Recently one of my employees asked why her cat licked her and the other cats in the household. I found in my research this following information at Animal Wised by Josie F. Turner.
Cats can lick for hours. When you have that much fur, being clean takes dedication. Removing dirt accumulated over the day or detangling knots from their fur, cats use their specially adapted tongues to maintain proper hygiene. However, sometimes this cleaning ritual doesn't stop with their own bodies. Their licking migrates to their furry friends and their humans and we may not understand why,
If you have several cats at home, you may see they begin to groom each other, even when there is no obvious reason for it. The cats have their own tongues and may appear perfectly clean, especially if they are indoor cats with less opportunity for mess.
Reasons a cat licks themselves. Before we answer why cats lick each other, let's clarify the reasons why they lick themselves. The majority of the time spent licking is a cat engaging in their own grooming ritual. This means coursing over their fur to get at every reachable part. It doesn't just mean licking. It is not uncommon to see cats biting at hard-to-detangle knots or getting their teeth in between their toes.
Cleaning their fur usually happens at different times of the day. For example, cats may groom themselvesÊafter eating to get rid of food remnants as well as the smell. This is behavior which is natural and inherited from their parents.
Another reason for licking is due to a cat's lack of sweat glands. Like many mammals, these are only located on the pads of their paws. This is why, when it is very hot, they cannot rely on this small area of their body to regulate their temperature. This is where licking comes in. It does so by leaving a trail of saliva when they lick themselves. When this salvia evaporates in the heat, it gives the cat a fresh feeling of coolness.
Additionally, licking is actually a form ofÊrelaxation. If your kitty is anxious, stressed or generally out of sorts, then they will lick themselves for comfort. The actions relax them and likely invokes the feeling of being mothered as a kitten. This licking is usually done on the sides of the body or even by licking their paws and then rubbing over their head and snout. We have to be careful, however. Excessive licking can be a sign thatÊthis stress is too muchÊand that there is either a physical or mental problem at foot.
Cats lick each other for bonding. Licking is not only functional. It can also be a physical display of the confidence in each other some cats feel when together. This is called social grooming and it has several reasons behind it. One of them is simply to strengthen the bond between two or more felines. It is also important to remember that even hairless cats will lick themselves and each other as staying clean is important with or without fur.
If your cats do this, it means they love and trust each other very much. They feel relaxed when they are together, and they are happy to express this. The licks are usually concentrated in the facial area and the ears, a cat's favorite places to show some love.
Cats from the same family licking each other. Cats also lick each other to strengthen their ties within the same family. This can be those in the same litter of kittens, but they don't always have to be with blood relatives. If cats grow up together, they will feel a familial bond and encourage it by licking another's coat. The licks don't just serve as a sign of affection. They also impart a familiar aroma onto each other which identifies them as one of the family and distinguishes them from potentially threatening outsiders. This may lead to the question of why does your cat lick you? Well, we have good news. It means they consider you one of the family!
If you have questions about pets, please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood at firstname.lastname@example.org