We cherish the cat's fastidious nature. But neatnik behavior goes beyond looking good. How and why cats groom impacts physical, emotional and social health. Kittens learn to lick themselves by 2 weeks of age using copycat behavior, and a slovenly mother will raise kitten slobs. Most times, though, kittens wash themselves by the time they are weaned, and adults spend up to 50 percent of their awake time in some form of grooming.
The specialized structure of the tongue makes it a perfect cat comb, while teeth nibble and gnaw at tangles, dirt, and burrs caught in the fur. Each cat's clean regimen varies, but a good wash often happens after meals, naps and potty breaks. First the mouth, chin and whiskers are licked, followed by shoulders, forelegs, flanks and hind legs. Finally the genitals and then the tail receive attention. Forepaws re-dampened every few swipes serve as furry washrags to scrub face, head and ears. Rear claws scratch to groom the neck and ears, and claws get nibbled clean while front claws also scratch objects to groom them healthy. You can learn WHY are cats such OCD groomers in the rest of my NEATNESS FREAKS article at Paw Nation.
Just as cats use their mouths, teeth and tongue like hands, dogs--and puppies--also interact with the world using their mouths and teeth. That's not always such a good thing, though. The AVMA, US Postal Service and CDC promote National Dog Bite Awareness the third week of May each year. Puppies may not know how to "pull their punches" and need to be taught from an early age how to inhibit their bite so they don't hurt during play.
But human-pups (yes, your kids!) also need lessons in dog safety. Most dog bites happen when kids just make mistakes around the family pet. You can keep your kids, yourself--and your DOG--safe by following these 9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites.
By the way, Gina Misiroglu of Red Room put me in touch with the Paw Nation folks, which is one of the great ways in which she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.
Purrs & wags,
Causes Amy Shojai Supports
Cat Writers Association, Winn Feline Foundation, AKC Canine Health Foundation, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)