Why do cats clean themselves after they eat? Have you observed cats eating, and right after that, they immediately start cleaning themselves with intensity?

Cats clean themselves after eating because they have to remove any leftover of food from their bodies. Cats do this to be sure not to become the prey instead of the hunter. In nature, they would hunt and dirty themselves with the pray’s blood and scent; they need to remove it to be sure not to attract other predators.

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So, why do cats clean themselves after they eat?

I have been observing my cat for a while to understand that he has a precise ritual. He usually eats, then walks away and goes somewhere where he feels safe, usually under the bed, under a table or a chair, and starts the cleaning procedure.

In the beginning, I thought that he was delighted with the food that he wanted to go to a place where he could enjoy his full belly and be in a piece for a while, “licking his mustaches.” But why do cats clean themselves after they eat? What is the real reason?

Even though cats seem to show satisfaction after a good meal, they clean themselves after eating to eliminate any leftovers of the food, in terms of scent and actual residuals.

Often you think they are licking their paws, but in fact, they are using them paws to clean their face and mouse in the places they can’t reach with the tongue.

If you observe what they do, you can see them licking wet the paw and use it as a towel or brush around their mouse and head.

After they finish with their mouse, usually they start licking the rest of the body, and Dulcis in Fundo after they completed it all, it is time for a good nap.

But cats, and my cat, on top of all, spend hours cleaning themselves even before eating and at random times throughout the day.


Ok, we now we know why cats clean themselves after they have eaten, but what about the other hundreds of times you spot them licking their tails, their private parts, other cats, and anything else in between?

Are cats just obsessed with it, or there are more practical reasons? Well, we could come up with some good explanations.

CLEANING BEFORE EATING: you may have seen cats cleaning themselves before eating. This is because if you are going to “hunt” for food, you must be cleaned. You can’t take the risk that your pray smells your odors, right? It is an instinct for cats to behave like this.

CLEANING OTHER CATS: often, cats clean each other when they are together. Commonly, cats clean each other, not only because of affection; if it is before eating, it is an instinct that makes them do it. They want to be sure to be clean before hunting.

RELAXATION: This is when your cat hasn’t eaten, and it is not about to eat but jumps somewhere and starts grooming himself. He is simply relaxing. Think about how you feel after a bath.


Why do cats clean themselves after they eat only?

Even though cats are cleaning themselves so much, and it is totally into what cats do, there is a case when cats are overdoing it.

In fact, cats may have an over-groom because they have something wrong with them. Here some of the reason this can happen:

A PART OF THEIR BODY IS IN PAIN: if you see that your cat is constantly licking an area of the body, try to figure out if he is in pain.

INFECTIONS: they try to get rid of fleas, lice, and fur mats. Check your cat if this can be the case or bring him to the vet to determine the problem.

STRESS: If your cat is stressed, he may lick himself too much. To remedy the situation, find out what is stressing your cat. Since grooming releases endorphins (hormones that make the cat happy), they will often partake in this pleasurable and relaxing ritual to calm themselves.


Why do cats clean themselves after they eat

Here some related questions and answer related to this subject:

  • How do I stop my cat from over grooming?

The first thing is to seek veterinarian assistance and see what advice they give. The other handling would be to make sure his environment is stress-free.

This means making sure you eliminate all things your cat doesn’t like, and instead get him some toys, especially if he has favorite types of toys. You may want to keep your cat occupied with toys or play with him and keep him some company.

  • Why does my cat lick the fur off her lower belly?

Cats may have what is called “mowing” or “alopecia” cause by Parasites (fleas, mites, ringworm), Allergies (food, seasonal, environmental), Dry Skin (nutrition deficiency or environmental), Pain, and Psychological (boredom, anxiety).

Ask for a vet to help you resolve this issue.

  • Why does my cat keep licking his privates?

It is normal for a cat to clean those parts; moderately, this kind of behavior is expected. If you see your cat doing it too much, it may be that he has a problem. One should ask the vet.

  • Why is my cat over grooming in winter?

Your cat may start over-grooming when winter comes, it may be because of dry skin, so if this happens, you could help your cat by finding remedies for dry skin. In doubts, always search for veterinarian assistance.

  • Why my cat is over grooming his back legs?

A cat may start to over-groom back legs and his private parts. It may be caused by arthritis and infections of the urinary tract. If they have pain, they can over-groom those parts and loos the air around it.

  • Why my cat won’t stop licking me?

If your cat is stressed, he may come close and start licking you. He may also lick you because he wants to bond, and he wants to show affection.

It seems that cats do a lot with their tongue!

  • Why does my cat lick me when I pet him?

Does it happen to you that your cat starts licking you while you are trying to pet him? My cat does it a lot. He does this because he thinks you are another cat that wants to groom him, and in exchange, he starts grooming you.

  • What is the primary purpose for cats licking themselves?

It seems obvious that they lick themselves because they want to remove dirt and dust from their fur as well as odors. This is the first reason they do it; they do not go into the water like other big cats. They rather use the tongue.


Why do cats clean themselves after they eat? It is not only a point of cleaning themselves after they eat.

Cats seem to be very busy with their tongue. Certainly, it is an incredible cleaning machine and a multi-purpose tool. Cats cleaning habits are incredible if you really think about it.

If you have any question write it in comments below.