Ragdolls are equivalent to a living, cuddly teddy bear. During those snuggling and cuddling sessions, you can notice them nibbling and licking you. This can actually be quite ticklish and a little painful since cats have a barbed tongue. What does it mean when your Ragdoll licks you?
Licking is quite a common behavior in all cats. They usually reserve it for themselves or other cats. Licking their human could mean that they are trying to groom you. This is an act of affection from your Ragdoll! They consider it a form of bonding and they are very selective in whom they groom.
However, excessive licking can be a sign of other problems. Also, some people cannot handle being licked by their rough tongue. How do we discourage them to lick us while not disturbing their affectionate feeling for us?
1. Licking As Form Of Bonding
Every group of cats has an ‘allo-groomer’. The role of this allo-groomer is to groom every cat in their group. Though cats are able to groom themselves, this grooming activity is also counted as a bonding behavior. This also teaches the litter on how to groom themselves as they grow up.
When your cat decides to lick you, it is mostly done out of affection. Some might lick you for 2-5 seconds and consider it done. Some might dedicate their time to lick you to perfection.
Either way, they feel that they are ‘maintaining’ your looks. Why? Because they love you!
2. You Might Smell Tasty To Them
If the licking is not their general behavior for affection, which is quite unlikely to be found in Ragdoll, there could be something else to the story.
Did you drop a piece of tasty and juicy piece of meat on your body anywhere? If so, the story gains a little more clarity – they are after the smell and taste.
If you recall yourself eating something, that might be tasty for your Ragdoll too and dropping anywhere on your exposed skin, they might be attracted to that. This is not a sign of affection, rather, they just find whatever was on you too delicious to resist.
3. They Want Your Company
It would be an odd thing if someone licks you to ask for your company. But when a cat does that outside of its grooming hours, it can be an invitation for some company.
They might not necessarily want to be petted for a long time, but they want to be assured that you are physically there.
This is a very random occurrence and can confuse many pet-parents when their cat licks them out of the blue. Sometimes, they can’t help themselves and find you to be adorable! And only the adorable ones get this spontaneous grooming lasting for 2 licks or 2 seconds.
4. Beware Of Excessive Or Too Little Grooming
Cats are quite independent and know how to groom themselves. But excessive grooming can be a sign of distress and anxiety. If you find that they are excessively grooming themselves to almost balding their skin and irritating it, get them checked.
There could be something that triggers their anxiety and distress in their current environment. You need to identify it and try to eliminate it.
Talk to your vet on how you can make your Ragdoll feel less anxious – by changing something about its environment or introducing anxiety-reducing medicine.
Sometimes cats can feel anxious about any drastic event such as moving to a new home, meeting new people all of a sudden, or any change of environment, which is not according to their comfort or schedule.
Another reason why your cat can be excessively grooming itself could be skin irritating allergies, parasites, and the likes. If your Ragdoll is licking itself way too often or way too much (consider 30 to an hour of licking), then it can be signaling to such problems.
Too Little Grooming
Also, if your Ragdoll doesn’t seem to groom itself at all, then it can be a sign of depression. You will find their hair in knots and matted. This is one of the signs that either your cat is in depression or is not able to groom itself because of health issues.
In each of these situations, you would need expert advice from your veterinarian. Make sure to consult with them and solve this problem.
How To Deter Your Ragdoll From Licking You Without Upsetting Them
Cat’s tongues are barbed and rough. Hence, it can be painful for some people to sit through their grooming session. But there is a catch – if you stop them from grooming you or showing you affection this way, they might become upset and grow more defensive towards you.
Winning a cat’s trust is like hitting a lottery. Of course, you wouldn’t want to risk ruining your relationship with them. If you do it the wrong way, you risk making them resist your efforts to be cozy with you again.
This is how you can do it without hurting your Ragdoll’s feelings:
- When they start licking you, let them do it for 2 seconds and then distract them by petting them. You can change your position and start petting them. This would get the job done.
- If you do not want them to lick you at all, then you can just pet them and move away when they start licking you. They will get the memo that you are not much into being groomed by them.
Do not get them away with physical force or anything that would feed negative reinforcement. Some people consider slathering something bitter to deter their behavior. Some might even spray their cat to deter this behavior.
But all it does is that it confuses the cat and it might just avoid showing you any kind of affection. Always be cautious when you try to ‘reject’ their advances. It is not about what you do but how you do it.
Why does my cat bite me and then lick me? Biting and licking is also a type of grooming behavior that your cat can do to show affection. They do not bite you per se. It is more like nibbling you and then licking you. They bite/nibble to get any foreign object out of their fur.
Are male Ragdolls more affectionate? Both male and female Ragdolls are equally affectionate. Their gender doesn’t contribute to any kind of difference in their display of affection. Male Ragdolls are just bigger than the female ones and might be cuddlier to snuggle with.
Do Ragdolls love their owners? Ragdolls are more affectionate and less aloof than other breeds of cats. Their personality is like that of a dog and they like to follow around their pet parents. They love companionship and that is a telling sign that they definitely love their pet parents.
Why does my cat touch my face with her paw? This act itself is called affectionate pawing. Cat’s paws secrete scents and they would imprint it on you as a sign of marking their territory. Also, it is a cute invitation to snuggle up and play with them.