cat licking face of man laying on couch

Cats may lick your eye or eyelids for several reasons, such as grooming, showing affection, recognizing their owner’s scent, or even tasting the salt on your skin. While this behavior might seem cute, it can transmit diseases like conjunctivitis. It’s essential to discourage this action and consult a veterinarian if you notice signs of irritation or infection.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How Cats Lick to Maintain Cleanliness

Cats are known for their hygiene. Many cat owners may notice their pets often groom themselves to keep them clean. But why does your cat lick your eye area? Here’s an insight.

Cats use licking as a tool to groom themselves and each other. When a cat licks your eye, it may be trying to groom you as well. If your cat is licking your eyes, it’s a sign that they consider you part of their territory and family. Your eyelid becomes another area for them to groom, just like they would with another cat.

When it comes to compulsive licking, cats also groom their kittens. Mothers often groom their kittens to keep them clean. So, when your adult cat licks your eyelids, it may be treating you like a kitten.

The cat’s tongue is designed to lick and clean. The saliva of cats helps in cleaning, and they may lick your eyes while you are sleeping to maintain hygiene. While it may seem like an affectionate gesture, it’s best to prevent eye infections by stopping your cat from licking your eyes.

Reasons Why Your Cat Licks Your Eye

Affection and Bonding

When your cat licks your eyelids, it’s a clear sign of affection. They are trying to include you in their feline family. The eye area is sensitive, and cats often lick this spot to show their affection or get attention.

Recognition and Ownership

Another reason your cat may lick your eye is to recognize your scent. Cats have scent glands, and by licking around the eye area, they can verify that you are their owner. It is their body language and a way to come closer to you.

Protective Instinct

Cats may lick your eyes to keep them clean. They know that eye infections can be harmful, so they may try to prevent eye infections by licking the eye area. If a cat loves you, they might extend this protective behavior to you.

Unique Personality Traits

Every cat is different. Some are obsessed with licking human skin, especially around the eyes. If you find your cat licking your eyes excessively, it might be a unique quirk in their personality.

Attraction to Salt

Did you know that your tears and sweat contain salt? Some cats like licking the salt on your skin. Your eyes could become a target for a salt-loving cat. You may be their salt lick! Although it seems peculiar, it’s just another way cats interact with their environment.

cat licking boys nose

The Dangers of Allowing Your Cat to Lick Your Eye

It’s best not to allow a cat to lick near your eyes. Even if they are trying to groom you or show their affection, you could end up with an infection. Many cat owners have learned this the hard way.

Allowing a cat to lick your eye might seem cute, but it comes with risks. Cats can transmit bacteria through their saliva. The saliva of cats may contain harmful germs that can lead to eye infections. When a cat licks your eye area, those germs can get into the sensitive skin around your eyes and cause infections like conjunctivitis.

How to Stop Your Cat from Licking Eyes: Prevention and Safety Measures

If your cat loves to lick your face or eyes, it might be time to teach them a new habit. You can stop your cat from licking your eyes by offering them a toy or treat when they start to lick. Playing with your cat is another way to divert their attention.

If you find it difficult to stop your cat from licking, consult a veterinarian. They can help you understand the different reasons why your cat licks your face and offer solutions to keep both you and your cat safe.

Keep Your Cat from Licking Your Eyes While You Sleep

You might find your cat licking your eyes while you are sleeping. To prevent this, you can create a separate sleeping area for your cat or close your bedroom door at night. Understanding your cat’s body language and coming up with playful activities can also help you create boundaries.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

Sometimes, cats lick their owners to show a sign of a problem. If you notice your cat licking your eyes and nose excessively, it might be time to consult a veterinarian. A professional can check for underlying health issues in your cat that may be causing this behavior.

Cats licking eyes might be a sign of stress or health problems in the cat. Consulting a professional ensures that both you and your cat remain healthy and that any unusual licking habits are addressed promptly.

How to Let Your Cat Lick You Safely

If your cat likes to lick your face and you want to allow this behavior, here’s how to do it safely. Avoid letting your cat lick near your eyes, nose, or mouth where germs can enter more easily. Letting your cat lick your hand or arm is a safer way to show affection.

Keep in mind the reasons why your cat licks, and always monitor for any signs of obsessive or compulsive behavior. If you have any concerns, consult a veterinarian to make sure that your cat’s licking is healthy and normal.

Other Licking Behaviors in Cats

Kitten Licking Habits

Kittens lick their owners often. Like licking around the eyes, kittens lick their humans to show affection or get attention. It’s part of how they bond with their human family. Kittens lick as a way to explore their surroundings. When they lick your face, they’re learning more about you. Some kittens might even lick your eyelash out of curiosity.

Can You Go Blind if a Cat Licks Your Eyes and Ears?

You may have heard that you can go blind if a cat licks your eyes and ears. But is this true? The answer is no. While it’s best to stop your cat from licking your eyes to prevent eye infections, there’s no evidence to suggest that you’ll go blind if a cat licks your eyes. It’s a myth that needs debunking.

cat licking man with eyes closed


Cats are fascinating creatures with behaviors that sometimes baffle even the most seasoned cat owners. From licking your eyes to showing affection through their cat’s tongue, their actions are filled with meaning and love. However, understanding these behaviors is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your furry friend.

While some licking behaviors like those around the eye area might seem endearing, it’s essential to recognize when it’s safe and when it might pose a risk. By consulting professionals, observing your cat’s habits, and following the guidelines provided, you can enjoy the affectionate licks without any worry.

Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, and tips in the comments section below, and don’t hesitate to share this article with fellow cat lovers who might find it helpful. Your comments and shares help us reach more pet enthusiasts like you!

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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Why Does My Cat Lick My Eye?

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