Come on, you know  you do it and probably don’t ever think twice about. Kissing your dog or cat is a sign of affection and one that doesn’t seem strange at all to pet lovers everywhere. It’s a form of bonding with your pet and a sure sign of affection. But what makes your kitten touch noses with you or your pup lick your face with abandon?

Cats show love and affection in a number of different ways. One of the ways they do so is by something called bunting – which can be interpreted as a cat’s form of kissing. Your cat may come up to you and rub their cheek on yours, gently head-bump your face or push against you. This is how a cat leaves their scent on you, essentially giving you their version of a kiss and showing you that you’re one of their favorite people. According to About.com, another version of a cat’s kiss is by slowly blinking their eyes while staring at you. If a cat gets right up close to you with their eyes wide open, that’s their way of expressing a deep love and trust of you.

Dogs on the other hand aren’t as reserved or refined in their affection for people they really like. Although they don’t know what kisses are in terms of their own language “speak”, dogs touch or rub against one another and lick in a social way. This is one of the first behaviors they learn, as mother dogs lick their pups immediately after birth. Pedigree.com has an interesting way to look at it. Dogs learn from positive reinforcement. So if you’re reacting in a happy way to their enthusiastic licks, they will continue to do so over and over again. When you come home and  you dog jumps up and licks your face, it’s definitely a sign that they’re happy to see you. Giving them hugs and kisses back helps to reinforce that behavior, ensuring they will continue their sincere greetings as long as you reciprocate it.

Do you let your cats and dogs near your face? Do you love it or hate it when they steal a kiss?