Why Cats Lick Us After We Apply Hand Lotion

This is a common question veterinarians are asked. Many cats appear to like the taste of lotions, especially those that are infused with enticing scents. These products are often viewed as innocuous because they can be purchased over the counter at local supermarkets or pharmacies. Though most topical lotions and creams aren’t likely harm your pet, and in most cases a lick or two isn't likely to cause an issue. Still, the behavior should be discouraged. There are some creams, however, that can have unintended consequences, including steroid-based creams, anti-fungal creams, diaper rash ointments, calamine lotion, triple-antibiotic ointments, muscle rubs and sunscreens. These types of lotions can cause gastrointestinal damage, digestive problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. The hair product Rogaine is especially dangerous. If ingested by dogs or cats, it can cause fluid buildup in the lungs and heart failure, with initial signs of vomiting and lethargy. So, whether you’re using ordinary hand lotion or over-the-counter medicated products, always allow it to dry completely before coming in contact with pets.