Why do cats lick themselves? Cleanliness is essential for them

Ferenczi Deborah

2023. July 1 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

In fact, one of the most common activities that cats do is to lick themselves.. The primary reason for this is to keep themselves clean, but it can also have secondary functions, such as regulating body temperature. We have collected the most important reasons behind the phenomenon.


Grooming begins right after birth, kittens are already licking themselves at the age of 4 weeks. Ans shortly after that they start to groom their mother and their littermates too. If they have a strong bond with their owner they start to lick them too.  Here are all of the reasosn why cats groom themselves!

Why cats groom themselves?

It is worth knowing that they lick themselves not only to keep themselves clean, but also for many other health reasons:

  • to regulate body temperature
  • to keep their coat smooth by distributing natural skin oils
  • to stimulate circulation
  • to cool down through the evaporation of saliva
  • to remove parasites,  allergenics

Compulsive grooming

It is important to know that most cats spend 30-50% of their day grooming themselves. But if you notice obsessive licking, hair loss or changes in the skin, it may be time to consult a veterinarian. This may indicate a neurological disorder, flea infection, parasites or some psychological disorder.

 The patcological grooming can also occur if your cat is confused or anxious. Events such as moving, home reorganazing, the arrival of a new pet or family member, separation anxiety, and lack of stimulation can trigger this behavior. And because grooming calms the animal down, it wants to do it every time it gets into a difficult situation. If the behavior is not addressed, it can easily lead to injury.


Regular grooming helps your cat feel comfortable in its own skin. However, if they get sick, they may stop doing this. This could be a sign of arthritis or dental problems. Since this behaviour is learned in kittenhood, cats that are separated from their mothers too early may not know how to clean themselves properly. If there is a case of under-grooming, it may have the following signs:

  • coarse or greasy hair
  • shaggy hair on the body
  • unpleasant smell

If this is the case, it may be worth encouraging the cat to start grooming. Start daily brushing and teeth cleaning sessions as these processes stimulate blood circulation. In fact, they encourage the cat to start groom itself again. If you notice that your cat is not paying enough attention to self-grooming, be sure to consult a veterinarian.

care cat grooming cleaning the cat licks itself why

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