Does it seem like your favorite feline spends most of his time grooming himself? You are probably not far off! Cats usually spend anywhere from 15 to 50 percent of their time focused on grooming. This is a normal behavior for cats.
Through grooming multiple functions are filled in the life of your cat. First, the saliva in your cat’s mouth and his rough tongue are used to remove debris from the fur. Your cat’s saliva also helps with thermoregulation in order to keep him cooler! Some cats also use grooming as a self-soothing behavior and you as a pet owner can take comfort in seeing your pet do this activity as it can be a sign that he feels comfortable in his environment. However, in some cases, grooming can be a displacement behavior that your cat may be doing to cope with or avoid stressors.
Does your cat seem to groom one area of his body more frequently than the rest? This is not uncommon with felines. Most cats tend to focus on grooming their front paws, face, neck, shoulders and chest. The paws and face are regularly groomed to remove food that may interfere with your feline’s ability to feel with his whiskers or move. Your cat may also find certain substances to be irritating to his paws so he will work diligently to keep them cleaned. Cats tend to less frequently groom areas like his belly, back, rear legs, tail and perianal regions.
When You Are Concerned
Although frequent grooming is usually a regular habit found with most cats, excessive grooming can be a sign of a medical problem like gland impaction, fleas, infections, allergies or pain. If you are concerned about the frequency of your feline’s grooming habits, a visit to the vet might be in order. This can help you to rule out any problems and hopefully just give you peace of mind that everything is okay. However, if something is wrong, take comfort knowing that you found help and can get your cat on his way to feeling better.