Orchard Vet's Blog

Do not disturb…I’m busy grooming!


Cat grooming

Cats are very particular when it comes to keeping clean and tidy, and have a great built-in grooming tool kit; a rough tongue, claws, paws and sharp fine teeth! Along with being extremely flexible, your feline friend manages to look pristine most of the time!


When your cat has licked your hand, have you noticed it feels quite rough? On the surface are numerous spines that are called papillae that ‘comb’ through saliva to clean their coats. As cats cannot sweat, the saliva also evaporates helping to lower body temperature. Your cat will start by dampening a forepaw and then rub the paw around the face, head and ears frequently re-dampening the paw. Dirt, loose hair and parasites are removed by cleaning. As your cat twists and turns to groom the rest of their body, the licking stimulates the sebum from the sebaceous glands, which is then spread over the coat to help maintain healthy skin.

Grooming Problems

Excessive grooming can be a sign that something is up! Some cats can even create large bald areas, so please book your cat for a check-up ASAP. Gagging and retching could mean hairballs, which may need a little help to remove. Cats with poor coat condition may be unable to groom due to old age, arthritis or illness and require special attention.

An Important Part of Life

For your cat, grooming is not just about keeping clean. It is also a behavioural action that performs as a self-calming method for when they feel anxious, embarrassed e.g. falling off a ledge or even after a fight! It’s best to not disturb your cat during their grooming ritual, as they will definitely prefer privacy!

If you are concerned about your cat, please contact our friendly team.