Why do cats groom themselves

Why cats like to groom themselves

House cats are true purity fanatics. While lions and other big cats actually only do "cat wash" and only lick their front paws, house cats spend around three and a half hours a day and around 30% of their life while awake for their beauty care.

These are the functions of grooming for cats

With the help of the small horny hooks on their tongues, cats can catch loose hair, burdock and parasites while cleaning. Aside from grooming, grooming for cats has many other functions:

  • Stimulate blood circulation
  • Animating the sebum glands to secrete fat, which keeps the fur supple and waterproof
  • gives every cat a very specific scent that allows them to recognize conspecifics from afar
  • acts as "natural air conditioning"

Grooming as a natural air conditioner for cats

Grooming serves the cats to regulate heat and cold. It works as follows: The fur of cats consists of undercoat and outer hair, which is divided into guide and guard hairs.

  • The Guide hairs are arranged individually in a circle around the woolen hair. These are the hairs that a cat can stand on end.
  • The Guard hairs grow in clusters and are shorter and thicker. Their direction of growth is such that water can run off easily.
Depending on the breed undercoat between one and five centimeters long is the actual thermal protection. When it is cold, the guide hairs are straightened up by muscles on the hairball, and the air between the layers of fur is heated by the body.

In summer heat, cleaning helps to keep the body temperature constant at 38 to 39 ° C. Since cats have only a few sweat glands on their chin and pads, they distribute as much saliva as possible over their fur when licking. Because the evaporation cold creates cooling down. In addition, they also absorb vitamin D, which is produced in the skin or fur when exposed to sunlight.

Since the water of the natural "air conditioning" is not refilled automatically, cats have to be at high temperatures drink a lot. Therefore, you should make sure that your cat always has fresh water available.

Grooming for cats by humans

The cleaning instinct is innate in kittens. In addition, they learn to clean from their mother in the first few weeks of their lives. After six weeks you can then clean yourself. Older or overweight catsthat can no longer get everywhere with the tongue, as well as long-haired cats still need it regularly Help with a comb and brushso that their fur does not become matted or dead hair is combed out.

At high temperatures, short-haired cats also enjoy being groomed by their owner. Stroke your cat along with it slightly moistened hands or a damp chamois leather in the direction of the grain over the fur. Otherwise, short-haired cats get along relatively well on their own when it comes to personal hygiene. Still, you can support them. If your cat should forget a spot or two, you can help by gently pulling where you want it to clean itself. You should also note:

  • Discover more in grooming Dandruff, you should check the sleeping area. If there is an excessive amount of dander here too, it is best to see a vet. Increased dandruff may indicate skin irritation, a skin disease or flea infestation, for example.
  • Since cats cannot clean their ears themselves, you should also check them regularly. Black-brown crusts in the auricle are an indication of Ear mites. Since they can be transmitted from cat to cat by brushing each other, you should consult the veterinarian immediately.

The cat's cleaning behavior as an indicator of illness

If a cat's cleaning behavior changes, an indicator of illness, parasite infestation or stress can be:

  • suddenly, extremely frequent cleaning and bald, sore or even injured parts of the body
  • decreased grooming
  • The cat suddenly stops being cleaned by other cats or no longer cleans other cats
But cleaning can also be used for Stress relief serve. For example, if a cat observes a prey through the window, it has no way of seeing its To satisfy the hunting instinct, it may be that she is cleaning herself frantically instead. Because through this so-called skipping act, she relieves the inner tension, similar to how we scratch our heads out of embarrassment.

Often, cats groom themselves immediately after cuddling with the owner. Cat researchers have different explanations for this. While some believe that the animals simply put their fur back in order and that Restore own odor want, the others suspect exactly the opposite: They just want to "enjoy" the smell that their human has left on their fur a little longer.

Already knew? Cat allergy in humans

It is not the hair but the saliva that some people are allergic to. More precisely, the proteins in it. Since the composition of the spit depends on the hormones and varies from breed to breed, you do not have to be allergic to every cat.

An allergist can use a saliva sample from the cat and a blood sample to test whether the animal is causing an allergy. The strongest allergen is produced by non-neutered males. Since free-range cats also bring a lot of pollen home with them, they are more allergenic than pure indoor cats.