Cats are known for their grooming and cleanliness habits, which include licking themselves and other cats. But why do cats lick each other?
It turns out that there are a few different reasons why cats might decide to lick one another.
In this article, we will explore the various motivations behind this behavior and discuss its implications of it in the context of cat relationships.
Why do cats lick each other?
There are a few potential reasons why cats lick each other. The most common reasons are:
Mutual grooming is an important part of feline socialization. Cats may lick each other to remove debris, dead skin cells, and parasites from their fur.
This activity also serves as a form of bonding between cats, which aids in building trust and companionship.
It has been suggested that mutual grooming can help cats establish their hierarchy within the group, with dominant cats licking their subordinates more often.
Cats may also lick each other as a sign of affection and friendship.
This behavior is commonly seen between littermates or close friends in multi-cat households. The act of licking helps cats to express their feelings and foster strong bonds between them.
Just like when cats lick people, it is seen as a sign of trust and love.
Bonding through taste
Cats may also lick each other to learn more about their scent and taste.
This is thought to be a way for cats to recognize one another and learn more about their environment.
This bonding experience is especially important for kittens, who are still learning the world around them.
Cats may also lick each other to mark their territory and make sure that other cats know who is in charge.
This behavior is more common among male cats, as they have a stronger territorial instinct than females.
The act of licking helps to spread the cat’s scent around, which serves as a signal of ownership.
Do cats lick to show dominance?
In some cases, cats may lick each other as a way to assert dominance.
This is usually seen in situations where two cats are competing for resources or territory.
The dominant cat will often display aggressive behaviors, such as hissing and growling, while the subordinate will show submission by licking the dominant cat’s fur.
This behavior is also seen in cats with a hierarchy, where the dominant cat will lick its subordinate’s fur to reinforce its position.
Why do cats lick each other and then fight?
It is not uncommon for cats to lick each other and then immediately start fighting. There are several possible explanations for this behavior.
Fighting over a resource or territory
In some cases, cats may lick each other as a way to test the boundaries of their relationship.
This can be seen in multi-cat households or when two unfamiliar cats are introduced to each other.
When one cat licks the other, it is testing out their reaction and seeing whether they will submit peacefully or if they must fight for dominance.
If the cats start to fight, it is usually over a resource or territory.
Fighting out of fear
In other cases, cats may lick each other and then start fighting out of fear.
This is usually seen when two cats are unfamiliar with each other and one cat is intimidated by the presence of the other.
The scared cat will often try to assert dominance by licking in an attempt to make itself seem bigger than it actually is.
Unfortunately, this behavior can often lead to a fight, as the other cat may interpret it as a sign of aggression.
One cat may be trying to dominate the other
It is possible that one cat may be trying to dominate the other by licking them.
This type of behavior can usually be seen in multi-cat households where a hierarchy exists.
The dominant cat will often groom its subordinate as a way to reinforce their position and remind the other cat who is in charge.
Unfortunately, this behavior can also lead to a fight if the subordinate cat doesn’t back down.
One of the cats may have felt threatened
It is also possible that one of the cats may have felt threatened by the other and started to fight out of fear.
This often occurs when two unfamiliar cats are introduced to each other for the first time.
The scared cat may try to assert dominance over its new companion by licking them, which can be perceived as a sign of aggression.
If the other cat doesn’t back down, it can lead to a fight.
Cats often lick each other for a number of different reasons.
It can be a sign of trust and love, as well as a way to learn more about their environment and mark their territory.
In some cases, it may also be used as a way to assert dominance or when one cat feels threatened by the presence of another.
Understanding why cats lick each other is important for providing the best care possible and ensuring that all cats in a household are happy and healthy.