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Why Does My Cat Lick My Lips? 10 Likely Reasons

Having a cat as a member of the family can be full of love, adventure, and even confusion. We may never fully understand cats and some of their antics, but it’s clear cat lovers welcome most of them with open arms. When your kitty hops up on your lap and licks your lips there are a few reactions you can have. You can either be ecstatic that your kitty is showing affection, feel a bit strange that your pet is licking your mouth, or be curious as to why your cat is doing this. For cat owners who have lip-licking cats, we’re here to help with the reasons why some cats do this. Take a look at the likely reasons your cat is licking your lips below to help you better understand your feline friend’s thought process.

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The 10 Reasons Why Your Cat Licks Your Lips

1. Showing Their Love for You

One of the leading reasons your cat licks your lips is to show their love for you. Yes, even the most aloof, solitary cat can deem you worthy of a lick or kiss on the lips from time to time. Considering how rare it is for some cats to share licks of affection, you should always appreciate it when your kitty decides this is what they want to share with you.

cat licking a woman
Image Credit: NivCube, Shutterstock
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2. Your Kitty Feels Your Mood

Whether you’re feeling blue or under the weather, your cat can sense when things aren’t exactly right. This is a common thing amongst cats in the wild. When your cat knows something isn’t right, they may come up and lick you on the lips, or other areas, just to show you they are there and want you to feel better.

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3. The Smell of Food

Cats have an amazing sense of smell. No matter how hard you try, even after brushing your teeth, your kitty may smell the remains of food on your breath or lips. Considering cats love food so much, it isn’t surprising that they will lick your lips hoping to grab a morsel you may have left behind.

cat licks girl nose
Image Credit: Denis Val, Shutterstock
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4. Seeking Your Attention

Cats aren’t to be ignored. When a cat wants your attention, they will go out of their way to make sure you know they are there. One way your cat will let you know they want pets, playtime, or even food is to lick you. In your cat’s mind, this is a perfect way to get your attention. What better place to lick you when attention is needed than on the lips?

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5. Marking You

It may sound strange, but yes, cats mark their owners. Your kitty looks at you as their territory. This is why a cat will rub its cheeks against you and lick. A particularly loving cat will focus this attention on your face. Rubbing against your face, then licking your lips is one of the ways cats indicate they own you and you are now their minion.

woman hug her siamese cat
Image Credit: Piqsels
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6. Grooming

Don’t take it personally, but your kitty may feel like you need a bit of grooming. Luckily, in the world of cats, grooming is a sign of affection. When cats bond, they groom one another. When your cat loves you enough to groom you, especially on your face, they’re showing just how important you are to them.

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7. Imitation

Cats love to mimic. This is often how they learn new skills. If your cat sees you and your significant other kissing, or you sharing a kiss with your children, they may want to copy the gesture. It’s also possible that your cat has seen other animals in the home kiss you. Whether it be your dog that is constantly licking your face or another cat that is a fan of kissing, don’t be surprised if your kitty mimics what they see.

Gray cat licking the face of a woman sleeping
Image Credit: Denis Val, Shutterstock
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8. Memories

Your cat remembers a lot from when they were a kitten. This is especially true when it comes to pleasure and pain. If you were one of those owners who was constantly picking up your kitten and offering them a kiss, the kitty may want to relive those moments. The only difference is now the cat is in control of when they offer kisses instead of you initiating the contact. If you weren’t around when your cat was a kitten, the memories of licks on the mouth could be coming from their mothers. Mother cats often lick their kitten’s faces and mouths to clean them after eating or when grooming them.

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9. Teaching You

When a cat bonds with their owner it isn’t unusual for the kitty to see you as family, or another cat. In the cat world, this means you need to be taught a few things. A lick to the lips could be your cat’s way of teaching you to groom considering their mother did this for them as a kitten. Your cat could also be trying to help you learn how to mask your scent from predators. No matter what they are teaching, you are now family.

Black and white cat linking a woman's lips
Image Credit: ECOSY, Shutterstock
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10. An Upcoming Love Bite

Have you heard of a love bite? Yes, cats are well known for them. This is when a cat licks, then immediately bites you. While it can be painful, it is another sign of affection. If your cat is licking your lips, it could be time for you to prepare for a nip as a love bite could be coming.



As you can see, there are lots of reasons why your cat licks your lips. Whether your cat feels like you are unable to care for yourself, sees you as family, or wants a taste of whatever you’ve eaten recently it’s hard to push your kitty away when they want to offer kisses. Of course, if you aren’t comfortable with your cat licking your lips, diverting their attention usually stops this type of behavior. If you don’t mind it, simply enjoy the love and affection your cat is offering. The relationship between the two of you will only grow.

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Featured Image Credit: Caterina Trimarchi, Shutterstock