Why Does My Dog Lick My Cat?


If you have a dog and a cat, you’ve probably witnessed some interesting interactions between them over the years.  However, if you recently saw your dog lick your cat, you may be left with some questions.  Why does my dog lick my cat?  Should I let my dog keep licking my cat?  Want to find out what is going on if your dog is licking your cat?  Then keep reading, and I’ll try to explain what could be happening.

why does my dog lick my cat

Table of Contents

What does it mean when a dog licks a cat?

Why does my dog keep licking my cats face?  If you’ve ever said these words, you might be wondering why your dog would choose to lick your cat.  Does it mean he likes the kitty?  Is he trying to warn her to stay away?  Is he trying to get your attention?

Well, there are actually a few possible reasons why a dog may lick a cat.  We’ll look into each of these possible reasons in the next few sections. This will help you see if you can figure out what is going on with your furry friends.


Why is my dog so obsessed with my kitten?  One possible reason could be the way your cat or kitten smells. 

Remember, a dog’s nose is much more powerful than our noses. So, your pup may just be noticing a different scent on your cat and licking to see what it is.  If you’ve noticed your dog licking your cat multiple times, this could be the reason.  You may also notice that your dog starts licking other things that belong to the cat, such as their bed or toys.

what does it mean when a dog licks a cat

Positive Reinforcement

Why does my dog keep licking my cats ears?  Sound like a familiar question?  Another possible explanation for this type of behavior is that your dog has received positive reinforcement in the past for licking.  If your dog licked your cat once and received a positive response from the cat, they are more likely to do it again. 

Additionally, if you noticed your dog licking your cat and gave positive reinforcement, even just a “good boy,” they likely remember that.  They may be licking again to get more positive reinforcement from you or the cat.


Dogs may also lick cats to show affection towards the cat.  The reason your dog is licking your cat could just be that he is showering her that she is accepted and liked.  This is similar to the reasons your dog may lick you.


Another possible answer for the question, “what does it mean when a dog licks a cat” is that they are grooming the cat.  You may think cats are more likely to groom themselves or other animals, but dogs can also engage in grooming behaviors.  Dogs are most likely to groom those that they see as part of their family.  So, if you’ve noticed your dog grooming your cat, that could be a possible explanation.

Why is my dog so obsessed with my kitten?

Pack Behavior

A final answer for “why are dogs attracted to cats and grooming them” relates to pack behaviors.  Both dogs and cats can live in packs in the wild.  Even though your pets have never been wild animals, many of these behaviors are instinctive.  Licking is one way that dogs show submission to a more dominant animal.  So, in this instance, the licking may indicate that your dog believes your cat is his superior.

Trying to Get Something from the Cat

Finally, your dog may simply be trying to get something that your cat has.  For example, if your cat has a treat or a toy that your dog wants, your dog may be trying to distract your cat by licking them.  

If you’re asking, “what does it mean when my dog licks my cat’s butt,” they may be trying to taste their poop.  Many dogs like eating cat poop, so your dog may simply be trying to go right to the source.  If you’ve noticed that your dog is interested in the litter boxes too, this may be the most fitting explanation for their behavior.

Should I worry about my dog licking my cat?

Should I let my dog lick my kitten?  How do you know if your dog likes a kitten?  For the most part, if you’ve noticed your dog licking your cat, it isn’t anything to be too concerned about.  If you read through the reasons above, you can see that a dog licking a cat is normally pretty harmless.

If you’re concerned that your dog is going to kill your cat, this probably isn’t the case.  However, if you hear your cat yelping, growling, or hissing when your dog is licking them, then you may want to intervene and try to put an end to it.  These types of reactions from your cat indicate that they are not comfortable with the licking and may feel threatened by it.

How do I get my dog to stop licking my cat?

As I mentioned above, you shouldn’t worry about trying to stop your dog from licking your cat, unless it is causing any problems.  If you are worried about your dog hurting your cat, you can work on training your dog using positive reinforcement and treats to stay away from the cat.  

You can also make sure that your dog is getting enough positive attention from you.  Give him plenty of playtime and love and encourage him to sit with you, rather than licking the cat.  However, be careful to make sure you also give equal attention to your cat so she doesn’t end up getting jealous or feeling left out.

How do I get my dog to stop licking my cats?

Dog Licking Cat – Not Necessarily a Worry

As you can see, in most cases, a dog licking a cat isn’t anything to really be concerned about.  Your dog may be grooming your cat, showing affection, licking because he smells something different, showing submission towards the cat, or even trying to get something that the cat has in her possession, such as a treat.  Unless you hear crying or yelping, you probably don’t need to worry.  However, as with any other questions you have about your specific pets, you can always reach out to your veterinarian.


Why does my dog keep licking my cat’s ears?

Licking can be a way for dogs to show affection and care. Cats’ ears might have scents that are interesting to dogs. Dogs might lick other animals as a submissive gesture, especially if the cat has a dominant personality.