Why do cats lick themselves?
When it comes to cleanliness, cats like to have everything looking pristine. Consider this when you ask, “why do cats lick themselves?” But then the question that also arises is also why they do it so often. A cat can very easily spend over 50% of their awake day grooming themselves.
Reasons to why do cats lick themselves
The following are the main reasons why cats lick themselves.
- Mom to their newborn. When a kitty is born, mom will lick off the amniotic sac and then lick with the rough tongue to stimulate breathing. While feeding, to stimulate bowel movements. After only a few weeks, kittens will begin to emulate their mother and begin licking themselves.
- To hide their scent from their predators. In the wild, a mother cat would lick off the food from her kittens to avoid predators.
- To groom and lubricate the fur. When a cat is licking his skin, it stimulates the production of sebum which will then spread to his hairs.
- For pleasure. Yup, cats enjoy grooming themselves because it feels good. Sometimes they will even do it between each other.
- To cleanse injuries. Their tongue will remove dead cells and prevent infection.
What if they lick you?
Remember how we mentioned that cats enjoy grooming so much they do it to each other? They will also do it to you because basically, they want to share that same joy. Therefore, it is a sign of affection. Some other times, they just like to taste some substances on your skin, like salt.
When licking is a problem
Grooming is a great way for your cat to clean himself. But there are also psychological reasons for grooming himself. This is what is known as “displacement behavior” and it happens when your cat has to decide between two stressful situations. Grooming relaxes him and helps him calm down.
If your cat is over-licking it may be an indication of stress. We have already discussed what are some things that might be causing stress on your cat. Now that you know the answer to “why do cats lick themselves“, go ahead and play with your little ball of fur. He deserves all the love you can give him.
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