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Why does my cat want to be in my face?

When I first adopted my cat, there were so many things that surprised me. I didn’t know much about cats before adopting one, so everything my kitten did fascinated me.

As time passed, I learned the ropes of being a cat owner and the many quirks that come with cats. Still, there were things I couldn’t quite figure out.

As a kitten, my cat would always stay close to my face. Many mornings, I woke up to my kitten nestled under my chin.

It turns out my friend’s kitten did the same. So, I needed to know, why cats want to be near your face.

Cats wouldn’t be cats without having many reasons behind what they do. The question of why kittens want to be near the face has a few possible explanations, and we will dive into them in this article.

Why do cats want to be near your face?

Cats are complicated creatures that do things for many reasons. Even as early as the kitten stage, they have many reasons for the things they do. 


A common reason a cat snuggles up to your face is that they are imprinted on you! They want to show affection, and this is their way of doing that.

Also, if you are gone a lot, and your kitten doesn’t see you so much, they could be missing you and want to cuddle.

When a cat is near your face, it may begin kneading. Kneading is a practice cats do when nursing their mother. If a cat does this to you, it shows you affection like it did with its mother!


Cats love attention. They like to be played with and doted on. If a kitten is next to your face and rubbing around, it likely wants some attention.

Kittens use physical touch to get attention from their littermates and mother and it’s a practice that they are familiar with.


Have you ever noticed how your cat rubs against you when you come home? When a cat rubs their face with yours, they are greeting you.

Rubbing against you is a way to mark you as a part of your cat’s family. This allows them to remember and identify you later on.

Kittens do this because they see you as a part of their family and want to say hello. 


Similar to how cats greet, they need to rub against you to mark their scent. Cats will do this a lot by rubbing against your face.

When a cat rubs against your face, they are essentially claiming you. They rub against you so you can smell like your kitten, and your kitten can smell like you.

Even though kittens will leave their scent on you, you won’t be able to smell it. The scent is one only cats can smell!

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Cats are super territorial and like to claim the things they enjoy as theirs! The good news is, a cat will only mark you if it trusts and loves you!


If a cat is feeling anxious or nervous, it may be snuggling close to you because it wants to feel safe. If your kitten is cuddled up next to your neck, it could be because it can feel your carotid artery.

The pulsing of the artery is a comforting feeling similar to what they felt in the womb. As much as we enjoy a cat purring, they also enjoy the sound of our breath and even snoring.

If a cat sleeps near your neck, it may be doing so because it wants security. Kittens that sleep near their owner’s neck tend to continue doing so into adulthood.


If there is one thing cat owners will tell you about cats, it’s they love warmth. Cats are descendants of desert animals, so their love of heat has been carried down.

Your face gives off a lot of warmth, and so does your breath. This general closeness gives off lots of warmth that cats will take advantage of!

Why does my cat lick my face?

kittens lick my face

It seems cats really like our faces. If they aren’t sleeping or sitting near them, they are licking them!

Similar to how they stay near the face for many different reasons, there are various explanations for why a cat may lick your face.


Cats will bond with their owners in different forms. One of the forms of bonding is by licking.

When kittens are young, their mother will groom them by licking them. Mother cats lick their young not to clean but also to show their affection. They, in turn, will lick others to show affection.

Cats licking your face may feel a bit strange, but it’s how they show their love.

They are stressed

When stressed, cats tend to lick things more than usual. You might notice they are grooming themselves more regularly.

This excessive licking may include you as well. If you notice this, it is best to take your cat to the vet for a check-up.

It’s essential to know the difference between when your cat is licking themselves a regular amount and when they are being excessive. Excessive licking is never a good thing.

They are claiming you

Like how cats claim you by rubbing against you, they may also do this by licking. Cats may choose to mark their territory in different ways.

Licking is one of those ways, and while they might be doing it to show affection, they are likely marking you as theirs. 

Why does my cat smell my face?

When your cat is constantly nestled near your face, you might also notice it likes to smell your face.

Cats have a unique sense of smell. When they sniff something, they can figure out a lot about that object. A cat’s nose is akin to human hands. They smell faces to figure out how we are doing.

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When smelling our faces, cats typically smell our noses first. This is because noses jut out and are the first thing a cat will come in contact with.

Not only that, but noses give away a lot about how we are feeling. If we are sick, a cat will be able to tell. 

Cats will also smell our faces to greet us. Cats do this to their family, and when they do this to a human, it means they accept us into their family.

If you are asleep and your kitten wanders up to your face to sniff it, it usually means he or she wants something. They might want food, to play, or it could be they are bored.

why does my kitten smell my face

It could also be that they want to ensure you are okay and alive! To cats, we just lie down for 8 hours a night, and it could be worrying to them!

A cat might also be sniffing you while you’re sleeping as a form of affection and greeting you.

Why does my cat paw my face?

Not as pleasant as rubbing, smelling, or licking, but some cats will paw at their owner’s face. Cats might do this for a few reasons.

To get your attention

The first could be your cat wants you to pay attention to them. Cats use physical contact to get attention.

If you are asleep, this might be their way to wake you up, so you can play with or feed them.

Scent marking

Pawing at your face is yet another way a cat is marking their scent. Cats actually have scent glands on their paws.

If they put their paws on your face, it might be because they are claiming you. They are leaving their scent on your face so that it smells like them!

It’s how they snuggle

Some kittens may put their paws on your face because that is their way of snuggling up to you. If they use their paws to touch you while snuggling, it is a sign of trust. This means your cat feels secure with you!

They need some room

They may be annoyed if you are constantly patting them or surrounding your cat. They sometimes use their paws as a nice way to tell you to stop and give them some room. 

Why does my kitten paw my face?


Cats are lots of fun but can be a handful. Sometimes the strange things they do leave us feeling so confused.

When a kitten stays next to its owner’s face, it is doing so for many possible reasons.

They may choose to be near your face to show affection, for security, warmth, attention, to mark their scent, or to greet you. Cats may also lick, smell, and paw at your face for similar reasons.

Whatever reason your cat stays near your face, it’s nice to see their cute faces close up!