Cats are known for being very clean animals. From the moment they are born the mother cat removes the amniotic sac and licks the kitten to help stimulate its breathing.
Kittens will start imitating their mother and self-groom by the time they’re just a few weeks old. Apart from the obvious fact that cats lick themselves to stay clean there are also other reasons they do so…
You’ve probably noticed that your cat has a good clean after eating. They will lick their paws and run them all over their face and head. This is to eliminate any smell that could attract potential predators. They’re clever little creatures.
Cleaning their fur helps a cat to distribute their natural oils evenly around their body. This keeps their fur clean, shiny and oh so fluffy! It also helps remove dander, loose hair and promotes circulation for natural blood flow.
If your cat has a wound they will lightly lick it to keep it clean and that’s ok. However, discourage them if they repeatedly lick a wound, as this will stall the healing process. A cat’s mouth contains a bacteria and excessively licking a wound can increase the risk of it becoming infected. This is the reason when your girl cat gets spayed, your vet will give you a cone for her to wear till the wound from the op heals.
As well as licking their own fur cats will also lick each other. If you have a litter of cats then you’ll notice they will clean each other which is a sign of bonding and affection.
The ritual of self-cleaning gives cat comfort. So sometimes they may just give themselves a little lick for relaxation.
Extra fact – there is such a thing as too much grooming! If you notice that your cat is licking a lot more than usual or is licking a certain spot repeatedly, there may be an underlying health issue. Check your cat’s skin for any red areas or sores. If you see any book a vet appointment to get them checked out. Even if you don’t see any visual marks but are worried in the sudden change of grooming habits, it’s best to get them checked by a vet.