Lick. Lick. Lick. Lick lick lick. Licklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklick. Oh. I did not see you there.
Part of any cat’s day is dedicated to licking. This is obviously how we clean ourselves, and it helps us relax after a stressful day, the same way humans draw a hot bath and float in their filth. Note that we do not need water to stay clean, thank you very much! Also, humans often miss a spot, and thus we must groom them with our tongue.
But that is not all. There is an intricate hierarchy in a household, with the cat always on top. Perhaps it is not so intricate after all… Anyhow, humans can earn a position in this social structure by virtue of providing acceptable gifts and a diverse, tasty menu. When we then lick their hands or their face, it is because we recognize them as part of our microcosm; a high honor indeed! Or because they smell of food.