Why Do Cats Groom Each Other?

What can look cuter than two cats grooming each other? We bet all cat owners have seen this picture. Have you ever wondered about the reasons for this behavior? Scientists refer to this behavior as allogrooming or social grooming, and it’s believed to be related to a cat’s maternal instincts. On top of that, when cats groom each other, it indicates their mutual affection. What are other reasons? Keep reading, you just might learn something new about our feline friends.

why do cats groom each other?

Why Do My Cats Groom Each Other Then Fight?

If you see cats fighting after grooming, it means they are most likely just playing. Cats can chase each other, bite each other, fight each other. However, in some cases, cats can hide aggression, get irritated, or feel uncomfortable, which may lead to a real fight.

To distinguish a playful game from a real fight, pay attention to the following signs:

  • The ears should remain in their normal position and should not be bent back.
  • There should be no growling or hiss.
  • The bites should not be painful and should not cause injury.

Reasons Why Cats Groom Each Other

Cats groom each other for several reasons, below there are the most common ones.

  • Cats show their love and affection

Allogrooming is the process of grooming for social reasons. Two cats consider each other as a family, and in this way, they express their trust, protection, love, and care.

  • They help each other clean hard-to-reach areas

Often, cats lick certain parts of each other’s bodies: the face, the crown of the head, ears, since it is hard to clean these areas on their own. Thus, they help each other maintain hygiene.


  • This process indicates family members

This ritual aims to indicate that the cat is a member of a particular family. When licking, the cat receives a certain scent that represents its belonging to the family. Most often, this is how mother cats mark their kittens. Besides, if cats sniff and lick a newly arrived cat, it means that they have recognized it as a member of their family.

  • Mother cats take care of newborn kittens

One of the instincts of a mom cat is to lick newborn kittens in order to clean their fur and make sure that the babies are breathing. Besides, mums constantly lick their abdominal and anal areas to encourage kittens to get rid of toxins, and they teach them how to take care of themselves when they grow up. On top of that, they will do this to provide protection, comfort, and peace of mind to their kittens.

  • Cats show their dominance in this way

Allogrooming is an alternative to aggressive behavior to consolidate a dominant position and redirect pent-up aggression. It is believed that dominant cats groom submissive cats, and they take on a more dominant posture during the ritual. For instance, a dominant cat is sitting or standing, and a submissive cat is lying down.

  • They maintain hygiene after meals

Cats often groom each other after eating because it helps take away the scent of the last meal.


Cats groom each other for a variety of reasons, including social bonding. In most cases, this ritual speaks of love, affection, and mutual assistance, but in some cases, it can be a way to reaffirm dominance.

Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? Share this article with other cat lovers that you know so that they can learn something, too.

About the Author

Andrew is an editor and writer with 5 years of experience, his area of interest covers everything cat-related, including cat food, cat supplies, and cat insurance. Andrew runs a website dedicated to helpful tips that make the life of cats and their owners healthier and happier.

Was this article helpful?