Why Does My Cat Lick My Face? Here’s the Reason

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

why does my cat lick my facewhy does my cat lick my face

Getting kisses from your cat feels heartwarming. But when it starts to lick you, it’s no fun but somewhat uneasy. This prompts you to ask, “why does my cat lick my face?”

The primary reason why your cat licks your face is that it expresses its affection towards you. Other reasons could be:

  • Wanting your full attention
  • Marking you as theirs
  • Accepting you as their family

Continue reading to learn what cats want to express when they lick their owners’ faces.

Reasons Why My Cat Licks My Face


1. Showing You Affection

You cats lick your face probably because they want to express their love and affection towards you. The same way the mother cat grooms its little kittens through social grooming; they do the same towards you.

Cats usually do this to make their kittens feel secure. So, if your cat starts to lick your face, they’re just telling you how much they trust and love you!

2. Marking You As Their Territory

Cats love to mark their territories by leaving their strong scent in their environments. This goes the same when they lick your face. Licking your face means leaving their scent on your face—making you theirs.

3. Making You Part of the Family

Just like humans, cats value their group. Your cat sees you as part of their group of felines. This is the reason why they might give you gifts like a rat or insects. It is their way of sharing with you the food they discovered, which is really sweet.

4. Seeking Attention

Sometimes, licking your face by your cat only means they are bored and need your attention. This indicates that it’s time to have some playtime or cuddle with them.

What Does it Mean When My Kitten Licks My Face?

Based on studies, getting licks from your below 8-week-old kitten might be due to oral fixation because your kitten still needs some nursing from its mother.

To cope with their mother’s absence, they tend to lick your face to find refuge and safety.

Why Does My Cat Keep Licking My Face?


Sometimes, your cat does not only lick you once but many times. It comes to the point that you find it unhygienic and bothersome.

Excessive licking might indicate that your cat is stressed or anxious. This is their way of coping with their stress or anxiousness.

Is It Okay If My Cat Licks My Face?

Letting your cat licks your face is okay because it imposes a few advantages.

  • Studies have found that cats’ saliva has a chemical called histatin, nitric oxide, and a protein known as “Nerve Growth Factor” which helps in wound healing. This is also the explanation for why cats lick their wounds.
  • It establishes a stronger bond with your cat.

Despite these, there are also some disadvantages, such as:

  • It is unhygienic
  • It exposes you to health risks because a cat’s tongue has many bacteria and parasites that might be transferred to you once they lick you.

Hence, it is your decision whether you let your cat lick your face. But whichever your decision is, ensure this will not make your cat feel bad.

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Licking Me?


Your cat licking your face might be adorable at first, but as time passes by, it won’t be fun anymore.

But, making your cat feel you don’t like their licks might bruise your relationship with them.

It’s essential to look out for these tips on how do you get your cat to stop licking you:

  • Divert your cat’s attention by petting them or giving them their favorite toy.
  • Train your cat that licking your face is prohibited between you two by giving them treats or rewards whenever they hang out with you.

Frequently Asked Questions


What does it mean when my cat lick my chin?

Your cat licks your chin because they want to tell you how much you mean to them. It is their way of showing you their love and affection.

It could also mean they are marking you as theirs and seeing you as part of their family.

In some cases, however, a cat licking your chin might indicate that your cat is anxious and needs veterinarian help.

What is the meaning of my cat licking my face while I sleep?

You might be having a great sleep when you feel your cat’s rough tongue on your face. You can’t help but ask, “what is the reason when my cat licks my face to wake me up?”

Although this generally means you have a great relationship with your cat, this might not always be the case.

Here are some reasons why your cat licks your face at night:

  • They might be hungry and need a snack.
  • They’re feeling bored and want your attention. This happens at night since cats are known for being nocturnal.
  • Your cat is stressed or anxious. When your cat starts to groom themselves excessively, this is a sign that they might be stressed. So, when your cat wakes you up by licking you, they most likely do that to feel secure.
  • Your cat might have an underlying disease. If you notice something different from their usual behaviors, you should consider booking a check-up with a veterinarian.

Thus, cats waking you up at night by licking your face have different reasons depending on your relationship with your cat, health status, and current mood.

Why does my cat lick me then bite me?

Just like humans, cats also express their affection by some love bites. For them, it is a usual way to tell you that they care about you. Other reasons include the following:

  • They are grooming you.
  • Some playful bites indicate that your feline friend needs playtime with you.
  • They are overstimulated.

Therefore, licking and nibbling is your cat’s way of telling you that they need your attention or want to spend time with you.

For more information about this behavior, please click here for more details.

Why does my cat lick my face and purr?

This means that your cat is trying to be affectionate and establish a stronger bond with you. They might also want your attention. Give them your attention by petting them. From that, they will not feel rejected by you.


Hence, your cat licking you might be the reason for your post on Reddit to see if other cat owners also experience the same.

Most of you would ask, “why does my cat lick my face?” This cat behavior signifies that your cat is trying to catch your attention—whether for affection or something serious like stress.

Whatever the reason, it’s best to consider the health risk your cat could give you if you let them lick you. You might not also want to risk your bond with them, so make sure to provide them security without licking your face.

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