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How often do cats wash themselves and why?

Cats wash themselves often, very often. And that is very common. Cats sleep 16 hours a day, eat something now and then and go for a walk. The rest of the time they wash themselves, the other cats in the house or their owners. Do you recognize this? Then you have a super healthy cat, because a cat that washes itself is social and, above all, very clean. Always wondered why cats do this? Read this blog.

How often should your cat wash itself?

We humans shower for about ten minutes a day. A cat spends much more time on hygiene, about an hour and a half per day. So if you are looking for your cat, chances are your cat is washing itself somewhere. Tip: Your cat doesn’t appreciate when you disturb him/her during cleaning, so leave them alone for a while.

Little washes, big washes

Of course, your cat doesn’t wash for an hour and a half continuously – cats wash themselves a bit during the day. Sometimes it is a large and extensive wash, but usually it is small maintenance. If they have eaten, for example. But also if they have been to the litter box, if their fur has gotten wet or after you stroke them.

A little bit of blemish is quite normal for cats.

Why cats wash themselves?

This has two reasons. First of all, cats just like good hygiene. And they also love their own scent – it makes them feel good and safe. For example, if your cat has been to the vet, it will wash immediately upon returning home. If you cuddle your cat while wearing perfume, the same thing happens. Your cat wants to smell like itself, because your cat likes familiar smells.

To make friends

Washing also has a social function. When they wash each other, it is a sign of affection – they share each other’s scent and that makes for a good mutual understanding. But when your cat washes you, it’s a big compliment! If your cat licks your hands or your hair, it’s out of pure love. And a cat that bathes extensively on your lap or near you will feel safe and secure with you. Super sweet right ?!

Out of shame or discomfort

You’ve probably seen it before: your cat wants to jump from your cat tree on something and misses. Or your cat wants to catch a toy and it doesn’t work. Your cat will feel uncomfortable for a moment and will wash. That is also very normal. There is even a name for it: “jump behavior”. You can also see this, for example, if your cat has been naughty and you speak to him strictly. Your cat then looks for a distraction or has to think for a while and so goes to wash for a while.

Do you feel that your cat is bathing too often? And do you even see bald spots in the coat? Then there may be something wrong with your cat and you should contact your vet.


Petrebels does not consist of veterinarians or behavioral experts: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inspire and inform you. Does your cat have complaints or problems and do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Then always go to the vet or a behavioral expert.

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