Why Do Cats Clean Themselves After Eating

If you pay attention to a cat for more than one minute, you’re going to find yourself intrigued rather fast. If you do that after they’ve eaten, chances are that you’re going to come up with a lot of questions on that topic. The things that they do are fascinating and new to new cat owners or anyone that isn’t used to be around cats.

That got me thinking about why do cats clean themselves after eating? There are two reasons why cats clean themselves after eating. The first one is that they need to get rid of the food smell to not attract predators. The second reason is that cats are quite the hygienic bunch and hate to find themselves dirty. That’s why they need to constantly clean themselves up.

It may seem weird since cats don’t like water, but it’s not because they don’t like feeling clean. Also, when cats lick themselves, they’re able to get thoroughly clean even though our intuition says otherwise.

Another thing that you might notice is that when cats eat those wet types of food, they’re more likely to spend their afternoon cleaning themselves. Those foods are usually high in the fat percentage and have other chemicals that spread more easily throughout their hair.

So, if you want to know all the reasons that your cats clean themselves after eating, and what to do to make their lives easier when it comes to that, just read this article ‘til the end.

Getting Rid Of The Food Scent

As we’ve mentioned, the main reason that cats clean themselves is that they get particles of the food all over their fur. This means that once they’re done eating, all they can smell is the food on their hair. It is annoying for them and evolutionary unsafe.

Still, focusing on the particles. There’s a whole microscopic world happening around us. As much as our senses aren’t trained for that, cats are. This means that they can smell all the particles of the food over them. Imagine getting tomato sauce spilled all over you. You’d know that you’re not clean even if other people couldn’t see it.

So, you shouldn’t do anything about this. It’s normal behavior, and you don’t need to prevent your cat from doing it. What you can do is to change their food for a drier type. The Farmina Natural Dry Food is great, and you’ll notice that your cat won’t clean themselves as much. Check it out here.

It Helps Avoid Detection From A Predator

Now, here’s the main reason why your cat is so annoyed at the food scent. Your cat is trying to avoid predators. As you may already know, cats are wilder than dogs. They haven’t been truly domesticated. This means that a lot of their behaviors from those times persist.

Your cat knows that the predators can also smell the food like he/she can. The best to do in this situation is to get cleaned and rid of the scent. This way the predator – that doesn’t exist since your cat is in your house – can smell anything and find your cat.

So, this is a natural behavior and there’s nothing to worry about. You could pay attention to make sure that the behavior isn’t obsessive, but that’s hard to determine when it comes to cats and licking since they do it way more often than you’d find normal.

It May Happen More With Wet Food Than Dry Food

If you pay attention to every aspect of your cat’s life, you may notice that the licking happens more often and lasts longer when you give your cat dry food. This happens because this type of cat food is more likely to leave particles all over the cat’s hair.

Now, there are brands and specific types that reduce this. All you can do here is to either give the dry food or change for the brands that are wet but have a reduced effect when it comes to all the cleaning. These wet food brands will cause your cat to clean themselves less often.

So, if the cleaning is bothering you, or you’re worried about it, you might want to change to another wet food option. See if the behavior reduces and your cat isn’t constantly licking. The Purina Friskies Wet Cat Food is one of these brands. Your cat will likely reduce the cleaning and have more time for other things. Get yours here.

They Lick Their Paws To Reach Places Their Tongues Can’t

This is the coolest fact in this article. You might not know this, but maybe your cat is doing the smartest thing of all. It’s so smart that maybe not even you have thought about it. Your cat might be using its paw as a bath sponge. It can reach all the places that their tongues normally don’t.

Now, the best way to be sure is to pay attention if they’re licking their paws and passing it over certain areas of their bodies. Like their ears, back, and any other place they can’t reach. If that’s the case, it means that your cat is taking a bath after eating even though you were taught not to do this yourself when you were little.

So, if your cat is just relaxing and licking their paws, don’t worry. As you can see, it’s just one more way that they can show you how smart they’re. As flexible as cats are, there are places in their bodies that they cannot reach only with their tongues. So, they need the assistance of their paws.

Pay Attention If They’re Feeling Unwell

We can talk for hours about what it’s normal or isn’t when talking about cats in general. There are going to be behaviors that you should worry about and some that you shouldn’t. Now, the main thing is to notice how your cat feels about it.

This means that if your cat is unwell or showing signs of stress, the behavior may be the problem. For instance, if your cat is cleaning themselves after eating, you shouldn’t worry unless it’s a clear stress trigger for them. That’s when you should investigate it further.

Now, when you do pay attention to your cat’s behavior and notices that it’s not normal, it’s time to go see a vet. Still, in case you don’t see anything abnormal, maybe it’s something that you can deal with at home. That’s why it’s always important to have a medicine cabinet for your cat as well.

So, make sure to have certain things to alleviate pain and relax your furry friend. Maybe they’re compulsively licking their paws because they’re hurt. In this case, take a look at the Comfort Zone MultiCat Calming Diffuser. It’s a great pheromone diffuser for pets. Having these hormones diffused in the air calm them down. Click to view pricing on Amazon here.

Cats Spend 15-50% Of Their Waking Time Grooming

A lot of new cat owners get alarmed when they notice that their cats sleep a lot and also clean themselves too often. Now, the reason you’re noticing this it’ because it’s true. Cats spend anywhere from 15% to 50% of their awakening time grooming. In other words, they spend up to half of their awaken time licking themselves. That’s why you see that many hairballs.

The first thing that you should do is to not worry. Then, you can take certain measures to help your cat not need to groom as much. It’s important to point out that they’re still going to groom because it’s instinctive, but if you help them stay cleaned and well-groomed, they won’t do it as often.

So, get a grooming kit for your cat and get your hands dirty. You could take a look at the Friends Forever Pet Grooming Kit, for example. It’s a great kit for beginners to intermediate level. It gives everything you’ll need. Take a peek here.

It’s A Stress Reliever

Another reason that your cat spends hours, calmly cleaning themselves after eating is that it helps them relax. Cleaning themselves is a stress reliever for them. They spend hours making sure that they’re clean and free of predators, but it’s also to soothe themselves.

What you can do to help is maintain a clean environment since that makes them stressful, and make sure that you play with your cat. The whole thing is that you should create a relaxing environment for them.

So, have a house with clean water, fresh food, lots of toys, and a lot of love. That will create the perfect, relaxing environment for them. A great idea is to get a diffuser that was made for pets. It’ll create a sanctuary for them. Grab yours here.

Final Thoughts

So, those are the reasons cats clean themselves after eating. They want to get cleaned to get away from predators but also because they love to feel clean. Being dirty or in a dirty environment makes your cat stressed. Also, they relax when they’re grooming. So, just let your cat be and make sure to pay attention if anything is out of normal.


As a kid, J. Cesar has always dreamed of becoming Dr. Dolittle. When he isn't writing, you can find him supporting his favorite football team or eating ice cream with his best dog-friend by his side. Linkedin Profile, My Website

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