Thoughts for Thursday – The Intricate Way of the Cat Bath

Who doesn’t enjoy watching a cat take a lick-bath? It’s almost mesmerizing—hypnotic and a little intriguing to see some of the positions she gets into and how intent she is in the cleaning process. It’s sometimes like a hypnotic adventure for the cat as she focuses so meticulously to the task at hand.

But cats don’t give themselves lick-baths just to entertain us. There are actually a couple of reasons why they do this and one of them is purely a reflection of their heritage. Cats seem to like to be clean, but their after-dinner bath ritual has a deeper significance than that. Their wild ancestors learned the extreme importance of cleaning themselves after a eating so predators/intruders couldn’t detect them by the scent of their meal.

Did you know that cats also lick their fur to cool themselves in the heat and to help distribute natural oils into their fur to keep it healthy. This is also a way to help rid their fur of parasites and dirt or to tend to a wound.

If you know cats, this won’t surprise you, because cats are such Zen animals. Licking is another method of calming themselves.

You’ll like this concept: experts say that when a cat licks another cat or she licks you, it is most likely their way of expressing their love. (The article said they are showing they like you—I’m the one who elevated the like to love.)

However, and there’s usually a however when you’re dealing with animals—in particular a cat—there is such a thing as excessive licking. Our 17-year-old tortie, Sophie, has a tendency to excessively lick certain areas along her side until the fur is almost gone. Why? The veterinarian says this is stress-related. The first time she did this was after we’d evacuated during the Thomas fire here in our area. I took the cats to my mother’s for a couple of days and, while Sophie seemed to take this in her stride, we found out later it was a very stressful experience for her.

If you’re stressed, go find one of your cats and watch her give herself a lick-bath. Ahhhh, relaxing.


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