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Why Does My Cat Groom Herself On Me? (Genuine Love?)

If your cat is grooming itself on you it could make you wonder why this happens and if you should allow it to continue…

Why does my cat groom herself on me?

Your cat may groom itself on you because it feels secure and comfortable with you. If you see this happen it is a clear sign that it appreciates and loves you. You may also see it occasionally groom you while it does this as a way to mark you as theirs.

So, now you know. But, should you allow this to happen? Can you pet your cat while it doing this? What about your cat licking you while it does this, is that OK? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

How can you prevent your cat from grooming itself on you?

Why does my cat groom herself on me?

A cat grooming/licking itself.

If you are not keen on your cat grooming itself on you there are a few things you can do to stop this. I think you should leave it but here are some suggestions if you have a good reason for not wanting this:

01. Distract your cat

Once your cat jumps on your lap, on your bed, chair, or wherever it usually starts grooming on you this is an opportunity to distract it. This can be as simple as throwing a ball on the floor, or a tasty treat (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad).

Once your cat is distracted you can relocate yourself to avoid it returning to do the same thing. Hopefully, in time, your cat will get the message and stop this behavior. Truthfully, it’s not an overnight solution though, and sometimes cats are stubborn and will not always react as you expect.

02. Subtly move your position

Another technique is to change your position while your cat is grooming itself. The important thing here is to do it subtly. If it’s too much it could shock and startle your cat.

To be clear, you do not want to jump up as soon as your cat sits on you, this will just freak your cat out (click here if this happens when you shower). So, do it gently.

03. Using avoidance

One of the simplest tactics, to prevent your cat from doing this, is to simply avoid them. This means, for example, if you tend to see your cat doing this when you are on the couch watching TV, either move when it enters the room, or close the door while you chill.

This may seem extreme, but the idea is to only have to do this temporarily. The hope is, with some time, it will learn not to do this. And, effectively fall out of the habit.

04. Use random objects

Another tactic, similar to the last one, is using an object to prevent your cat from grooming itself on you. This is as simple as placing an object on your lap, for example, a laptop, or musical instrument.

The idea is to look busy and let the object appear to be taking up the space that your cat would ordinarily use to hop on your lap and groom.

Other reasons why cats groom themselves on you:

In this section, I will explain some other common reasons for a cat to groom themselves on you…

It makes your cat feel good (Dopamine release)

It is believed that cats feel good when they groom themselves. The theory is a dopamine hit is received from this. This is a natural body reaction that makes the cat feel good.

For us humans, we get a dopamine hit from playing games, using our cell phones, etc. But, for cats, laying with you, then grooming themselves may be all it takes.

It can’t groom you!

Let’s be honest, you have no fur, right? Therefore, most cats understand that grooming you is a waste of their precious time. Therefore, they will forget that and just groom themselves on you.

Ordinarily, if they were with another cat, they would likely allogroom, meaning they would groom each other. So, in this situation, they are happy just to let you watch them.

Relive its pain

Although you may not see it, your cat could be in pain or discomfort. If they are then they will use that dopamine rush to help. This is because this is known to offer some form of pain relief.

You may find it hard to understand how your cat could be in pain without you seeing any visible signs, right? Well, this is a known survival tactic.

Their ancestors, that were living in the wild, would avoid showing pain to avoid displaying their weaknesses to their predators.

Should I be worried if my cat is grooming itself on me?

No. However, if it is overgrooming then you should be. This is obvious to see. For example, it may be biting itself and causing sores or wounds on its skin.

This can happen for several reasons. For example, it is in pain, such as arthritis, and overgrooming to deal with it.

I and you know that this action will not help them, but they have no idea how to deal with the issue on their own.

Should you prevent your cat from grooming itself on you?

You should not stop your cat grooming itself on you unless you genuinely need to move and do something. For example, you need to visit the bathroom at that time. However, some people may not enjoy this and wish to discourage it.

The reason I say not to is that your cat sees this as a compliment and will feel rejected when you do this. So, it’s best to appreciate the compliment. Unless your cat is licking you (more on this later), it is generally OK, unless it is inconveniencing you at that time.

Why do cats groom themselves?

Cats groom themselves for several reasons such as keeping themselves clean, keeping their body temperature regulated, keeping their fur smooth, and avoiding hairballs. Therefore, there is more to grooming than just cleaning.

As you can see cats have a lot of furs, unless it’s hairless, so they need to groom themselves regularly. Meaning, that it’s a daily activity. Also, even if cats do groom themselves, this does not mean that they do not need your help to groom them. This should also be done.

A survival tactic

When cats regularly groom, in the wild, apart from keeping their fur in order, it also doubles up as a survival tactic. They use this to help them avoid detection by predators.

The theory is, that these habits have been passed on to the domestic cats of today, even thou, in most cases, they are not in danger from the same predators.

Keeping their fur tidy

One of the most common reasons why cats groom themselves is to keep their fur tidy. This deals with several things, such as the look of the fur, removal of loose hair, parasites, and small traces of dirt.

Regarding the removal of fur, this can become an issue if your cat is consuming large amounts of it. This can lead to hairballs, which is a common issue for cats.

Is it OK to pet the cat while it’s grooming itself?

It is OK to pet a cat while it’s grooming but it’s better to wait until it has finished. Cats prefer to finish their grooming and then move on to their next task for the day, whether that be eating or sleeping.

The reality is if your cat does not appreciate you doing this they will let you know. Either it will move away or give you a more obvious warning. Ideally, it’s worth avoiding this but nature has a way of correcting these things.

Should you discipline your cat for grooming itself on top of you?

You should not discipline your cat for grooming itself on top of you. Discipline your cat is not an effective method in general. This is because it rarely gets the results you desire especially when this is in the form of negative reinforcement.

For example, if your cat hears you shout at it, it is not clever enough to understand your frustration. Therefore, it will see as a random outburst. And, if this keeps happening it will start to fear you rather than love you.

If you are wondering what is a better alternative to negative reinforcement like this, it is positive reinforcement, met. This could be by offering it a tasty treat (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) when it does what you want it to. This is usually way more powerful than any negative tactics.

Could your cat lick you while it is grooming itself?

A cat licking its owner's hand.

A cat licking its owner’s hand.

A cat is very likely to lick you while it grooms itself. And, if this happens it is often an honor, in their mind. This means, that it sees you as a trusted person that they love. This is their way of marking you.

Also, remember earlier when I explained the many different reasons cats groom themselves? Well, when it licks you it may believe that it is helping you in the same manner.

3 Reasons why some cats lick you?

There are several reasons why cats groom themselves, as discussed earlier. However, there are many reasons why they may do this to you as well, such as:

01. Survival trigger

Cats instinctively clean themselves after eating to clean off the evidence of what they have eaten and to avoid their predators detecting their trails. This is also why they bury their poo too. So, if they are licking you it may be one of their instinctual survival triggers.

02. Being social

Cats are social animals. As kittens they were used to being surrounded by their mother and siblings and licking each other was standard practice. So, this may be another reason why it might lick you.

03. Keeping you clean

One of the most obvious reasons cats lick themselves is to keep themselves clean. So, when they do this to you it could simply be to keep you clean.

Could it hurt if your cat grooms you?

It could hurt if a cat grooms you. This is because of how their tongues are. Meaning, that they have barbed endings that help them groom their fur. This barbed ending is why their tongue feels rough if they lick you. These barbs are made from the same material as their clawed and the reason why they may hurt.

Although it is not usually very painful, if at all. Some sensitive people may not like it but generally, it just feels rough like some sandpaper.

Is it safe for your cat to groom on top of you?

If your cat grooms on top of you it is generally safe. However, if it also licks you, while doing it, there is a chance that it could ingest what is on your skin. For example, if you had some ointment to heal your skin, your cat could ingest this. And that is not safe.

So, it is not encouraged to let cats lick you. The problem is you may not even remember what you have put on your skin or touched it until it’s too late.

Why does my cat groom itself in front of me?

A cat may groom itself in front of you for several reasons, however, a common one is a fact that it feels comfortable around you and therefore feels happy to perform its daily task, grooming itself, around you.

For us humans, this may seem weird, because we do not clean ourselves of other people unless they are an intimate partner or our offspring, but it’s different for cats.

Why does my cat groom itself immediately after I pet it?

If your cat grooms itself after you pet it, it could be because it wants to reclaim its scent or just a habit. If it’s the former, reclaiming its scent, it may feel that your scent is overpowering and wants to reclaim its scent.

However, if it’s not that, it could just be later, out of habit. Cats will groom themselves regularly, and it may just feel this is as good a time as any.

How can I prevent my cat from overgrooming?

To prevent your cat from overgrooming it’s best to not try to directly stop it from doing this, because your cat will not understand, and let’s be honest, how could you even do this in practice?

Therefore, you can consider keeping your cat active to give it less opportunity to do this. Means, more quality time with you, playing games with it, or even walking with the cat are all possibilities.

Bear in mind, that it is not a guaranteed solution for all cats. It will need some trial and error to see what works best for your cat specifically.

Lindsey Browlingdon