Why do cats, unlike dogs, wash so regularly?

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December 29, 2018, 08:54 | Animals

Each animal strives to keep its fur clean, because its survival depends on it.

Why cats, unlike dogs, do they wash themselves regularly?

All animal lovers note the cleanliness of cats. These animals completely wash themselves with their tongue several times a day. The cat washes itself after eating, after sleeping, it does this with amazing regularity. Even kittens are neat. First, they are licked by the mother cat, then they quickly learn to wash themselves. Dogs also sometimes clean themselves with their tongues, remove dirt from wool with their teeth, but they do not do this as often, they do not treat the issue of personal hygiene with the same thoroughness as cats do, informs UkrMedia.

Why in do these animals have such a different approach to hygiene issues? There is a logical answer to this question.

Hygiene and hunting of cats and dogs

In order to understand the details of this issue, it is necessary to pay attention to the way of life of both creatures. Cats and dogs are predators, but their hunting strategies are different. Dogs belong to canines, they are relatives of wolves. Like wolves, they prefer to stay in packs, and they also hunt in packs, driving their prey. They do not need to hide, hide their scent, because they do not lie in ambush, chasing prey openly.

Cats hunt alone. The exception in this regard are only lions that live and hunt in prides. A cat is a lone hunter who lies in wait for his prey in an ambush, and is therefore forced to act covertly. She needs to hide her own smell so that the prey does not feel her presence until the last moment.

Interesting fact: lions are an exception in the cat family, they differ from other big and small cats in a number of ways. They do not know how to retract their claws, live in families, actively pursue prey. They also wash themselves not as often and not as thoroughly as domestic cats.

Communication and communication through smell

A cat does not need to maintain close contact with other members of its species. And when necessary, they successfully cope with all communication tasks using voice and gestures, because they do not need to transfer a lot of information to each other. As for dogs, everything is more complicated here. Life in a pack requires close communication with peers, the transfer of a lot of information about oneself, the ability to obtain the maximum amount of information about the mood and condition of the surrounding individuals. This need becomes most significant during hunting, when it is necessary to coordinate the actions of an entire group. Smells in dogs play an important role in communication, they complement the information that was obtained in other ways – through vision, hearing.

By smell, dogs distinguish the emotions of the surrounding members of the pack – fear, aggression. Each dog has its own individual “perfume”, the pack knows the location of each individual by smell. They do not need to bark, look for each other, which simplifies the joint actions of the pack when hunting. A dog needs a smell, so it does not get rid of it by constantly licking its fur. She only cleans herself as needed. They simply do not have the built-in instinctive action associated with constant cleanliness.

However, dogs are excellent at masking smells to confuse potential prey. Not only hunting dogs, but also domestic dogs willingly wallow in dirt, grass or earth in order to hide their smell and acquire the aroma that prevails in the surroundings. Many other animals do the same, and not only predators. Many rodents also roll on the ground in order to mask their own smell. This is also an instinctive action, instilled from birth.

Animal cleanliness and health

Every animal has an innate ability to keep its body clean. Many birds take dust baths, getting rid of insects, in winter, most warm-blooded creatures lie in the snow to clean their fur or feathers. Every animal strives to keep its fur clean, as its survival depends on it. Dirty wool not only unmasks the smell, but also poorly protects against cold or heat. If the animal stops performing instinctively established actions to maintain itself in order, this is evidence of a serious disorder. Most likely, this creature is sick. Conversely, well-groomed, shiny wool symbolizes the well-being and health of the animal. This applies to cats, dogs, and all other living creatures.

Thus, the cat constantly licks itself in order to mask its smell, which serves as a serious obstacle when hunting from an ambush. Dogs do not hunt from an ambush, they do not need to hide their scent so seriously. And dogs need a personal smell, it provides additional opportunities for communication within the pack, while cats interact with their own kind not so closely, they do not need a smell for this. Self-care is an instinctive action, the animal does not need to learn to do it. Every kitten knows that it needs to be washed. The puppy is more inclined to lie in the grass or snow, masking its smell.

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