Is It OK to Kiss Your Cat?

Learn whether it’s okay to kiss your cat.

Humans use hugging and kissing as a way to show affection, and many times, we use those methods to try and show our cats we love them. But do cats like to be kissed?

Some Cats Don't Mind Kisses

Cats have lived with humans for centuries, and they've adapted well to most of our strange ways. Many cats tolerate or even seem to respond positively to kisses from their favorite human, especially quick pecks on the top of the head. Here are some ways your cat will show you she doesn't mind being kissed:

  • Purr when you kiss her
  • Rub you back with her head
  • Lean in when you kiss her

If your cat gives you these signs, it's probably fine for you to kiss her.

Some Cats Hate Kisses

Some cats dislike being kissed. They might be similarly averse to hugs. Here are some things your cat will do if she doesn't like kisses:

  • Lean away when you kiss her
  • Lay her ears back against her head when you come in for a kiss
  • Whip her tail quickly back and forth when you try to kiss her
  • Hiss or swat at you when you give her a kiss
  • Run away when it's obvious you're going to kiss her

If your cat does any of those behaviors, don't try to kiss her. She's telling you she doesn't like it. Instead, find a different way to show her you love her, like engaging in an interactive play session or simply petting her.

How Do Cats Show Humans Love?

Most of the time, cats don't kiss to show love, though some cats do lick their humans affectionately. Some other ways that cats show love instead include:

  • Gazing into their human's eyes and then very slowly blinking one or both of them
  • Bumping their head into or rubbing their cheeks on a part of the human's body
  • Kneading their front feet rhythmically while touching their human with them

You can use the slow eye blink toward your cat to show her you love her if she doesn't like kisses and hugs.

Some Rules for Kissing Cats

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind surrounding kissing cats:

  • Never kiss a cat that is showing signs of not wanting to be kissed, like hissing, growling, laying the ears back, or leaning away
  • Don't kiss cats on the lips, both because you're at higher risk of being bitten if you do so and also because some intestinal parasites can be spread that way
  • Teach your child to avoid kissing cats because some cats have less tolerance for kids than adults, and kids often don't recognize signs of an angry kitty and move away fast enough
  • Never attempt to kiss a cat you don't know well
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