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7 Reasons Why Cats Are So Clean

Ever wondered why cats are so clean? Veterinarians reveal seven surprising reasons your cat loves to lick—and why there's more to it than simple grooming.

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Cat is licking the hair, cat is washing itselfPhoto: Shutterstock

Why are cats so clean?

Adult cats spend up to 50 percent of their waking hours grooming, according to Dr. Cynthia McManis, a veterinarian and the owner of Just Cats Veterinary Services. Read on to discover the surprising reasons your cat spends so much of its time licking.

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Orange colored Cat lick its body to clean itselfPhoto: Shutterstock

Cats clean themselves to protect against predators

Cats instinctively clean away food and additional odour-causing agents so they will not be detected by potentially threatening animals.

Check out these tips to make your cat more friendly.

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Maine coon cat grooming and lying on white bed in sunny bright stylish room. Cute cat with green eyes and with funny adorable emotions licking and cleaning furPhoto: Shutterstock

Cats clean themselves to cool down

Cats sweat a little from their paws, but they mostly rely on saliva evaporation on their fur to maintain normal body temperature. Grooming controls around one-third of a cat’s cooling process.

These funny cat GIFs are purr-fect for any occasion.

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Beautiful scottish catPhoto: Shutterstock

Cats clean themselves for fur maintenance and warmth

By licking itself, a cat helps distribute its natural oils evenly around its coat. This oil guards against dampness and seals in heat.

Check out these tips from a cat whisperer to avoid common mistakes that owners make.

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Cute cat is washing itself with tongue on white backgroundPhoto: Shutterstock

Cats lick themselves to keep wounds clean

Cat saliva is thought to contain enzymes that turn it into a natural antibiotic. If your cat licks a wound, it may be guarding against infection. Always see your veterinarian if your cat sustains an injury.

Discover what cats really think about humans (according to cats).

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Red cat sitting on the bed and licks the paw. Shallow focus.Photo: Shutterstock

Cats clean themselves to stimulate blood flow

Similar to how a hairbrush promotes blood flow on the scalp, your cat’s tongue-which is covered in tiny, bristle-like hairs-improves circulation.

Here’s why your cat is biting you.

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Cats groom each other. Senior tabby cat is licking affectionate younger cat. Focus on rough tongue sharp spines, called papillae. Concept for bonding pets, allogrooming behavior and maternal instinct.Photo: Shutterstock

Cats clean themselves out of friendship

Familiar cats will groom each other as a sign of affection. Think of it as a kitty kiss, since it involves saliva exchange and mutual trust.

Watch out for the signs its time to take your cat to the vet.

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Gray adult cat lies on the floor and licks the pawsPhoto: Shutterstock

Cats clean themselves for relaxation

Cats take comfort in the ritual of self-cleaning. Remember, certain qualities indicate a healthy coat of fur, including:

  • Shine and a soft, lush texture
  • Little dander
  • No black specks, which can be a sign of fleas
  • No bald patches
  • Not a lot of dead undercoat, since your cat normally removes it

To promote these qualities, feed your cat food that contains quality natural ingredients, essential nutrients and amino acids. Visit your veterinarian twice a year to stay ahead of common problems, and establish a daily brushing routine with your cat. “Both cats and owners should look forward to this productive time together,” says Dr. Jane Brunt, a veterinarian at the Cat Hospital at Towson, in Baltimore.

Next, check out the cat breeds that get along with dogs.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest