Why do cats lick each other?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have one cat who always sticks his head in the face of my other 5 cats. He says “Lick my head” NOW. They usually do. I have one cat who even cleans his ears, inside and out! Any meaning to this? (Of course, he is usually always on the receiving end of this treatment.)Thanks

Janet Fincannon

Answer

Hi Janet– thanks for your email. I’ve seen many cats groom each other. Some cats like to do this right before they are being fed. They most commonly do this in areas they can’t groom well themselves – especially the head and ears.

There are several theories on why cats do this. Some believe that it is a sign of affection. Others believe that it is a form of grooming and bonding.

I think it is a combination of both. I think it is a form of cat communication that shows both care and affection resulting in a grooming benefit.

An article that might be interesting to you is Normal Grooming Behavior.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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