Why Do Cats Lick Each Other? Is It A Normal Behavior?
Cats are extremely clean animals, which is why they spend the majority of their time grooming themselves from the tops of their ears to the end of their tail. You’ll undoubtedly observe your cats grooming each other if you have many cats at home. So, why do cats lick each other? This post will provide you with a more in-depth look at this behavior.
What is grooming behavior?
Grooming, often known as licking, is an important cat habit that helps them survive and stay healthy. Self-grooming aids cats in eliminating dirt and dust off their fur, spreading oils in their skin, and removing dead skin cells. Cats can also remove parasites and mats with specific tongues, keeping their fur clean and preventing infection.
Grooming is done by cats for a variety of purposes, including:
- Clean their body after an activity, workout, or mealtime
- Temperature regulation
- Stress/anxiety alleviation and relaxation
- Remove their fragrance to shield themselves from other big predators
- Moisturizing of the skin and fur
In case cats don’t have anything else to do, grooming behavior will keep them occupied.
But, why do cats groom each other? The act of your cat licking each other is called allogrooming. There are several reasons behind this behavior, and it does not look as simple as we expected.
Why do cats lick each other?
Show their social bonds
Have you ever wondered what does it mean when cats groom each other? Generally, allogrooming means they really like each other and get along well. Outdoor cats only lick other cats that live in the same colony. And, it’s also true for your indoor cats.
If your house pets several cats, it’s a good sign when they are licking and lying in each other’s space. Even if sometimes you may get crazy with the question why do cats groom each other and then bite. But there is no need to worry. It’s still perfectly normal.
Read more: Why Are Cats’ Noses Wet?
When kittens are born, they rely largely on their mothers for everything, including bathing. Therefore, licking newborn kittens is both a sign of affection and protection from cat mothers. Newborn kittens have a special smell that draws predators, so cats always clean their babies immediately.
Until the age of 4 weeks when kittens are able to bathe themselves, cat mothers groom them to keep them clean, stimulate breathing, and teach them how to groom properly
Help each other clean hard-to-reach area
If you look closely, you’ll note that when one cat grooms the other, it usually does it on the top of the cat’s head, face, or ears. Because those areas are more difficult to reach, they are assisting one another. Petting your cats on the head and neck, which aren’t generally groomed during allogrooming, also makes them happy.
Grooming begins as an affectionate gesture for a mother to assist her kittens, as previously stated. Perhaps this is why adult cats continue the custom with trusted felines.
Express sign of dominance
Despite the fact that cats groom each other only with their friends, it can also be a symbol of hierarchy. Researchers discovered that “higher-ranking” cats in a colony are more inclined to groom lower-ranking cats, similar to how a mother grooms her kittens. Allogrooming, according to some experts, could be a technique of channeling potential hostility when displaying aggression would be too detrimental. In other words, rather than picking a battle in which someone can get wounded, the cat exhibits dominance by grooming the other cat.
Cats are predators as well, and they may groom themselves to remove strong odors that would alarm their prey. As a result, if a cat is upset by another’s fragrance, he may conduct some mild grooming only to get rid of it.
Why do cats lick each other then fight
When cats groom one another, they may suddenly start to “play fight,” yet fighting isn’t always fighting. When cats are petted over an extended period of time, they can get irritable or anxious. They usually try to indicate that they want to be left alone by twitching their tails. If that fails, they may have to scratch the offender. After all, fighting is just a signal that your cat is done with affection and grooming, and don’t be overly concerned to stop your cats fighting after mutual grooming
Overall, the answer for why do cats lick each other seems to be a sign of affection and bonding. Because cats are unable to groom themselves in the head and neck area, they need help from others with bathing tasks. Furthermore, allogrooming may serve to demonstrate hierarchy to lower-ranking cats. Even if licking is motivated by aggression, it is a sign of closeness and positive interaction between your cats.