Did you know that adult cats spend 30 to 50 percent of their waking hours performing some type of grooming behavior?
Grooming starts from the minute a cat is born. The mother licks the kitten to start the kitten’s respiration and to stimulate the nursing instinct. She helps direct the blind kittens toward her breasts. The mother grooms to form a bond with the kittens and to aid in the digestion and elimination process.
Grooming helps the cat maintain healthy skin, by stimulating the gland located in the skin at the base of each hair. These glands produce sebum. Sebum lubricates and waterproofs the fur. It also provides cholesterol that converts to Vitamin D and helps your cat have healthy bones and teeth. By regular grooming your cat removes loose, dead hair from its coat and reduces the chances of parasite infestation. Grooming aids in the control of body temperature. For cold weather, the cat will use its saliva to smooth the hair coat to make the fur a more efficient insulator. In warm weather, the cat can fluff the coat which allows air to pass between the hairs. Also, cats have glands on the paw pads that produce sweat when your cat is hot.
Grooming is a form of social interaction. Cats usually groom one another’s more difficult places, such as the head and neck. These grooming sessions are a form of communication and expression of love and companionship. Your cat includes you when it licks you and accepts your petting.
Grooming meets the emotional needs of your cat. It feels good and your cat will groom to calm itself. It is also believed that fear or embarrassment causes the body temperature to rise and the cat must groom to control the change in temperature.
Cats can groom too much! If your cat grooms itself more than you think it should, you should consider that one of the primary causes of excessive grooming is stress. You will want to look at what could be causing your cat to be stressed and eliminate the cause. This may not be an easy task. A change in diet may also be needed. If your cat grooms too much it may experience problems such as hairballs or even a blocked digestive system. This can be detected by loss of appetite, straining to pass a bowel movement and depression. If your cat experiences any of these symptoms please consult your veterinarian.
There are many benefits received from grooming your cat. It gives you the opportunity to examine your cat for lumps, parasites, skin problems and ear or eye problems. It keeps your cat’s coat in good condition and most importantly strengthens the bond between you and your cat.
To help you and your cat:
Guardian Pet Sitters now offers cat brushing and nail trims!