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  • Post last modified:August 21, 2023
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Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose? (10 Surprising Reasons!)

As a cat lover, if you are reading this article, you have probably come across something new. 

Cats have a habit of licking their nose. And the question on your mind right now is, why do cats lick their nose? 

Well, this article is going to give you some interesting facts on cats and their habit of licking their nose and so read on to know. 

Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose?

Why do cats lick their nose? Short-fur White Cat licking its nose.

One of the most obvious answers here is to clean it. Cats can’t fit their fingers into their nostrils, and even if they could, there are claws that could come in the way. 

Jokes apart, humans are not the only ones with dirty noses. Cats need to blow, oops, and lick their noses, for they must also clean them.

Besides that, cats also lick their noses for a few other reasons, which are listed below:

1. Moistening Their Nostrils

After the above, this is one of the most important reasons for a cat licking her nose, which is one of the most vital organs of her body. 

Warm or sunny locations can make your cat’s nose dry, and if your cat is not used to it, she is going to start grooming to make it wet. Smelling is easier for a cat when her nose is wet than when it is dry. 

A dry nose may not always be a problem unless it reaches a condition where it is severe, but if your cat still wants to lick, let her do it. 

2. Investigating The Environment

Cats are curious beings, but you know that already, and so one of the reasons for rubbing their noses is to investigate the environment around them. 

In other words, she is trying to get a feel of what she senses around her in the environment and is also probably looking out for potential predators that could be a threat. 

Must Read: Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Tongue Out?

3. Grooming Behavior

Orange Tabby Cat With Tongue Out

Cats like to groom themselves, and of the many things they do, one of them is licking their nose. Most often, you are going to see this happen after a meal. 

Humans aren’t the only ones who groom after meals. Cats feel the need to groom themselves too. 

Your cat has probably devoured a prey and is now trying to get rid of the traces of its scent, so you won’t detect that anything happened, but more importantly, so that its scent does not make them prey to predators who can detect its scent.

Grooming is also a survival skill for a cat, so let her do it. 

4. Nose Irritation

The poor thing is probably licking her nose right now as she has had some tiny object enter it. It could be anything from a food particle to something that went in through the air. 

Why don’t you go and check to see if you can remove it? 

The thing with cats is they don’t know, and all she can see is that she is feeling irritated, a feeling that has brought her tongue up to her nose. 

Quite a pitiful sight, isn’t it? 

5. Indicating A Health Problem

If a cat seems to be excessively licking their nose, it could be a sign of a health problem. Cats may lick their nose more than usual if they are experiencing respiratory issues such as:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory infections
  • Nasal congestion, etc.

Sneezing, coughing, or a decrease in appetite are all signs your cat might be sick, so you should take him to the vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry friend’s health.

6. Detecting Potential Toxins

Sometimes your cat could be licking her nose because she just smelled something, and she is trying to understand what she just smelled. 

Also, sometimes it could be that your cat has ingested a foreign object, because of which you are now seeing all that nose licking.

If the grooming is accompanied by excessive saliva, then this could be the case, and so, waste no time in taking your cat to the vet. 

7. Regulating Their Body Temperature

Cat Licking Its Paw

Your cat is probably having a dry mouth or fever. It happens, but as a result of this, she is uncomfortable and is thus grooming as a way to maintain her body temperature. 

A cat’s body temperature is normally 102 degrees Fahrenheit. They are very sensitive to the temperature around them, and one way of adjusting to this could be by licking their noses. 

8. As A Stress Response

When a cat is stressed, she does a lot of usual things. This is because the poor feline doesn’t know how else to handle that stress. 

And so chances are she is looking for a way to comfort herself, which is why she has been licking her nose so much. 

Why don’t you go ahead and see what might help? Give her a pat, a stroke, or maybe play with her? How about a cat spa? 

So, how can you tell if she is stressed or merely grooming herself? Some signs you will see are aggressive behavior, increased vocalizations, trembling, and excessive licking. These signs can help you determine if she is stressed or simply taking care of herself.

9. For A Better Sense Of Smell

Dogs are not the only animals that use their nose to learn about the world around them and know where their food is going to come from. 

Cats need their noses too, which they are right now trying to clear, to be able to use them better. 

See, a human being has 9000 taste buds, but a cat has only nearly 500. And so, to make up for this, they use more of their nose to enjoy their food. 

10. Just Out Of Habit

Cats have weird habits, and this is one of them. In fact, an average cat spends approximately 50% of their awake time grooming.

What began for one of the above reasons must have felt good and so became a habit that continues to stay. 

It happens in the case of humans, too. So, you can’t blame them at the end of the day. 

And so, with that, you can say that cats have varying reasons for licking their noses, some for which you should be worried and some for which you shouldn’t be worried. 

What is the case with your cat? Verify with all of the above reasons and see. 

Do Cats Lick Their Noses When Stressed?

Why do cats lick their nose? Close-up shot of a white cat licking its nose.

Yes, and this is true in the case of most pets. Your dog will do it too. You would have already come across that by now, haven’t you? 

So, how do you detect this? A few physical symptoms that you can see are trembling, dilating of the pupils, flattening of the ears, and even a lack of appetite. 

These are some of the behaviors that come along with nose licking when stressed. 

How Can I Tell If My Cat Licking Its Nose Is Normal Or Not?

Okay, now the big question here is, should you be worried, and the answer to that depends. It depends on how often your cat licks her nose and whether she is doing it more than usual. In that case, maybe you should be worried. 

Watch out for other symptoms like shedding, excessive whining, and hiding. All these show that there could be something wrong with your cat. 

If you see any of these, don’t hesitate to take your cat to the vet. 

Recommended Reading: How Long Can A Cat Live On Subcutaneous Fluids?

How To Stop Them From Licking?

You must probably be worried about your cat’s constant licking of her nose and are wondering how to stop her from this. Well, in that case, to help you, here are a few tips:

  • Keep the environment clean: Cats by themselves can get dirty, but you need to do your part to give your cat a clean environment. Keep the carpets clean and her bed clean. Brush her hair often to prevent ticks and fleas. Also, keep her food, water, and litter boxes clean and hygienic.
  • Check for allergies: Check for symptoms like sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, watery eyes, and so on. If this is accompanied by nose licking, your poor cat probably suffers from allergies and needs to be shown to the vet immediately. 
  • Increase humidity: One way you can do this is to bring home a humidifier. Cats need a temperature of 64-84 degrees Fahrenheit, which can prevent them from catching a cold or being attacked by diseases.
  • Provide mental stimulation: Give them something else to lick instead. Even better, give them a toy or a treat to distract themselves with. Tugging toys or chews are great for this.
  • Get a vet’s opinion: You know this by now, right? Licking is a normal sign of grooming only as long as it happens within its limits. If you think your cat is doing it excessively, go ahead and take her to the vet. 

What Does It Mean When A Cat Licks Your Nose?

Cute cat smelling unrecognizable bearded man on windowsill at home

Sometimes a cat may not lick her nose, but your nose. Have you ever come across that and wondered what they are trying to express by doing that? 

Well, nothing much. The cat is trying to tell you that she loves you and likes being with you. This could be a form of affection, as cats often lick their kittens to show love and care.

They may also do it as a way of marking their scent on you, which is a way of claiming you as their own.

So, it’s her way of showing affection since she can’t go ahead and kiss you. 

Why Does My Cat Lick My Nose Then Bite It?

Cats bite when they are in a playful mood, and the cat that loves you so much is only playing with you. 

Sometimes it could also be because she cares for you. She thinks that by nibbling on your nose, she is trying to groom you. 

In some cases, cats may bite in response to feeling threatened or uncomfortable, so always pay attention to your cat’s body language and respond appropriately.

If this behavior is becoming a problem, it’s important to redirect your cat’s behavior by providing appropriate toys or other activities that can help release their excess energy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, before you go, the following are some additional questions that are probably on your mind, and so here are some brief answers for you. 

Q1. Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose After Hissing?

Ans: Now, this is a sure sign that your cat is stressed, so make sure that you find out if something is bothering her and what it is. It could be anything from mere displeasure at something she saw or the fact that she is feeling sick. 

Q2. Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose After You Touch It?

Ans: She is grooming herself and, in a way, telling you she likes it and wants more. However, sometimes it can be a sign of being stressed and wiping out your scent, but that is only in the case of strict cat owners, which surely isn’t you. 

Q3. Why Does My Cat Lick My Nose When I Sleep?

Ans: Cats, like dogs, lick the people they lick, and if your cat is licking you, she likes you. If she is licking your nose, she likes you and is trying to groom you too. Enjoy it. It’s her way of showing her affection for you. 

Q4. Do Cats Give Kisses With Their Nose?

Ans: Yes, and it is one of the most wonderful signs of affection that your cat can show you. In some cases, she will even give you a small nip or rub her face all over you. All these are signs that your cat loves you. 

Q5. Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose After Smelling?

Ans: This, again, is a form of grooming. The cat is getting rid of any odor on his nose from the object that he is smelling, as sniffing an object could leave an odor on their nose, which could be strong enough to attract a predator.

The Verdict: Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose?

And that’s all about your cat licking your nose and whether or not this should worry you. 

Remember that the key is to check for any additional symptoms that come along with it, and if you don’t see any of these, then don’t worry. 

If she is doing it once in a while after a meal, she is merely grooming, so you have nothing to worry about. 


Hey there, pet lovers! I'm Pratik, a lifelong animal lover, and pet care expert. My passion for animals began at a young age and has only grown stronger over the years. Through my blog, I hope to share my knowledge and expertise with other pet owners and provide them with valuable information on pets.