Why Does My Cat Clean Herself After I Pet Her? 5 Causes


Have you ever stroked your cat, only to have it start grooming itself as soon as you have stopped? I’ve been through the same thing many times, and the fury never disappears. I frequently find myself asking, “Why does my cat wash after I touch the cat?”, “Does she find it difficult to touch her this many times?” and “Is she trying to remove my scent?”

To calm my nerves, I conducted some research. These are five primary reasons your cat is fond of grooming itself after you’ve stroked the area: (1) it is doing a show of grooming with others, (2) you were petting a difficult-to-access area, (3) your feline isn’t keen on being petted, (4) it has an itchy, scaly skin condition or (5) it suffers with hyperesthesia.

In this post, I will go over the reasons for each in depth so you can comprehend your pet’s behavior well! Find out why your cat grooms itself, if this is a snide comment for you, or whether your cat’s behavior requires a vet visit.

Why My Cat Washes Herself after I Pet Her?

In answering this question, first, you must know that your cat isn’t trying to make fun of you! It could appear that it’s trying to remove all traces of your fur; however, there are five unrelated motives for your cat to wash after you have petted it.

Let’s look at the explanations for each in depth.

1. Mutual Grooming

Although you may think of grooming your cat with its grooming routine, mutual grooming is another less well-known aspect of social interaction. Also called “allogrooming,” this behavior aids in establishing a solid and affectionate connection with two cat owners because they share their smells.

If you pet your cat, It could think that your frequent stroking is grooming. If that’s the situation, your cat’s instincts could begin to take over, leading to them grooming you back. This is why my cat rubs me whenever I touch and licks him: he’s trying to blend his scent with mine!

If you leave the reach of your cat, the cat may start to lick itself or seem to be in their hands. This is a method to show affection even when you’re not present. This is the beginning of the bong ritual, and your cat will love you immensely!

2. Petting A Hard-To-Reach Spot

Another reason your cat might begin to clean itself after a cuddle could be that you’re petting the hard-to-access area. Cats are incredibly flexible. However, they have limitations. For instance, most cats have trouble reaching the back of their neck, and the base of their tail is tough to get. This is only made more difficult when your cat is injured, overweight, or old.

If you touch these hard-to-reach areas, it could cause your cat’s grooming urges for these places. Because your cat can’t reach the spot it’s looking to wash, it might begin licking at the breeze or grooming easier-to-reach body parts instead.

3. Doesn’t Want To Be Petted

This may not be something you’d like to hear; however, at times, your cat might begin grooming itself since it isn’t keen to be touched. This may be limited to a particular area of your pet’s body. However, it could also mean that your cat isn’t in the mood, or even at all.

The cat may not want to be petted since they are stressed. This is when you repeatedly stroke the same area for too long. If cats are worried and stressed, they often use displacement grooming techniques to help them feel more relaxed.

While cat purrs when you touch them, however, they can continue purring even after they feel overwhelmed. Don’t allow this to frighten you! For example, my cat bites me with her paws when she purrs to signal that the cuddle we shared has gone over the top. There are times when the cat will bite me when I cuddle her. This is a typical sign that your pet needs some space.

4. The Itchy Skin Condition

One of the less severe causes of your cat’s grooming post-petting is suffering from an itchy skin issue. There are many causes for prickly skin issues. Some are common among cats, including fleas, mites, or allergies.

The severity of the cat’s response to the affection you show depends on whether the skin is uncomfortable when it is touched or is itchy and irritating. If the former is the case pet is likely to begin grooming to alleviate the itching. But, if your cat is hurting, the touch of your hand could cause it to shake or behave aggressively towards you.

Suppose your cat seems to groom the same spot each whenever you touch it or appears to be suffering from an awful amount of discomfort. In that case, you should make appointments with your veterinarian so they can determine what’s happening. Most itchy skin issues are treated quickly, but a qualified opinion is essential!

5. Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Then, we get hyperesthesia syndrome, also called twitchy cat syndrome. This disorder causes felines’ skin to become more sensitive. This means that how you groom your cat might cause it pain or discomfort, and they seek to ease it by over-grooming.

The most common signs of cat hyperesthesia that you should observe are dilated pupils, loud vocalizations, and sudden, unprovoked aggression, like when you notice your cat is moody but would like to be pet. Also, my cat snores when I stroke him because this could be another possible indicator of the condition.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from hyperesthesia, I suggest getting it checked by your veterinarian as soon as possible. While the condition might appear not too severe at first, it is prone to escalating. In extreme instances, cats have been observed to hurt or self-mutilate their tails because their skin sensitivities are so powerful.

MY Final Thoughts

Indeed, cats aren’t attempting to be offensive when they clean their bodies right after you stroke them. It could appear as if they’re trying to get rid of your touching, but the truth isn’t as simple and raises the question: Why is it that my cat has to wash her hands after I stroke her?

Your cat may be cleaning, trying to calm an over-stimulated area, or grooming after you can reach a particular site. Your cat may be suffering from a skin irritation called hyperesthesia syndrome. A disorder that causes the skin becomes hypersensitive.

In most cases, this behavior isn’t something to worry about and can be seen as a positive thing, for instance, in the case of grooming each other. But, if your cat pet shows signs of hyperesthesia or an itchy skin issue, I strongly suggest you visit the vet to be treated.

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