Tuesday 3 January 2023

Do cats like the feel of tidy fur?

 This is a very esoteric, philosophical question but it came to my mind and I think it's quite important because it's tries to investigate how domestic cats feel. I want to know whether domestic cats like the feeling of their fur to be lined up and combed. The other side of the coin would ask whether domestic cats find it uncomfortable when their fur is not lined up as it is when it's been combed by their human caregiver. The issue is more relevant for longhaired cats because their fur is more likely to become matted if neglected. Do domestic cats hate the feeling of matted fur?

My cat loves to be combed because it feels nice and his fur feels in good nick, all lined up! Image: MikeB.

We know that domestic cats like to be combed and brushed or at least they normally do. So, they like the experience of being brushed. I suspect that this is because they like the feeling of the comb or brush on their skin in much the same way that people like their hair to be combed by somebody else. It has a calming experience.

But people also like to feel that their hair on their head is well-kept. They want it to feel right which means in alignment and tidy. A lot of people dislike the feeling of their hair being untidy and unkempt.

The philosophical question is: do cats feel the same way about their fur? We don't know is the answer! We should know and I would like to know. I'm going to guess. They like it. They like their fur to be in good order, all lined up and neat and tidy.

This is one reason why they are so fastidious about self-grooming. And you know what comes to mind when I think of domestic cats grooming themselves? It is seeing feral cats looking terribly untidy and dirty. You don't see it much but you do see the occasional feral cat looking a complete mess. It must be terribly disconcerting for them to feel like this.

It indicates to me that they have given up mentally and emotionally. They probably feel terrible because of illness and have totally lost motivation to maintain their own hygiene. The beginning of the end for an animal trying to survive in the urban jungle and surrounding environment.

Postscript: in the picture you can see me combing my cat with a flea comb. Another benefit of being combed and another reason why domestic cats like to be combed especially with a flea comb is because it removes any fleas which are an irritation to them. The domestic cat might equate combing with relief from irritation and itching. Another reason why they like it.

PPS: My cat hardly ever has fleas! I flea comb him because he likes it.

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