Cat tongues are covered in small spines called papillae. These contain keratin, a protein commonly found in hair and claws that helps keep your cat’s fur soft and smooth.
The papillae are very rough, a little bit like a rasp. So, when a cat washes, this rasp goes deep into the fur touching the skin. The dragging spines stimulate skin glands into releasing a series of body chemicals that help make the coat water-resistant.
Yes, washing their coats make cats more tolerant to the wet! In addition, cat saliva works as a natural antibacterial agent that helps prevent small cuts and scratches becoming infected.
A happy, healthy pet devotes plenty of time to washing. Most cats wash when they wake up, after they’ve had a meal, and after they’ve been out for a walk.
Generally speaking, cats can take care of themselves. However, if your pet has rubbed up against a car or has fallen into a drain, it’s a good thing to offer a helping hand. Cats can clean themselves but ingesting oil and muck can lead to upset tummies and other issues.
To assist, dip a cloth into warm water and rub the affected area clean. Engine oil and muck will need a touch of soap. Use a formula designed for pets, and be sure to rinse properly after.
Also, cats with long fur will need a helping hand with their daily grooming. Ask your vet for advice on how to brush, untangle knots and spot common problems.
Finally, know that cats who aren’t feeling well or who are unhappy don’t wash themselves properly. So, if your kitty isn’t washing right, take him or her to the vet for a check-up.