Are Cats Dirty? 13 Facts You Need To Know


We often hold a misconception that having pets at home means having a dirty home. It is true as well as false. Pets are not humans, and it is not their concern to keep the home clean. But they keep themselves clean?

One thing that every cat owner can vouch for is that cats are one of the cleanest pets anyone can have. These furry creatures are known to groom themselves constantly. So, it would be wrong to call cats dirty. Here is a table that compares the tidiness of Bengal cats and other domestic cats. It will help you get a better idea.

TidinessBengal CatsOther Domestic Cats
CleanYesYes usually
DirtyNoNo
Constantly Grooming Themselves As any cat wouldAs any cat would
Love BathingLoves waterMost cats would not enjoy bathing

It would spend hours cleaning itself not just to be clean but also to remain undetected. In addition, constant grooming helps cats release the least amount of scent, which may otherwise draw predators. 

Are Cats Dirty?
Image Credit: A cat grooming from Pxhere

There, however, may be instances where you may find a cat dirty. Such situations, nevertheless, demand close attention, as there might be underlying reasons behind them. Typically, if a cat is healthy, it would keep itself clean and tidy. 

When are cats dirty?

It is a confirmed thing that cats are one of the cleanest animals. However, sometimes, they can appear to be dirty. So, it’s worth analyzing when a cat is most dirty.

Most cats that appear dirty are either old or have certain health issues, like stiff joints that restrict them from grooming themselves. You can also find street cats to be dirty because most of the time, they stay in dirty places. Additionally, they may also have flea and tick issues. 

In this context, it is worth noting that a cat can be dirty, and several factors can play a role in keeping it dirty. So, look into the matter deeply when you find a dirty cat. It is the only method to keep your cat in good health. The bottom line is that under-grooming can signify something wrong with a cat. 

How dirty are cats?

Dirty cats could be seen as an oxymoron. 

Cats generally do not exhibit an unhygienic physical appearance. Instead, they naturally prefer to groom themselves and keep themselves tidy. So, if a cat is in good health and has a sound mind, it won’t seek out dirt at all costs. 

Are indoor cats dirty?

Cats are quite conscientious when it comes to grooming. A cat would never purposefully keep itself unclean.

Cats that live indoors usually keep themselves tidy. Indoor cats remain in a safe setting where they hardly ever come into contact with anything dirty, along with their intrinsic ability to groom themselves. Thus, internal and external influences help people maintain their cleanliness and order.

If you have a pet cat, it frequently spends a lot of time licking itself. Saliva is like taking a bath in water. And while it may seem unsanitary to people, it’s entirely acceptable for cats. Therefore, a healthy indoor cat will always be interested in grooming and maintaining its cleanliness.

Are outdoor cats dirty?

The life of an outdoor cat is substantially different from that of an indoor cat. Their lifestyle, eating preferences, grooming habits, etc., everything differs to a great extent. 

Commonly, outdoor cats tend to be dirty. They may not be completely dirty, but their level of cleanliness may not be up to par. For outdoor cats, surviving and obtaining food are their top goals. They frequently struggle to find the time to take care of themselves as a result. Yet, they occasionally take a moment to lick themselves.

Also, remember that outdoor cats aren’t given baths and spend their time in filthy areas in quest of food. As a result, they are forced to live dirtier lifestyles than indoor cats for most of their lifetimes.

Are stray cats dirty?

There are similarities between stary cats and outdoor cats. All strays are outdoor cats, but not all outdoor cats are stray. Whatever the scenario may be, are stray cats dirty?

Stray cats may be dirty or may not be. Stray cats are often those cats that were once pets who have either become lost or were, unfortunately, abandoned. So, most of them are used to living a clean and well-groomed life. However, their outdoor life may push them to struggle to survive, which may decrease their level of cleanliness. 

Also, if a stray cat is unhealthy or old, it may appear even dirtier. So, if you ever find a dirty stray around your home, you help it by investigating its health or bathing it. 

Are feral cats dirty?

There are distinctions between feral and stray cats. Wild and feral cats typically avoid interacting with people. They are feral cats who lack social skills.

Depending on their circumstances, feral cats can be both clean and dirty. They prefer to live apart from people because they are afraid of them. Additionally, if they are not raised to live indoors from an early age, they do not love it.

It is important to remember that wild or stray cats can carry the pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter, regardless of how clean they are. They may also be carriers of Toxoplasma, a parasite that should be avoided by those who are immunocompromised and pregnant.

How dirty are cats’ paws?

Image Credit: Cat’s paws from Stocksnap

There are numerous uses for cats’ paws. For example, their paws are used for grasping, scraping, clawing, and other activities. This frequently prompts us to wonder if cats’ paws are typically unclean.

Typically, a cat’s paws pretend to be always clean. You might say that because cats are known to spend a lot of time grooming and cleaning themselves (by licking themselves). However, as soon as they leave their litter box, their paws may be filthy and contaminated with bacteria from their waste.

It will help if you don’t let your cat climb onto the kitchen counter or a bed when it walks out from the litter box or the outside. During that moment, their paws might not be the cleanest. Also, when it comes to your kitchen counters and dining spaces, don’t solely rely on their act of cleanliness.

You should be aware that parasite eggs from roundworms and hookworms may be present on your cat’s paws. Therefore, to guarantee proper cleanliness, wipe off the locations where your cat rests or lays frequently. Additionally, wipe your pet’s paws clean when it exits the litter box or returns from a walk outside.

Are cats’ mouths dirty?

Cats constantly lick themselves to increase their degree of hygiene. What about their mouths, though? They don’t lick their mouths inside and out. So, do they have clean mouths?

Cats do not follow a regular brushing schedule like humans. Additionally, we do not observe that cats receive dental grooming sessions as we do with dogs. A cat’s mouth becomes less clean as a result of these situations.

Without routine teeth cleaning, food will rot inside the mouth, which may lead to the growth of bacteria. As a result, cats are frequently reported to have dental problems, including gingivitis and periodontitis.

Nevertheless, there are ways to prevent this. Maintaining a healthy level of dental hygiene in cats is something every cat owner should be concerned about. Brush your cat’s teeth using toothpaste made for cats at least once a week to reduce the number of bacteria in its mouth. Additionally, toothbrushes made expressly for cats are readily accessible. Only those brushes should be used.

How do cats clean themselves?

Image Credit: A cat grooming by
Takashi Hososhima
(CC BY-SA 2.0) from Wikimedia

Cats are known to be capable of maintaining their own cleanliness. However, the query that arises is how spotlessly these critters clean themselves.

Cats groom themselves with the help of their jagged tongues. Cats lick themselves to stay clean. The hollow papillae on a cat’s tongue resemble those on a hairbrush. As a result, when it licks itself, it serves various functions, some of which are given below.

  • Spreading saliva, which is similar to taking a bath.
  • Aids in eliminating dead or loose hair
  • Eliminates fleas

In a healthy cat, licking comes naturally. Thus, it does so without effort. Hence, if you notice that your cat is not properly grooming itself, pay special attention to determine whether it has any health problems.

Are cats cleaner than dogs?

Based on several factors, cats and dogs are frequently contrasted as pets. Here, we shall contrast them based on how clean they keep their facilities.

Cats are typically considered to be cleaner than dogs. It should not, however, always be generalized. We say this because some dogs are picky about hygiene and upkeep. On the other hand, you can have a unique cat that doesn’t care about keeping immaculate. Numerous internal and external elements are involved in this regard.

However, if one looks into it, there are a few good explanations for why cats are frequently cleaner than dogs.

  • Dogs are less concerned about spreading scents to attract predators.
  • Cats have an innate sense of grooming themselves regularly.
  • Dogs often show a preference for playing in muddy areas.

Are male cats dirty?

Male and female cats differ not only biologically but also socially and behaviorally. If they are not spayed, the differences are very obvious.

No matter their sex, cats have a strict grooming routine. However, there could be variations in how two different cats groom or clean themselves. In other words, the cat’s level of cleanliness would rely on its preferences and the environment in which it was grown.

In this regard, it is important to remember that male cats that have not been spayed can disseminate urine to mark their territory and draw the queen when they are in heat. Therefore, keeping a male pet cat that hasn’t been neutered may make your home dirty under these circumstances.

Are Sphynx cats dirty?

Sphynx is one of the most unusual-looking cat breeds. These cats do not possess a thick layer of fur. So, do they lick themselves, or do they remain dirty?

Sphynx cats are reputed to be dirtier than other cat breeds. This is because these cats perspire, accumulating an oily layer on their skin. They become more soiled as a result. Additionally, because Sphynx cats cannot groom themselves, they completely depend on their guardians for their cleanliness.

It is interesting to notice in this context that these cats exhibit depressive and uncomfortable behaviors when they feel unclean or unsanitary. The good news is that Sphynx cats do not need to be bathed frequently and can go bi-monthly or monthly.

However, all Sphynx cat owners must understand the telltale indicators that their animals are filthy. Here are some methods for determining whether your Sphynx is unclean.

  • There will be a reddish tone in the cat’s dermis
  • There will be dirt in the folds of the cat’s skin
  • Scabies, etc.

Are cats dirty after they poop?

Cats are widely recognized for maintaining a tidy appearance. However, what happens after they urinate? Do cats still keep themselves clean after they poop?

After a cat defecates, we can’t really question the cleanliness of the cat’s body, but we can query the cleanliness of the cat’s paws. A cat will use its claws to bury any waste in the litter when it craps. They do it out of survival instinct. However, cats’ same behavior can result in unclean, bacteria- and dirt-filled paws and claws.

A cat’s bottom is also unclean after it craps. So cats with messy butts should be avoided. In addition, cats can release Toxoplasma gondii cysts in their feces, which can cause toxoplasmosis, according to the Journal of Parasitology.

Should you bathe your cat?

Image Credit: A cat licking by congerdesign from Pixnio

Water and cats generally cannot be kept in the same basket. Most cats show a phobia of water and prefer to stay away from it. So what about bathing them? Should you bathe them?

Unlike dogs, cats usually do not need to be bathed regularly. This is because felines are really great at grooming themselves. However, once in a while, if you find your kitty too dirty, you can think of bathing it. There are other reasons as well that may make it necessary to bathe your cat.

  • Insects or fleas
  • Excessive dirt
  • Inadequate grooming
  • Excessively long or dense fur that needs additional cleaning
  • Cats without hair cannot absorb oil
  • Too hot a climate to maintain composure

However, it is preferable to use warm water and shampoo or soap made especially for cats if you intend to bathe your cat. Never ever consider using shampoo or soap designed for humans.

The frequency of bathing a cat is not predetermined. The frequency of bathing would be higher for cats with long, thick fur than those with short fur.

Summary

So, the button line is that cats, irrespective of the breed, size, shape, and fur length, are hardwired to groom themselves. And unless they are in bad health, they will not likely stop grooming themselves. In addition, their saliva works well for them but not humans, as it contains allergens. So, if you have cats as pets, it is always preferable to clean your house daily to avoid any allergic issues. 

Atrayee

I am Atrayee, I have extreme passion for the Animal Kingdom and I have written a large number of articles for animal behaviors. I am an Animal Lover by nature and own two Cats.
Exploring new things through learning and unlearning is something that intrigues me a lot. I spend my free time with my husband and two cats. I must say I get to learn a lot of wise things from them! You can catch me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/atrayee-samaddar-06886567/

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