We all know cats like to lick themselves and also each other. It’s not only a cute sight to watch, but also a necessary grooming regime for our feline friends. They sometimes seem borderline obsessive with it while nestled together. According to science, cats don’t do all this only to get ‘purr-fectly’ clean, but there are other reasons behind this strange cat conundrum.
The Primary Reasons
The licking behavior all cats engage in is called allogrooming. Interestingly, this isn’t only limited to cats but occurs in all animals. Licking each other is a sign of bonding, trust, and affection to them. From the perspective of grooming, licking is highly functional as cats and other animals help each clean hard-to-reach spots like heads with their tongue. It’s also related to their survival instinct. By licking each other, cats create a shared scent that is unique to the group. Cats usually use scent as the primary element to identify friends from foes, this group scent is highly important to them to recognize each other even before sight.
The Liking and Bonding
Licking for cats is like a good nuzzle every now and then. So, it’s quite natural to hear a gentle purr coming from the cats while the grooming session is on. It’s a way for them to express affection, which helps in strengthening their social bond. For the cats living in the same household, licking can sometimes become a way to demonstrate one’s power and dominance over other cats. A maternal instinct is involved in these cute kitty kisses. This licking behavior starts in the lives of cats from their kitten phase. Mommy cats hold their kittens down for a minute or two to give them a few quick licks before they run off again. So, in a way, for cats, this is a reminder of kittenhood and helps them to calm down.