Living with cats is endlessly fascinating. They’re such quirky creatures–and we love them for it! I know I spend way too much time observing my own cat. Among the many interesting things I see him do, he tends to bathe a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean multiple times per day. It’s especially funny when he cleans his tail and his tongue gets stuck momentarily. (He does not appreciate it when I chuckle at this, for the record.) But why do cats bathe themselves so often? Let’s explore a few reasons in this post.
Cleanliness is Key
Okay, this one is a no-brainer. Cats do bathe themselves because they want to be clean. Generally, cats are pretty tidy animals. They like having a clean litter box. They also like having a nice clean fur coat. So yes, when your cat bathes he may simply be bathing to clean his fur. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Bathing Can Help Untangle Cat Fur
In addition to bathing for cleanliness, cat fur sometimes need untangling. This is especially true of breeds with longer hair. All that fur can be hard to maintain! And, cat tongues are perfectly equipped to detangle. Your cat’s tongue has papillae, which makes it feel rough. The papillae are there to act as nature’s comb, in a way.
Cats Need to Keep Cool
It turns out that bathing can also help cats stay cooler in hot weather. Interestingly enough, cats do bathe to cool themselves off a bit. It’s kind of similar to how we sweat as humans. That sweats dries and we feel a bit cooler. Your cat’s saliva is a useful tool for helping him beat the heat in summer time.
Why Does My Cat Bathe After I Pet Him?
On another note, bathing may have a bit more to do with scents or oils. Have you ever stopped to give your kitty a friendly pet as he’s hanging out, only to have him immediately lick himself? In addition to enjoying clean fur, cats do bathe themselves often to manage their scent. If you pet his fur, you leave some of your own scent there. You also leave a bit of oil. Both of these things could prompt your kitty to bathe herself to leave a bit more of her own scent on her fur. Don’t be too offended here. It’s just a natural instinct that many cats have!
How Often is Too Often?
Cats generally do bathe themselves often. But how often is too often? That answer varies depending on each cat. If you suspect kitty is taking too many baths, keep a close eye on her. If you notice excessive fur falling out or if she has other odd behaviors, it might be time to call in the vet. If her fur seems to be healthy, just let her bathe. It may seem often to us humans, but multiple baths each day are pretty standard for felines.
Should you notice your cat grooming excessively, keep a close watch. Fur mowing is a common problem among cats and is notoriously difficult to manage. This is because fur mowing can be a medical issue or a psychological one – or a little bit of both. More on that here.
Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? Share this article with another cat lover that you know so they can learn something, too.