If you are considering getting cats as pets, you may want to know if they are clean animals or not. No one wants a stingy, messy pet.
Why are cats so clean?
Being fastidious groomers, kitties may spend up to 50% of awake time grooming themselves. However, if this happens excessively, it could be an indicator of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
How to they groom or wash? They do so by licking themselves using their barbed tongue or by using their forepaws once they have licked them as well as their teeth to remove debris. These make them some of the cleanest pets.
Usually, they will wash their fur, their butt to get rid of any remaining feces, their paws, tail, and any other part of their body.
The licking helps in:
- Removing loose fur, dirt, and getting rid of any parasites such as mites and fleas.
- Getting rid of various food scents from their fur and whiskers to avoid detection by their predators.
- Cleaning and enhancing wound healing since their saliva has enzymes with a natural antibiotic effect. This reduces the chances of infection.
- The licking “helps distribute its natural oils evenly around its coat. These oil guards against dampness and seals in heat,” and consequently keeping them warm, notes Reader’s Digest Canada.
- The licking bolsters blood flow, in the same way, brushing your hair does to your scalp.
- It helps regulate temperature since as the saliva evaporates, it absorbs the energy of evaporation. Although cats do sweat, it not so much except on their paw pads and other hairless places which only represents a small part of their body.
- As a sign of affection to each other.
Whether feral, indoor, outdoor, or stray, these pets will always groom themselves for these reasons. The grooming makes many kitty owners consider them as very clean animals. However, does this alone make cats clean animals?
Are cats cleaner than dogs and humans or how clean are cats?
When compared to dogs, cats are much cleaner animals. Unlike dogs, they will at most times use their litter boxes, groom themselves and avoid dirty areas. They will hardly end up with an obnoxious doggy odor.
Additionally, they are cleaner than dogs because they spend a lot of time grooming themselves as we have already seen.
However, they are not as clean human beings. We Brush our teeth, take a bath, use disinfectants, soaps, lotions, shampoos, hand washes, and so on to ensure we are hygienic. You cannot compare our hygiene to that of any pets.
Furthermore, kitties can carry a number of germs in their paws and claws, mouth, and skin. While licking themselves helps, are they really clean? What about their paws, mouth and so on?
a). Are cats mouth clean?
Cats and dog mouths are not clean. They have most of the bacteria that we have. For instance, they carry Pasteurella multocida. Also, due to these bacteria, cat bites hazardous.
Ensure you help them keep their oral hygiene since they use their tongue in washing themselves including washing their anus.
PetMD affirms this by noting that “cat mouths are notoriously dirty, and their bite can cause serious infections—both in humans and other cats. If you get bit by a cat, clean the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention.”
Avoid kissing your cat and clean their mouth and brush their teeth regularly using toothpaste meant for cats such as:
- Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic
- Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic cat toothpaste
- Oxyfresh Soothing Cat Dental Gel
- Oratene Brushless Enzymatic Dental Gel among others.
This will also help eliminate bad odor from their mouths.
Finally, on whether dogs’ mouths are cleaner than cats, the answer is no. They are not and require proper oral and dental care.
b). Their feces may have parasites
Being their definitive hosts, their feces may have Toxoplasma gondii which can also affect human beings.
Additionally, their feces may also have eggs of Ancylostoma and Toxocara worms. The later can cause diseases to human beings, i.e., it is zoonotic.
c). Are their claws and skin clean?
While they may wash quite often, this does not mean their claws, paws or skin is very clean. For instance, they carry Bartonella bacteria on their skin and claws and if infested by fleas, these parasites may spread this bacterium.
Also, as they walk around, go to their litter boxes, they may carry Bartonella. Therefore, don’t let them go to your kitchen counters and wipe these counters with antiseptic cleaning agents in case they go to their kitchen counter before using them to prepare your food to avoid contamination. You can also use soap and hot water in cleaning these surfaces.
In the case of a scratch, it is advisable you clean the affected area with an antiseptic or antibacterial soap and water.
Finally, in case of cat fleas, use a flea comb to groom them and control fleas using various flea control products such as:
- Capstar Flea Treatment Tablets
- Advantage Treatment Spray
- Comfortis, Bravecto for cats and so on
There are many other flea management programs including home remedies.
d). Other issues
Besides the above reasons, other things that make these pets not very clean include the following:
- Cats shed, shred or scratch things, and can cause a mess especially untrained housecat.
- They have pet dander can cause allergic reactions to some people.
- They may bring dead animal gifts and cough furballs
- Untrained ones may urinate or poop on their bed
- These pets chin and spray urine on things including walls and other household items to mark their territory, especially the unneutered male. Some female also spray urine
Are indoor cats cleaner than outdoor?
While both indoor and outdoor kitties present the above risks, outdoor kitties tend to be dirtier than indoor ones since they will often walk on dirty surfaces and roll on dirt carrying the dirt (sand, soil, seeds, and so on) in their fur.
They may also carry various parasites including fleas, baby slugs, mites, ticks, and so on.
Additionally, short-haired cat breeds like Havana Brown, Bombay, Bengal, American Short Hair, among others are less likely to carry more dirt as opposed to breeds with long fur such as the Main coon, Angora, Persian, Himalayan, Birman, Ragdoll, et cetera.
Keeping your cat clean?
- Besides helping them keep their oral hygiene, clean their claws using Q-tip, damp washcloth, or cat wipes.
- You do not need to bathe them. However, consider bathing them in case they are stinky or something hazardous spilled on them.
- Clean the inner part of their ears
- Help them groom if they are old, arthritic, and unable to reach some parts such as their bum.
- Keep their litter boxes clean, get rid of any unconsumed prey or food as they may burry them in their litter boxes, and see a doctor if they stop using their littering trays as they may be sick.
- Neuter them especially males to avoid chinning and urine spraying that may make them stinky.