Behavior
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Can't a Kitty Lick Himself in Peace?

Are cats telling us something with the times and places they groom? Without a doubt, yes.

 |  Dec 27th 2012  |   2 Contributions


It never ceases to amaze me how clean cats are and how diligent their grooming routines can be. It's common for cats to take advantage of a sunny day to lie in the driveway, on the porch, or in the grass to lick and groom every inch of their bodies. They’ll sit in a windowsill, lie on the couch, or steal a favorite chair -- especially one that is being used by a human -- in order to groom themselves. Always after a meal, they’ll sit licking their front paws and rubbing them on their faces to clean their mouth and whiskers. A few wipes of each ear finishes the session.

Cleanliness is next to godliness! Photo: Ragdoll kitten by Shutterstock.com

You’ll never find a dog being this meticulous in their grooming routines. They seem to prefer going a la natural. This is especially true after a meal or a treat. They’ll usually eat as promptly as possible and leave the remnants lodged between their whiskers and all over their face.

My theory is dogs leave their food remains behind for a hidden treat to find on their bodies later in the day. I find this especially true when my little Schnauzer enjoys her favorite doggy ice cream, Lick a Lots. Her face smells like a vanilla and honey frozen yogurt the rest of the afternoon -- or at least until she dunks most of her face in her bowl of water.

"Geez, dog, you're dirty!" Photo: Cat kisses a puppy by Shutterstock.com

I often find discarded fur left behind after one of my cat’s lengthy grooming sessions. There are also traces of fur floating in the air that are usually unseen until I walk through the area. (Nothing like unexpectedly breathing in microscopic fur remnants that tickle the nose incessantly.)

I’m a big proponent of brushing cats on a regular basis if they’ll let you. I know firsthand that some are very cooperative while others are definitely not. However, even after a lengthy brushing, I’ve noticed that they’ll still walk away to groom themselves further. I know they are saying, “Silly human. You don’t have a clue on how to groom a cat. Let me show you how to do it properly.”

"Oh, I'm sorry, is my fastidious desire to be CLEAN getting in the way of you trying to get somewhere?" Photo: Kitten on a white background by Shutterstock.com

Often I find my cats grooming themselves at the most inopportune times. They’ll lounge on the hood of my car at a time when I am trying to leave the house. They’ll lay in the doorway unwilling to interrupt what they’re doing so that I may exit. Some of my friends have told me that their cats always seem to groom themselves while everyone’s watching television at night.

They position themselves directly between the people watching the television and the device itself, creating an obstructed view until they’re satisfied that they’ve cleaned themselves as thoroughly as possible. Personally, I think the cat is telling them that what she’s doing is a lot more interesting than what’s airing on the television.

"Hah! I bet your TV can't do THIS!" Photo: One cat grooming another cat by Shutterstock.com

Of course cats usually don’t see any problem whatsoever in when or where they groom themselves. They’ll actually look up at me in the middle of their grooming session as if to say, “What? Can’t a cat just lick himself in peace?” Then with a snooty turn of the head and a flip of their tail, they’ll walk off disgusted.

Top photo: Kitten licking a man's finger by Shutterstock.com

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