Cat Kisses – Are Those Loving Licks Dangerous ?!

Cat Kisses - Are Those Loving Licks Dangerous ?!There is a theory or a myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth. It’s debatable, but those puppy smooches and cat kisses could be very harmful to our human health.

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While it may seem like a sweet and caring lick, a kitty kiss or a puppy slobber can be dangerous. The little gesture we may find endearing could actually be something we should not encourage. It’s mainly an issue of bacterial ecosystems. A human’s system is completely different from a cat and dog. In fact, we only share about 15% of the same bacteria. That means our immune systems and native bacteria are less likely to fight off a cat’s foreign bacteria.

Beyond the different bacterial makeup, a cat and dog’s saliva has staying power. According to a study done by Floyd Dewhirst, a bacterial geneticist at the Forsyth Institute and professor of oral medicine at Harvard, “If you’re licked by a dog, and someone were to take a Q-tip five hours later and rub that spot, they could recover over 50 different species of dog-mouth bacteria.”

Perhaps the rumors of the healing powers of dogs and cats like come from misinterpreted studies and stories. Veterinarian and host of the radio show Nine Lives with Dr. Kat. Kathryn Primm explained per National Geographic, “One 1990 study found that dogs’ saliva had slight antibacterial effects when a mother licks herself and her young. But both studies involved licking within the same species, not one species licking another with a mouth full of foreign bacteria.

Related: Should I Bathe My Cat? The Benefits You Need to Know

So, does this mean our pets are festering portals of harmful bacteria? No, not really. It is wise to keep those kisses to a minimum and reserve them for healthy adults instead of young children or older adults with weaker immune systems. “I always advise people to use standard hygiene,” Primm says. “After an animal licks your hands, it’s a good idea to wash them.

Do you let your pet give you kisses? Does this information impact your thoughts on the cleanliness of those loving licks? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  1. Maureen Hitipeuw says

    It is always a good idea to wash your hands/face after a pet lick you just to be safe.

  2. Guest says

    When we had a cat, she licked herself all over, so I would NEVER have let her lick me. Eww.

  3. Guest says

    If our cats lick us, we do wash our hands to be safe. You just never know. But our cats really don’t lick us often. I think we tick them off most of the time. You never know with cats.

  4. Guest says

    No, I don’t do pet kisses. We have a dog and I always make sure I wash my hands after he licks me. He’s not allowed to give me kisses on the face.

  5. Guest says

    Being a mama to a furbaby myself, I never really gave too much thought to this but you may have a point! I’ll make it a point to really wash my hands after playing and cuddling.

  6. Guest says

    I definitely do dog kisses but I do wash afterwards. I don’t care what people say as far as how clean or dirty dogs mouth is you should just wash your hands anyway.

  7. Guest says

    We don’t let our animals dogs or cats lick us anywhere. I have see what some dogs get into when not watched properly. Information we all needed.

  8. Guest says

    “If you’re licked by a dog, and someone were to take a Q-tip five hours later and rub that spot, they could recover over 50 different species of dog-mouth bacteria.” Need to pass this on to My Little One, she’s always been one to squeel with glee when kissed by animals. Thankfully she draws the line on mouth besos. Gracias for the info; BB2U.

  9. nmetolen says

    I let my dogs kiss me. My cats, they don’t really do it often, but on the rare occasion that they decide my hands need a bath, I allow it. I wash my hands regularly so I don’t really worry too much about it. Interesting information, though!

  10. Guest says

    I don’t have a cat but we have a bunny who love to lick us, I am guessing that it is his way of kissing?

    Chubskulit Rose

  11. Guest says

    I always wondered about that. Now, I’m not big on kissing our pets, love ’em but it’s just not my thing. I’ve seen some of the places they lick so I’ll pass on the pet kisses. Love my pets but no pet kisses for me and I always wash my hands after petting our pets. ~~Tomi

  12. Guest says

    I’ve never been one to do pet kisses. Snuggles yes, kisses, nope!

  13. Guest says

    I have to admit I don’t do pet kisses and my dog knows it – she won’t kiss me but will my other half, who does allow it. That said he does wash straight after so not to much risk of anything nasty.

  14. Sarah2734 says

    Not a fan of being licked by any animal. Our dogs try to but it grosses me out.

  15. Guest says

    I used to love getting kisses from my cats. But I totally agree with this post. Especially for the young kids, the mouths of our pets can prove to much for their little systems!

  16. Guest says

    My cat kisses me all of the time and I’m just fine with it. I am grateful for every bit of love he gives me and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  17. Guest says

    I love my pets but I just don’t let them lick me. I just can’t stand the thought. I didn’t even realize it was dangerous so I’m glad I don’t let them do that.

  18. Guest says

    Love that there are natural remedies for my cat’s ailments. We’ve purchased catnip, but that’s where our list ended. The licorice root is good to know since my pets are aging.

  19. Guest says

    okay, I have advanced degrees in Bio/biochem and chemistry and while I agree animals have different bacteria the probability of getting a disease (and yes you can get one is quite low, And getting a deadly disease You have about as much of a chance winning the lotto. If your pet is an outdoor pet and eating animals in the wild, maybe I would lay off the kisses. But my little indoor kitties I ‘m taking all the kisses I get.

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