Why Does My Cat Clean Herself On Me?

Ever been perplexed by why your cat loves to groom herself on you? It’s both endearing and irritating. But why does she do it?

It turns out there are a few reasons behind this behavior. Understanding them can make it more enjoyable for both you and your cat.

First and foremost, cats groom themselves as a means of scent identification. They have glands in their cheeks and paws that they use to deposit pheromones on surfaces they come into contact with. So when your cat cleans herself on you, she leaves her own scent behind to indicate that she has claimed you as part of her territory. This behaviour is also used to establish rapport between cats that already know each other.

Cats also clean themselves on humans as a sign of love in addition to scent identification. Grooming is soothing for cats, so if your cat feels ill or anxious, it might be her way of getting some relief from you.

Plus, cats enjoy the attention they get from grooming. If your cat starts purring or kneading as she grooms herself on you, it could be because she likes the feeling of being petted and loved by her favorite human.

Although it’s annoying when your cat decides to clean herself on you, understanding why she does it will make the whole process more enjoyable for both of you.

What Does it Mean When a Cat Grooms Itself?

Have you ever wondered what it means when your cat grooms itself? Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, and understanding why they do it is key to having a harmonious relationship with your feline friend.

Cats groom themselves primarily to maintain their hygiene and keep their coat soft, shiny, and healthy. They also spread natural oils throughout their coat while grooming, which helps keep it moisturized. In addition, cats’ saliva has a cooling effect on their skin, so if your cat is licking her fur in the summer heat she’s probably trying to cool down.

Social grooming is another reason cats groom themselves. When your cat grooms herself on you or in front of you, it’s usually a sign that she sees you as part of her social group and wants to bond with you. This behavior is also a way for cats to identify their territory by leaving their scent on you – similar to giving you a big hug.

Finally, some cats may groom themselves as a way of attracting the attention of their owners. If your cat starts grooming herself after you pet her, it’s likely that she loves the attention and wants more.

Marking Territory

Marking territory is a natural behavior for cats, and one of the ways they show that they feel safe and secure in their environment. By grooming themselves on their owners, cats are leaving their scent as a way of claiming their territory. This is because cats have scent glands on their paws, cheeks, and forehead which they use to leave their mark on things that are important to them.

But it’s important to note that while marking territory is a normal behavior for cats, excessive grooming can sometimes be a sign of stress or anxiety. If your cat is excessively licking themselves or developing bald patches, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions and discuss how to manage stress in your cat’s environment.

Showing Affection and Trust

Your cat’s grooming habit may seem strange, but it is actually a sign of their love and trust. Cats are naturally meticulous groomers who spend hours every day bathing themselves.

Grooming is vital for cats as it helps regulate their body temperature, keeps their fur free of mats, and eliminates parasites. When a cat grooms their human, however, it is not for self-care; it’s a way for them to bond with you.

The grooming process releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) in both cats and humans, creating positive associations between the two species. When your cat grooms you, they are not only showing their love and trust but also feeling secure and content in your presence. It’s like a hug from your furry companion.

Every cat is different when it comes to expressing affection; some may be more affectionate than others. If your cat does not groom you, this does not mean they do not love or trust you. On the other hand, excessive grooming can also be a sign of anxiety or stress so keep an eye on your cat’s behavior and seek veterinary advice if needed.

Nesting Instincts

This behaviour isn’t simply a sign of affection; it could be an expression of their nesting instincts. Cats, as descendants of wild ancestors, are hard-wired to seek out a safe and comfortable spot to rest and sleep.

When your cat grooms themselves on you, they may be asserting their territory and ensuring you’re clean and free from parasites, as they would in the wild.

Moreover, cats learn how to groom themselves from their mothers, so if your cat grooms themselves on you, it could indicate that they view you as a parental figure. They may be demonstrating that they feel safe and secure in your presence and trust you enough to take care of them like a mother would.

It’s important to remember that cats grooming themselves on their humans can also be a territorial gesture.

In some cases, cats may be marking their humans as part of their territory, so other cats know that you belong to them.

Petting and Grooming as a Sign of Trust

Cats are renowned for their fastidiousness and grooming habits, but did you know that they also groom their owners as a sign of trust and love? When your furry companion licks and grooms itself on you, it isn’t just leaving its scent on you to mark its territory, but it’s also expressing its affection for you.

When your cat grooms itself on your lap or bed, it is telling you that it trusts you and feels comfortable with you. Petting your cat is another way to show love and kindness. Endorphins are released when you pet your cat, which helps it relax and feel content.

This positive reinforcement strengthens the bond between you and your cat, making them feel secure in your presence.

But cats don’t just groom humans for hygiene reasons; they also do so as a sign of affection.

For instance, if your cat licks your hands or face, it is not only grooming you but also transferring its scent to you. This scent exchange is another clue that your cat trusts you and desires to be close to you.

Seeking Attention

Cats are often seen as independent and aloof creatures, but when they groom themselves on their owners, it’s a sign of love and respect. Grooming is a way to bond with their human companions, while also claiming their territory. It’s also a way for cats to seek attention from their owners.

If your cat is constantly grooming herself on you, it could be her way of asking for attention or playtime. However, excessive licking or grooming can also be an indication of stress or anxiety. If your cat is excessively licking herself or you, it’s important to observe her behavior and discuss any underlying causes with your veterinarian.

It’s essential to establish boundaries with your cat and decide limits for how much grooming and licking are allowed. Although cats may be seen licking as a sign of affection, their saliva can contain bacteria that can be harmful to humans if transmitted.

In addition, over-licking can become painful if your cat has sharp teeth or abrasive tongues.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Clean Themselves After They Eat? – 21Cats.org


Do you ever wonder why your cat loves to groom itself on you? In truth, cats groom themselves for a variety of reasons. From licking our hands to rubbing their cheeks against us, cats use grooming as a form of self-care, to monitor body temperature and even to identify their territory by leaving their scent.

Furthermore, our feline friends may groom themselves on us as a sign of love and admiration. The act can also release endorphins in both cats and humans, creating positive relationships between the two species. Even if your cat isn’t getting enough cuddles from you, they may groom themselves to attract attention or relieve anxiety.

However, it’s important to keep an eye out for excessive grooming as this could be a sign of anxiety or stress. If so, make sure to consult your veterinarian for help.