Why Do Cats Lick Each Other

One of the cutest scenes is when a kitten leans against another and starts to lick its fur. Despite how adorable we may find this behavior, there is a sound reason behind it.

Therefore, why do cats lick one another? Licking is essential to grooming for our fussy felines because, as every cat owner knows, cats are obsessed with it. They are using a sophisticated method of communication rather than just aimlessly flicking their tongues at one another.

Many people believe that when cats lick each other, they are expressing their love. Although this is frequently the case, there are several other explanations for this behavior. Fortunately, you can duplicate the behavior if you just have one cat.

What Is Allogrooming?

Grooming another animal is known as allogrooming. Most animals groom themselves to some extent. For instance, primates frequently pick insects out of each other’s fur, and even humans like combing one other’s hair and giving their kids a bath.

It is common knowledge that once you reach a certain age, you must be able to adequately groom yourself. However, this does not imply that asking someone to brush your hair or assist you in removing your makeup is a bad idea.

Allogrooming, on the other hand, is a social mechanism. According to certain research, it eases tension and strengthens the ties between organisms.

Reasons a cat licks themselves

Let’s define the reasons why cats lick themselves before we address the question of why cats lick each other. The majority of licking time is a cat performing their own grooming routine. In order to reach every accessible area, this entails coursing over their fur.

It encompasses more than licking. Cats are frequently observed biting at knots that are difficult to untangle or squeezing their teeth in between toes.

A variety of periods throughout the day are often used to clean their fur. For instance, cats may groom themselves after eating to remove odor-causing food residue. This is a normal behavior that they have acquired from their parents.

The absence of sweat glands in cats is another factor that contributes to licking. These are exclusively found on the pads of their paws, like many animals. Because of this, they cannot rely on this little portion of their body to control their body temperature when it is really hot. Licking is used in this situation.

They accomplish this by licking themselves and leaving a trail of saliva. The cat feels cool and refreshed when the salvia evaporates in the heat.

Furthermore, licking is a method of relaxation. Your cat will lick itself for comfort if it is nervous, anxious, or otherwise out of sorts. The acts calm them down and perhaps bring back memories of being raised as a cat.

The typical areas for this licking are the sides of the body or even the paws, which are subsequently rubbed over the head and nose. But we have to exercise caution. A physical or emotional issue may be present if there is excessive licking, which might indicate that there is too much stress in the environment.

Why do cats lick and groom each other?

Naturally, grooming is the primary motivation behind these measures. Cats are well recognized for their urges to clean themselves.

If you want to understand more about why and how feline animals groom themselves using their paws, tongues, and teeth, check out my post.

Heat Transfer

Transferring heat from their body is one reason cats brush themselves. The sweat glands in the paw pads of cats allow them to cool a very tiny area through perspiration.

However, the saliva that a cat leaves behind as she licks her side evaporates and cools the woman’s body. Evaporative cooling is the name given to this process. The aim of sweating, licking, and panting in animals—including humans—is to avoid being too hot.

A social bond

Researchers from the University of Georgia investigated feline social interactions in free-roaming cat colonies for their 2004 study, Social organization in the cat: a modern understanding. They discovered that cats with established social bonds engage in allogrooming.

Cats living outside the colony do not receive allogrooming until they are assimilated. In other words, cats won’t groom a cat they don’t know, which is very logical. However, it goes beyond that.

The study’s findings include the fact that beneficiaries of allogrooming are frequently quite cooperative and will tilt or twist their heads to allow the groomer access, frequently while purring.

Cats can ask another cat for allogrooming by approaching, flexing their neck, and showing the top of their head or the rear of their neck. Cats can’t readily groom this area of their bodies on their own, therefore this plea for assistance may be prompted by a practical need for assistance with washing.

Cats from the same family licking each other

Cats lick one other as a way to tighten their bonds with one another. They don’t necessarily have to be among blood relatives; this might include kittens from the same litter.

Cats that are raised together will develop a close attachment by licking one other’s fur. The licks are not merely an expression of love. Additionally, they give out a recognizable scent to one another that marks them as members of the family and sets them apart from potentially dangerous outsiders.

This can raise the query of why your cat licks you. We have excellent news, though. It implies that they view you as a member of the family.

Affection

Licking is one of the numerous ways cats, like dogs, express their love for someone or something. Consider it to be similar to kissing.

Additionally, grooming each other helps two cats get along. They share scents, provide a hand in cleaning hard-to-reach places, and convey how much they enjoy each other’s companionship.

Don’t bother your cats if you observe them licking one another. Simply relax and bask in their adorableness. And perhaps snap a couple photos to show your followers and friends how cute they are.

Self-Soothing

Your cat is accustomed to the sensation of licking. She’ll be licked a lot, from the minute she’s born till the day she dies, and feel a lot of affection. A kitten can’t properly groom itself, but her mother can. She eventually learns to link grooming to her mother’s love and devotion.

Your cat may lick herself to relax if she’s feeling stressed or tense. She mimics the soothing sensation of her mother’s affection by licking herself vigorously.

It has to do with a higher rank

Allogroomers often groom the head and neck region, according to a 1998 British research from the University of Southampton titled The role of allogrooming in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus). Additionally, these researchers noticed that higher-ranking cats groomed lower-ranking cats more frequently than the reverse.

Allogroomers also adopted higher stances, i.e., standing or sitting erect, as opposed to allogroomees, who sat or knelt.

And more frequently than not, especially after grooming the other cat, allogroomers displayed offensive behavior. After grooming the other cat, allogroomers frequently groomed themselves.

Allogrooming, according to the researchers, may be a strategy for deflecting potential hostility when outward shows of anger would be too expensive. In other words, the dominant cat grooms the subordinate cat rather of starting a battle that may result in injury.

Maternal instincts

If your female cat has ever given birth, you are aware that the moment the kittens are born, their mother begins to lick them. She starts by removing all of the gross material from their bodies. She continues to comfort and warm them after that.

Due to their maternal instincts, some cats may lick one another. They’ll do whatever to provide safety, solace, and tranquility for their feline companions.

Even if they are licking each other’s genitalia or if they are licking you with those sharp tongues in the process, don’t criticize your dogs if they are doing it. Cats are simply like that.

However, if you think they could be licking each other and themselves out of obsessive tension, contact your veterinarian. Being too careful of your pet is always preferable to being careless.

And don’t just leave the cats to perform the grooming. No matter how thoroughly they clean each other, they still require your assistance with grooming, love, safety, and general health care.

Additionally, don’t penalize them if they lick you or the other members of your home because it hurts or itches you. They only want to demonstrate to you their level of attachment.

Cats licking each other for protection

It’s not an easy choice to bring a new cat into your family. There’s always a concern over how the cat already living there will respond. In these situations, not every cat will react well to the addition of a new family member. Some cats are troublesome and have a hard time getting along with other cats.

Some people, however, are more laid back and open up to new friends more quickly. This is why understanding how to integrate a new cat into a household is crucial.

Due to the fact that it is entering another cat’s territory, the new cat may experience mistrust or even terror. When this occurs, the neighborhood cats may begin to lick and scent the intruder as a kind of defense.

If you wish to have more than one cat living with you, this is a way to say welcome, which is a really good indicator. They not only convey calmness by making this gesture, but they may also take the person under their wing and teach them how to use their new residence.

Grooming Other Cats (Or People)

Why are you grooming another cat, then? The majority of the time, cats who engage in allogrooming do it as a social and bonding activity. Cats may communicate their love and form bonds by grooming one another.

The actions begin in early childhood. For instance, from the moment your cat emerged from her mother’s womb, she was offered affection through brushing. She therefore mimics her mother’s actions when she wants to go and show someone else that she loves them.

Cats can efficiently reach every region of their bodies as well. Lastly, allogrooming enables cats to maintain the perfect condition of their renownedly flawless coats.

For any reason they groom themselves, cats may also groom one another. Your cats may lay down together on a hot day and groom each other to be cool, or your cat may groom your sibling if he’s feeling nervous or tense.

So, why do cats groom each other?

According to the research, it seems to be a sign of sociability and acceptance. Cats don’t groom themselves or ask others to groom them. Allogrooming might be prompted by a practical need for assistance with washing because it typically targets the head and neck, a region of their body they cannot reach alone.

Mother cats model the behavior, thus maternal instinct probably plays a part. Allogrooming may even display social hierarchy, with the allogroomer dominating the allogroomee and vice versa. Even though hostility drives allogrooming, it is restrained by a social link that is only shared by friends and family.

Why do cats lick their young?

Typically, adult cats will lick their kittens for a significant portion of the day. They do this to mark them as members of their family and to alert people that they are in their area. This implies that they will offer the finest defense against anything that tries to damage them.

In fact, if the mother does not kiss their cat sufficiently, they may develop a different scent, which may cause them to be rejected. If their kittens appear unfamiliar or are unwell, mothers will reject them. Without the required link being strengthened via licking, there might be serious problems.

Final Thoughts

Although the idea of licking someone else may seem strange to humans, your cats need to engage in this behavior since it is both healthy and necessary. Your cat uses her tongue to cool and soothe her body as well as to convey her affection for you and her siblings. Cats should be encouraged to interact and groom one another so they may bond and form strong bonds.