After I've put lotion on following a shower, my cat likes to lick my arms, even several hours later. It does seem to matter which brand of lotion I use, though I haven't tried many.

What is in the lotion that attracts the cat's tongue?

Are the ingredients of the lotion safe for the cat?

  • He probably likes the oil in the lotion. Cats generally aren't fans of strong citrus or pine scents. My cats wouldn't let me hold them after I put on an orange-scented lotion I used to have. You could try buying a strongly scented lotion and see if that proves unpalatable.
    – Kwuz
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 19:05

2 Answers 2


Among the things harmful to cats, the American Humane Association states the following:

Cats tend to be attracted to unusual flavors, so keep them away from calamine lotion, diaper rash ointments, sunblock and analgesic ointments. These products contain an acid related to those in aspirin and will prove toxic if ingested.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also says that:

We would not expect to see problems as a result of your cats coming into contact with your hands after you've applied non-medicated lotion. Should they happen to ingest a small amount of this lotion, it could potentially have a bit of a laxative effect, and may cause stomach upset. However, we would not anticipate systemic or life-threatening problems.

So in general, if it is a non-medicated lotion, you should be safe. It's not something the cat should likely get a lot of, but if they are just licking your skin after you have applied it and it has soaked into your skin, the cat should be okay.

However, if the cat suddenly appears to be ill after licking the lotion, taking proper steps to ensure its safety and health are always top priority, of course!

  • It doesn't seem to bother the cat at all. It would be dangerous to generalize; I use a lesser known brand from an organics-friendly store, which might not have ingredients found in mainstream brands.
    – DarenW
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 8:29

I've switched to using coconut oil as a moisturizer. They LOVE to lick that off, but it isn't harmful, since some people use it as a curative for cats. (I'm not recommending that, but it shouldn't be a problem if they lick it off)

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