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Why Does My Cat Lick My Face? 6 Reasons for This Behavior

cat licking the girl's hair
Image Credit: yuris, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Kitty kisses can be cute and endearing, but being incessantly licked by a tongue that feels like sand can be uncomfortable and irritating. In order to correct this bothersome behavior, it’s essential to understand exactly why your cat is constantly licking you. Here are six common reasons behind your cat’s tongue baths.

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The 6 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Licks Your Face

1. Fond Family Memories

One reason for your cat licking your face is that she has accepted you as part of her pride and feels entirely at ease in your presence. Mother cats often lick their kittens to make them feel safe and secure. Now, the roles are reversed, and your kitty is showing you affection the best way she knows how—by licking your face.

2. She’s Seeking Attention

If your cat feels bored or lonely, she may start licking you to get attention. Sometimes, the licking means she simply wants to play or be petted. However, in other cases, the obsessive face licking could signify stress or separation anxiety.

Excessive stress-induced licking, like grooming your face, may mean that your feline is stressed. If it’s gotten to the point where the licking interferes with day-to-day life, you should schedule a wellness exam with your vet.

cat begging
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

3. Mine, Mine, Mine

Cats will lick items to mark them as their own. Leaving her scent on you establishes you as her property. Mama cats will do the same to their kittens. Even cats that aren’t related but get along very well will lick one another to bond socially.

4. Grooming

When your cat licks your face, she may be trying to clean you. While a bath of cat saliva doesn’t really sound that clean, this grooming promotes bonding. In the wild, cats in the same community will often lick one another to form tighter bonds. The face licking just means your pet considers you part of her pride.

cat grooming itself
Image Credit: Deedee86, Pixabay

5. A Human Pacifier

Kittens that were taken away from or abandoned by their mother before they were 8 weeks old may develop an oral fixation, making them susceptible to excessive licking. They didn’t get the appropriate amount of time to suckle, and licking can be a soothing substitute for that.

6. She Finds You Tasty

Whether from the salt of your sweat or a spill on your arm, your kitty may be licking you because she enjoys the taste.

cat licking owners face
Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

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How to Stop the Constant Licking

Stopping excessive licking from your cat could prove to be difficult. This behavior is often rooted in love and affection, so it may be tough to stop without harming your relationship.

The best way to prevent licking is to redirect your cat’s actions. For example, if your cat goes to lick your face, simply move it away from her and pet her instead. You could also move away from your cat when she starts licking. This causes her to associate her licking with your disappearance.

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The Bottom Line on Licking

If your cat is always licking your face, it could be because of her deep adoration for you, wanting to mark you as her property, or wanting attention. It may also be because of stress. Contact your vet if you think that is the case. Above all else, know that your cat loves you and considers you part of her feline family.

See also:

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Featured Image Credit: yuris, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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