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There is the widespread idea that cats are independent animals, not sociable and not at all affectionate, but this description does not define the majority of cats with whom we live. So, there are still people who are surprised at the demands of affection of his feline companions.
Do you wonder why my cat licks my face when I sleep? In this article we will explain why our cat licks our faces when we sleep, behavior in which he is mixing the affection that he professes with one of his most characteristic behaviors: the self-grooming.
Although, as we said, the cat does not have a reputation as a loving animal, it is neat. As soon as anyone has noticed a cat for a while, it is more than likely that he will observe how he prepares himself scrupulously. It passes its tongue first by one leg and then by the other to wet it and thus be able to clean the mantle, starting with the face, following the legs, the body and ending in the tail.
The tongue of the cats is scratchy and this facilitates this cleaning, so important, not only to remove dirt, but also to keep the fur in optimal conditions and thus fulfill its functions of protection and isolation of high and low temperatures. If during this process the cat is found with some remains or dirt attached we will see how it uses its teeth to nibble and extract.
All this typically feline ritual is known as self-grooming. But cats not only lick themselves, they also present the aloaciculation behavior, which is the one that will explain why our cat licks our faces when we sleep. There are many reasons that explain why cats lick, but then we will explain what is really aloaciculation behavior.
In the same way that cats autoacicate, they also wash other cats. These cleaning behaviors have their roots at the time of the birth of the little kittens since, from the beginning of their life, their mother begins to clean them with their own tongue and it will not be until approximately three weeks of age that they start to take care of your own toilet.
The hygiene maintained by the mother with her young reinforces the social bond and family among all of them and, if they are still together, it will be behavior that they maintain throughout their lives. We will also see this behavior in cats that live together, regardless of their age.
The aloacicalamiento explains why our cat licks our face when we sleep, since it will be part of the aloacicalamiento that performs regularly. This means that he considers us family and that, as such, it takes care of us, because this behavior, more than destined to maintain hygiene, reinforces ties.
Once identified the behaviors of auto and aloacicalamiento, we will explain why a cat licks our face when we sleep. First of all, we must know that for them humans are a kind of big cats that give them the care that their mother offered them at the beginning of their lives. Our caresses are like the past ones with the language that she did to them.
However large or independent a cat may be, in our presence it is again a kitten, due to the domestication process on which we have based our relationship with these felines. When our cat wants to clean up, he finds himself with the problem of height difference. That is why many times he rubs against our legs and makes small jumps, trying to be closer to our face. If we are asleep, he will take advantage to lick us face and he will be incited because we find ourselves in a moment of special relaxation, which is what he feels during aloaciculation.
In addition, this behavior allows the exchange of smells, very important, taking into account the role that smell plays in the life of the cat. The mixture between your body odor and ours will reinforce the familiar feeling you feel with us. Finally, we must know that during the aloacicalamiento it is possible that our cat gives us a slight biteSo, as we have seen, he uses his teeth when he finds some dirt during the toilet. Does your cat also bite you? Probably do it for this reason, but we must distinguish between these bites and those that can be rough or aggressive, which are the ones that we should avoid, diverting the attention of our cat.
We have already seen why the cat licks our face when we sleep. It is, as we have said, a normal behavior and that, in addition, supposes a sample of affection and trust towards us. But, if we observe that he performs it exaggeratedly, as with anxiety, we could face a displacement grooming, which is what is done precisely to calm a state of stress in the cat. In these cases we can also observe other behaviors, such as the cat licks the clothes or breast and sucks tissues.
In this case, we should look for the causes that are disturbing our cat to remedy them. A veterinary examination can rule out a physical origin and if it is a behavioral disorder that we can not resolve we should request the help of a ethologist or feline behavior specialist.
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