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.