Cats lick each other faces to reinforce the bonds in a social group, and doing the same to people they think of as family is just an extension of that. These spines are made of keratin — the same hard protein their fur and claws are also made from and our hair and nails, come to that. The structure of the spines is specially adapted to transfer saliva into the depths of their coat for cleaning, and to ease out mats and tangles. Add on top of that, their target being the center of your face, and it feels like a real onslaught of feline attention! Cats are famous for being fastidiously clean. In fact, they spend nearly a quarter of their waking lives grooming.
Many people assume that cats lick them as a sign of love which isn't really that far off. While it's hard to determine if cats feel complex emotions like love, licking is a sign of affection. Cats usually lick themselves in order to groom. Mother cats will lick their kittens as a part of the grooming process as well.
A cat licking your nose or giving your little headbutts is often a way that they can transfer their scent and be more social with you. In nature, they lick in order to bond with one another, display affection and share scents amongst one another. Cats often have very complex emotions, and they often require less affectionate care than many pets like dogs. The simple affection that you can get like the licking of your nose is often considered the highest level of affection, and acknowledgment of you and a way to share their scent with you.
Ever wonder why your cat is licking your nose whenever you cuddle her? Cats express their feelings using different, rather subtle methods. Nose licks are like a people kiss on the forehead or cheek, a display of affection.