Why Do Cats Groom Each Other?

Cats lick and groom each other on the window.

Cats may lick for countless hours. Whenever you have that much fur, staying clean requires commitment. Cats utilize their mainly developed tongues to maintain appropriate grooming by removing dirt collected during the day and detangling strands in their furry hair. However, this cleaning process is not always limited to their bodies. Their licking spreads to their animal companions for reasons we may not comprehend.

If you have two cats, you may notice that they begin grooming one another even if there is no apparent reason for it. Keep reading this article to uncover why your cats groom one other and to determine whether this is more than a matter of habit.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Cats to Groom Each Other?

Social Bonding

It may also be a tangible manifestation of the trust particular cats have in one another when they are together. It refers to as social grooming, and it serves a variety of purposes. Among them is to deepen the connection between two or more cats. It is also worth noting that even hairless cats will groom themselves and each other to maintain cleanliness, whether or not they have fur.

If your cats behave in this manner, it indicates that they adore and trust one another. They are at ease when they are together and are comfortable expressing it. As with any trust practice, it exposes them to vulnerability, which may not come readily. In these cases, the licks are often focused on the face and ears, two of a cat’s preferred areas to express affection.

Protection and Acceptance

Adopting a new feline is not a simple choice. There will always be the worry of how the domestic cat would respond. In these instances, not all feline will react well to the addition of a newfound family member. Particular cats may be challenging to adapt to a new cat. Others, on the other hand, will be more comfortable and immediately warm to a new acquaintance. It is why it is vital to understand how to welcome a new cat into a household properly.

The new cat that enters the household setting may experience mistrust or even terror due to being in another cat’s domain. When this occurs, the fellow cats may begin to sniff and groom the intruder, creating a protective demeanor. It is a kind of greeting, which is an excellent indication if you’d like to have more than one feline cohabiting. They not only convey a feeling of tranquillity with these gestures but may also take them under their care and teach them the ropes of their new place.

Familial Bond and Affection 

Suppose you are a cat owner to multiple cats. In that case, whether they belong to the same family or not, you may have observed that reciprocal grooming occurs more often amongst cats affiliated to the same family. Although the researchers discovered it is more common around cats from the same families, it also happens across cats that get along very well. If you own a sociable cat breed, you may observe this tendency.

Cats groom each other to reinforce their familial bonds. It may include kitties from the same litter, but it does not have to be genetically related. If cats grow up together, they develop a family connection, reinforcing by licking one other’s coat. The licks are not just an expression of love. Moreover, they transmit a recognizable scent onto one another, identifying them as family members and distinguishing them from possible dangerous strangers.

Hierarchy and Social Ranking

You will observe that the typical grooming scenario looks like an adult cat licking off a younger cat, with the groomer rising while the groomee relaxes or lays down.

One other intriguing finding from one of the research is that allogrooming is not about calm socializing moments for cats. Some encounters included aggressive attitudes. Those who groom other cats are more destructive than those who are groomed. Do not be alarmed if your cat exhibits indications of aggressiveness, and there are methods for teaching your cat to become more sociable.

Occasionally, the dominating cat in the family would groom the others to reinforce his hierarchical ranking. You may even see one of your cats requesting allogrooming by approaching the dominating cat, stretching his neck, and revealing the top of his head or rear of his neck.

Maternal Instinct

Newborn kitties must be cleansed of all the blood and gore involved with delivery. Additionally, it is advantageous for them to smell similar to their mother to be readily recognized, saved from danger, safeguarded, and nurtured.

Mother cats clean their newborn offspring instinctually to assure that they are alive and to eradicate postpartum secretions from their fur. They will be continuing to clean them throughout the first several weeks of their lives. After nourishing, the mother cat cleans the abdominal and anal regions, stimulating the offspring to expel excrement. Additionally, it teaches kittens proper grooming routines by themselves.

Mutual Grooming of Hygiene and Health

Cats are fastidious about maintaining a neat and hygienic coat. They may spend hours grooming their coat to perfection—detangling tangles, eliminating dust and grime accumulated during the day. Occasionally, a difficult-to-reach spot or a tough knot may be challenging, and having a cat companion on hand to assist can be very beneficial.

Cats will also groom one another if they detect an issue or sickness. For instance, if one cat has an injury, a wounded body part, or even an illness, another cat may lick the afflicted spot. It may be to assist in the healing process or give comfort. Assuring that each family member is clean and healthy benefits the whole group.

Allogrooming

Allogrooming is a word that applies to social grooming amongst species groups. Numerous animals, notably monkeys, birds, and cats, groom one another to strengthen social relationships and connections. 

According to research, allogrooming behavior, which is most often focused on the head and neck area, is frequently linked with dominance behavior. Therefore, allogrooming may be used to divert future aggressiveness in circumstances when overt violence is avoided. However, allogrooming is more prevalent among cats connected or have a high degree of familiarity, suggesting that it strengthens social relationships.

We should expand our understanding of handling our cats by studying allogrooming across colony cats since these connections extend to their interactions with us.


Why Do Cats Groom and Then Fight?

You may have observed an odd occurrence with your cats. They occasionally groom and then clash! To comprehend why we must first grasp what we have previously covered. Cats groom one another to connect. It occurs only when they are at ease with each other’s companionship, yet something often happens during this connection that prompts the fur to flutter.

This fight that occurs after grooming is often very entertaining! Since cats that dislike one another do not groom, there is no possibility they are battling so quickly. It is often wild and physical play that involves kicking, tumbling, and running.

What Is That Playful Fighting?

Occasionally, cats get grumpy. They trust their allogroomer and need grooming, but because once enough is enough, they may start engaging in what seems to be fighting aggression. It is a method of indicating that grooming has become tedious. Naturally, this is not the case in humans.

Although play fighting, or indicating that the one has enough, is normal, there are times when it escalates. You may hear roaring and screaming and see hitting. It is a critical moment for you to intervene and maintain peace order.

A further factor a fight may erupt after grooming is the detection of sickness or disease. It is uncommon, but occasionally one cat may detect a skin wound on another and, upon smelling the area, the groomer may become wary. If this occurs, make careful inspect your allogroomee’s fur.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Cat Grooming a Sign of Dominance?

Grooming is a show of authority, without a doubt. It’s also a show of affection, whereas two cats who don’t get along would avoid grooming one other, but the type of grooming and who provides and gets grooming are displays of domination.

Whether two or more cats groom one another in allogrooming, the more dominating cat expects to do most of the grooming. Grooming generally results in a less dominating cat.

It may be challenging to determine which cat is more potent among cats with very tight relationships, such as littermates. It may be because more intimate cat interactions have a lower social hierarchy.

Why Do Adult Cats Lick Their Young Kitten?

Adults cats often devote a significant amount of time grooming their kittens. They distinguish them as family members and alert others that these kitties are a part of their domain. It implies they will do their utmost to defend them from anything that attempts to endanger them.

Indeed, if the parent does not often groom their kitten, the cat may develop a change in smell, resulting in rejection. Mothers will refuse their offspring if they seem strange or are sick. Licking reinforces an essential connection that, if disrupted, may result in serious problems.

Do Cats Socially Groom Other Animals?

Cats will lick and groom other animals if they have trust and a social connection with other animals. Two cats grooming one other and fighting is only one aspect of the complicated relationship that felines experience. The answer to this question varies on your cat’s social level and connection with other animals; if they do not have these two aspects, it is impossible to do social grooming.


Final Thought

While cats groom each other for various reasons and in many distinct ways, social and affection grooming has been proven to provide much more than physical advantages. Indeed, researchers discovered a strong connection between brain oxytocin releases during socializing and affectionate grooming interactions. Due to the pleasant emotional reaction elicited when oxytocin is generated, it encourages positive social behavior.

Even more remarkable, it has been found out that social grooming also results in the production of beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins alleviate stress, decrease blood pressure, and may even actually boost your cat’s immune system, thus increasing its lifetime. Such a simple activity as cats grooming one other could have several varied viewpoints, much alone the numerous benefits to your cat’s physical and psychological well-being.

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