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.

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There are 7 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.

  • […] him cleaning the wound repeatedly. Doing this prevents your cat from suffering from an infection. Cat saliva is loaded with healing agents that promote healing of wounds. Additionally, the added blood movement helps the injury heal […]

  • joketa!@gmail.com says:

    Every cat I have ever {owned?} cared for has had problems with fleas, ear mites, or other parasites except Meanie, my present guest.

    When he was young, he brought thousands of “presents” such as mice, voles, moles, rats, snakes, etc. through his cat door, almost always still alive. One would think, with all these contacts, that he would at least have one bout of parasites of one kind or another, but he never has. I, on the other hand have brought home fleas or other pests from golfing.

    Couldn’t it be his saliva that protects him?

  • Robert Hudson says:

    I have noticed that when my cat in lap makes Happy Drool it leaves a spot on cloth just like any liquid drop would. However, if you think to look later you (I) will find no spot. My question is what is the chemical composition of the drool. Is it really just a clear magic elicker like my cat opines?

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