Fascinating Feline Facts: Cat Saliva

Cats spend countless hours grooming their fur, and some experts estimate that cats will spend up to 30% of their time grooming. A cat’s tongue is covered with backward-facing barbs called papillae that function as a built-in comb to keep the fur sleek and free of debris. A healthy, indoor cat does not usually require bathing, unless the cat has gotten into a substance that he or she cannot remove through regular grooming. Have you ever wondered how the cat stays so clean with just a “spit bath”?

Surprisingly, cat saliva actually contains a natural detergent-like substance that helps keep the fur clean. Try sniffing your cat’s fur when it is still damp from grooming, and you should notice a faint, pleasant and slightly soapy scent. Keep in mind that, like human saliva, cat saliva also contains lots of bacteria, too.

About author

Erin Gleeson

Erin Gleeson is the Outreach Specialist at 1-800-PetMeds® and works with the 1-800-PetMeds Cares donations program. She has loved animals as long as she can remember and has worked in several veterinary offices in the past as a veterinary technician. She has one cat, Kitsy, and frequently fosters kittens for a local rescue group. You can also find Erin on Google+.

There are 4 comments

  • Dina Richter says:

    Did you know that a cats saliva can kill a bird?

  • blake says:

    does this have anything to do with why cats saliva is so clean?

  • Katrina says:

    Cat saliva deposited on their coat is what makes up the dander that people are allergic to. Also, all that self grooming, swallowing hair and debris, results in hair balls barfed up on your carpet. All cats can benefit from a proper groom from a professional. Owners also benefit, ie fewer allergy symptoms, less hair shed on everything, fewer barfed up hairballs to clean up.

  • TJMc says:

    Animal dander is shedding dead skin cells. That’s what irritates people’s asthma and allergies. Like when yo skin gets ashey. Same thing. We all shed.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *