Why Does My Dog Keep Licking My Cat? (Fully Explained)

A lot of people have experienced their dogs licking their cats and it’s always a question they ask themselves as to why this happens.

There are many different reasons why a dog may lick a cat.

20 reasons why a dog will keep licking a cat

1. The dog loves and adores cats

This is the first and foremost reason that a dog may lick a cat.

Dogs love and adore cats for their cuteness and friskiness.

Even if the dog doesn’t know that the cat is a cat, it’s smelt them from far away as we all know how cats smell.

2. Territory

If the dog is very territorial or dominant, then the licking of the cat would symbolize that he is the leader.

3. The dog is anxious to keep the cat clean

Dogs, especially puppies, will often lick a cat to keep it clean.

The act of licking has an instinctual association with grooming, and this may be why the dog is doing it.

4. He/she is jealous of other dogs that have been allowed to be with a cat

If your dog feels as though another dog has had the attention of the cat, he/she may become jealous and may begin to annoy the cat, licking it or trying to get close to it hoping that its attention will be returned.

5. The dog likes to groom and clean her 

Dogs have a natural instinct to clean themselves.

If the dog licks an area of the cat’s body, it is not because she doesn’t find him or her enjoyable to lick, but because she wants the cat to smell better and look healthier.

6. The cat is not grooming itself and the dog feels it can do a better job

Dogs are skilled groomers, and they love to give themselves regular cleans.

If the dog notices that a cat is not grooming itself properly, it might believe that the cat would enjoy being groomed by a dog.

7. The dog is showing affection and his/her way of saying hello to the cat

This is very common with dogs that are friendly towards cats.

8. He/she wants to give the cat a bath without being stopped (this happens mainly with dogs that were raised with cats). 9. The cat is dirty

If a cat’s fur isn’t clean, then she won’t like to be in contact with them and won’t want to play with them or allow them on her bed etc…

10. The cat is frightened and needs to be protected and reassured

If a cat was frightened of dogs, then they will sometimes do this.

This happens mainly with cats that live outside or in an area where there are lots of dogs, like a park.

11. The cat is hurt and needs to be cleaned

If the dog accidentally hurt the cat, then they may decide to lick her to see if she’s okay.

12. The dog feels it can get the cat to be nicer to it by licking it

13. The dog is simply playing with the cat and his/her way of saying “Hi”! to the kitty!

Dogs that are very friendly towards cats often do this to make them play, or just to be silly.

14 . The dog sees a friend in the cat (this happens between dogs that were raised together)

Sometimes, when a dog sees a cat that it knows well, they want to be friends again and will start licking her straight away.

15 . Dogs and cats have different body temperatures, so licking him/her is a way of keeping warm

Some dogs will lick their partners when they are cold to keep them warm.

16 . The cat has been aggressive towards him and he thinks the only way to deal with this is to lick her until she becomes submissive to him (it doesn’t always work though).

17. The cat is very scared and needs comfort and reassurance.

Some dogs will try licking a cat that is meant to be aggressive, though it doesn’t work as well if it’s done by a dog that has been aggressive towards the cat in the past because this acts like a trigger for them.

18. The cat has been injured or scared, the dog needs to offer it comfort (this usually works better if the dog never hurts the cat).

19 . The dog loves to give affection to cats and licking him/her makes him/her happy.

Dogs love giving affection anyway, so if they see a cat minding it’s own business, they may decide to lick it too.

20 . The cat likes the dog and likes to lick him back (this is most common between dogs that have been raised with cats).

Dogs that are very friendly towards cats also like to lick them back, so they lick the cat on it’s face and ears.

Most times, dogs just love being around cats and they do care for them. 

The licking is usually something that you will never see, but happens to the cat’s owner in the form of slobber on your hand or feet when you take them for a walk.

Many people think it’s disgusting, but it really isn’t because they licked themselves in this way when they were younger and had no grooming kit available to them at all!

They are just doing what feels comfortable and instinctive to them.

When to worry

If it’s a new dog, then he may be trying to establish himself as the boss and this can cause a major problem, as well as other serious problems.

I’ve heard of some cases where dogs have killed cats because they were trying to assert themselves over them, but I’ve never experienced this myself.

The worst part is that the owners usually think it’s the cat that is causing the problem and they get rid of them before realizing it was actually their own dog!

Another time when you need to be concerned is when your dog doesn’t stop licking your cat even after you’ve told him/her off (you have to do this in a firm tone).

All that happens is that you are teaching the dog to ignore you, and he/she will have learned to do what it wants to do.

You simply have to show them who’s boss, but there is no need for physical violence.

It’s disturbing the cat and they won’t want their owner getting into a fight with them every time they lick them.

This could also show that your dog is becoming obsessive about something.

My own opinion

I think for the majority of cases, the dog may be licking the cat because they just love to lick.

The cat may feel safe with this as it’s nothing more than a sign of affection, rather than dominance.

Ways to change the situation

In most cases, your dog licking your cat is no more than an act of affection -It’s not about dominance -Your cat doesn’t mind being licked by dogs.

In some cases though, it might be an attempt by your dog to assert himself too strongly.

If you’re in doubt, here is some advice for handling this situation if it arises:

1. Don’t accept this behavior

If your dog tries to lick your cat, then you need to say “NO!” firmly and make it clear that you don’t want him/her to do this.

It’s fine if the cat allows it for a few seconds, but the dog shouldn’t keep licking after you’ve said no.

2. Train your dog not to lick the cat by giving them a toy to play with instead (there is no need for harsh training methods).

The second they try to lick the cat, pull out the toy and get a game of fetch going so that they can chase it instead (this is best done when they’re both relaxed at home).

3. If your dog is licking the cat in the face, then make sure you don’t let him/her get away with it early on

It’s better to be strict at first and to show them that this isn’t acceptable.

4. If you think your dog is obsessed about something (after he has licked a cat), then don’t give in to whatever he wants, but make sure that you’re consistent with your rules. Do not allow him/her to have everything his way…..

5. Don’t let an aggressive dog around cats (especially if there’s a new one). It’s just not worth the risk, even if it may have been a one-off!

6. If your dog really likes licking cats, then it’s best to leave them alone if you don’t want the cat to be stressed out.

Sometimes, it can be the only way to get a dog off of something that they just love and they will grab onto it with all their might, so there is no point in trying to stop them anyway.

7. If your dog has a tendency to over-lick (for whatever reason), then try putting him/her on a leash if you notice them licking at inappropriate times (and making sure that they don’t lick either of your children or your other pets).

8. If your dog continues to lick even after you have told them OFF!…then simply take the cat elsewhere for awhile in order to stop them from doing it.

Final Thoughts

Licking cats is a habit that many dogs have developed over the years, and they are not always aggressive about it.

In fact, most of the time, they are just doing it because they like to do it!

If your dog is continuously licking your cat without any provocation (which happens all too often), then consult another vet.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to stop him/her other than to keep a close eye on your cat and make sure that he/she is okay.

References

Wikipedia

Psychology Today

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