Why Your Cat Grooms Itself Immediately After Eating

Mádi-Krezinger Cintia

2024. May 31 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

To understand this behavior, we need to closely examine the ancient instincts of cats.


Today’s domestic cats have a much easier life than their wild ancestors. As owners, we provide them with everything they might need—and let’s be honest, we also offer them a lot of luxuries. Despite the fact that our furry companions have no worries, their ancient instincts still strongly persist. These instincts can be observed in many areas of a cat’s life, and as we’ve mentioned before, you can also see how “wild” your cat is. Many behaviors, from playing with prey to snuggling together, stem from these gut reactions. This includes the instinct to wash themselves vigorously right after eating. Our article will explain why a cat grooms itself after eating.

The ritual of grooming is also driven by ancient instincts

Safety first

As we have mentioned before, grooming plays a crucial role in the life of cats. However, if you notice that your pet starts washing itself immediately after getting a treat, it is most likely not just trying to be clean. It is more likely driven by survival instincts. In the wild, enticing aromas attract predators, so cats need to get rid of these scents as quickly as possible.

At first glance, it may not make much sense for a cat to eat a bite and then lick its fur a few times. After all, no food fell on its fur, and if its face got dirty, why not clean that? Well, as strange as it may seem, the cat is trying to remove scents from its tongue. As it licks its fur, the hairs clean its tongue. This makes the cat feel safe again, ready for the next treat.

Too little, too much

Grooming is not only important for cats; it also tells us, as owners, a lot. Changes in grooming habits can be excellent indicators if something is wrong with the cat.

If a cat’s fur becomes unkempt, it is likely that the animal is suffering from some illness. A lack of grooming can also be caused by obesity, which can make it physically impossible for the cat to maintain itself. Conversely, your pet might overdo the grooming. If you notice this, there is a high chance that the cat is dealing with a mental issue. Anxiety and stress can drive the animal to compulsively repeat the comforting activity of grooming.

If you notice any unusual behavior in your pet’s grooming habits, visit the vet as soon as possible to prevent more serious health issues!

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