Are Cats Clean Animals? All You Need To Now

While making the decision of getting a pet, you factor in a lot of things, like how much you will need to care for it, its maintenance and whether it will ruin your place or not. Will it keep itself clean or will it soil random spots in your house, leaving you with more on your plate? Are cats clean animals?

Cats are considered clean animals due to their grooming habits. They spend all day making sure they are spotless, constantly grooming their coats with their sharp tongues. They bury their waste terrifically after having used the litter, and mom cats spend most of the time grooming their young. 

Cats are definitely the cleanest pet you can have, but exactly how clean are they? And why is your cat unable to clean itself? Read on to find out!

How Do Cats Clean Themselves

How Clean Are Cats? How Do Cats Clean Themselves?

Yes, cats are clean animals. They groom themselves for the majority of their existence. Their tongues contain small, rounded spikes that remove dirt, debris and loss hair, leaving them squeaky clean. It also contains saliva, which is evenly distributed during grooming. This plays the role of a shower’s water for them. Cats also bury their waste with dirt or litter, covering up their urine or faeces.

This is a primal instinct embedded in them for their survival. Because cats are physically tiny creatures, they have a disadvantage in the wild.

To ensure they are not sniffed out and taken as prey, they need to keep themselves spotless and undetectable at all times. In fact, if your cat is dirty, it means it is unable to groom properly, which points to a larger problem like obesity or arthritic joints.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Clean Herself After I Pet Her?

Are Felines Cleaner than Dogs?

Felines arguably are cleaner than dogs. Dogs track dirt and waste inside with their paws since they go outside to relieve themselves. Felines instinctively bury their waste and know how to use a litter box.

They specifically make a hole with the litter for their pee or poop, then use the litter to bury it. They also spend hours grooming their private areas and paws later on.

Are Felines Cleaner than Dogs

While dogs do groom themselves, they only clean specific spots like their private parts and paws, whereas cats clean every inch of their bodies.

Felines also have the added advantage of being extremely flexible, which helps them in this regard. Dogs are not as flexible, so they cannot groom as thoroughly as cats do.

Find Out: Can I Use a Human Toothbrush on My Cat?

Are Cats Cleaner than Humans?

Saying that cats are cleaner than humans is a bit of a stretch. Cats, while relatively conscious about their hygiene, are still animals. They like to explore areas of dirt and hunt mice and bugs.

They also do not shower with water and soap as we do, and nothing can replace an actual shower or bath with soap or body wash. Additionally, cats do not focus on dental hygiene. We, as humans, have a daily toothbrush and flossing regime, which is not the case with cats. 

Are Cats Cleaner than Humans

How Clean are Cats’ Mouths?

The oral cavity harbours millions of microorganisms. While we have a habit of brushing our teeth regularly and flossing, cats do not clean their mouths.

Additionally, they groom areas like their private parts and paws, so bacteria and debris from faeces and dirt reside there as well, so you should not kiss your cat on the mouth. 

Their mouth contains the bacteria Pasteurella multocida, which can be transferred to humans through their bites. If you get bitten by your cat and sustain a puncture wound (or a wound that is bleeding), get some first aid, then rush to your nearest emergency room.

How Clean Are Cats’ Tongues?

A cat’s tongue contains many tiny, rough papillae that trap loose hairs and debris while grooming. Cats also use their tongues to groom their private areas and paws, so it is safe to say that their tongues are definitely not clean. Never let a cat lick any open wounds as this can transfer bacteria to your system.

How Clean Are Cats’ Paws?

Cats walk around on their paws, and you wouldn’t say the soles of your shoes are clean. Even though cats groom their paws, they still use the litter box, which means pieces of litter and faecal microorganisms will be present regardless of your feline’s best attempts to keep its paws clean. 

The bacteria Toxoplasma gondii, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, can be found in cat faeces. If an expecting woman handles cat faeces and gets infected, it can cause birth defects in her unborn child.

Check Out: Can Cat Urine Cause Headaches?

You can also get a Bartonella infection from your feline, which causes swollen glands, muscle pain, headaches, brain fog and fever.

Are Houses with Cats Dirty?

If you have an indoor cat, your house should not get dirty. However, this largely depends on your efforts to keep things tidy. There are two aspects of cleanliness a cat parent needs to be considerate of when it comes to their house:

Are Houses with Cats Dirty

The Litter Box

Maintaining the litter box is kind of understandable for a clean house. You need to change out your cat’s litter every other day and scoop it several times a day. If you don’t, your cat will track dirty litter and faeces throughout the house (as dirty litter is sticky).

If your cat has a habit of kicking litter out of the box while burying it, or if there is too much litter in the tray, consider investing in a hooded litter box. Alternatively, you can also get a litter mat.


Every cat parent knows how much cats shed, especially particular breeds like the Persian or Maine Moor cat. Felines shed in the spring and autumn to adjust their coat according to the demands of the changing seasons.

It is best to give your cat a bath once a month and brush it a couple of times a week (long-haired cats can be brushed daily) to tackle the excess shedding and prevent your cat from coughing up excessive hairballs. You can also get a lint roller to remove cat hair from the couches, and be sure to vacuum daily, especially when the weather is changing.

Also Check Out: Why Cat Peed In The Air Vent?

What if My Cat Stops Using the Litter Box?

Cats are not inherently dirty creatures, so there is always a reason why it is not using their litter box. The following are some possible reasons:

What if My Cat Stops Using the Litter Box
  • Some cats prefer more than one litter box, one for peeing and a separate one for their poop. They definitely want their own litter box if you have more than one cat.
  • Your cat may not like the type of litter.
  • Your cat may be uncomfortable with its litter box.
  • Be mindful of where the litter box is located.
  • Make sure the litter box is clean.
  • Cats stop using the litter box when stressed.
  • Your cat may have a medical condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your cat is not grooming itself, consider booking a visit with a vet. Only a cat that is sick will stop grooming itself. For example, excess weight makes movement more difficult, and so do painful joints.

  • Brush your cat once or twice weekly; you can brush longer-haired breeds every day.
  • Give your cat a bath once a month or if it gets itself into something smelly.
  • Brush your cat’s teeth at least twice a week.

Generally speaking, cats do not need a bath unless their fur gets coated with something that is difficult to remove. If your feline is excessively shedding, you can give it a quick rinse, but only give your cat a bath once a month.

The Bottom Line on Are Cats Clean Animals

Not only do cats have our hearts, but they are also extremely clean animals. They frequently groom themselves and have excellent bathroom etiquette. However, cats are not completely sterile, so you should be aware of the types of bacteria they can carry.

Also, if you are thinking of getting a cat, you will need to vacuum often, buy a lint roller, brush your cat and clean out the litter box in order to maintain a clean house.

LearnAboutCat Author Isabella

Who is Isabella?

My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.

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