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9 Reasons Why Does Your Cat Lick Your Nose

9 Reasons Why Does Your Cat Lick Your Nose

Licking behavior isn’t uncommon in felines. They might lick various things they find in their surroundings besides their food.

This happens since they’re curious and probably want to know how a certain thing tastes. As you likely observe on a daily basis, your cat also loves to lick her fur! This is her grooming routine, since cats are known to be super clean animals.

But, you might be surprised with your cat enjoying licking you – your nose, to be precise.

Why does this happen? Why does my cat lick my nose? Should I be worried?

Well, there isn’t a single answer to this. Actually, there are nine common explanations for this type of behavior in your pet.

Let’s learn more about the nose licking issue, and whether you should do anything to stop your kitty from it.

1. Your Cat’s Way To Show Her Love

cat licking young man nose

Let’s start with a rather positive explanation for your cat’s fascination with your nose.

She might be doing this to show her love and affection for you. If together with nose licking you also notice your cat purring and snuggling up towards you, these are definite signs that she loves you and enjoys your company.

Cats don’t feel emotions in the same ways humans do. This is also why so many people find them as reserved and aloof and believe that felines can never be as affectionate and loving as dogs, for instance.

The truth is that cats probably don’t understand kisses, for example, at least not in the same meaning they have for humans. However, they can understand that their owners are taking care of them and providing them with affection.

So, your cat licking your nose could be understood as her way of kissing you and showing you her love!

You can see how this looks in the video below.

2. She Wants To Bond With You

Grooming and licking is an important part of a cat’s life, and it all starts in her early childhood.

AmeriVet explains how mother cats groom their kittens for hygiene purposes, but this is also their way of providing comfort and bonding with them.

Therefore, this could be an acquired behavior in your cat – the one that she learnt from her mother. By licking your nose, she might be trying to make deeper bonds with you.

This is a great sign and one of the biggest approval your furry friend can give to you. This means that she sees you as her person, placing her trust in you as the one who cares for her and provides her with a secure home.

3. Your Cat Likes The Taste Of Your Skin

young woman holding cat while she licking her nose

Sense of smell is very important for cats.

According to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, felines rely on their sense of smell as they use it to communicate, but also to gather information.

Therefore, your cat uses this sense to communicate important messages to her feline counterparts, but also to you.

Considering this, it’s not so surprising that your cat wants to lick you to see how you taste. If she seems to like to lick your nose the most, she probably enjoys the salty taste of your sweat or even tears.

Also, your cat might especially like to lick your nose after you have eaten a tasty meal, since, thanks to her great sense of smell, she can still feel the aroma of food you just enjoyed.

4. Attention Seeking

Another possibility is that your cat is trying to get some attention from you.

Maybe you have been overly busy lately with your guests, work, or any other obligations. This might make your cat think like she isn’t the center of your attention anymore.

Although cats might seem independent and perfectly good left on their own, they actually thrive  on getting interaction and attention from their humans.

Your cat loves for you to have a special time in day to dedicate only to her and her needs. If you fail to do this for a couple of days in a row, she might seek your attention with some unusual behavior, such as biting your phone, or licking your nose!

This is her way of telling you: Leave everything that you’re doing and give me the attention I deserve!

5. Time To Play

cat licking womans nose

All cats are playful, although some need more opportunities to play than others. As a responsible pet parent, you should be aware of how much physical exercise your cat needs daily.

If she’s persistent in licking your nose all of a sudden, this could indicate that she’s calling you for a play.

Perhaps you spend most of the day away from home, and your cat could lack not only your presence, but also opportunities to play and to spend her enormous energy.

You should play with your cat as much as your free time allows you. This serves as an excellent means for her to engage in physical exercise, socialize, and build a stronger bond with you.

Another good thing to do here is to frequently cheer your cat up with some new toys. You should also provide her with plenty of space to hide and rest inside your home, as well as with some nice tall cat trees.

6. Your Cat Wants To Groom You

Grooming is one of a cat’s natural instincts, and this is a part of her nature, regardless of her breed, age, and gender.

A potential reason why your kitty might lick your nose is her trying to groom you as well!

PetMD points out how a cat’s licking is a friendly, altruistic behavior. Mother cats groom their kittens, and many of them will groom other cats as well, as they grow up. 

Grooming is their way to strengthen their social bonds, therefore, some felines might transfer this act onto their humans.

Most likely, your furry companion is grooming you because she sees you as her family member, and as a person she shares the deepest bond with.

This might seem weird, but also charming, when you think of it as your cat’s special way to show how much she appreciates you!

7. Territorial Behavior

cat licking mans nose

All cats are territorial, at least to some extent.

Your cat licking your nose could be her way of marking you as her territory. You see, in this way, she’s using the scent glands located in her tongue and licks you to mark you as her own.

This most commonly happens upon the arrival of a new cat into the household. Most likely, your cat won’t be crazy about this decision, especially at the beginning.

If you have recently welcomed another cat into your home, you can expect other unusual behaviors, such as your resident cat guarding you while you poop.

The key here is to introduce your two cats properly and provide them with their own separate belongings to minimize the chances of territorial conflicts.

Although your cat marking you as her territory might seem charming, with time, she could show other destructive behaviors. Therefore, the best would be to stop feline marking behavior as soon as you start noticing it.

8. Stress And Anxiety

If your cat all of a sudden starts licking your nose, and she does this quite often, this could mean that she’s experiencing stress and anxiety.

Cats that feel these emotions are likely to over-groom themselves as a consequence, but might also start to excessively lick other things – and their owners.

Stress and anxiety in cats should be taken seriously, since they could lead to other behavioral and health problems, such as avoiding the litter box, reducing the food intake, increasing urine marking and showing aggressive behavior.

Lingna Zhang and her associates [1] point out the following common causes of feline stress and anxiety:

• New environments

• Hospital visits

• New socializations

• A change in their routine

• Social conflict

• A disease or a injury

• Frustration from limited outdoor access

The thing you should do here is to try to discover the exact cause of stress and anxiety in your cat. If possible, you should eliminate this source from her surroundings.

You should do your best to make your kitten feel safe and protected in your home. If things don’t seem to be getting better, you should ask a veterinarian for advice.

9. Health Problems

cat playing with woman nose

Unfortunately, there’s also a chance that your cat is licking your nose due to a certain health problem.

Some medical issues, such as nausea, can cause a cat to excessively lick everything around her. 

If your cat doesn’t seem to stop licking your nose, you should call a veterinarian. It might be nothing serious, but having the vet perform an examination can help ensure your kitty’s health.

Of course, regular vet check-ups should be a part of your care for your pet. Even when you don’t notice any suspicious behaviors or symptoms, you should take your cat for a check-up at least once a year.

Remember that cats are very skilled in hiding their pain, so, sometimes, you’ll need to believe your intuition, since, at last, you’re the one who knows your cat the best.

Should You Stop Your Cat From Licking Your Nose?

Well, this behavior could surprise you, but you’ll probably jump to a conclusion that it’s still completely harmless.

If you noticed this only occasionally, and your cat otherwise seems completely fine, you might not even find it necessary to stop your cat from licking your nose.

However, if this happens often, you might want to redirect your cat’s attention from your face. You can do this by immediately giving her her favorite toy right at the moment when you see her approaching you.

Of course, you shouldn’t yell at her or punish her.

It’s important you figure out the cause of this behavior. If your cat is just seeking attention, this is your opportunity to spend some quality time with her.

Still, this behavior could indicate that your cat is experiencing stress, anxiety, or physical pain and discomfort. To eliminate this possibility, and to check out your cat’s health, you should consult your veterinarian.


Why does my cat lick my nose?

From showing her love to you to even dealing with medical problems – there are nine common explanations for this cat behavior.

At first, this can be surprising, and even charming, when you see it as your cat’s way of showing love, or grooming you in the same way she does with her feline counterparts.

However, if this continues repeating over time, it could become annoying, and, even worse, worrying, since you might start thinking that there’s actually something wrong with your furry friend.

Just to be sure everything is in order, you should reach out to your veterinarian and explain your cat’s behavior, and for how long have you been seeing it.

And, don’t worry, since your vet is the perfect person to get advice from every time you notice unusual behaviors and symptoms in your cat.

You might also find it interesting to learn more on the topic of why cats lick their owners’ toes. Hope to see you there!


[1] Zhang L, Bian Z, Liu Q and Deng B (2022) Dealing With Stress in Cats: What Is New About the Olfactory Strategy? Front. Vet. Sci. 9:928943. DOI, Retrieved September 5, 2023.