Why do cats groom each other?
I. Reasons for cats to groom you
Cats always give off a particularly wary vibe, and they show us a cool side all the time.
But cats can sometimes behave in ways that are not so cool, such as grooming other people and animals that are particularly warm and welcoming.
3 reasons why cats groom you, not just trust you, male cats rarely groom each other
Almost all cats love to groom, they spend two-thirds of their day sleeping and most of the remaining one-third of their time grooming themselves.
There are reasons why cats love grooming so much: to
To keep them clean
To regulate body temperature
Cats have less pronounced body odor, which is the effect of grooming, and they will always stay fresh by grooming frequently every day.
In addition, cats do not have sweat glands and cannot sweat even in the heat, they can only sweat by grooming their fur to make their saliva vaporize. This achieves the effect of heat insulation by releasing body heat in summer and fluffing the fur in winter.
Not to mention the fact that cats can also switch their mood by grooming their fur, which is a very good way for cats to decompress themselves.
Of course, if a cat is grooming the same area multiple times, then they are probably stressed, and the owner needs to address the source of the stress as much as possible.
The most important thing that cats do is to eliminate their scent. They are very vigilant and will eliminate excess scent from their bodies to keep themselves safe from enemies (even if they don't have enemies).
Interestingly, cats will eliminate the scent left on them by the shoveler, but they in turn will leave their scent on the shoveler, as if to show others that "the shoveler only belongs to me".
Since cats have so many reasons for grooming themselves, what are the reasons for grooming other people and animals?
The first reason: communication
For cats who want to deepen their trust and become close to each other, grooming each other becomes a part of the communication. We all know that some foreigners greet each other by kissing and hugging, and so do cats, who show their concern for each other by grooming each other.
More importantly, grooming each other will deepen mutual trust. Even if some cats are awkward to groom at first, this can slowly shorten the distance between them and make them closer to each other.
Second reason: affection
Cats will only groom people and things they like. For example, when two cats are grooming each other, the pooper scooper can see one of the cats going to pretend to bite the other's neck. Although it may seem dangerous, it takes a lot of trust in each other to do this.
The first time cats were groomed was when they were kittens when they had to be taken care of by their mothers, not only to feed them but also to help them defecate.
So cats will groom to care for each other as a way to make each other less wary of it.
The third reason: affection
Cats grooming each other is not only found in blood-related cats, they will also groom close people and other animals.
Grooming objects generally have the following three relationships with cats.
Mother and child: it is only natural for mother cats to groom their kittens, so they will naturally groom their kittens.
Male and female cats: if they have to choose a mate, they will bring each other closer by grooming each other.
Cohabitation animals and pooper scoopers: grooming the pooper scoopers or cohabitation animals as a way to show their affection.
Between female cats: Female cats with a sense of companionship will care for each other's fur.
Male cats rarely groom each other because they have a strong sense of territory and do not like other male cats to step into their territory, so they will not make such actions. (Even cohabiting male cats are not likely to groom each other)
Except under certain circumstances, such as when two male cats are particularly close and both have been de-sexed, they may groom each other.
The former is because the two male cats have been together since childhood, and they have not been separated from each other for a long time; the latter is because the de-sexing surgery reduces their sense of fighting, so they will not reject the act of grooming each other.
Of course, there are rules when cats groom each other, and they don't just start grooming each other when they meet. There are these three main rules.
The senior cat grooms the junior cat
Taking the initiative to adjust the angle of being groomed by the other when it feels comfortable.
The junior cat "returns the courtesy" to the senior cat
Although cats do not have a hierarchical relationship like dogs, they do know which cats are not to be messed with, so some cats have what is called "mating priority" during the rutting season.
For example, when a cat arrives in a new home, it will usually treat the original cat as its "senior" and will give in to the original cat in many things. To play with the new cat, the original resident cat will groom the other cat to reduce the other cat's sense of caution.
Then once the new cat feels relaxed, it will involuntarily squint and adjust the angle of being groomed by the other cat so that more parts of the body can be groomed.
Of course, the new cat will definitely "return the favor" to the original cat by grooming the original cat after the original cat has stopped, or grooming each other together.
If your cat is being groomed (licking its face and hands), you can pet them on the head. When the cat feels comfortable, it will actively adjust the angle of being stroked, for example, when the pooper scooper was stroking the cat's back, the cat will actively move forward so that the pooper scooper's hand can stroke from the back to the tail.
The cat's grooming is a greeting to people and other animals, so don't reject it if you encounter it.
II. Cats will lick each other's fur to strengthen social relationships
A cat's tongue gets rougher as it ages. The top of a cat's tongue is covered with barbs, which are papillae made of keratin. It can help cats groom messy hair from their bodies and can also be used to scrape fleshy scraps from bones. The force of the tongue does not feel uncomfortable for a hairy animal like a cat, but the pooper scooper will feel tingling and prickly when it is licked. If you don't want this kind of closeness from your cat, you also need to get a good handle on it and not blow the cat's self-confidence.
When the cat's licking makes you feel uncomfortable, you can move your hand or other parts of your body away and gently refuse. You can shake your head at the cat or whisper that you don't like it. Cats are very intelligent animals, and after you have expressed your reluctance several times, the cat will understand what you mean and lick you less often. It is important to note that you should not reprimand your cat by shouting or using strong body language to express your rejection, as this will undermine your cat's self-confidence and some cats will not even want to be close to the pooper scooper anymore.
At the same time, after the cat has stopped licking you, the pooper scooper can also touch the cat's chin or play games with the cat for a while. If the cat is often alone at home, it is also easy to have separation anxiety due to boredom. This time, the cat will lick the pooper scooper to relieve. To avoid this, the pooper scooper should prepare some play equipment for the cat before going out, such as a cat scratching board, cat climbing frame, or snack toy ball. When the pooper scooper returns home, try to spend a little time with the cat every day. Interactive games with the pooper scooper will make the cat feel excited and satisfied so that it will not lick you like crazy because of stress.
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