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Why Does My Cat Lick My Kittens Bum?

If your cat is licking its own bum you may be confused and wondering if this behavior is normal…

Why Does My Cat Lick My Kittens Bum?

Your cat is accomplishing two things by licking its kittens bum. First off, it is ensuring that your kitten is kept clean and secondly, this helps to stimulate it’s regular elimination of waste. While they grow it takes a while for kittens to get potty trained and thier mother’s licking helps to get them into this habit.

So, now you know. But, why do kittens lick each other? Why do they lick humans? Is it normal for a cats to lick each others privates? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Why do kittens lick each other?

Cat licking itself.

Cat licking itself.

Typically, this is a sign of affection but it is also natural grooming behavior. Cats, especially siblings, will spend a lot of time grooming each other in between sessions of play and napping closely together.

Kittens also use licking for other reasons, such as to reduce anxiety, and even as a form of ‘affectionate dominance’. Basically, when it’s not grooming, licking is essentially ‘hugging for cats’.

What is the best diet for a cat who tends to lick bums?

During this time, it is recommended that your cat’s diet be easily digestible foods, which are also reduced in fat. This will make potty breaks easier.

Also, while your cat is helping the kittens in this way, there is a possibility that the ingestion of excrement from the kitten may induce diarrhea so be sure that your cat is getting plenty of fluids.

Why do cats lick humans?

Cat licking a person's finger.

Cat licking a person’s finger.

Cats lick humans for a number of reasons. It can be a show of affection, simple grooming, or even a way to show that you ‘belong’ to the cat.

If you are in a new place or if you’ve gotten a new pet, a cat might lick you as a way to reduce their own feelings of stress or anxiety. Finally, cats sometimes just lick you to get attention or because you’ve got something on your skin which has piqued their interest.

Salt in the sweat following a workout is one example of a scent and taste which some cats find interesting but it can be just about anything that you’ve come into contact recently which has gotten their attention.

Why is my cat licking my other cat’s bum?

As strange as it sounds, you are essentially observing a ‘cat handshake’. Cats sniff and lick each other’s bums as a sort of greeting.

Why they do this, we couldn’t say for sure, but cats do have olfactory senses about 14 times more sensitive than humans so investigation of these private areas probably tell the cats quite a lot about each other.

You see this behavior in dogs as well, who have olfactory senses about 10,000 times that of a human, so quite likely it boils down to a ‘hello’ and a quick physical profile of the other animal being greeted in this fashion.

Is it normal for cats to lick each other’s privates?

It is completely normal behavior for  cats to lick each others privates. Cats help each other out when it comes to grooming and their privates are areas which are hard to reach.

They like to be clean, as you’ve probably noticed, and they like it enough that if another cat is present if the two get along then they will help each other to stay clean by means of mutual grooming… privates included.

Why is my cat licking my new kitten?

Your cat is licking the kitten for a multitude of reasons. Licking can show affection and it’s also a way to de-stress, like a hug session between the older cat and the kitten.

Licking is also the equivalent of a bath but probably the most important aspect of kitten-licking when your kitten is new is scent.

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Basically, the new kitty smells funny and your older cat is getting used to their scents while marking them with a scent profile that says ‘you are part of this family’.

Why does my cat keep sniffing my other cat’s bum?

This is cat communication by means of the olfactory senses. These territorial creatures give each other a sniff by way of greeting and the smells are essentially an ‘identity profile’.

Scents are the equivalent of identification papers, when it comes to cats, and they rely on this kind of confirmation much more than they do on their eyesight.

When a cat knows another cat’s scent, they can also tell what places and things the other cat has laid a territorial claim to. Have you noticed that sometimes your cat greets you with their tail raised straight up and their bum quite exposed?

 To them this is an extremely trusting gesture and a cat that is not comfortable with someone might even do the opposite, lowering their tail to cover their bum. This is rather like a person hiding their face.

Why does my male cat lick another male cat’s bum?

When a male cat licks another cat’s bum, it often simply means that the other cat’s bum is dirty. People often mistake this behavior for sexual interest, but this is not the case.

Cats are attracted to very specific pheromones when it comes to sex and a male cat which was excited in this manner would simply grab the other cat by the neck and attempt to have their way with them!

Licking the (click here if its licking your curtains or blinds) other cats bum also helps to share familial scents. Scent glands which are located beneath the tail help to identify cats to each other and the sharing of scents helps the communal cats to feel more at-home and relaxed.

Is it clean for my cat to lick his bum?

Yes, this is perfectly hygienic behavior for a cat. Cats excrete waste much more efficiently then humans and as such, there is very little residue left over in the process.

What is left over is typically not a problem, as the cat’s digestive system is equipped to deal with the small amount of fecal matter which is being efficiently cleaned by the cat’s sandpapery tongue.

Keep in mind how often your cat grooms themselves during the day. You’ll notice that it is quite regular and this is just another indicator of how strong a feline stomach really is.

They get the dirt from their fur, clean their bums, and cough up the loose hairs later in the form of a furball. It’s quite clean and efficient, if a bit strange from a human perspective.

Can I stop my cat who has diarrhea cleaning its own bum?

Diarrhea can be quite dangerous for cats as the dehydration which comes with it can rapidly worsen. Your cat is frantically trying to clean themselves but there is nothing you can do to stop them.

Rather, if you see that your cat has diarrhea you should get them to your vet immediately.

If a vet visit is not an option, you can try to get your cat to drink by either adding a little ‘tuna water’ from a tin to some regular water or by mixing in a little chicken broth in an attempt to get them to hydrate.

Some vets also advise that unflavored Pedialyte may also be administered in an emergency, provided that it is given only 3 times a day in the amount of 3 milliliters per pound of your cat’s weight.

Still, if at all possible, get your cat to the vet right away because dehydration can be fatal and it moves quickly.

Lindsey Browlingdon