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Dr Pete
Dr Pete, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 3009
Experience:  Bachelor of Veterinary Science (University of Melbourne, Australia)
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Why does my cat lick my hands so much. Then he licks his

Customer Question

Why does my cat lick my hands so much. Then he licks his own paws. An why does he sometime drag his behind across the carpet?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr Pete replied 8 years ago.
Cats are social groomers, meaning that they will groom other memebers of their family. This will include you. The reason that it is your hand that get most of the attention is that it is your hands that groom him by stroking, etc and he sees this as the part of you that he should return the attention. When he "grooms" you by licking your hands it stimulates his self grooming and he starts on himself. The palms of your hands also contain scent glands that he can recognise. Cats have similar glands on their foot pads.
Not all cats do this but it is very common and nothing to be concerned about except that you must exercise good hygeine and wash your hands before eating after his actions.
As far as the carpet dragging exercise is concerned. This is not related to the grooming. It is called scooting and it indicates irritation in the area surrounding the anus and genitals. The irritation can be a rash, stools caught in the hair or blocked anal sacs. Inspect under his tail to see if there is any obvious signs of a problem. If not get your vet to check his anal sacs at the next visit. It is a fairly simple procedure to empty them out.
All the best, Peter