What’s the deal with cats licking?

Generally you’ll have either a cat that licks everything or one that doesn’t lick at all. So if your cat falls into the first category this might be the article for you! There is a fine line between determining whether the extent your cat licks is normal behaviour or if it is bordering on excessive. Keep reading to find out!

I remember as a kid I really liked the raspy feeling of my cat licking me,Unbeknown to me at the time, my cat was one that favoured licking, I have since had cats that don’t, their tongues are really rough and it used to tickle so I really enjoyed that, and I always was amazed at how cats groom themselves, from domestic cats in the household to the big wild cats, the behaviours are similar when it comes to grooming.

Grooming is an important part of a cat’s life but it’s not only grooming, that leads to licking, there are a number of other reasons why our feline friends chose to lick

Understanding why cats lick is the most important first step, and there are a multitude of reasons! Most cats are very fastidious and it is believed that the average cat will spend at least 15% of their time grooming themselves.  When it comes to licking themselves there are a variety of reasons, besides cleaning/bathing themselves, some cats lick themselves as a way to relive anxiety as grooming can give them comfort by lowering their arousal levels. This behaviour however is one to watch as it can quickly become a compulsive coping measure that can lead to a series of other problems.

Another reason cats lick themselves is for heat regulation, as licking the coat can help your cat maintain its body temperature. It works both ways though, as during the winter time they may lick their coat to smooth it down thus trapping the air and essentially creating insulation for their body heat. In summer it’s pretty self-explanatory, they lick their fur and it keeps them cool!

When it comes to licking things other than themselves, there is a list of different reasons too. When a mother cat has kittens she will partake in a particular type of grooming called ‘allogroom’ which essentially means they lick and groom cats that are close to them. This can sometimes be passed onto humans that they care about. If you’ve ever felt your cats sandpaper like tongue lick you then it’s a sure fire sign she cares about you!


Cats and Hairballs

Everything you need to know about hairballs

Cats and hairballs, whenever I see a cat coughing up a hairball, it reminds me of the animated Puss in Boots movie, where our hero seems to have quite a problem with hairballs, and often has to stop the action in order to deal with his hairball problem.

Is your cat coughing up hair balls? The occasional hairball is no cause for alarm, but if it’s a regular occurrence for your cat there could be more to it.  Keep reading for more information on hairballs

Ever wondered why your cat coughs up hairballs? Well it all starts with your cats grooming routine; cats being quite interested in how they appear to the rest of creation, one may even say rather vain,  are always making sure their coat is in tip top shape. As cats groom themselves they pull out the dead hairs and most of it passes through the digestive tract with no problems, however sometimes some of the hair will stay in the stomach and form a hairball.

This is not a pleasant occurrence for your cat, as they vomit it up, and it can be quite a painful experience; thus it is important to seek medical attention if this is a regular occurrence in your home.  If you notice any of the following hairball symptoms be sure to contact your vet as these could be an indication of a potentially life threatening blockage:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Ongoing vomiting, retching or gagging without producing a hairball
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

There are some helpful preventative tips that you can put in place to try avoid these situations as best as possible including:

  1. Feeding your cat food with added fibre

Feeding your cat a diet rich in fibre will help bind the hair and stimulate the intestine to aid in hairball reduction.

  1. Groom your cat regularly

Grooming your cat on a regular basis will help to remove the excess fur which will equal less fur ending up in their stomach when they do their own grooming. A simple comb or brush each day should suffice and can also provide a fun way to spend some time with your cat!

  1. Use a special hairball product or laxative

 A vet can recommend a suitable laxative or hairball product which can help the hairball to pass through the digestive track.

  1. Small servings of coconut oil, has also been reported to assist with digestive tract issues, including those related to hairballs