If you live in a multi-cat household, you've probably seen your cats help with the grooming, but why do cats lick each other?
If you're a cat owner, you'll know what we mean when we say that cats seem to spend almost half their time grooming... and the other half napping! But in reality, cats spend 15 hours of the day sleeping and 15 percent of their time grooming.
Yes, the act of cat grooming is quite a common cat behavior (almost as common and well-known as purring!), but if you have more than one domestic cat, you'll be more than familiar with the sight of your cats licking each other -- this mutual grooming between your feline friends is called allogrooming. And while this feline behavior is so very adorable, have you ever wondered why do cats lick each other? Here are five reasons to the question why do cats groom each other.
1. Helping Each Other Out
One of the most common reasons to why cats groom each other is simply that: grooming. While cats are known for their self-grooming behavior to maintain their own hygiene, the fact is some areas are just tricky to clean yourself! Sometimes, cats need a littermate to help them out!
2. It's a Sign of Affection
Like dogs, cats express their love by licking, so another reason why cats lick each other is a sign of affection. Also, it's a form of social bond between cats -- it's like the feline's version of petting! Contrary to popular belief, cats are social animals, so social grooming is just their way to show affection for each other.
3. It's Maternal Instincts
A mother cat will start licking their new kitten immediately for a few reasons. First, in order to clean off all the, um, stuff, that comes with birthing. They are also warming up and soothing the new cat, as well as offering them protection and comfort. Some cats are mirroring this maternal instinct when they lick each other.
4. It's All About Social Hierarchies
Another reason to why cats groom each other is to do with social hierarchies. Higher-ranking cats will groom the lower-ranking cats, more so than the other way around. It's a way that the dominant cat shows, well, dominance and a social hierarchy within felines.
5. They Might Be Just Playing
If your cats are not just cleaning each other until they can get to a groomer, another reason why cats will lick other feline family members might be because they're actually just play-fighting with each other! Yes, grooming can be a form of feline play, especially for younger cats that might have trouble sitting still!
Share your feline friends on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!