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- topicCat Behaviortagged by Anne, 6/6/15
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Why do cats always bathe themselves after being petted?post #1 of 187/13/10 at 12:47pmThread StarterHey everyone. Every cat I have ever known would always go and "bathe" himself/herself after having been petted. What I mean is they will go and lick their fur coats once they are finished with being petted. Why is this?
TheCatSite.com Top Pickspost #2 of 187/13/10 at 2:00pmpost #3 of 187/13/10 at 2:10pmLikely just scent related. Some cats are more concerned about it. Others, with more sensitive skin, will do it to just rearrange their coat and take care of any itch petting may of caused - sort of like how if someone touches with your hair you have to readjusted it even if you're not concerned with them messing up your hair.post #4 of 187/13/10 at 2:39pmpost #5 of 187/13/10 at 2:47pmMine don't always do this. They seem to groom themselves after eating, most often in my experience. Cats are fastidious and this is for many reasons. It maintains health to keep clean plus keeps smells down which in the wild keeps them safe from predators and helps them sneak up on prey.post #6 of 187/13/10 at 2:51pmMy long haired Raggie cleans up after I pet her but my short haired colorpoint doesn't.
The shorthaired girl will rub all over me for 5 minutes then trot off to play without washing herself off so I think it's that the long haired beauty queens need to be sure every hair is in place.post #7 of 187/13/10 at 4:20pmI read somewhere it's leftover instinct from when cats were wild. They'd lick off any scent they picked up so predators couldn't suss them out. Or was it so they could sneak up on prey undetected? One or the other.post #8 of 187/13/10 at 4:56pmpost #9 of 187/13/10 at 5:14pmIt throws their signature scent off and they don't smell right. Grooming themselves put that scent right and makes them feel easy. Plus, if they live with other cats, not grooming themselves back to their initial scent could promote a fight with another cat.post #10 of 187/13/10 at 6:15pmpost #11 of 187/13/10 at 6:51pmpost #12 of 187/13/10 at 9:29pmNone of mine do that, not even the long haired cats nor does the wildest of the outside cats. Most of them are dedicated to covering my pantlegs with cat hair with all the rubbing they do, and when I pet them, they 'pet' me back with tongues.post #13 of 187/13/10 at 11:09pmQuote:This is all speculation so I asked Fay but all she'd tell me was "meep".
Both of mine do this, but not consistently. They do not generally do it if *I* pet them...however, if my parents, grandmother, or sister so much as brush against them, it's bath time. I do share a house with my parents, but the second floor is all my space, and therefore the kitties' space. All their various stuff - food, water, litter boxes, beds, toys, etc - are mingled with my things, and therefore I'd guess that my own scent is transferred heavily to them. They spend 75-80% of their day with me, and always bathe like maniacs after their time downstairs (which smells of my parents and their two slobbery dogs!), or after my mother pets them.
Surprisingly, Sophie will allow Nika (my parents' Malamute/Collie mix) to give her a tongue-bathing, complete with dog drool, and be perfectly content with it. I'm talking literally head-to-toe slobber stripe. She loves it. She will roll around on the floor while Nika bathes her, then rub against the dog's legs to cap it all off. Then she'll go sashaying off with a dog-drool mohawk like it's the latest fashion.
In any case, I lean more towards hissy's theory based on my own experiences with them (the dog slobber being a notable exception to the rule). I have also heard the theory that they are trying to sort of "extend" their petting session by "tasting" our scent after we pet them...but if that's the case, then they really don't like me much.post #14 of 187/29/10 at 2:35ampost #15 of 183/20/14 at 7:41am
I was wondering the same thing. After reading the posts below, I'm satisfied to know that it's scent related. Can be because your scent on them changes their natural scent enough so that another cat in the household might not recognize them . . . and/or that their natural instincts are to neutralize their scent so predators can't find them easily. I'm inclined to go for the first reason, because I have an older cat and a kitten. The older cat seems not to give a care about the reason and only bathes once or twice a day, but the kitten is at it as soon as, and every time, I touch her in the morning.post #16 of 183/20/14 at 1:05pm
it sounds mean, but its to remove whatever scent you left behind on kitty while you were petting it!
kitty loves to rub up on you, and leave his or her scent on you, but kitty does not like your scent on him/her!
my jet never grooms herself after being pet.
Charlie sometimes grooms himself. sometimes he doesn't. it all depends on how much he hates me at the current moment. if he's happy and content and has some to me for pets, i will rub him ALL over and he will trot away happy. sometimes when i forcibly give him pets, he'll scurry off into a corner as soon as i let him go, and he'll groom himself while looking at me. LOLLLL he's going through puberty so he's a bit moody.
BOTH of my cats will groom them selves after being pet by the BF. LOLOLOLOLLL
i feel bad for my BF. He just wants them to like him. but he isn't around as much. so they don't really open up to him. And he gets so sad when he's done petting them and he sees them scurry off to groom themselves. but then he feels loved again when in the middle of the night they groom his beard while he's asleep haha.
cats are weird.post #17 of 183/20/14 at 1:36pmQuote:Originally Posted by Lyn Overton
I was wondering the same thing. After reading the posts below, I'm satisfied to know that it's scent related. Can be because your scent on them changes their natural scent enough so that another cat in the household might not recognize them . . . and/or that their natural instincts are to neutralize their scent so predators can't find them easily.
Or they do it to mingle their scent with yours. Mingling scents is their way of "liking" another cat, or human, so when you pet kitty, she responds by placing her own scent on top of yours by licking.
Jed purrs when I pet him. He also does not like to be pet for too long. If he doesn't "like" me petting him, he's more likely to just get up and move a few feet away, rather than licking that area while purring.
Of course, we could be completely wrong and none of those explanations are true. Who knows what goes on in their little brains.post #18 of 186/3/15 at 4:26pm
Have a cat that does this relatively often. She is a bit of a ham for attention so always took this behavior as a way of saying "I can take care of myself but thank you". In a way acknowledging your kind action with a similar action of their own, to itself. The removing of the scent theory seems very intriguing but while she does lick after petting often, most grooming is not done after petting so like all expressive behavior there are undoubtedly multiple factors going into the behavior and multiple meanings of it based on personality.
- Why do cats always bathe themselves after being petted?
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