Why Do Cats Lick Their Lips?

Why Do Cats Lick Their Lips
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Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Cats lick their lips to clean themselves and express contentment or anxiety. Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, and licking their lips is just another way to keep themselves clean.

From regular cleaning rituals to feline communication, cats can be intriguing creatures. One fascinating behavior is lip licking, which may seem insignificant but can reveal a great deal about a cat’s mood and health. Whether your cat occasionally licks its lips or does it excessively, knowing the reasons behind this behavior can enable you to understand your feline friend better.

Keep reading to learn more about why cats lick their lips, the potential underlying causes, and when you should consult a veterinarian.

Why Do Cats Lick Their Lips?

Credit: www.catster.com

The Normal Reasons For Cats To Lick Their Lips

Have you ever noticed your cat licking its lips excessively and wondered why they do it? Well, there are several reasons why felines lick their lips, and we’ll delve into the normal reasons for cats to lick their lips.


One of the most apparent reasons for cats to lick their lips is thirst. When your furry friend has a dry mouth, they may lick their lips as a way of moistening their mouth or to stimulate the production of saliva.

So, if you see your feline companion continuously lick their lips, make sure to check their water bowl.

  • Licking lips can be an early warning sign of dehydration, so ensure your cat has access to fresh and clean water at all times.
  • If you notice their water intake is low, try adding a few ice cubes to their bowl. This modification will meet your cat’s need for fresh water and make it more appealing to them.


Another common reason for cats to lick their lips is for grooming purposes. As you know, cats are known for their impeccable grooming habits, and licking their lips is part of this routine. Uh oh, did they eat something gross again and are cleaning their mouth?

  • Licking their fur while grooming can cause hairballs, which they will eventually vomit out. You can reduce the formation of the hairballs by brushing your cat’s fur frequently, which will also make the fur nice and shiny.
  • Plus, grooming is a calming activity for cats, and it helps them relieve anxiety or stress. So, if you see your feline companion licking their lips more than usual, it could be a sign that they’re feeling a bit anxious or stressed out.

Cats lick their lips for various reasons, and these two – thirst and grooming – are completely normal. However, pay attention if you notice excessive lip licking accompanied by other symptoms like drooling or vomiting. If you’re concerned, consult your veterinarian immediately.

The Abnormal Reason For Cats To Lick Their Lips

We’ve all seen our cats lick their lips, usually after a delicious meal or when they’re grooming themselves. However, there are times when cats lick their lips excessively, and it may not have anything to do with food or grooming.

Let’s explore the abnormal reasons that may cause cats to lick their lips.

Illness Or Injuries

Cats may lick their lips excessively if they are injured or ill. Here are some illnesses and injuries that may cause a cat to excessively lick its lips:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease or oral infections.
  • Injuries such as burns or chemical reactions on the skin or hair.
  • Allergic reactions to food, medication or environmental factors.

If you notice your cat excessively licking its lips, it’s important to monitor its behavior and make a visit to the vet if the behavior does not subside.

Feline Stress

As surprising as it may sound, cats can experience stress and anxiety, which is a common reason why they may excessively lick their lips. Here are some reasons your cat may experience stress:

  • New surroundings or moving to a new home.
  • Sudden changes in routine or diet.
  • The presence of other pets, people or animals.
  • Boredom or lack of stimulation.

It’s essential to keep your cat comfortable, form a predictable routine, and provide them with activities and toys that match their personality to reduce their stress levels.

Behavioral Issues

Cats, like humans, have complex personalities and can harbor bad habits or behaviors. Some of these behaviors lead to excessive licking of the lips. Let’s explore some reasons why your cat may be engaging in these behaviors:

  • Compulsive disorders such as over-grooming and ocd.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Due to fear, pain, or irritability.
  • Negative past experiences

If you notice your cat is continuously licking its lips, it’s important to observe its behavior and consult a vet. Behavioral issues can lead to severe health and emotional problems if left unaddressed.

Excessive lip licking in cats is not normal behavior and should be monitored carefully. If you notice your cat exhibiting such behavior, it’s important to consult with a vet to determine the underlying cause and address it accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions For Why Do Cats Lick Their Lips?

Why Do Cats Lick Their Lips?

Cats lick their lips to self-groom, communicate hunger, and signal anxiety or stress.

Is Lip-Licking Normal For Cats?

Yes, lip-licking is a normal behavior for cats. They usually do it for grooming or communication.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Cat’S Lip-Licking?

If your cat is excessively lip-licking, salivating, or drooling, it could be signs of illness or disease.

Can Lip-Licking Be A Sign Of Anxiety In Cats?

Yes, lip-licking in cats can be a sign of anxiety or stress. Other symptoms include avoiding eye contact and restlessness.

What Should I Do If My Cat Is Constantly Lip-Licking?

If your cat is constantly lip-licking, take them to the vet to rule out any underlying medical issues or behavioral problems.


Cats lick their lips for a variety of reasons, including grooming, self-soothing, and communicating with their humans. While excessive lip-licking may indicate an underlying health issue, such as dental problems or anxiety, it is generally a harmless behavior for felines.

As cat owners, it is important to understand our pets’ body language and vocal cues to better communicate with them and provide them with the proper care and attention they need. So, the next time your cat licks its lips, observe its surroundings and behavior to decipher its message.

Remember, cats are fascinating creatures with unique personalities, and their lip-licking is just another fascinating quirk to discover and appreciate. Happy cat-watching!

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