Cats are animals that attract attention for several reasons. For example, when they wash themselves, it is very curious to see that they follow a series of concrete steps, so that what appeared to be a simple gesture of daily grooming turns out to be a true ritual.
The purpose of this practice is multiple, because In addition to contributing to the elimination of tangles and dirt, it helps spread natural sebum of the skin, thus maintaining the health of the fur.
Then, no matter how clean a cat may be after its bath, it will carry out its licking routine, and will even lick it several times a day.
There are those who care a little about this gesture, since they consider that the cat could be nervous. However, it is interesting to know that, when it comes to emotional state, when cats wash periodically, this is an indicator that they care about their appearance and that they want others to see them in good condition. So much so, that When two or more cats live together, they groom each other for affection.
Cats wash in order
Just as each person has their own daily grooming routine, each cat has its own ritual, established based on your own comfort or simply what is best for you.
Nevertheless, most of them share the same way of proceeding, which is rarely altered.
First they moisten one of their front legs to rub their heads with it, including eyes, ears, cheeks and chin. Then, they will do the same with the other leg to clean the opposite side, which they did not reach with the other limb.
Even if the cat has received a bath, it will groom itself. This does not mean that you consider it “dirty” or badly bathed. There are other reasons behind his ritual.
Then cats go to lick their neck, front limbs, flanks and abdomen. This is the section that can vary the most between some animals and others, but usually tends to follow a descending order. Finally, they proceed to wash the belly, the genital area, the hind legs and the tail to its most distal end.
The time devoted to each zone or the frequency of licking depends on each animal. Nevertheless, there are cases where this practice becomes compulsive behavior and the help of a veterinarian or ethologist may be necessary.
When the cat tends to groom itself excessively, it may be that it is going through moments of tension, stress, or fear, so that the cat uses a ritual to stabilize emotionally.
These types of obsessive behaviors should be treated, not only for the mental health of the cat, but because this it can end up getting skin lesions, such as abrasions or local alopecia.
The lick does not replace the wash
Although cats wash daily, their saliva is not enough to remove possible dirt and even more if they spend long periods outside the home. Thus, even spacedly, it is important that owners carry out a deeper cleaning of your pet
As a general rule, cats dislike water, so bathing them can be an unattractive experience. To facilitate your hygiene, there are dry cleaning foams which can be purchased in specialized stores. Its use, together with adequate brushing to remove possible knots, dust and hair, may be sufficient in cases of little or no contact with the outside.
However, in those situations in which the animal frequently escapes, especially in winter, bathing with soap and water will be necessary. In these cases, the owners must show patience, care and care for the animal permanently so that it is not an unpleasant process for both.