Why Do Cats Groom Themselves So Often? A Look at Cats’ Grooming Habits

Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, often seen licking and cleaning themselves for hours on end. But why do cats groom themselves so regularly and obsessively? The Catington Post takes a closer look at cats’ grooming behavior to give you the answers. From health benefits to socialization, there are a few key reasons behind cats’ meticulous preening habits – all of them linked to the instinctive nature of these curious felines.

cat grooming

Cats Groom Themselves for Good Coat Condition

One of the main reasons cats groom themselves is to maintain hygiene and keep their coats healthy. Cats have a lot of fur, and it’s important for them to keep it well-groomed and free from dirt, debris, parasites or anything else that could cause discomfort or illness. Licking helps remove dirt, spread natural oils throughout the coat, stimulate circulation and help to keep their fur in top condition.

Cats Groom Themselves as a Sign of Comfort and Relaxation

Another reason cats spend so much time grooming themselves is because it makes them feel comfortable and relaxed. Cats tend to groom themselves after meals or when they are feeling content, suggesting that the process for them is calming and soothing. Licking also acts as an aphrodisiac for cats – they become aroused and more relaxed when licking themselves. This behavior is often seen when a cat is feeling stressed or overwhelmed since it helps them return to a state of comfort and security.

Cats Groom Themselves Out of Boredom

When there’s nothing else to do, cats may engage in grooming as a way to pass the time. If cats don’t have any toys or activities available, they may resort to licking and cleaning themselves out of boredom. This is especially true for indoor cats that don’t get enough mental or physical stimulation from their environment.


Cats Groom Themselves As A Social Signaling Tool

Grooming also serves as a social signaling tool. Cats will often groom each other to show trust and affection, strengthen their bonds with one another, and even signal submission. Licking also releases pheromones which helps cats identify one another and create familiarity between them.

Cats Groom Themselves to Establish Their Scent

Have you ever noticed your cat will groom themselves after you pet them? Don’t take it personally! This is because they’re trying to cover up your scent with their own. When cats groom themselves, they are covering themselves in their own pheromones and scent – a behavior that helps them feel more secure and connected to their environment.

Cats Groom Themselves to Control Parasites

Finally, cats groom themselves as a way to control parasites like fleas. By licking and cleaning their fur regularly, cats can keep these pests under control and minimize the risk of any potential infections. However, don’t rely on your cat to keep fleas under control — as ingesting a flea can cause serious health problems for your cat, such as tapeworm. It’s important to use flea-prevention treatments.

cat grooming

How to Tell If Your Cat is Grooming Too Much

While regular grooming is healthy for cats, there are some signs that your cat may be grooming itself too much. These include bald patches from excessive licking or chewing, scabs or raw skin, and hair loss. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

If you notice your cat is spending a lot of time grooming their genital area, this could signal a UTI or a life-threatening emergency (like a urinary blockage) and you should seek medical attention immediately.

What to Do About Hairballs

Although not directly related to grooming, hairballs are another common issue for cats. Hairballs form when cats groom themselves and swallow large amounts of their own fur, causing it to build up in the stomach or intestines. If you notice your cat coughing up a hairball, try brushing them on a regular basis and feeding them special food or treats designed to reduce their shedding and minimize the formation of hairballs.

In conclusion, cats groom themselves for a variety of reasons, from keeping their coats in good condition to using grooming as a social signaling tool. While regular grooming is an important part of cat care, it’s important to recognize when your cat is over-grooming and take them to the vet if needed. Additionally, try to minimize the risk of hairballs by brushing your cat regularly and feeding them appropriate food. With the right care, you can ensure your furry friend is well-groomed and happy!

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