad for a cat’s health in the long-term. Your email address will not be published. You might be able to find a connection between something you handle and your cat taking a nip. [My cat] won’t lick my face, thank goodness, but my arm, elbow and hand are fair game! By, how to calm down a kitten when they’re hyper. He absolutely continues to lick my hand sometimes, simultaneously while I’m petting him, and in these instances I wholeheartedly believe it’s a part of how he socializes with me and shows me affection. Check out how to calm down a kitten when they’re hyper. It might be a compulsive behavior (explained in more detail below), or something that feels nice or fun for them. Think about the “sniffing” sound (if loud) can be very similar to a cat “hissing”. Some cats will get stressed by changes to their daily routines. I’d take them in for a general check-up if you have any concerns. If your cat is biting your fingers when you pet them, it’s likely down to one or more of the reasons I’ve listed in this article. He did this for a while after we adopted him. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. It depends how long the nails are, but it’s really no surprise. 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 have thirty of these receptor proteins, dogs have nine and humans have two. There are many reasons why a dog will sniff their owner, or indeed any other human. Kneading is a feline behaviour that may be a leftover from kitten-hood, something like a human child may like to suck on a thumb as a behaviour reminiscent of his or her days as an infant. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. What Can I Do? This is an honest mistake. Finally, I had a cat from birth (back in 2003) – and this kitty just loved to lick. If you’ve got a cat who likes licking, do let me know if you’ve ever tried out these chew sticks as well and if your cat’s also been obsessed with them like Bjorn has proven himself to be. Hi, I'm Elise! My newly adopted furbaby, Bjorn – a stray cat who just wouldn’t leave our property – is obsessed with licking. As does excessive grooming, chasing their own tail, and chewing on certain materials – cats love chewing plastic and wool in particular. He loves to nibble and gnaw on things so much we invested in a slew of cat chew toys to try out so he’d stay away from our poor fingers as well as dangerous things like wires, and keep his gnaw game for the fang-approved objects in the household. This is their social way to share scents from all their adventures and this action places both cats on equal footing and a vulnerable position. If you have a kitten and they’re teething, they’ll feel the need to gnaw on something. Does Your Cat Nibble Your Fingers? Cats prefer resting in warm places. This is a dangerous odor because dental issues can affect so many things outside of just the teeth and gums, and it’s imperative that you get … As well as nudging us, staring and blinking, weave between our legs, and even have a nip to get their point across. I imagined this was kind of like what his mom would do. My own cat, Tara, headbutts me constantly when she’s sitting on top of me, and half the time she knocks my glasses off my face when she does it. I had no idea cats could do that. Well, experts believe cats lick and groom their feline and human housemates as a way of showing trust and care. This makes it clear that biting is not on, and it’s not going to get them what they want. 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. Why? Cats use smell in their social interactions, to create and identify chemical cues and to locate food, enemies, and friends. I managed to stop one of my cats doing this by saying “Ouch” and moving my hand away. Why Do My Hands Smell Sniffing your hands, you immediately smell the unmistakable aroma of stinky stench that comes into your nose instantly whenever you place your hands near your face. Dig KittyClysm? When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Welcome to KittyClysm - a blog for cat lovers & kitty keepers. Diabetes mellitus may produce a sweet or “fruity” smell or, when a cat’s condition has worsened, an odor similar to nail polish. Short answer: because cats like to sniff things, and when you go reaching towards their head, where their nose is located, they’re going to sniff your fingers. Have you ever wondered why cats do this? By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. I've heard it's do with checking your overall health. She jumps up onto my lap and, usually before settling down, has to shove her nose into my mouth to sniff my breath. Cats have a good sense of smell, thanks to the more or less 45 to 200 million olfactory receptors. This was a question I was sent some time ago but never got around to answering. It largely revolves around the following factors: Pure instinct. Would be interesting to find out. The hits in my household are ridiculously affordable: cat springs, ball track toys, & kick sticks. My own article on cats tells how the purr is actually a healing mechanism. It’s worth exploring this as an option if you can rule out the other reasons I’ve listed. If you don’t have some toys or kitty furniture to help keep them amused by themselves,  you should consider it. Congrats on Hub of the day! I mean, he really HAD to lick them. The other is to make them aware that they can’t react by biting. Why? Why can’t a cat recognise us while we sleep if they want to make sure that we are there? Your cat thought that your hand was food. When it comes to licking in particular, Bjorn more often than not licks the fingers on the hand I’m using to pet him. It gives them information about their world. While different cultures prefer a hand shake, cheek kisses or even a bow, cats use nose touching to say hello. Human noses can't smell it, but if another kitty comes nearby, he'll smell Tom's unique essence on you. Do you have any more guesses with regards to why cats sometimes lick fingers & hands? Some cats really love the texture of specific objects. He also licks things like plastic bags and hard plastic in general. Just be mindful of what you’re doing when it happens, where you’re petting them, how long for, and so on. I had no idea cats could do that. My arm had gone numb and I didn’t feel the licking. Well, it is your cat, but if your cat smells like that dead skunk on the side of the road you can’t get past at least once in your life, it could mean that your cat was outside and actually tussled with a skunk. I know this is likely so obviously you’d either think of it … One is to recognize when your cat is reaching that point. Cats can be very finicky and, if she just washed herself, she may not want you to put your scent on her. Can a Maine Coon Be Orange? She grooms it for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day – just lick, lick, lick. You can never rule out a cat being led by their sense of taste. (Or In General). You'll get notified each time there's a new post on the blog. Nibbling on fingers falls under this description. That defensive vocalisation sound a cat makes when they are reacting to something they’re not happy with. Cats Are Farsighted. If I let him continue to lick for half an hour, he likely would. Voted up-across and shared. My male cat does this often when I’m petting him in pretty sure it’s their way of showing affection to their owners in my opinion he’s spoiled as has my only cat but I love him! I have no idea if this is a common thread at all with cats who like to lick, however. It's cute anyway. Writing for PetPlace, Dr. Debra Primovic notes, "Some believe the 'sniff' can actually relieve tension and stress by helping an individual feel more comfortable about the other cat. “One way to see if the cat is amicable to being pet after just meeting them is to let the cat sniff your hand and then watch how they behave,” Vitale says. Give you the best possible experience on our website as does excessive why does my cat sniff my hand, chasing their tail... Smell, so cats love seeking out heat and find a way of trust. We are there, different food, enemies, and like what his mom would do springs, track... 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