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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
As a Miane coon owner it’s normal to have lots of questions and you may be wondering ”Why Does My Miane Coon Lick Me?”
I have studied the behaviour of cats for a long time, So let’s get into this and answer your question.
Licking is a common trait in all cats, especially Maine coons who often behave like dogs. Maine coons often lick to show affection, to bond with their family, to comfort their owners, and to relieve tension or stress; however, it can also be a sign that your cat was weaned too early from its mother.
Now that you know that it’s normal for a Maine coon to lick, I think it’s important to have a look in detail at the reasons why but also to answer some related questions such as ”Is it okay to let my Maine coon lick my face?”
This post is packed with all the information you need!
So keep reading crazy cat people to learn more!
Are Maine coon cats friendly? What do the owners of Maine coons have to say? Read my interesting article called ”Are Maine Coon Cats Friendly? (The proof and research)” to find out more!
Reasons Why My Maine Coon Licks Me?
When we look at the personality of a Maine coon they truly are the dogs of the cat world in more ways than one!
The Maine Coon has a personality that individuals and families love worldwide and there is no doubt that is the reason they are in the top 5 most popular cats to have around.
They are friendly, affectionate, docile and very playful. They really are gentle giants who give so much care and attention to their owners and when it comes to their family they are loyal to the core.
They are family pets and they take great care when playing with young children and can often develop lifelong bonds with all members of the household. Their intelligent and quirky nature makes people all over the world fall in love with them every day.
They do have a tendency to lick which again goes back to the puppy-like behaviour that Maine coons express! They will want to lick you whether you like it or not and there are a number of reasons why they engage in this behaviour.
Normally licking is a sign of affection and chances are that you have spent time building up a strong bond with them and being the affectionate love bugs that they are they will show their affection to you in numerous ways such as rubbing against you, exposing their vulnerable belly and licking you to death!
Let’s dive in and look at the specific reasons why your Maine coon licks you!
1) Your Maine Coon is affectionate!
Affection is the Maine reason why your Maine coon decides to lick you. Just think of how much love you have given to your cat since the day you gave them a forever home.
You provide for your little bundle of joy every day by meeting their essential needs, petting them, playing with them and giving them affection.
It’s only natural and normal that they would then want to give this affection back to you, licking is one of many ways that cats show their owners that they love you! Their tongue may feel rough against your skin when they lick you as their tongue is covered in tiny Papillae all over their tongue but please don’t push them away.
Affection is a two-way process for a Maine coon, they love receiving love and affection and often reserve licking to their favourite human especially the Male Maine coons who tend to show more affection than the female of the species.
2) Your Maine Coon Is In Touch With Your Emotions
Maine coons are natural empaths!
Mix that with a high level of intelligence and you have a very in tune cat. A Maine coon will study you, watch you and learn how you behave and will get to know your emotions and your personality over time.
When you are feeling emotional, sad or not feeling well, your Maine coon will detect this and being the caring affectionate creatures they are will want to comfort you in any way they can and that may mean going in for a lick and some cuddle time.
This shows how much they truly care!
Often my cats make me feel so much better if I am having an off day, it’s almost like they come along and unselfishly take away all the bad energy surrounding me and give me so much comfort.
3) Maine Coon is marking their territory
Cats mark their territory in a number of ways. All cats are territorial and they mark their territory to let other cats know that this object, this space or even this person is mine.
It sends out a message to other cats to respect their boundaries.
It’s a common behaviour in the wild, cats lick each other to leave a familiar scent on each other. They rely on scent so heavily in facts cats sense of smell is 9-16 stronger than humans according to Wikipedia.
Other territories marking behaviours include rubbing their cheeks, forehead and flanks on objects or you. These areas of their body contain scent glands that release cat hormones called pheromones.
Some cats may also spray which you don’t want in the home. So if your cat licks to mark territory that is a good thing! Allow them to engage in this natural feline behaviour.
4) Your Maine coon may be stressed
So there is a difference between licking for affection and licking due to stress!
When your Maine coons licks it triggers the release of hormones within their bodies especially endorphins which help to relax your cat and comfort them. Endorphins are the same emotions that are released in humans after we have had a good workout and we feel relaxed and good about ourselves.
When your Maine coon is excessively licking to the point that they are throwing up hairballs or they are losing big patches of hair then this is where you have a problem.
It’s time to get your cat detective hat on and find the route cause of the problem –
- Have there been any major changes in the home?
- Are you giving more affection to a new baby, partner or new pet?
- Is there a territorial conflict between other pets? (Enough food and water bowls, litter trays etc..)
- Is their litter tray clean?
These can all be triggers that can cause stress within your cat!
Find the route cause and work to resolve it by giving them your time and affection, making sure that there are enough areas in the home that each cat can claim as their territory by having lots of scratching posts, wall mounted cat shelves and toys.
Just engaging in active playtime a few times a day with your Maine coon can help to reduce any stress-related behaviours and help to relieve tension.
If all else fails and you can’t get to the route of the problem licking then always see a vet and rule out any health problems or pain your cat may be experiencing.
5 ) Your cat thinks you are dirty, go get a bath!
Grooming is an activity that all cats tend to do with each other when they are in a family unit.
Social grooming is common practice amongst familiar cats often cats will groom each other in hard to reach areas so if you are laid on the sofa and your Maine coon gets behind you and licks your head and hair they are social grooming you.
This helps develop the bond they have with you and strengthens their relationship with you!
They may also be mothering you, just like their mother did when they were kittens. It’s a common parenting behaviour and they want to make sure you are clean!
Then again they may be trying to let you know it’s time to take a bath, cats are very clean animals and they don’t want a stinky human invading their territory and space! So go and get that soap your cat is trying to tell you something! LOL
6) Your Maine Coon was weaned too early
Sadly this does happen and when your cat is weaned too early or taken away from its mother and siblings too soon it can cause a wide variety of problems.
Cats need to be with their mother for 8 weeks minimum to learn how to interact and to give them chance to be weaned properly.
A cat who licks excessively and who sucks pillows, bed sheets and other items may be wanting to carry on drinking milk it can very detrimental to your cat to not have access to either its mother or another nursing cat for the required timeframe.
Should I Let My Maine Coon Lick Me?
Licking is a normal behaviour in your Maine coon as you will see from the points above.
Stopping your cat from licking you by shouting and chastising them may break the bond you have worked to build with your Maine coon.
So as long as the behaviour is not problematic then allow them to shower you with affection in the same way that you give them the love they deserve.
Yes, I know their tongue can be a bit rough to the touch and can sometimes feel uncomfortable but they are only either showing affection or marking their territory to let other cats know that you are theirs!
To them you are precious and they never want to lose you!
Is It Okay To Let My Maine Coon Lick My Face?
There are benefits and dangers to letting your Maine coon cat lick your face. These need to be taken into consideration if this is a behaviour you are going to allow.
It is said that cats saliva cat help to heal wounds, there is a chemical in a cats saliva called histatins which can help to speed the healing of any wounds you may have on your face. Researchers at the University of Florida also found out that there is a protein in cats saliva called nerve growth factor that can half the time it takes for a wound to heal.
There are however health risks and a cats mouth contains billions of bacteria called Pasteurella which can cause severe infections.
Cats also lick their anus and the last thing you want is your cat to then lick your face after they have given their bum a quick lick!
So think carefully before you allow face licks!
Why Does My Maine Coon Lick Me and Then Bite Me?
It is quite common for your Maine coon to lick you and then nibble you. It’s all part of grooming!
When cats groom each other they will lick and then nibble if there are any tangled hairs. Your Maine coon learned this behaviour from their mother and they want to make sure that when they groom you they do a good job of it.
Cats also give what is called a love bite sometimes when you pet them or while stroking them. They will nibble you very gently without causing pain or breaking the skin. This is a sign of affection similar to licking and is nothing to be worried about.
Conclusion: Why does my Maine coon lick me?
So we now know that licking is a perfectly normal sign of affection and is a common behaviour in Maine coons.
It is rarely anything to worry about unless they are constantly licking themselves and losing their hair over it. Just make sure they don’t lick your face and spread bacteria onto you.
When it comes to anywhere else on your body then let them lick away, it strengthens the bond you both have and in return give them some affection by petting them and playing with them. Sometimes licking is a way of getting your attention!
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies!