HomeHuman to cat relationshippetting4 reasons why your cat licks herself where you have petted her

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4 reasons why your cat licks herself where you have petted her — 3 Comments

  1. I think all of the reasons are likely to be true. Cats are complex, their behaviours are not single isolated, measurable events. Environment (we are included in that) plays a huge part in the behaviours of all species.

    Mungo often sits on top of a tall scratchpole behind my partner’s armchair. Mungo fixes partner’s head still with a gentle claw, then gives partner’s head (not much hair) a seriously thorough rasping. Ten minutes isn’t unusual. Mungo doesn’t groom himself during or after, nor does he elicit stroking from my partner. It seems to be a purposeful act that Mungo enjoys. If partner tries to pet Mungo, Mungo will push the hand away. Maybe Mungo is carrying out a parenting role, does he think partner’s head is filthy or does he just enjoy the taste? A one sided allogrooming activity?

  2. I like the forth reason too, but I would add a possibility. While you’re not necessarily dirtying them, it might feel like it, so they clean that spot just in case. Also to keep all the hairs going in the same direction… sort of like when someone pats you on your head, you have the tendency to run your hand over it afterward, just in case your hair is out of place. We all like to look good and I think that goes especially for cats. I think though that it’s the cleanliness thing, or the desire to keep all the hair smelling the same way (like their spit, not your hand). Maybe?

    • To reiterate, I like the fourth reason, because it may come from mom teaching them things, they copy everything mom does, so the allogrooming.

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