Whether you love it or hate, most cats, including Bengals, lick their pet parents. Their tongues are like warm, wet sandpaper that’s being rubbed on your skin and to a lot of humans, that’s really not very soothing. So why do Bengal cats lick you? In this article we’ll be covering the following:
So why is it that their tongues feel like sandpaper? The main reason is that they are ideally made for grooming. Your Bengal’s tongue feels like sandpaper to you because it is covered with papillae which are backward-facing hooks that are made of keratin. Keratin is the same material that makes their claws. The papillae on their tongue is not only good for grooming but it also was meant to help cats in the wild rasp meat off bones. When used for grooming it acts like a comb and helps to pull out any loose fur or dirt in their fur.
By the way, just because your Bengal’s tongue is well suited for grooming doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give them additional grooming with a good brush and comb, see our piece on Best Brushes for Bengal Cats to find out more on grooming.
There are a lot of different reasons why your Bengal might be licking you and we’ll try to cover some of those reasons here:
Here’s a video of a cute Bengal kitten licking their pet parent:
A lot of pet parents simply don’t enjoy the experience of their cats licking them. This is really a shame in a way because this is a huge compliment coming from your cat. However, if you are one of those pet parents that really don’t like it, the best way to avoid becoming a kitty lollipop is just don’t let your Bengal make a habit of it.
One of the first things you need to do is to learn what the signs are that your Bengal shows that they are about to start licking. Then before they start licking your skin raw try redirecting their attention with one of their toys. If your cat loves catnip then try sneaking in a catnip filled toy right in front of them when they’re just about ready to start licking. If they don’t like catnip then try distracting them with a toy that has their favorite treat in it.
Another thing you can do is to groom them instead. When they start trying to lick you get their brush out and begin grooming them. Since they love to be groomed, this could be a great way to repay them for their desire to want to show you affection.
It’s not always going to be easy to retrain your Bengal if they are in the habit of licking. However, it’s important that you remain kind and gentle with them if you are trying to retrain them. Always avoid yelling and never show any intense physical reactions like shoving them away or tossing them off your lap. And most importantly, never hit them.
Now, if you just so happen to enjoy their licking, your Bengal will love you for it and generally it is a safe thing to let them do. But, you might want to avoid letting them lick your face. There really is a thing called “cat scratch fever”, it’s not just the title of a 70s rock song. It is actually a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through the saliva of your cat. This bacteria can be extremely harmful if it should get into your eyes or into a cut or open sore. However, if your cat is healthy, there probably isn’t much to worry about.
Just remember, no matter what you think of your cats licking, it’s best for you to accept their kitty kisses as a compliment and their way of saying they’re glad you’re part of the family and that they love you.
Well, we hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of why your Bengals likes to lick you. Please let us know what you think by leaving your comment below.