Why Does My Cat Lick My Dog?

Normally, cats and dogs have a love and hate relationship. One day they will be playing together, and the other day they will be all up on each other fighting. Most times, the cat is the mean one and always plays tricks on the dogs while the little puppy is just trying to make a friend. If you have these two at home, you are probably wondering why the cat is licking your dog instead of being mean and cold. You can read about this in greater depth at DogStruggles.

Knowing the relationship these two have, it is unexpected that the cat would lick the dog. But it happens naturally and shouldn’t be a concern to you. In this article, you will understand the possible reasons why your cat licks your dog.

Potential Motivations Behind Cats Licking Dogs

In normal circumstances, the first encounter between a cat and a dog is awkward. It is highly likely they will turn aggressive and fight; but, this is not always the case. They may stay away from each other for a few days, but you will start to notice the licking behavior as soon as they get comfortable. What does it mean when your cat licks your dog?

Positive Reinforcement

When you get your cat and try to train them, you will notice the slight licks anytime you applaud positive behavior. The same case happens when the dog makes friendly advancements, especially after being together for a while. If the dog remains calm and accepts the lick, it is bound to happen again and again. It is creating a good impression and reassures the dog of the good friendship they have.

Pack Behavior

The cats and dogs’ families live in packs in the wild. Even with domestication, cats and dogs retain pack behaviors. Licking in the wild is a sign of recognizing the other as superior. In this case, the cat licking the dog shows that it understands that the dog is superior in the relationship. This also happens the other way around, where the dog licks the cat. It all depends on how well they relate, how long they have lived together, and which of the pets came before the other.

Sometimes, the cat will lick the dog because it wants something that the dog has. For example, if your pets are used to each other and play together, the cat might lick the dog to get a toy or be part of the game. This is common with all animals living together, and it is their way of communicating what they feel.


Cats are known for their excellent grooming behavior, so they do not need regular baths as dogs do. This is not to say that dogs do not groom their bodies; they do but not as good as felines. It is, therefore, possible that the cat could be licking the dog for grooming. This happens when the cat considers the dog as a member of the family, especially if the dog found the cat.

The grooming lick is usually a reassurance cue to the dog. If you just brought a new puppy home, you can expect the cat to lick it as they build their relationship. You might also notice the dog licking the cat as a response to the love and affection. New puppies can shed a lot so we recommend purchasing a SUV cargo liner for dogs.

Motherly Act

If your cat is female and the dog is a little puppy or still very young, you may notice some licks as time goes by. Cats are sweet mothers and can be very protective of their kittens and any other young pet. In this case, the cat feels the need to play with its mom and take care of the puppy. It is simply a sign of motherly affection, and you should be happy it is happening.

Pure Affection

Simply, your cat just loves your dog. Remember, cats are meaner and colder than dogs, and anytime there is a fight, it is most likely to come from the cat. When you introduce a new dog to the family, usually the cat fights as a sign of protecting their space.

If this does not happen, then it is a sign that the cat loves the dog purely. It is not common, especially on the first days of the two staying together, but as time goes by, the pets build a loving and caring relationship, hence the licks.

Does Your Dog Enjoy the Licking?

At first, the dog will be surprised that the cat shows affection instead of anger and negativity. You may notice your dog pulling away from the cat, and this is because it finds it strange behavior. Before a cat licks the dog, there might have been a fight, and the dog believes the cat is unfriendly. The more the cat licks the dog, the more the relationship grows. The dog learns to stay calm and reciprocates by licking the cat too.

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