SELF-GROOMING BEHAVIOUR IN CATS
Creature Companions|February 2021
Feline Matter
Dr. Irfan Ahmed

WHY AND HOW DOES A CAT GROOM – EXPLAINED WITH ITS BEHAVIOUR

A cat sleeps for 14 hours and the next best activity it involves itself in is self-grooming; the grooming patterns reflect various behaviours of a cat. A change in cat grooming pattern reflects the overall health of the cat, it shows any illness, depression, and most of all a clear indication of parasites or secondary medical conditions.

During initial days of their life, kittens are dependent on the queen for grooming; she licks to condition their coat, and to stimulate urination and defecation. This is continued till the young are able to move from their nest to eliminate. There are certain motor skills and reflex that develop with time and kittens begin to groom; initially, it is not in order, but in days ahead, they get on to copy their mother.

As kittens grow, they take on grooming more actively – 50 per cent of their awake time or 15 per cent of a 24-hour period is spent grooming. However, this may vary among breeds, coats, and geographical distribution of cats.

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