Why Does My Cat Lick My Armpits? (5 Reasons + Tips to Redirect this Behavior)

Why Does My Cat Lick My Armpits?

So, you’re relaxing on your bed or your couch with your arms up when suddenly, your adorable cat tries to reach for your armpits.

At first glance, this doesn’t strike you as odd since cats are known to snuggle up to their owners looking for warmth and affection. But your little kitto doesn’t stop there. He actually goes ahead to sniff and even nibble on your armpits. It then hits you that there must be something about your underarms that the animal finds irresistibly attractive.

Like any concerned pet parent, you begin to wonder, why does my cat like to lick my armpit?

Now, there are numerous reasons why your cat might find your armpits attractive. For starters, underarms are generally warmer compared to the rest of the body, and cats usually find that warmth comforting. Secondly, cats have an inherent habit of snuggling. And your armpits offer just the perfect environment for that. Experts also believe that cats might be attracted to the smell of their owners’ underarms. Which is why your cat will likely lick your underarms at the slightest opportunity he can find.

If the cat goes ahead to lick your armpits, it could be indicative that he likes the saline taste that results from your sweaty underarms.

Read on as we unpack all the possible reasons your cat likes to sniff your armpits and what you can do to stop or redirect this behavior.

Why Does My Cat Sniff And Lick My Armpit?

It’s unquestionably true that many cats are naturally drawn to their owners’ underarms. Even so, most affected cat owners still find this behavior somewhat mysterious.

So, if your feline friend prefers to cuddle around your underarms, it’s only natural to find yourself wondering, why does my cat love my armpit?

As we’ve just indicated, there are numerous reasons that might draw your cat to your underarms. Let’s review those reasons in detail;

Why does my cat love my armpit?

1. The cat is looking for warmth

You may have noticed that whenever you’re relaxing with your arms up, your cat sneaks up and lies just beneath your armpits. Not only that, you might have also observed that the animal lies close to your underarms with his face on your armpits.

That might get you asking, why does my cat put his face in my armpit? The simplest explanation for this behavior is that your cat is looking for warmth.

It’s common knowledge that armpits are relatively warmer than the rest of the body. And depending on how chilly the general conditions are, the warmth that your armpits exude might go a long way in making your cat comfortable.

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2. Affectionate behavior

There are numerous ways cats demonstrate their affection towards their owners, including;

  • Purring
  • Head bunting
  • Grooming behavior, such as licking your body or hair
  • Blinking slowly at you
  • Cheek rubbing
  • Hanging out with you

When a cat sneaks up on you and cuddles up by your armpits, the chances are that the animal simply wants to be with you. Your kitto trusts you so much that he cannot bear lying a few meters away from your bed. And since your armpits are close to your head, the cat wants to display his affection towards you openly.

So, maybe you’ve often wondered, why is my cat obsessed with my armpit?

Well, the obsession with your armpits might just be a sign that your cute, little furball loves you to the moon and back.

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3. Attention-seeking behavior

Like most pets, cats are highly attention-craving animals, and they have various ways of seeking their owners’ attention.

For instance, you may have noticed that your cat meows while staring at the kitchen shelves whenever he’s angry. At times, the animal may growl while standing in the doorway as a sign that he is angry or frightened.

Similarly, sneaking up on your underarms could be one of the ways your cat tries to draw your attention to something. Whether the cat ends up lying by your underarms or not depends on the message he’s trying to communicate.

For instance, the cat may cuddle by your armpits if he’s longing for warmth or affection. Maybe you’re back home after a long duration and your kitto now wants to demonstrate how much he missed you. To do that, he comes and lies by your underarms and probably hopes that you can pet or groom him.

cute child hugging a cat

Sometimes, the cat may come close to your armpits but instead of lying down, he chooses to meow while standing. This could be indicative of a terrified cat and it’s important that you move with speed to investigate whatever could be making him uneasy.

The most probable reason a terrified cat may find safety in your underarms is that your armpits are technically parts of your arms. And cats understand all too well that if you were to defend them from any danger, you’d most likely use your arms.

4. Your armpits smell/taste nice to the cat

One of the frequently asked questions by many pet parents is, why does my cat sniff my underarm?

The most plausible answer to the question ‘why does my cat sniff my armpits’ is that your cat finds the smell of your armpits irresistible.

If your cat mostly sniffs your underarms before you’ve taken a shower, it could mean that the animal is drawn to the natural odor of your sweat. And if he prefers sniffing your armpits when you’re straight from the shower, that could indicate that your feline friend has developed a love affair with your shower gel or shampoo.

cute cat lick her lips

So, why does my cat keep smelling my armpit?

Well, the possible reasons are that the cat either likes your body’s natural odor or the scent of your beauty and skincare products.

Now, it could also happen that your cat doesn’t just lick your underarms, but he goes as far as to nibble on it. In that case, the chances are that the cat also finds your sweaty armpits tasty. Note that body sweat contains a cocktail of minerals, including sugar as well as salts like sodium, chloride, and potassium.

Although cats have way fewer taste buds than humans, they’re still able to pick up the taste of the many salts in sweat. This explains why your cat may especially prefer sniffing or licking your underarms before you’ve taken a shower. And this habit often extends to your sweaty clothes too.

So, you might often wonder, why does my cat lick my sweaty clothes? It only means that your cat is drawn by the high concentration of salts in your sweaty clothes.

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5. Underlying medical conditions

Though fairly uncommon, certain diseases could make your cat sniff or lick your armpits. Separation anxiety is one such disease.

Considered the most prevalent feline anxiety disorder, separation anxiety is common among abandoned pets, especially those that do not get enough physical or mental stimulation.

Some of the symptoms of separation anxiety include intense anxiety when you’re about to leave and overly excited greetings when you return home. Other common symptoms include escaping behavior, abnormal feeding and bowel habits, destructive behavior like excessive chewing, and pacing.

Pica is another disease that could make your cat want to sniff or lick your underarms. Generally, pica is an obsessive-compulsive disorder that causes cats to sniff, lick, or eat anything that’s typically not their food.

kitten sleeping

Why Does My Cat Leave Its Mouth Open After Sniffing My Armpits?

A cat sniffing or licking his owner’s armpits is shocking enough. But the sight of a cat sniffing your armpits then leaving his mouth open is even more astonishing. However, you need not fret.

Cats generally experience the Flehmen response to strong smells and tastes.

The Flehmen response is triggered by a cat’s Jacobson’s organ, and allows the cat to process a smell and possibly distinguish it from similar smells. When your cat opens his mouth after sniffing or nibbling on your underarms, the animal is simply trying to funnel that scent into his Jacobson’s organ.

Another possible explanation for this behavior is that cats utilize their nasopalatine canals as a funnel for their Jacobson’s organ. So, they naturally open their mouth after sniffing objects to enhance their access to the scent so they can process it better.

How Do You Stop Your Cat From Sniffing Your Underarms

First off, it’s important to state that there are no immediate health concerns associated with your cat licking your underarms. Although cats have active bacteria in their saliva, these bacteria are unlikely to cause any harm unless you have open sores in your underarms.

However, it’s also worth noting that a cat’s sandpaper-like tongue may not feel so comfortable, and less so on your armpits. So, you might still want to stop your cat from sniffing or licking your underarms, one way or the other. And the good news is that there are numerous ways to go about that.

women holding her gray cute cat

As with any pet problem, you can draw your cat’s attention away from your armpits more effectively if you understand the cause.

For instance, if your kitto prefers snuggling up to your armpits looking for warmth, you can consider making his sleeping area more comfortable. And if the behavior is due to affection, you can resolve it by petting or grooming your cat more often.

In the case of attention-seeking behavior, the onus is on you to find out whatever your cat is trying to draw your attention to. Is he hungry or ill? Is he lonely or bored? Does he need to use his litter box? Or perhaps he spotted a strange animal in your backyard or attic!

For cats that love sweaty underarms, the best solution would be to ensure you’re clean and fresh each time you’re home. In the same breath, remember to keep dirty clothes away from the animal’s reach.

But if the cat continues licking your armpits even when you’ve taken a shower, the problem could be with your shower gels and shampoos. In this case, your best bet would be to replace your cosmetic products.

Lastly, for cats that lick their owners’ underarms due to an underlying medical condition, the only remedy would be to take the animal for a checkup.

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Evidently, there are numerous reasons cats lick their owner’s underarms. Fortunately, there are no immediate health concerns to be worried about. Even better, there’s a raft of solutions you can implement to stop or redirect this behavior if you find it unbearable.

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Maria is the Founder and Senior Editor at AllCatSecrets.com. She is a lifelong feline enthusiast, self-educated pet care nerd and adores cats of all shapes! Currently parent of 2 adopted cats. She loves iced coffee, playing guitar and cat-cuddling! .

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