Why Does My Cat Lick My Dog?

It is not unusual for you to see your cat licking your dog. Cats, especially adult female cats, are great mothers known for their excellent grooming skills. So it is not surprising to see cats grooming their young ones multiple times a day.

Most times, the grooming has to do with licking the animal. But do cats groom other animals apart from their kinds? Does cats or groom dogs. Yes, they do, but the reason behind your cat licking your dog can be interesting.

Why Does My Cat Lick My Dog?

Cats may lick your dogs as an act of social bonding or because the dog smells nice. This is usually safe and helps build the relationship between both animals. Also, your cat can lick your dog to establish dominance on the dog as their property.

Beyond these, other reasons can prompt your cat to lick your dog. Let’s check out all the possible reasons.

  1. Securing their Territory

Cats are territorial animals and like to convert everything around them into theirs, starting from the cat tree to the drinking bowl; basically, everything within their reach. To establish their territory, cats engage in licking, rubbing, scratching, or spraying, everything they see as theirs, from which your dog is not excluded.

Your cat constantly licking and rubbing your cat can be a way of establishing ownership over the dog. So when the cat is slicking the dog, he says, “this dog is my property.

  1. Forming Social Bond/ Social Grooming

The formation of social bonds or social grooming goes beyond cats and dogs. If you have different species of animals, they have many tendencies to engage in one cat of social bonding over time. Although cats and dogs are different species, the cat licking the dog is one of the ways to form a social bond with the dog.

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When you bring into the house a new dog, over time, the dog sees the potential to have a four-legged friend. You can spot the cat licking the face and ears of the dogs.

Social grooming is the cat’s effective way to build trust with the dog it lives with. This helps establish a mutual relationship between both animals, and they live peacefully.

  1. When your Dog Smells Nice

This sounds strange, but it does happen. When your dog rolls in something that smells nice to the dog, the cat might get attracted by the smell and begin licking, rubbing, or grooming the dog.

Also, when you always bathe the dog with a nice soap with a good fragrance. This can also attract the cat to the dogs. Cats are very sensitive and love establishing dominance.

  1. Show of affection

There is no precise research study to prove that your cat might lick your dog as a show of intimacy. Cats and dogs love and show love the same way you do love and show love (in a special language.).”

Both animals show love differently. One of the acts of a cat showing that he loves your dog is by licking and grooming the dog. If the dog kneads his paws, purrs, or shows other relaxed body movements, it shows that your dog reciprocates the love back and bonds quite well.

 Is it Normal for Your Cat to Lick Your Dog?

It is absolutely normal for your cat to lick and groom your dog to build friendship and trust with it. It also serves as an act of communication between both animals. Cats are territorial animals and establishing authority over the dog by liking it helps to maintain calmness and peace in the house.

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Should You Allow Your Cat to Lick Your Dog

Even though the act does not seem harmful, it is advised that you should always watch out for both animals. You shouldn’t allow your cat to lick your dog, especially if the dog has tick or flea problems. This can be very toxic to cats if ingested. This goes for dogs you probably rubbed Tea Tree Oil on or other tick and flea treatments. In this situation, it is totally unsafe for your cat to kick or groom your dog.

Also, if your dog is overly hairy or has too much fur,  the cat may risk developing hairballs. Most cats can cough out small to medium-sized hairballs, but it becomes different for most cats to cough them out when it becomes much. You have to get a hairball treatment. In this case, you should limit the time your cat stays to lick or groom the dog.

However, some people believe there are myths about cats licking your dog, which is not exactly true; let’s check on some of them.

Show of Mothering Instinct

Some families attribute the licking and grooming of the cat to the dog as a show of mothering instinct. However, female cats have a powerful mothering instinct that is exhibited in caring for the kittens. It is, however, not the exact reason why a cat licks a dog. A mother cat licks her kitten to keep them dry and fresh or stimulate them to go to the bathrooms.

This isn’t so for the dogs. You can hardly see a cat licking a dog to keep him clean or stimulate him to go to the bathroom. It Is an actual shoe of love and trust- that’s all.

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Your Cat Mistaken your Dog as another Cat

Cats and dogs communicate in absolutely different ways. There is no how a cat can mistake a dog for another cat. They are absolutely different in their character and attributes.

When cats and dogs live together, they may pick attributes of each other. The cat may consider the dog a household member, not another cat. Cats aren’t foolish creatures.


It is not unusual for your cat to be your dog. However, if you notice your dog has some diseases, you should avoid the cat from grooming it. Most times, cats groom young dogs (puppies) more than adult dogs.

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