Cats and dogs have been considered arch enemies since time immemorial. However, this may not actually be the case: these two species can live harmoniously together in one household. The secret is to introduce them properly, or ideally to raise them together from kittens and puppies.
Why does my cat lick my dog?
Your cat could be licking your dog for any of the following reasons:
- She could be showing her love and affection for the dog.
- She could be mistakenly seeing your dog as another cat.
- She could be trying to groom the dog, since cats love to groom each other.
- Your cat could be marking her scent on the dog. She wants to make sure that the dog is part of her pack and she is marking her territory.
- Your cat may feel the need to play the role of mother to the dog, especially if it is a puppy. Licking it is a way of displaying motherly affection.
- Your cat is welcoming the dog to the pack if the dog is the newest family member. She welcomes the dog by grooming him.
Cats are not always friendly, especially toward dogs, so if you see your cat licking your dog it means that she has accepted the dog as a friend. It also indicates that they are both getting along well. If a cat and dog are introduced properly and healthily, they will usually grow very fond of each other. Factors that play a role in how well the two animals get along may include their age, size and temperament.
Is it normal for a cat to lick a dog?
Yes, it is normal for a cat to lick a dog, since licking is part of a cat’s grooming ritual. Felines are natural groomers and grooming is their way of being sociable. They tend to lick only those with whom they are comfortable, so don’t worry if you see your cat licking your dog – it means they have a good rapport and have bonded with each other.
Other ways cats show affection:
1. Kneading, or ‘making biscuits’, on your lap
Kittens knead their mother’s teats while nursing. When they become adults, they knead when they feel content and safe. It is also a cat’s way of marking her territory, since their paws have sweat glands that release chemicals as they knead. If your cat kneads on your lap, be happy because it signifies that she feels safe with you.
3. Rubbing her face against yours
Cats tend to be aloof, but if your cat rubs her face and cheeks against yours, you should be very happy. It means she is marking you as someone she can trust. Felines have scent glands on their face that deposit pheromones on anything they rub their cheeks against. If your cat bumps you with her forehead it has a similar meaning: she is expressing her affection for you.
4. Following you into the bathroom or around the house
Some cat owners say they find it creepy when their cats follow them into the bathroom and stare at them. Do not panic; this is just your cat’s way of showing you affection. They follow you around because they are attached to you or out of curiosity or anxiety. Some cats may also do it as a way of protecting you.
5. Licking your feet, face or fingers
Cats groom fellow cats and humans that they feel strongly bonded to. So, if you wake up one morning with your cat licking your toe, be thankful. It means you are part of her family and she is sharing scent with you as a way of expressing affection.
6. Bringing you dead rodents or other items as “gifts”
If you are greeted at the door with a dead rat or a soggy cat toy, do not be angry. You should instead smile, as this is your cat’s way of expressing affection – by bringing you “gifts”. Cats bring prey to their young and if your cat does this for you, she may be thinking that you need to be fed, too. It is an indication of a cat’s nurturing and care.
Some cats may also bring their catch home to keep it safe, so be glad that they see your home as a safe and comfortable place to keep their catch.
7. Smacking you in the face every morning
Does your cat always wake you in the morning by smacking your face? Do not take this personally; be happy instead. This means she is attached to you and the smack is a gesture of affection and love.
8. Showing you her butt
Does your cat stick her butt in your face randomly? This means she likes you and she is presenting her butt to express her affection for you. Cats greet each other by rubbing alongside one another from front to rear, and this builds community among cats. This type of body language is the feline way of saying, “Let us get to know each other more”.
Cats and dogs are considered mortal enemies, but in real life this is usually not the case. Both can live harmoniously in one household given the proper introduction. Your cat may lick your dog to mark him with her scent as an indication that he is part of her pack, or her territory. She may also lick your dog out of motherly instinct, or to indicate that she accepts and welcomes the dog.
Image: istockphoto.com / kozorog