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4 Reasons Your Cat Licks You In The Middle Of The Night!

With cats being the second most popular pet second only to dogs, it’s not surprising that we see so many questions from cat owners about how to take care of their cat or asking for advice on different cat behaviors.

Unlike dogs that have a wide range of personality types, cats usually tend to be much similar to each other with their behaviors leading to a large number of people asking the same questions with each month that goes by.

One of the more commonly asked questions that we have seen people asking time and time again is based on why cats lick people in the middle of the night when they are trying to sleep.

This can be a very annoying behavior as we love our sleep and a cat jumping onto your bed and licking you until you are awake is not only annoying but leads to a lack of sleep that can end up having a direct effect on the other things in your life.

Due to there being such a large number of cat owners reaching out and asking about how they are able to stop their cats from waking them up while they are trying to sleep, we have decided to make this the topic of today’s video.

It does tend to be much easier for people to prevent their cat from licking them in the middle of the night once they know why their cat is doing it helping them discourage the behavior while also helping them get a good night’s sleep.

Why Does My Cat Lick Me In The Middle Of The Night?

The three main reasons that cat like people during the night while they are trying to sleep are down to your cat wanting attention, your cat showing affection, and your cat wanting feeding.

There are less common reasons such as your cat trying to groom you while you sleep or your cat liking the smell or taste of your soap or shampoo but these are not as common as them main three.

Thankfully, most of these are easy to discourage in most cats and you can often get a good nights sleep without your cat licking you until you wake up in most situations.

The main problem that cat owners face is identifying the specific reason that their pet cat is wanting to lick you during the night but once you have worked out why your cat is licking you, it is usually easy to prevent.

We will go over the main reasons that your pet cat may lick you below as well as how you are able to identify this as being the cause of the licking as well as how you are able to discourage it.

If you have let your cat lick you in the middle of the night to cement the habit then it will usually take longer to work this behavior out of your cat but if it is a recent behavioral development then you can stop your cat licking you while you sleep in as little as a week.

Your Cat Wants Feeding

The most common reason that your cat will lick you during the night and wake you up while you were sleeping is because it wants feeding.

Rather than this behavior happening every single night, this will tend to be at random times when your cat is hungry and it doesn’t have any food available to it.

This can be very easy to prevent if you use a high-quality dry cat food as you simply top your cats bowl up before you go to sleep ensuring that it always has plenty of food available to it throughout the night.

If you use a wet cat food then it can be a pain if you live in warmer areas as the wet cat good will dry out quickly and some cats will refuse to eat it once it is dry.

Not only can this result in your pet cat waking you up more often as it doesn’t want to eat the wet cat food that it has available to it but it can also result in a supringly high amount of wasted cat food.

You can try to switch your cat over to a dry food for night feeding to prevent this with some cats take to this system with ease and not waking their owners up during the night by licking them anymore but others will need some time to get used to having dry food instead of wet.

Your Cat Wants You To Let It Out Of The House

Cats wanting to be let out of the house can be a common reason that they will lick you at night while you are sleeping.

This can be problematic to deal with as some cats will be relentless at trying to wake you up no matter what and they will cry and meow loudly if you lock them out of your bedroom so you still get woken up no matter what.

This should not be an issue if you have an indoor cat as it will be used to not being able to go outdoors.

If you do have a cat that you let outdoors then letting the cat out of your house before you go to bed may be an option but you will have to factor in the potential dangers of your cat being outside all night without the ability to get back in.

One of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to stop your pet cat from licking you during the night to get out of the house is to just fit a cheap cat flap as it will allow your cat to get in and out of the house at night without having to lick you.

The entry-level cat flaps start at around $20 and work their way up in price from there depending on exactly what you want out of the product.

Your Cat Wants Some Attention

Although most cats are independent, some of them will enjoy attention from their owner and their need for attention may be a reason that they will wake you up during the night while you are sleeping by licking you.

Thankfully, most cats are easily discouraged from seeking attention and simply closing your bedroom door to prevent access will often be enough to prevent your cat from licking you while you sleep.

If you have multiple cats it is common that the cat seeking attention will simply go off and pester your other cat to entertain itself if your bedroom door is closed.

This can be another quick and easy win to prevent your cat from waking you up while you sleep requiring minimal effort on your part.

Keep in mind that if you have children or other people living in the house, you will also have to keep their doors closed or your cat may just go off and lick them during the night and wake them up.

If you have young children this can be a problem as some small kids like their door open but a small night light will often be enough to calm your child and let them sleep in their own room with the door close.

Depending on the layout of your home, you may be able to close a door to keep your cat in the living room and not have any access to the bed room as covered in our article on confining a cat to a single room at night.

Your Cat Is Showing Affection

Sometimes your pet cat will simply lick you to show you affection and most cats won’t care if it is night or day.

Thankfully, cats often have plenty of other things on their mind so unless your bedroom door is open, they will go off and do other things so simply closing your bedroom door at night can often be enough to prevent your cat from licking you while you sleep.

Some owners can have very stong bonds with their pet cats though, especially if their cat has had a traumatic experience and uses contact with their human as a coping mechanism for their previous experiences.

This is why we highly recommend that you explore other coping mechanisms for your cat if this is a similar situation to what you find yourself in.

Similar to cats wanting attention above, many cats who lick you during the night while you are sleeping will simply give up at the first obstacle and go off to do something else.

This is why simply closing your bedroom door before you go to sleep can easily be enough to prevent your cat from waking you up by licking you as you sleep.

How To Stop Your Cat From Licking Me While I Sleep?

The majority of the time it is very easy to stop your cat from licking you while you sleep at night.

More often than not, just closing your bedroom door before you go to sleep will prevent your cat from disturbing you and let you sleep through the night undisturbed.

If your cat does start to meow loudly at your door then you will have to take additional steps but it does still tend to be easy to get your cat to stop licking you.

We have gone over the more common reasons that’s your pet cat may lick you during the night above as well as how you are able to discourage each of the behaviors.

As we mentioned back at the start of the article though, if you have let this behavior of licking you at night develop into a full blown habit then it can take a long time to train out of your cat.

You also have to factor in your cat’s situation and although most cats will be fine left alone during the night, some cats can be anxious or stressed and want to be in the same room as you during the night too.

You will know your cat better than anyone putting you in the best position to make a decision on how you need to move forward for your cats circumstances.


That brings our article going over why cats lick people in the middle of the night to an end. Once you have been able to workout the specific reason that your cat licks you at night it does tend to be quick and easy to prevent in most cases helping you get a good nights sleep without your cat waking you up with ease. There are a number of situations where additional training will be required for your cat but this does tend to be rare and the majority of our readers will not need to take these additional steps.