Why does my cat lick my neck? (how to stop)

Why does my cat lick my neck

Cats say a lot with their little actions. They will purr to show healing, fluff their tales while playing, knead on blankets to show comfort, and paw at your face to show love and affection. Nothing cats do is random, so why is your cat licking you? 

Is it normal?

If your cat licked you, there is nothing to be concerned about. It is perfectly normal for cats to lick themselves and their owners. If you are a new cat parent, you may have to get used to the licking because cats spend 30 to 50 percent of their day licking themselves, and they lick their owners every time they feel affectionate. 

Why does my cat lick me so much?

Cats are territorial animals, and if your cat is licking you too much, it’s most likely that they are trying to mark their territory. When cats are stressed, they can urinate to mark territory. While licking and urinating are common, your cat may also head rub you to stake out its boundaries. 

Reasons cats lick your neck

Cats lick you for a number of reasons, and though there isn’t any scientific explanation for this, there are many plausible reasons why your feline friend licked you. If your cat particularly licks your neck, it could be for many reasons, like: 

Why does my cat lick my neck

To show kitty love

If your cat is licking you without using its paws, it is probably just trying to tell you that it loves you. Cats often lick their owners to mark territory and groom you—both signs of your cat’s being affectionate towards you. 

For the salty neck!

Your neck often collects the sweat residue, which tastes salty. Well, cats just happen to like that taste enough to lick you! However, if you use any products on your skin, especially near or on your neck, make sure they don’t lick and ingest that as it could be harmful to them. 

They think you are dirty

Well, the irony! Your high and mighty companion thinks that it is their job to clean and groom you. Cats often lick your neck because they consider it dirty and inaccessible to you, so they do the cleaning job for you.

This is common cat behavior, as these felines will often help each other clean their not-so-reachable parts. They are trying to get milk out of you

If your cat is kneading your neck with its paws while licking you, it is trying to get milk out of you. This is their way of extracting milk from the mother when they were kittens. If your cat is old, they are probably just reliving their childhood memories. 

They might be stressed

If you feel that your cat is licking quite aggressively, it is possible that your four-legged friend is feeling lonely and anxious. You need to give it more attention and play with your cat to lift their mood. 

What does it mean when a cat licks you?

Depending on the type of lick and whether or not the cat uses its paws, you can help identify the reason for the lick. If it is something your pet does on a regular basis, they are usually grooming you. Licking is a prime method of conveying emotions for cats.

They lick their mothers as newborns to show love. Mothers also lick their kittens to clean them up. Hence, your cat is just trying to show emotions the way it has been taught to. 

Is it a healthy behavior?

While licking is completely normal with cats, some types of licking might require your attention.

If your cat is excessively licking you, it might be stressed and may need proper care and attention. However, for the most part, cats lick you to clean you or show love. It is just their way of communicating!

How to stop your cat from licking your neck?

How to stop your cat from licking your neck

While your cat may be showing affection by licking you, the grainy tickle on your neck can be pretty annoying. There are many ways to stop your cat from licking your neck. 

Distract your cat

The best way to stop your cat from licking your neck is to distract them. You can use a moving toy or simply throw a paper ball that your cat can play with. Certain scents, like citrus, also keep cats away. A lavender, rue, lemon, or coffee smell on you will deter your cat from licking you.

Offer a treat to your cat

If your cat is licking you because it is stressed, a calming treat will help it soothe down. Treats are also a good distraction if your cat is continuously licking you.

Groom your cat

Kittens learn from their mothers that licking is not only important to show affection and bond, but also to get clean.

Your cat may be grooming you while it needs to groom itself. Give your kitty a bath, brush their hair, clean their ears, and clip their nails to groom them. Give them treats throughout the grooming process to keep them calm. 

Provide a toy

Cats that lick you for affection are not very picky about where they want to lick you. If your cat licking your neck bothers you, you can give it your arm, leg, cheek, or hand to lick. Or if you don’t want your feline friend to lick you at all, you can simply give them a toy they can bond with. 


If your cat has just started licking you and is pretty frequent in those licks, you might want to take her to the vet. There might be an underlying issue if your companion is licking you and other objects around you.

Additionally, aggressive licking is also a sign of concern as your cat might be stressed out or lonely. Make sure to find the cause of the problem and treat it as soon as possible for a healthier relationship with your pet.


While licking is normal feline behavior, it is important to read into what your cat is trying to tell you. Licking is a crucial means of communication, and knowing what your cat is trying to say will help you respond to its needs appropriately. This will make your pet happy and relaxed as it will feel like you understand them!

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