Why Do Cats Lick Each Other?

Why do cats groom each other like this? By: elly jonez

Our feline friends love to groom. They groom themselves. They groom each other. They even groom people sometimes.

So why do cats lick each other? Here are a few reasons:

1. To Remove Ick After Birth

Mother cats begin licking their kittens from the minute they are born. They do this grooming to remove all the debris and fluids associated with the birth as well as to get the kittens breathing. This is an inherent behavior.

2. To Show Affection

Cats treat grooming as a pastime. They can spend hours cleaning themselves and each other. They show their love and affection this way.

I once had a tortoiseshell kitten that loved to groom my husband. She would sit on the back of the couch and comb his hair with her claws for what seemed like hours! However, my husband drew the line at the “licking his head” part.

3. To Reach Those Difficult Spots

Cats might clean each other because there are certain spots that are difficult for them to reach on their own. I’m sure you’ve seen your cat wetting her paws and then washing her face. The face is a hard place to wash. The two-cat home makes it easier. Feline friends don’t let feline friends walk around with dirty faces.

Cats will often clean each other’s ears. Again, this is a hard-to-reach spot for the lone pet. Dual-pet households make this chore simpler. One kitten will wash the other’s inside and out. As gross as it sounds, it’s actually a good thing because it removes dirt.

So, those cats that spend the time and effort to clean each other are truly showing that they care.

They could also be saying “Yo, dude. You can’t be seen looking like that!”

Check Out This Video

Here are two kitties really getting into the dual-grooming process:

There is an old adage that says “cleanliness is next to godliness.” If that’s true, then all cats must go to heaven, right?

Additional Resources

book-cover-smallest1Do your cats lick each other? Tell us about it in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love Pets Adviser’s email newsletter. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll be among the first to get alerts about major pet food recalls. New subscribers also get instant access to our 40-page ebook — which has “secrets every cat and dog lover should know.” Learn more here.

From Around the Web

  • Eileen

    Thanks for sharing this valuable and fun information! Really enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

  • ArualsugA

    My cat loves to clean my dog’s face. They lie together for hours, Cheddar purring constantly. If he stops, my dog will move his head closer to the cat until he starts again. They usually fall asleep together after a while =)

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

      Oh, that’s too cute! Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Courtney

    My kitten loves to groom so much that my older male to groom her back. She’ll walk right over to him, throw her tail up in his face and roll right onto him until he licks her ears. It’s really funny & cute to watch him be patient with her. She loves to groom our bunny Bella too… much to the displeasure of our skeptical bunny. Now that our other bunny passed away Bella’s been looking forward to having her ears cleaned by the kitten. It’s adorable

  • Courtney

    My kitten loves to groom so much that she got my older male to groom her
    back. She’ll walk right over to him, throw her tail up in his face and
    roll right onto him until he licks her ears. It’s really funny &
    cute to watch him be patient with her. She loves to groom our bunny
    Bella too… much to the displeasure of our skeptical bunny. Now that
    our other bunny passed away Bella’s been looking forward to having her
    ears cleaned by the kitten. It’s adorable

  • Judy

    Thank you for sharing ;-) xxx