Cats are very meticulous about their hygiene. They tend to keep themselves clean all the time. All of us must be familiar with cats licking each other or themselves. Some cats also like to lick and groom others too. It is a prevalent behavior in all felines. Kittens might engage very often in licking and grooming themselves. Apart from cleanliness, this behaviour in felines is also related to different reasons. Let’s know the top 10 reason why do cats groom each other?
Why Do Cats Groom Each Other?
Allogrooming can be commonly seen in cats of the same colony. It is a character trait and a behavioural pattern in all cats. Kittens close to each other are more likely to engage in social grooming. However, often it is more noticeable among members of the same feline family. Cats express bonding, cohesion, and social hierarchy by grooming each other. Allogrooming is also a tradition among older cats towards the younger ones.
#2 Social Bonding
It is a significant reason behind cats grooming each other. It can be seen as an act of solicitation among felines that bond very well. This is a sign that they are comfortable and enjoy each other’s company. Those furry balls who engage in all grooming are highly cooperative and demonstrate social solid bonding. Good bonding and social interaction are more closely observed in free-roaming cats.
#3 Reciprocated Action
Ever wondered why do cats clean each other? In many cases, prepping is in response to another pet’s initiative. It is often observed that cats habitual to all grooming tend to reciprocate similarly to other cats. They may respond by tilting or bending their head towards the groomer or approaching the other cat. Also, cats having a closer bond usually take turns sprucing up each other.
#4 Natural Instinct
Grooming is a part of the behaviour of all felines. Cats tend to do this very often at different times in a day. Licking and grooming is a form of relaxation that helps them regulate their body temperature. When kitten feel extremely hot during summer days or humid weather, licking cools down their temperature and refreshes them. Licking or rubbing their heads over each other relaxes their nerves and reduces stress and irritation.
#5 Initiate Bonding
Grooming is an excellent way to encourage bonding between cats. In a study, it was revealed that many interactions are initiated by grooming. It is observed that many cats tend to approach or invite other cats. Grooming encourages bonding and helps develop a sense of trust and belonging to the same family or colony.
Though two cats might seem equally engaged in grooming, usually, one of them provides majority grooming to the other. This generally happens amongst cats of different ranks. A feline of higher rank tends to groom a cat of lower rank more often, providing majority grooming to the younger kitten.
#7 Shared Affection
Grooming is a social activity that connects cats. Thus, sprucing each other is a way of showing affection. It strengthens their bond and reflects territorial dominance and family bonding. Mother cats often trim their kittens to demonstrate their love and affection in the family.
#8 Form of Exercise or Play
As grooming reflects bonding, cats tend to lick or groom other cats to initiate play or engage in fun activities. This also indicates love and trust between cats who frequently redd up each other. This kind of behavior is usually seen among those cats that either live together in a family or grow up together.
Sometimes, cats that groom each other also engage in play fights. These are not serious fights but regular exercise and play while spending time together. Such fights are often brief as cats are more likely just playing. Grooming and licking might end up in play fights which are a normal and reasonable form of exercise too.
#9 Sign of Acceptance
Cats do not easily befriend other cats or animals, or humans. They may take their time to develop trust and liking for others. Grooming can be seen as a sign of acceptance by cats. If felines start interested in something, they are more likely to reciprocate by trimming and licking. A cat smelling a new pet or guest indicates their acceptance of the new member.
#10 Self Care
Grooming is an essential part of a cat’s behaviour and primarily a sign of self-care. You know why do cats groom themselves? They do so to keep their fur clean and remove dust and dirt particles. Kittens have rough comb-like tongues that help them comb their fur coat to remove parasites and dead skin.
Cat excessive grooming helps them hide their body odor from predators, revealing their location. While grooming themselves, kittens tend to lick their injured body parts that help prevent infections by keeping their injuries clean. Sometimes, it also enables pets to clean more precisely. Cats who groom each other can also clean hard-to-reach places on their body such as the face, ears, head, etc.
Over grooming in cats is a part of their inherited behaviour since birth. It appears as a process of self-care in cats and reflects a wide range of emotions from dominance to social connection and acceptance. Cats tend to engage more in social grooming when they bond well together.