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Why does my cat lick my nose?

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Cats lick their owners for a variety of reasons, commonly to show emotion.

Cats are very playful and active animals. They enjoy bonding with others, especially their owners.

If your cat licks your nose repeatedly it could be a sign of affection. It means they feel safe and trust you and this is their way to show it.

Normally your cat is doing this when craving attention, they have hopes that licking your nose will provoke you to give them a similar reaction of affection.

Reasons for licking

To Bond

Cats are very affectionate, showing all their love to their owners and friends.

beautiful girl with long hair playing with her cat

Licking is one of the most common ways a cat may do this. It is their way of socializing.

Cats do this commonly with other cats to show their trust and comfort.

For Taste

When a human sweats ,they emit a small amount of salt that cats may enjoy tasting.

However, this may also be another way that they are trying to bond with you.

By licking you and becoming acquainted with your specific salt taste & smell, it may enhance your cat’s affection towards you, thus using it as a bonding experience.

To Mark Territory

Cats are most comfortable in known and safe places where they feel at home.

If your cat licks your nose, especially in a new environment to them it could be their way of marking their territory, making them feel safer.

This is commonly known to be because their mothers do this to them when they are first born, now they have taken on that practice toward their owners. 

To Show/Relieve Stress

When a cat is under pressure or severe stress for whatever reason, either internally or externally, they have a habit of licking obsessively.

This may be anything from objects to people.

They find this act soothing as it calms their nerves, they most likely lick humans because the salty taste comforts them and the repetitive action calms them.

woman with short hair petting her cat on a sofa near a window

Should licking concern me?

You have no reason to be worried if your cat is licking your nose.

This is normal behavior that is common among all cats, whether indoor or outdoor.

It is their way of showing emotions to their owners and a way to bond.

If the licking is excessive and there are abnormal symptoms this may be a result of Psychogenic Alopecia: this is the act of unrestrained or excessive licking.

This may result in bald patches and may even lead to decreased life span.

If you notice symptoms that your cat may be excessively licking either themselves or their owner this could be a sign of illness or discomfort.

It is important to pay attention to these signs and seek help if you believe your cat is in danger of illness.

cat sticking out its tongue and licking its nose

How to get your cat to stop licking your nose

Some people may not enjoy the act of their cat licking them, whether it be the potential germs on them or even just the feeling of the harsh “sandpaper” texture that cats tongues have.

Never fear, there are some ways to combat this in a gentle but effective way.

This may be done by using distractions such as throwing a cat toy or giving treats to shift their attention away from the behavior. 

Another way may be to just stop them when they attempt to lick your nose, such as calmly pushing them away.

However, this may be seen as being distant or standoffish towards your cat which could create tension and potential aggression.

This can be prevented by taking small steps and actions such as distraction when it comes to getting your cat to back off.

Don’t forget to do it gently and calmly so as to not cause emotional or physical aggression in your cat!

Special note

This information is not a suitable replacement for medical advice.

If you believe your cat is portraying abnormal or negative symptoms, it is important to take them to the veterinarian right away to prevent and treat any illness and health concerns that may arise.