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Cats love to be clean and will spend hours grooming themselves. Recent studies of farm cats established that grooming is just as important to them and that they will spend a good percentage of their day making sure their coats are sparkling clean. So it stands to reason that cats living indoors would probably spend longer making sure their coats are free of dirt and debris. Our feline friends set up their own grooming routines which they typically do just as they wake up and then again before they go to sleep with lots of little tidy ups in-between.
However, although cats like to keep themselves in pristine condition, it's not only because they like having spotlessly clean coats! There are other reasons why cats are constantly grooming themselves and this includes for the following and surprising reasons:
Cats can regulate their built-in thermostat when it's hot or cold and they do so by licking their fur. It helps warm them up during colder weather and to cool them down when they get too hot. Licking their fur when the weather is cold traps valuable air in a cat's coat and this keeps them warm. When too hot, licking their fur means leaving saliva on their coats which naturally evaporates and it's this that helps cool a cat down. In short, cats groom themselves as a way of regulating their body temperature!
When cats lick their fur, they are effectively waterproofing their coats. The act of licking and tugging at their fur helps stimulate all the glands found at the base of each hair. This in turn releases a tiny amount of liquid which helps cats waterproof their coats adding another layer of protection against the elements whether it's the cold, wind or rain!
You may have noticed that as soon as you stop petting or stroking your cat, they immediately start to groom themselves and in particular concentrating on where you have touched them. This is to get rid of any the scent you leave behind and it's your cat's way of evening out their own scent along their fur again. Our feline friends are very particular and like to get their coats back to how they like them to look and smell which is why they groom themselves after they've been petted or stroked by anyone.
Cats will often start grooming themselves quite nonchalantly when they are put under any stress or find themselves in a stressful situation. The act of licking their coats seems to calm them down and it seems to make them feel more comfortable about things and their surroundings. Cats that have to go into kennels for any length of time when their owners are away, will often spend much of their time grooming their coats because it makes them feel better. It helps them through what is often a stressful situation when they find themselves in new surroundings and away from their home.
All too often the first you'll know that your cat may be feeling unwell is when their coats start to look a bit raggedy and unkempt. However, excessive grooming is also a sign that your cat might be feeling under the weather and if a cat starts excessively grooming themselves, the area they concentrate on can become quite bald which means it's time to get your pet along to the vet sooner rather than later!
Cats are renowned for keeping themselves clean and will spend a good percentage of their day making sure their coats are in pristine condition. However, as mentioned above there are many reasons why a cat grooms themselves some of which are quite surprising. With this said, you can always give your feline friend a hand at keeping their coats looking good and free of tangles and debris by setting up a grooming routine and they will love the one to one attention you give them with the added bonus that it will strengthen the bond you've formed with them!
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