Why do cats lick?

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¿Your cat spends long hours licking itself? ¿Has he started licking you like he wants to wash you? At AnimalWised we want to help you discover the reasons that lead our felines to lick constantly and clear all your doubts about it..

Cats are animals that they need to be cleaned often to remove possible dirt accumulated on their fur, parasites or dead hair. However, this is not the only reason that leads them to lick each other at all times. Contrary to what many think, felines are very grateful to their owners if they treat them properly and provide them with a decent life. Keep reading this article to discover all the causes that motivate this type of behavior and to be able to answer the question why do cats lick.

You may also be interested in: Why do dogs lick? Index
  1. The cat's tongue
  2. For hygiene
  3. As a sign of affection
  4. Does your cat have stress?

The cat's tongue

Before delving into the causes that cause cats to constantly lick themselves or even their owners, it is essential to talk about the characteristics of your language.

When your tongue comes into contact with your skin, you will have noticed that the sensation it produces is not soft, but quite the opposite. While the dog's tongue is smooth and soft like ours, the feline's is rough and rough., ¿why? Very simple, the upper part of the cats tongue is covered by a thorny tissue called conical papillae. Said tissue, apparently, is nothing other than tiny thorns formed by keratin, the same substance that makes up our nails, placed in rows in the same direction.

These small spines allow them to drink water more easily and, above all, to groom themselves and remove the dirt accumulated between their fur. However, by acting as a comb, this causes the animal to swallow an excessive amount of dead hair and, therefore, the dreaded hairballs appear.

Now that we know what the cat's tongue looks like, ¿why do they lick so much?

For hygiene

As we all know, cats are excessively neat animals by nature. So much so that, unless their mantle has gotten too dirty, they hardly require baths on our part. So if you notice your cat constantly licking its paws, back, tail or belly, don't worry, just take care of your hygiene removing dead hair, possible parasites and accumulated dirt.

Paying attention to the behavior of our pet is vital to be aware of the possible anomalies that may arise in them. Therefore, it is very important that you observe how often and intensity is licked. Animals, like us, are routine beings who also tend to always carry out their tasks in the same way. If you see that your cat stops licking itself and said neglect of its daily hygiene is accompanied by general apathy or discouragement, do not hesitate and go to the vet as soon as possible to examine it, it could be developing some pathology.

As a sign of affection

As we discussed in the previous section, cats are animals that always need to be kept clean, however and although they are considerably flexible, they do not have the ability to reach each and every part of their body. At birth, the mother is in charge of keeping them well groomed by licking them constantly. From three weeks of age, kittens begin to clean themselves and lick each other, both to wash those unreachable areas, such as the ears and neck, and to strengthen the bond between the members of the pack.

At this point, the kittens, in addition to grooming their siblings, will also lick the mother to show her affection. In this way, if your feline lives alone with you, without the presence of another cat, and licks you often, do not be surprised, it is a good sign. If your cat licks your hands, arms or even your face, it means that he feels you are part of his pack, his family, and wants to show you how much he appreciates you.

Yes, despite the prejudices that these animals have aroused for years, cats can also be affectionate. In fact, there are many signs of affection that they can show their owners if they treat them as they should, providing them with the basic care they need, the right food, toys to release the accumulated energy, scratchers to file their nails and a box of sand to relieve themselves.

Does your cat have stress?

In the first section we pointed out the importance of pay attention to our cat's behavior. The development of a serious pathology can cause a loss of spirit that can lead our cat to neglect its hygiene. But, ¿and if what happens is that more than necessary is cleaned?

If our cat has gone from grooming in a normal way to doing it with a greater intensity and at all times, with all probability it will be suffering from a picture of stress or anxiety. Keep in mind that cats tend to groom themselves, in addition to hygiene, to relax. Licking produces tranquility, calm and serendipity. In this way, when they feel stressed, they go to the lick to seek relief and to find that peace they need so much..

If you suspect that the reason that answers the question why does your cat lick is this, it is essential that you try to find the source of stress and, above all, go to the vet as soon as possible.

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