Why Does My Dog Lick My Cat? (7 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dog licking cat

Dogs and cats have been enemies since the beginning of time. Or, at least, that’s what we’ve been told.

But as it turns out, there are a lot of dogs who like to lick their feline housemates, even if they do spend most of their time trying to chase each other around.

So why do they do it? What could possibly be the attraction?

In this article, we will explore the five most common reasons why dogs lick cats. We will also look at why this behavior might occur, and what you can do to make sure the relationship between these two animals continues to be a positive one.

So, whether you are a cat person or a dog person, stay tuned for some interesting information about why these two animals sometimes get along so well!

1. They Are Grooming the Cat

One of the most common reasons why dogs lick cats is because they are grooming them. Just as dogs will lick their own bodies to keep themselves clean, they will also lick their feline friends for the same reason.

This behavior is often observed among littermates, who will groom each other in order to strengthen their bond. But it can also occur between two unrelated animals, particularly if they have a close relationship.

If your dog is licking your cat, it may be an indication that he cares for her and wants to keep her clean and healthy.

2. Because They Are Excited to See the Other Animal

Another common reason why dogs lick cats is that they are excited to see them. Just like we might give someone a hug or a kiss when we are happy to see them, dogs will often lick their feline friends as a way of expressing their joy.

This behavior is particularly common among dogs and cats who grow up together. They will often greet each other by licking each other’s faces, and it is usually a sign of affection between the two animals.

You can also notice other signs of excitement in your dog when he sees the cat. He may start wagging his tail or barking happily, and it’s clear that he is thrilled to see her.

3. They Are Playing Around

Dogs will also sometimes lick cats as part of a game or a play session. This is particularly common among puppies, who may see the cat as a fun toy to chase around and lick.

However, you should keep a close eye on the two animals to make sure that the playing does not get out of hand. If the dog starts to get too rough with the cat, it is important to step in and stop the behavior.

4. They Like the Taste or Smell of the Cat

There are also a number of dogs who simply like the taste or smell of cats.

This is not typically a sign of aggression or dominance, but simply an indication that the dog enjoys the taste or smell of his feline friend.

If your dog is licking your cat and you are concerned about the hygiene of your pet, try spraying him with a water bottle to distract him. This will hopefully break the habit and discourage him from licking the cat in the future.

5. You Inadvertently Reinforce the Behavior

There are also a number of cases where dogs lick cats simply because the owners have rewarded them for doing so.

If you have ever given your dog a treat for licking the cat, or if you have petted him when he does this behavior, you are inadvertently reinforcing the behavior.

Depending on how your cat reacts to being licked, you may want to consider discontinuing this type of reinforcement. If your cat seems annoyed or stressed by the licking, you should stop giving your dog attention every time he does this.

6. Your Dog Has a Motherly Instinct to Care for the Young

The sight of a kitten may arouse the maternal instinct in a dog, and she may start licking it as a way of caring for it.

This is particularly common between adult female dogs and kittens, but it can also occur between a dog and a cat of any age.

If your dog is licking your cat, it may be because she feels like she needs to take care of her. She may see the cat as being vulnerable or in need of protection, and she wants to help her out however she can.

7. They Are Trying to Get Your Attention

Finally, some dogs may lick cats as a way of getting attention from their owners.

This is particularly common for dogs who are not getting enough attention from their owners.

If your dog is licking your cat, it may be because he is trying to get your attention. Try giving him some extra attention and playing with him more often to see if that helps curb the licking behavior.

Should You Be Worried About Your Dog Licking Your Cat?

There are a number of reasons why dogs lick cats, but most of them are benign and simply indicate that the two animals are getting along well.

If you are concerned about your dog’s licking behavior, however, it is important to watch the two animals closely and make sure that they are not getting too rough with each other.

If you see that your dog is starting to become aggressive or dominant towards the cat, it is time to step in and stop the behavior.

Otherwise, there is no reason to be concerned about a dog licking a cat as long as both animals are healthy and happy.

Maintain The Peace Between Your Dog And Cat By Following These Tips

Dogs and cats can live together peacefully as long as both animals are properly introduced and get along well.

If you have recently adopted a dog and he is starting to lick your cat, here are a few tips to help keep the peace between them:

1. Introduce Your Dog and Cat Slowly and Carefully

If your dog is overly excited or aggressive towards your cat, it can cause anxiety and stress for your kitty.

Slowly introduce them to each other by having them both in the same room but with different types of food.

For example, have your dog on a leash and have him calmly eat his food while your cat eats hers in a separate room.

2. Reward Good Behavior

If your dog is behaving well around your cat, make sure to praise and reward him with treats or petting.

This will help him continue to behave in a way that pleases you and keeps the peace between your animals.

3. Give Them Plenty of Space to Interact With Each Other

If your dog and cat are getting along well, give them plenty of space to interact with each other.

This can help them become more comfortable around each other and may prevent further licking.

4. Make Sure That the Dog Is Getting Enough Attention

If your dog is not getting the attention he needs from you, he may become frustrated and try to get it through your cat.

Make sure to give him plenty of attention, exercise, and playtime so the licking behavior does not escalate to a full-blown dog and cat fight.

5. If the Licking Becomes Too Rough, Step in and Stop the Behavior

Don’t leave the two animals unsupervised together for the first couple of months until you are sure that they are getting along well.

If the dog starts to lick the cat too roughly, step in and keep them separated in different parts of the house until the behavior subsides.

Once they are getting along well, it’s okay if there is an occasional skirmish as long as it doesn’t result in injury to either animal.

6. Provide a Safe Place for the Cat to Hide

If your dog is constantly licking your cat and she seems stressed out or scared, consider buying her a cat tree or tower that has different levels and spaces for her to hide in.

This will give her a place to retreat if she feels overwhelmed or threatened by the dog.

7. Try to Create an Environment Where There Is Less Conflict

If your dog and cat are constantly in each other’s space, it can lead to more conflict.

Try to create an environment where they have their own areas that they can go to when they need some peace and quiet.


Dogs lick cats for a variety of reasons, some of which are still being studied. In general, though, it seems that most dogs lick cats either as part of an established social relationship.

If your dog is licking your cat frequently, there’s no need to worry as long as it’s not causing any harm.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s behavior, however, be sure to talk to a dog trainer or animal behaviorist. They can help you determine if there’s anything wrong and offer advice.

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Act Like a Cat?

A dog acting like a cat is not weird at all. This can happen for two major reasons. Your dog might have been raised with cats, in which case he’s just copying what he sees. Or you’ll deal with an independent-minded little pup who wants to be as cool as his feline housemates.

2. Why Is My Dog Obsessed With My Cat?

Many dogs develop a strong prey drive and may become obsessed with licking or chasing their cat. This can be because your dog sees the cat as a prey animal and gets enjoyment from playing with her. Additionally, some dogs may view the cat as a herd animal and feel the need to constantly supervise her.

3. Why Does My Dog Nibble On My Cat?

Your dog nibbling on your cat could be for a variety of reasons. One could be out of grooming the fur and making sure there are no fleas or ticks. Your dog may also be taking an interest in dominance and establishing himself as the alpha.