Why Does My Cat Lick My Head?

Have you ever felt the rough, sandpaper-like texture of your cat’s tongue on your head? It might seem like an odd behavior, but rest assured, it’s a sign of affection. Cats are notorious for their grooming habits, and licking is just one way they show their love and care for their humans.

But why does your cat insist on licking your head? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. While some experts suggest that cats lick their owners for the salt on our skin, others believe it could be a way for them to bond and mark their territory. Whatever the reason may be, one thing is certain: your feline friend adores you and wants to express it through grooming.

So grab a cozy blanket and settle in because we’re about to dive into the fascinating world of feline behavior. In this post, we’ll explore the most common reasons behind why cats lick heads and what it means. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to respond when your furry companion starts showing you some love with a lick or two.

Get ready to learn more about this endearing behavior that makes cat ownership such a joy.

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Reasons Why Cats Lick Heads

5 Possible Reasons

As a cat owner, you probably know how affectionate and quirky your feline friend can be. One of the behaviors that may seem odd or even uncomfortable is when your cat starts licking your head. But don’t worry, this behavior is completely normal and has several possible explanations. Here are five reasons why your cat may be licking your head:

To Show Affection: Cats are social animals and enjoy being close to their owners. Licking your head is a way for your cat to show affection and bond with you. It’s their way of saying “I love you” and feel comfortable around you.

To Groom You: Cats are natural groomers and spend a significant portion of their day grooming themselves and other cats in their social group. If your cat is licking your head, it could be because they see you as part of their group and want to keep you clean.

To Mark Their Territory: Cats have scent glands in their mouths, and when they lick you, they leave behind their scent. This scent is a way for them to mark their territory and signal to other cats that you belong to them.

To Relieve Stress: Licking releases endorphins in cats, which can help them relax and feel calmer. If your cat is feeling stressed or anxious, they may turn to licking your head as a way to soothe themselves.

Out of Curiosity: Cats are curious creatures that love to explore and investigate new things. Licking your head may be a way for them to learn more about you or satisfy their curiosity about the scent or taste of your hair.

While these are the most common reasons why cats lick heads, it’s essential to pay attention to any changes in behavior or excessive licking that could indicate an underlying health issue or behavioral problem. In such cases, it’s recommended to seek expert advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

In conclusion, cats are unique creatures with individual personalities and behaviors that may sometimes seem confusing or bizarre. However, understanding the reasons behind their actions can help strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.

a. Showing Affection

While this may seem unusual to some, it is actually a common gesture of affection among cats.

When a cat licks its owner’s head, it is a clear indication of love and devotion towards their human. This behavior also serves as a way for cats to declare ownership over their owners. The reason behind this is because cats have scent glands in their mouths, so when they lick their owner’s head, they leave behind their unique scent as a way to claim their human as their own.

In addition to marking territory, licking is also an essential part of grooming for cats. When they lick their owner’s head, they are helping them stay clean and free from dirt and debris. This behavior is especially prevalent among cats that share a close bond with their owners.

b. Grooming

Well, the answer is simple yet heartwarming – it’s their way of showing affection and considering their human as a part of their family.

Grooming is ingrained in a cat’s DNA, and they devote a considerable amount of time to this ritualistic behavior. So when they lick their owners’ heads, it’s an extension of that grooming instinct to include their beloved human. Moreover, the texture of hair is akin to their fur, which makes it all the more enjoyable for them.

However, grooming isn’t merely a display of love. Cats may also want to keep their owner clean by removing any dirt or debris from their hair. And, of course, it’s an excellent way for them to leave behind their unique scent and assert ownership over their human.

Nevertheless, excessive licking can be a red flag indicating stress or anxiety in cats. If your furry friend is incessantly grooming your head or other body parts, seeking veterinary advice may be prudent to rule out any underlying health issues or behavioral problems.

c. Marking Territory

Today, we’re going to dive into the intriguing topic of how our feline friends mark their territory. You may have noticed that your cat has a habit of giving you head licks – but did you know that this seemingly adorable behavior actually serves a purpose?

Cats are territorial creatures, and they use a variety of methods to establish and maintain their territory. One such method is through scent marking. Cats have scent glands located all over their bodies, including in their mouths. When they lick you on the head or other areas, they’re leaving behind their unique scent as a way of claiming ownership and marking their turf.

Interestingly, this behavior is especially common in cats who share a strong bond with their owners. So, if your cat loves to give you those sweet head kisses, take it as a sign that they consider you part of their inner circle.

Of course, excessive licking can be a cause for concern. If your cat is constantly licking your head or other parts of your body to the point where it’s becoming irritating or uncomfortable, it could be a sign of anxiety or an underlying medical issue. In such cases, it’s always best to seek advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

In households with multiple cats, head licking can also be a way for cats to establish dominance and hierarchy. It’s just another way that our feline friends maintain order within their groups.

So, there you have it – the next time your kitty gives you a little love on the noggin, you’ll know that it’s not just about affection – it’s also about ownership and claiming their territory. As long as the behavior isn’t excessive or causing any issues, there’s no need to worry.

Signs of Excessive Licking

This behavior has been ingrained in their DNA for centuries as a way to groom and show affection. However, excessive licking can be a cause for concern, indicating underlying health issues or behavioral problems. Let’s explore some signs of excessive licking in cats that you should be aware of.

One telltale sign of excessive licking is hair loss or bald patches on your cat’s skin. Over-grooming can lead to skin irritation, infections, and even bald spots. Keep a watchful eye on any areas where your cat excessively licks or rashes on their skin. Such spots could indicate an underlying issue that needs immediate veterinary attention.

Another sign of excessive licking is rough or calloused spots on your cat’s skin. This happens when they repeatedly lick the same area, causing the skin to become rough and thickened. If left untreated, this can lead to further skin irritation and even infection. So, ensure you check for any such spots during your cat’s grooming sessions.

Excessive licking can also lead to digestive problems in cats. When cats lick excessively, they may swallow large amounts of fur, which can accumulate in their stomach and cause digestive issues such as vomiting or constipation. Pay attention to your cat’s eating and bathroom habits if you notice excessive licking.

Lastly, excessive licking can be a sign of stress or anxiety in cats. If your cat is excessively grooming themselves or others, it may be a coping mechanism for dealing with stress or anxiety. As a loving pet owner, it’s important to identify the root cause of your cat’s stress and provide them with the necessary support and care.

How to Stop Excessive Licking

Excessive licking can be a sign of boredom, stress, anxiety, or even a medical condition. As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to determine the cause before taking action. In this blog post, we will discuss five effective ways to stop excessive licking in cats.

Identify the Cause

Excessive licking could be the result of a medical issue such as allergies or skin irritations. If you suspect that your cat’s licking behavior is due to an underlying medical condition, take them to the vet for a check-up. Once any medical issues have been ruled out, you can begin to address the behavioral reasons for the licking.

Provide More Stimulation

Cats need plenty of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Providing your cat with mental and physical stimulation can help alleviate their boredom and stress levels, which may reduce their need for excessive licking. You can play with them more often, provide puzzle toys or introduce a new scratching post to give them more outlets for their energy.

Redirect Their Attention

When your cat starts to lick excessively, redirect their attention by offering them a toy or treat, or engaging them in play. This will not only distract them from the licking behavior but also reinforce positive behaviors.

Create a Safe Space

Creating a safe space for your cat can help reduce their anxiety levels. You can designate a separate room or provide a cozy bed where they feel secure and relaxed. This will give them a place to retreat when they are feeling overwhelmed.

Be Patient and Consistent

Stopping excessive licking requires patience and consistency. Be persistent in redirecting their behavior and providing them with the necessary stimulation and care they need. With time and effort, you can help stop your cat’s excessive licking and improve their overall well-being.

Other Ways Cats Show Affection

Head Butting

When your cat rubs her head against you, it’s more than just a cute gesture. It’s actually a sign of ownership and trust. Cats have scent glands on their forehead and cheeks, and rubbing against you is a way of marking you as hers. It’s like your cat is saying, “You’re mine, and I love you.” So next time your feline friend head butts you, give her a little scratch behind the ears and let her know she’s loved.


The sound of a purring cat is one of the most soothing sounds in the world. But did you know that it’s also a sign of love and contentment? When your cat snuggles up next to you and starts to purr, she’s telling you that she feels safe and happy in your company. It’s like she’s saying, “I love you and I trust you.” So next time your cat starts to purr, take a moment to appreciate the love and trust she has for you.


Have you ever seen your cat kneading with her paws? It’s a sign of comfort and security, and it’s often accompanied by purring. When cats knead with their paws, they are mimicking the motion they made as kittens when nursing from their mother. So if your cat is kneading on your lap or snuggled up next to you, it’s a sign that she sees you as a parental figure. It’s like your cat is saying, “You make me feel safe and loved.”

Bringing Gifts

While receiving a dead mouse or bird from your cat may not be the most pleasant gift, it’s actually a sign of love and affection. Cats bring gifts to those they care about as a way of showing off their hunting prowess and providing for their loved ones. So if your cat brings you a “present,” try not to be too grossed out – she’s just showing how much she loves you. It’s like your cat is saying, “Look what I caught for you. I love you and want to take care of you.”

Following You Around

Have you ever noticed that your cat follows you around the house? That’s because she loves and trusts you. When cats are attached to their owners, they want to be close to them at all times. So if your cat is always by your side, take it as a sign that you’re doing something right. It’s like your cat is saying, “I love being with you and want to be near you always.”

Health Benefits of Cat Licking

Believe it or not, cat licking comes with an impressive array of health benefits for both cats and their human companions.

One of the most significant benefits of cat licking is its natural antiseptic properties. Cat saliva contains enzymes that act as natural disinfectants, which means that when your fluffy friend licks your wound, it helps to clean and disinfect it, reducing the risk of infection. It’s like having a little nurse right at home.

But that’s not all. The enzymes in cat saliva can also break down dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, improving overall skin health. If you suffer from dry or flaky skin, your feline friend could be just what you need to get glowing.

Moreover, cat licking has been shown to stimulate endorphin production in both cats and humans. Endorphins are hormones that promote happiness and well-being, which can help to reduce stress levels and improve mood. So next time your cat licks you, take a deep breath and bask in the soothing effects.

Aside from endorphins, cat licking can also improve circulation in the area being licked by stimulating blood flow. This can help to promote healing and reduce inflammation, making it an excellent natural remedy for minor injuries.

However, as much as we love our feline friends, we must note that excessive licking can cause discomfort or injury for their owners. If your cat seems to be getting too aggressive with their licking, distract them with toys or treats.

It’s also essential to ensure your cat’s oral hygiene is in check and avoid letting them lick open wounds or areas with broken skin. While cat saliva is beneficial, cats may carry harmful bacteria or viruses in their mouths that they could potentially transmit to their owners through licking.


To sum it up, cats have a unique way of showing their affection towards their owners. While licking your head may seem odd, it’s just one of the many ways they express their love for you. Whether it’s grooming, marking their territory, relieving stress or satisfying their curiosity, there are various reasons why cats lick.

However, excessive licking can be a sign of an underlying health issue or behavioral problem. It’s crucial to pay attention to any changes in behavior and seek professional advice if necessary. A veterinarian or animal behaviorist can help identify the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Aside from licking, cats have many other ways of showing affection such as head-butting, purring, kneading, bringing gifts and following you around. Moreover, cat licking has numerous health benefits for both cats and humans alike. It has natural antiseptic properties that disinfect wounds and improve skin health while also stimulating endorphin production that helps reduce stress levels and improves mood.

In conclusion, owning a cat is a rewarding experience filled with love and affection from our furry friends. Understanding their behaviors only strengthens the bond between you and your feline companion.