If you are the proud owner of several cats, you have probably already observed this amazing phenomenon: your two favorite felines licking each other and conscientiously. However, you thought that the cat was rather a solitary and autonomous animal that did not need anyone to wash it. So what does this behavior mean? Is it a sign of affection?
1. Strengthen social ties
For cats, grooming each other is a way to express their group cohesion, to strengthen their bonds. Indeed, cats do not wash just any feline! They must know each other well, and even live together. This act of grooming another cat is therefore reserved for close friends, or even family.
In addition, it can happen that a cat (most often a cat) sees its maternal instinct reappear in the face of a younger cat. It will then naturally begin to groom them as it would with their own little one.
2. Get help
Cats find it difficult to reach certain areas of their body when grooming. This is particularly the case of the neck, the head or the nape of the neck. Thus, grooming a congener is a good way to help them stay clean everywhere.
We can also notice that, generally, cats that are groomed are particularly cooperative by tilting or turning their heads as they are licked. Some even go so far as to purr during their grooming session. Thus, this shows that being groomed is a particularly relaxing sensation, much like a massage. It may also explain why cats love to be stroked around the head and neck, the sensation reminding them of being groomed by a fellow cat.
3. Avoid the fight
Studies have shown that it is often the dominant cats who lick the dominated cats, and not the other way around. The reason? Our feline friends prefer to use the toilet to ease tension rather than provoke a fight. In other words, the licking cat shows its dominance to the licked cat in order to make it understand that it is useless to go as far as confrontation.
This allows the dominant cat not only to redirect aggression but also to avoid being attacked while maintaining its hierarchical position. It is also a good way to maintain cohesion in the group.