Why Does Your Cat Keeps Licking Lips? (2024)

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Have you ever noticed your cat constantly licking its lips? I used to think it was just a normal thing, but lately, it seems to be happening all the time, even when they haven’t had anything tasty.

I’m not overly worried, but I feel like I should figure out why they’re doing it. There could be a few things causing my cat keeps licking lips, so let’s explore some possible explanations.

I must be aware of what might be going on so that I can better understand my cat’s behavior. Plus, I want to know what I can do to help my cat if they need some extra attention or care.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Licking Its Lips

My Cat is Grooming or Cleaning Up

I probably noticed that my cat, like most, loves staying clean. She dedicates more than 5 hours each day to grooming her fur, wanting it to be spotless and smooth.

However, she’s a unique little one, and her enthusiasm for this grooming routine can vary. Now, if I notice my cat licking her lips excessively after meals, it’s probably just another part of her cleanliness mission, especially focusing on the outside of her mouth.

While she takes grooming seriously, I keep an eye out for other behaviors, just to be on the safe side.I pay close attention to when she starts licking her lips. If it’s right after a meal or a drink, chances are it’s all part of her regular cleaning ritual.

cat licking her lips excessively after Clean up

My Cat Might Suffer from Oral Disease

As my cat is getting older, dental issues can become more common. One frequent problem is oral disease, involving various dental conditions:

Gingivitis: This bacterial condition causes swelling and redness along the gum line.

Periodontitis: A more severe stage of gingivitis, where bacteria goes deeper into the gums, leading to infection and potentially an abscess.

Tooth Resorption: This mysterious condition occurs inside the tooth, working its way out. A significant percentage of house cats experience this issue without a clear cause.

Oral Tumors: These growths can develop anywhere inside the mouth, causing discomfort. Cats might lick their lips in response to mouth pain, attempting to alleviate the discomfort.

To address potential dental problems, a visit to the vet is crucial. They can examine my cat’s mouth and guide the next steps, whether it’s establishing a brushing routine or more advanced dental procedures.

To prevent these issues from developing, establishing a routine of brushing my cat’s teeth is essential, even if she resists initially.

Additionally, incorporating dry kibble into her diet can help reduce plaque buildup on her teeth, contributing to better oral health.

Despite any initial resistance, a consistent routine can make a significant difference in keeping my furry friend happy and healthy.

Cat Suffer from Oral Disease and licking her lips

Your Cat Ate Something Toxic

It’s not unusual for my curious cat to sneak a nibble on things she shouldn’t. I often catch her trying out non-food items or checking out my favorite houseplants.

Some things can be harmful to her, while others might not be super dangerous enough to make her uncomfortable. If she happens to eat something not so good for her, she might react by licking her lips or drooling.

These signs, along with other symptoms like throwing up, trouble breathing, or an upset tummy, could mean there’s a problem that needs urgent attention from the vet.

I keep an eye out for these extra symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Throwing up
  • Breathing problems
  • Upset tummy
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Not drinking
  • Acting sleepy or not moving much

Because some things she might eat can be really risky, it’s important to act fast. If my cat starts licking her lips a lot and shows other worrying signs, I make sure to take her to the vet quickly.

The seriousness of the problem can vary, so I like to be cautious to keep her safe.

Learn about other potential dangers your cat might encounter, such as why your cat might be biting other cats’ necks.

Cat licking her lips after Ate Something Toxic

Your Cat is Nauseous

When my cat’s stomach is upset, it usually shows through her behavior. When she’s not feeling great, she might lick her lips to show she’s uncomfortable.

If this happens a lot because she’s feeling sick to her stomach, there’s probably a reason behind it. Cats aren’t supposed to feel sick all the time, and it could be triggered by things like scents in my home or certain foods.

Learn more about cat behaviors indicating discomfort, including why your cat might be sleeping with its mouth open.

Along with lip-licking, I keep an eye out for other signs of her feeling sick:

  • Drooling
  • Licking
  • Chewing
  • Trying to throw up
  • Not drinking enough water

While sometimes she might just need a simple fix, if she’s often feeling sick, it could mean something more serious is going on. Possible reasons for her feeling sick could include problems like kidney issues, diabetes, or even cancer.

If I think she’s feeling sick a lot, I make sure to schedule a vet appointment. They might need to run tests to find out what’s wrong.

If it’s related to the food she eats, they might suggest trying different foods to figure out what’s bothering her.

Cat face the Nauseous

Cat Might Have Allergies

If I’ve noticed my cat licking its lips a lot, it could be because of annoying allergies. You know how allergies can make people feel itchy? Well, it’s kind of the same for my feline friend.

Allergies in cats can happen because of things in their environment or certain foods they eat. And just like with people, allergies in cats come with other signs that can give me a clue.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for signs like:

  • Watery eyes
  • My cat scratching or itching more than usual
  • Breathing a bit harder than normal
  • Making wheezing sounds when breathing
  • Skin that looks red or irritated

If I’m worried that my cat might have allergies, it’s a good idea to team up with my vet. Together, we can figure out what might be causing these allergies and how to help my cat feel better.

 cat licking its lips a lot, it could be because of annoying allergies

Fear or Nervousness in Cats

When my cat licks their lips without any food around, it might be a sign that they’re feeling nervous or scared. To really understand what’s going on, I pay attention to their surroundings and watch for other signs like changes in body language.

It’s like they’re trying to tell me something, and being aware of these subtle cues helps me figure out if they’re uncomfortable or anxious.

Pain Relief

I’ve noticed something about cats – they’re really good at hiding when they’re hurting. But I’ve learned that if my cat keeps licking or biting one spot on their body over and over again, it could mean they’re feeling some discomfort.

For instance, if they’re focusing on licking their belly and inner thighs a lot, it might mean they have a urinary infection, especially if they’re going to the litter box more often.

If they’re clawing at their mouth, it could mean their teeth hurt, and if they’re licking their hindquarters a ton, it might be because of worms or blocked anal glands.

Whenever I think my cat might be hurting, I make sure to talk to the vet about it. And in older cats, arthritis might be causing pain, especially if they have trouble reaching certain parts of their body.

my cat repeatedly licks or bites a specific part of their body

Dry Mouth

If my cat seems to struggle with swallowing and licks their lips a lot, it might be because of a dry mouth. This condition, called xerostomia, can be temporary and caused by things like fever or dehydration.

When I’ve noticed this, my vet usually suggests water additives, regular brushing, pet-safe mouthwash, serving moisture-rich food, or even medications like pilocarpine to boost saliva production.

Excessive Saliva (Ptyalism)

I’ve observed that when my cat lip-smacks, it could be due to either too much or too little saliva. Signs like vomiting, refusal to eat, pawing at the face, and difficulty swallowing might mean they have excessive saliva, a condition known as ptyalism.

If I notice these signs, I make sure to check their mouth for any excess saliva and reach out to the vet for a thorough health checkup.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Just like us, cats can catch colds or respiratory infections. Living in shelters or multi-pet households makes them more vulnerable.

If my cat ever shows signs of respiratory issues like fungus, Bordetella, Chlamydia, feline calicivirus, or feline herpesvirus, I know a visit to the vet is in order.

Medications and a special diet are usually prescribed, and in severe cases, they might need intravenous fluids.

Making sure they have fresh water during recovery is essential, and sometimes, I entice them to eat with strong-smelling cat food featuring flavors like tuna or other fish.


I’ve noticed that excessive lip licking in my cat can also be a sign of anxiety, especially when there are significant changes in their environment.

Whether it’s moving to a new home, introducing a new pet, changes in pet food, nearby construction noise, or the arrival of a new baby, these events can stress them out.

To help soothe my cat, I try to identify the specific source of their anxiety and get them back to their old routine. Sometimes, incorporating anti-anxiety measures can make a noticeable difference in reducing their excessive lip-smacking behaviors.

excessive lip licking in my cat can also be a sign of anxiety

Frequently Asked Questions

My cat licks its lips after grooming. Is this normal behavior?

Yes, it’s normal for cats to lick their lips after grooming. However, if accompanied by other concerning signs or if it becomes excessive, it’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian.

Can dental issues be the sole reason for lip licking in cats?

While dental problems like gingivitis or tooth resorption can cause lip licking, other factors such as allergies or stress may also contribute. A comprehensive vet examination can help identify the primary cause.

What role does diet play in a cat’s propensity to lick its lips?

Diet can be a contributing factor. Cats with food allergies or sensitivities may lick their lips in response. Changing the cat’s diet under the guidance of a vet may help alleviate this behavior.

How can I differentiate between normal lip licking and a potential health concern?

If your cat’s lip licking is occasional and not accompanied by other worrisome signs, it is likely normal. However, persistent lip licking, coupled with behavioral changes or health issues, warrants professional veterinary attention.

Are there preventive measures to stop my cat from ingesting toxic substances?

Ensure your home is cat-friendly by removing toxic plants and securing household chemicals. Supervise outdoor activities, and promptly address any signs of ingestion by seeking immediate veterinary care.

Can I use over-the-counter remedies for my cat’s lip licking without consulting a vet?

It’s recommended to consult with a vet before using any over-the-counter remedies. Self-diagnosis and treatment may not address the underlying issue and could potentially worsen the condition.

Will a change in my cat’s environment help if stress is causing lip licking?

Environmental changes, such as creating a calm and secure space for your cat, may alleviate stress-related behaviors. However, consulting with a vet is crucial to identify and address the specific stressors affecting your cat.


In conclusion, if you observe your cat licking its lips excessively, it’s essential to pay attention to accompanying signs and consider potential causes.

Dental issues, allergies, mouth pain, digestive problems, exposure to toxic substances, or feeling sick could be contributing factors.

Seeking guidance from a veterinarian is essential to receive an accurate diagnosis and a customized treatment strategy.

Remember, your vet is a valuable resource in understanding and addressing your cat’s health, so don’t hesitate to seek guidance if your feline friend exhibits unusual behavior.

Early intervention and proper care can contribute to your cat’s overall well-being and happiness.

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