Why Do Cats Lick Their Nose – What Does It Mean?


Humans can have an itch on their noses, and cats can too. Even if you don’t see something tickling your cat’s nose, you may notice that your cat licks his nose a few times a day. This is a common habit for your cat, but you’re not sure why. You ask yourself: why do cats lick their nose? 

Cats lick their nose to remove debris blocking or covering it. Cats lick their nose to enhance their sense of smell, leading to better stability and awareness. Nose licking is also a sign of agitation, allergies, and anxiousness in cats.

Your cat’s nose acts as a magnet or as a tissue, depending on what your cat is doing. It may seem like a weird habit to you, but it’s a helpful thing that your cat will do relatively often. It’s healthy for your cat to lick his nose. If you want to learn more, keep reading!

Reasons Cats Lick Their Nose

There’s no one concrete answer as to why cats lick their nose. Scientists have studied this behavior for a long time, but we won’t have one specific answer until cats can talk. Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons why you might find your cat licking his nose: 

Get Something Off Their Nose 

Your cat may have something stuck to his nose. This could be a piece of their fur, some dust, or even pollen if they were smelling a flower.

Licking is the best way to remove whatever is stuck to their nose if you’re not around to get it first.

If a cat keeps getting wet food stuck on it’s nose, it may help to change to a new food bowl so they don’t have to eat at that particular angle.

Enhance Their Sense Of Smell

Some saliva on your cat’s nose can enhance your cat’s sense of smell. Your cat will lick his tongue to add some saliva to his tongue. The saliva acts as a magnet for particles in the air, enhancing your cat’s sense of smell even more. 

They Feel Like Something Is Tickling Their Nose

Something may tickle your cat’s nose, which causes your cat to lick his nose. The most common thing tickling your cat’s nose is a piece of their fur. This may not cause them to sneeze, but it is certainly enough to annoy your cat.

There Is Food Stuck In Their Nose

Tiny pieces of dry cat food or wet cat food might get to your cat’s nose while eating. Your cat will quickly notice that there is food snuck to their nose and will do whatever they can to remove it and eat it.

Wet cat food that dries onto his nose is often the culprit that sticks to your cat’s nose the most. The easy fix here is to move to dry food to keep your cat’s nose clean.

Your Cat’s Nose Itches 

Cats can get itches just like you and me. A flea won’t be the culprit behind your cat’s itchy nose, but that doesn’t mean your cat’s nose doesn’t itch. Your cat may paw at his nose to relieve the itch or use his nose to satisfy himself. 

Your Cat Is About To Sneeze Or Already Sneezed

Just like we wipe our noses after we sneeze or right before we sneeze, you might find your cat doing the same thing. If your cat has to sneeze, licking his nose may either help him sneeze or fight off the sneeze if it didn’t happen yet. 

Can Cats Lick Their Noses

Although a cat’s tongue does not seem long enough to lick its nose, cats can indeed lick their noses.

Cats have pretty short tongues when you compare them to a dog’s tongue. Cats lick themselves all the time, but their tongues never seem that long.

A cat’s tongue is longer than you might think. 

Your cat’s tongue is long enough that it can lick its nose. Their tongue can reach more than the tip too. If your cat is looking to lick his nose, his tongue can cover his whole nose. 

Next time your cat is licking his lips or around his teeth, take a look at his tongue. Cats will stretch their tongues out when they are drinking water too. 

You might be surprised by how long his tongue is! 

Why Do Cats Lick Their Noses After Smelling Something

If your cat smells something in the air, licking his nose will allow him to understand better what he smells.

Cats are sniffing the air all the time. Sometimes you’ll catch your cat licking his nose after he smells something in the air.

Getting saliva on his nose means that he’ll have an easier time smelling. Saliva helps your cat attract smells better than if his nose is dry.

You might notice that your cat’s nose is somewhat damp all the time; this is, so his smelling is as good as possible at all times.

As cats start to age, you may notice that there is overall drier than it used to be.

Why Does My Cat Keep Licking His Nose And Sneezing

Your cat may start sneezing after licking his nose because there is something on or in his nose.

You might be tempted to believe that nose licking will cause your cat to start sneezing, but that’s not the case. 

Your cat had something on his nose, which is why he started to lick it in the first place. This could be any number of things, such as dust, pollen, hair, or even a piece of plastic from the package you just ripped open. 

This foreign object on your cat’s nose is what led to the sneezing. If licking his nose didn’t remove it, he may start to sneeze because it tickled his nose. 

Other Things To Consider

Your cat’s saliva can also help heal wounds. Sometimes a cat cuts his nose, and his saliva will help keep the wound clean.

Here are some ways that your cat may cut his nose:

  • A catfight could lead to a sliced nose. These cuts could be profound, but usually, it is a surface scratch that turns red.
  • A nosy cat could cut his nose on a piece of paper or cardboard, especially if he likes playing in a box.
  • His nails could scratch his nose if he has an itch that he’s trying to satiate with his nails.
  • An accident with a cat toy could lead to facial cuts. Stuffed toys are safe, but if you have a toy attached to a pole, it could lead to a minor injury. 

Deeper cuts on a cat’s nose are always more concerning, but you will rarely need to go for stitches for your cat. Most cuts will bleed a little when they first happen, but the blood will quickly stop.

Cuts happen. When they do, your cat’s saliva will help keep it clean. Your cat’s nose won’t get too dirty in everyday life, but it is always good that your cat licks his nose to fight any infections that may happen. 

The saliva doesn’t only work on your cat’s nose either. If your cat gets a cut on any part of his body, you will find your cat licking his wound, whether it is on his leg, stomach, or back. The saliva is helpful no matter where it is. 

Don’t ever stop your cat from licking his wounds, even if it is a deep cut on his nose. You may think your cat’s tongue is dirty and that it will cause an infection, but that’s the opposite of what happens. Allow your cat to lick away to keep himself healthy. Happy licking! 

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Welcome to FAQCats! We are a team of cat owners and writers who love to write about everything related to cats. We strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about cats through extensive research and caring for our own fur-pals!

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