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"Biting" herself during grooming?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
When Nano is grooming herself, she will use her teeth to first tug on the fur and then use her tongue to lick it back into place. So it is two or three "bites" and then a dozen or so licks for the grooming.

I don't think she actually bites her skin when doing this. For instance, she play-grooms me and will play-bite my arm or leg which gets the hair wet and makes it stick out. Then she will lick it into place.

At one point Nano was a stray, but she doesn't have fleas anymore and is cleaning up very nice. Her fur was heavily matted in areas but it is growing back. She is a shorthair cat.

I think this is normal behavior but my girlfriend thinks it is strange. I am just posting this question for comments -- because whatever Nano is doing, she isn't hurting herself or drawing blood. And if it is a behavior quirk from when she used to have fleas, she is clean now (and will stay clean) so what could be done to change the past?

Any comments?
post #2 of 15
Ebony does that to. I can really offer any information as to why she does it. But my boyfriend and I have always assumed this is normal. And it mays the funniest sucking sound when she does it too! we just always say it must be bath time when she does this. and she looks beautiful so we aren't too concerned.
post #3 of 15
Yeah my two do this... we just take it as they've hit a really dirty spot and are workin to make it clean.

Now when we first got Max he used to do this.. and then pull out his fur (and then eat it). That's bad... but as long as your cat doesn't do that, then I wouldn't worry.
post #4 of 15
You can help her by getting an undercoat rake and combing her out. Also be sure you flea treat her safely so she doesn't get flea dermititis
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
berylan: Yes, Nano makes that sucking noise (or something) as well.

pinkdaisy226: She's not ripping out her fur but that would be a concern. Hope your Max is okay.

hissy: I had been using a standard cat brush, but I will go over into the dog section and try to find an undercoat rake. I googled for a picture so I know what I am looking for!
post #6 of 15
winston does the bitey-grooming thing too...just adding my two cents!
post #7 of 15
Meishka as well does this weird chew thing while she grooms. When we brush her daily she does it less but will still occasionally chew her rear side. She snorts when she does it too. Its kinda gross but I crack up each time. I think she gets offended that I laugh at her.
post #8 of 15
Ha, Baylee snorts when she does it too!

Max is okay now... I haven't seen him pull his hair out in a few weeks so we think it was due to stress. Poor baby.
post #9 of 15
Our last cat did it a lot, I think because she was a medium hair and it kept getting tangled. I've never seen my four short-haired boys do it to themselves, though they all try to chew on my knuckles when they groom my hand. I guess they don't appreciate hard-earned callouses.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by hissy
You can help her by getting an undercoat rake and combing her out. Also be sure you flea treat her safely so she doesn't get flea dermititis
I went shopping at Petsmart and couldn't decide between the two brushes. The dog undercoat rakes seemed too much for my cat and I wasn't sure if the cat flea brushes were suitable.

I can try to look again at a different store next time I go shopping.
post #11 of 15
This reminds me of the time Joji jumped on top of the sofa's backrest behind the seated guest and started nibbling on his hair. He liked it! We laughed so hard that it sort of scared Joji. She never did it again.
post #12 of 15
I use the flea comb and a slicker brush for grooming. The flea comb should work fine for doing the job.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I will buy a "flea comb" next time I am at the pet store.

Also, thanks to everyone who chimed in with "me too" about their cat's grooming habits. Nice to know that Nano is not a complete freak.
post #14 of 15
I've always been under the assumption that the cat was "milking" an oil gland and then licking to spread it through the fur... I've always noticed the behavior being more apparent in our sleeker, glossier furred cats. *shrugs* It IS funny to watch.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just to follow up -- Nano didn't have any matted undercoat and the special comb wasn't an improvement over the basic brush I have been using.

So this "biting/sucking/snorting/whatever" she does while grooming seems to be a random quirk. And good to know at least a few other cats do it, too.
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