Why Does My Cat Lick My Nose? 10 Reasons You Need To Know

Why Does My Cat Lick My Nose

My Cat Lick My Nose

Getting your nose licked by your cat is probably one of the funniest experiences a cat owner might experience. It’s not something people do to each other, even if they’re intimate. However, considering that they’re our beloved furry pets, you might wonder more about this strange habit. You’d ask, why does my cat lick my nose so much?

Unlike dogs with their wet and sloppy tongues, cats have sandpaper-like tongues. The papillae, which are backward-facing keratin hooks, produce this sandpaper texture. The rougher texture aids the cat in dirt removal. When they groom themselves, they usually start from their faces to their legs, body, and tail. The question now is, why would they bother including your nose? Why does my cat lick my nose when I sleep?

Rest assured, this is quite normal behavior for cats. Here are the top 10 reasons why your cat licks your nose:

1. To grab your attention

why does my cat lick my nose

Perhaps the most common reason is that they want to grab your attention. Your nose is smack dab in the middle of your face. There’s no mistaking that cats get your attention if they lick it. Cats are brilliant and would observe your immediate response after providing the stimulus of licking your nose. They may want to play with you or wish to eat. A lick on the nose got the job done of getting you to pay attention.

2. To taste the salt from your skin

why does my cat lick my nose

You might experience a time when “my cat licks my nose then bites it!” While they don’t intend to eat your face anytime soon, your cat may find your lotion or salty sweat tasty. You must consider that cats don’t have immediate access to various flavors like humans. They try to experience these tastes by sticking their tongues wherever they can. That includes your nose. Maybe they’re just curious how it tastes.

3. To socially bond with you

Mother cats bond with their litter through licking at the early stage of the kittens’ life. It is a foundational way of forming social bonds between cats, which they’re trying to accomplish with you. It so happens that the nose between your face is a direct target for licking. While cats are known to be solitary creatures, they thrive in cultivating social bonds with other cats and with their humans. Welcome this bond with your cat to keep their morale high.

4. To do some cleaning

why does my cat lick my nose

Cats are prolific groomers. They use their tongues to clean their fur and their body. It’s not a complete mystery for them to extend this practice to you as their owners. Since a cat’s understanding of how we groom ourselves is limited, they may be licking your nose to practice their hygiene. While your nose may not necessarily be dirty, it may just be that your cat thinks that it is.

5. To show that they’re anxious

To show that they’re anxious

Why does my cat lick my nose when I sleep? They’re probably anxious about your breathing. Humans, when sleeping, tend to snore or make loud noises, which could cause cats to check the situation by licking. Cats licking can be an indicator that shows that they are anxious somehow. Like humans, cats clean themselves whenever they feel uncomfortable or uneasy. 

6. To mark you as their own

To mark you as their own

Licking can transfer a cat’s scent into objects which mark their territory or ownership. Interestingly, this also applies to humans and other animals. Whenever a cat licks your nose or face, it could be telling the rest of the world that you are their property. You may notice your cat does this to you if they feel anxious or jealous of another person or another cat.

7. To confirm that you’re a member of their family

You will notice that most mother cats would lick their kittens nonstop to integrate them into their family fully. This behavior may have passed on to your cat, which may wish for you to be part of its immediate family. Cats are doing this signal that they trust you to have their back and take care of them. This act shows their loyalty to you. Licking your nose may be a kind of a seal of approval for you to be a full-fledged member of its family.

8. To soothe itself with the sensation

To soothe itself with the sensation

Whenever a cat is bothered or disturbed, they may resort to doing something that soothes them. Licking your nose can be a soothing sensation for most cats. Try to observe what’s bothering your cat. Being able to tell what’s wrong with your cat is an important skill you must develop. Try not to dismiss your cat when they attempt to lick your nose.

9. To do it out of habit

To do it out of habit

If you’ve allowed your cat for whatever reason to lick your nose for an extended period, it may simply become a habit for the cat. Cats thrive in routine and consistency. They will sometimes do something out of habit simply because it is comfortable and familiar. Perhaps the next time they lick your nose, it’s merely a playful gesture that it’s gotten used to doing.

10. To express their affection

To express their affection

Of course, perhaps the most heartening reason a cat would lick your nose is that it wants to show its affection. Unlike humans, who would usually use their arms for cuddling or lips to kiss, cats would use their tongues to lick noses instead. Since noses are in the middle of your face, the cat can immediately gauge your reaction once they do it to you. Cats would lick the noses of people with whom they are comfortable. So it’s not unnatural to consider that licking your nose may be one of the few ways your cat can tell you that it loves you.


Cats are social and affectionate creatures. Their range of movement is limited, so they would usually lick their human owner’s nose to express what they want. Sometimes they would lick their noses to grab attention, soothe themselves, groom, or do some social bonding. Whatever the reason, be accepting of this gesture. If you’re not comfortable with your cat licking your nose, you can quickly train them to refrain from doing it by repeatedly showing them. Distract them or walk away whenever they begin licking your nose. Overall, it’s a natural behavior of cats, and we need to be open and understanding with our pets whenever they do it.

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