Cats spend a lot of time licking, whether it’s themselves, other animals, or you, it’s simply what they do, and Ragdolls are no exception to the rule. Ragdoll licking has a whole new meaning when considering the nature of a Ragdoll.
Ragdolls lick you because you’re part of the team. They love you and consider you a part of their family; the most important part of being more accurate. A Ragdoll will lick you as a form of bonding because they like you and sometimes because you taste good.
If you drop some food on your lap, for instance, even if you clean it back up, the smell and the taste are likely to linger for quite some time. That means your Ragdoll is likely to linger for quite some time.
Reasons Your Ragdoll Licks You
As we mentioned above, there are a few reasons your Ragdoll may find a good reason to lick you to death. While you find it inherently disgusting or nothing more than an odd quirk that you would like to disincentivize your Ragdoll from, it definitely makes your Ragdoll happy.
Your Ragdoll Thinks You’re Tasty
Most of the time, if your Ragdoll is licking you, it’s because you’re their best bud. However, there are occasions when there may be more than mere affection going on. For example, perhaps you spilled something on yourself earlier in the day.
A Ragdoll’s sense of smell—a cat’s sense of smell in general—is about 15x more potent than a human being’s sense of smell. So that meatball that bounced off your lap 5 hours ago remains a potent distraction for a Ragdoll, all day long.
Of course, if you are used to your Ragdoll coming at your calves tongue first, then it’s likely that the meatball is neither here nor there.
It’s Your Ragdoll’s Way of Bonding
Ragdolls are cats that are comforted by physical touch. They are highly affectionate animals who love to be close. They’re practically lap cats, although that’s far too vague of a definition.
Your Ragdoll will often lick you because it’s doing nothing more than bonding with you.
Your Ragdoll is rarely trying to lick you to clean you. It may be something as simple as a few passing hellos with its tongue, or it could be something that goes on for much longer.
Either way, it boils down to the same thing. You’re Ragdoll wants to bond with you. Nothing more.
It’s Quality Time
Sometimes it’s just about spending quality time together—time in which your Ragdoll most likely expects you to reciprocate. Ragdolls are a complex breed, and their feelings and motives may be the opposite of what you assume.
However, one thing you can always depend on is your Ragdoll wants to be where you are, spend some good, quality time with you, and follow along when you get up. Ragdolls are complex, but sometimes, they can be pretty simple.
What if You Want Your Ragdoll to Stop?
Not everybody likes to be licked to death. Spending a lot of quality time with your Ragdoll is one thing. It’s another to get your hands and knees sanded down with a wet cat tongue.
If you don’t appreciate it, then you should work on getting your Ragdoll to give its tongue a break. First and foremost, you don’t want to punish your Ragdoll for doing something that it believes is an affectionate and bonding practice.
- Distract and redirect your Ragdoll’s attention
- Break out the cat toys
- Use treats
- Toss a ball of aluminum foil
Instead, redirect her. You want to distract and redirect her whenever your Ragdoll tries to lick you. Play with or distract her by giving her a back massage that’s only slightly overaggressive.
Your Ragdoll’s attention will quickly wander away from licking, and she’ll start wondering what in the world you’re doing.
If you have toys at hand—and you should if you plan to stop the licking behavior—now is the time to break them out and spend a few minutes playing with and distracting your Ragdoll.
Treats are always an easy distraction, although you shouldn’t go for this all the time since your Ragdoll’s health and weight are more important than defending your hand from her incessant licking exercises.
Tossing a ball of aluminum foil across the room is as effective as throwing a regular ball with a dog. Ragdolls already have a predisposition towards dog-like behavior, and the aluminum ball will, in all likelihood, be far too much for it to resist.
With some patience and time, the licking behavior will subside. Eventually, your Ragdoo will wind down on all the licking and be more excited about engaging in all the other activities.
Is A Ragdoll’s Licking Behavior A Bad Habit?
Ragdolls typically lick to either clean themselves or get your attention in some form or manner. You can’t count food because just about any animal will lick an area that smells strongly of food.
Stress and Anxiety
There’s a difference between grooming itself, which is entirely natural for your Ragdoll to do and licking incessantly, either itself or you. Too much licking can be a sign of anxiety or stress.
The one thing that causes significant stress in Ragdolls is not getting enough quality time and attention. They are one of the more highly affectionate cats of the entire domesticated species, and not getting much in the way of affection can have a detrimental effect.
That’s especially true long-term if it goes on for some time. An overly anxious Ragdoll will let you know it is anxious, depressed, and/or stressed by engaging in excessive levels of grooming, which you would need to address quickly.
Is Cat Saliva Harmful?
Not in general. However, if your Ragdoll licks an open wound or even a recently scabbed-over wound, you’ll want to clean it as soon as possible. This is because cat saliva can carry bacteria.
The bacteria from a cat’s mouth can be enough to cause serious inflammation around the area, flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, and severe infection.
In extremely rare cases, a cat could transfer rabies, but that’s not going to be high on the odds list from an indoor Ragdoll cat.
If your Ragdoll happens to sneak a lick in on a recent cut, scrape, or any other kind of abrasion that recently broke the skin, it’s no reason to panic. Just make sure that you get up and clean it thoroughly in hot soap and water.
Once it’s clean, there’s no reason to worry too much about it from that point on. Just keep an eye on it and disinfect it.
Licking behavior from a Ragdoll isn’t odd behavior by any means unless it is excessively licking itself. As far as you’re concerned, you can allow it to go on if it doesn’t bother you, or you can stop the behavior in one of the ways listed above.