Now . . . my contest. First I will say that I told no one (shhh!) what the contest was so there was no more of "give me another chance!" to deal with. This was all done surreptitiously! That means on the sly, on the low down . . . okay, I was sneaky! I decided this week to pick the kitty that is the cleanest!!! Now how cool is that?! Yes, I'll accept my praise right now, cool idea, huh?! Because most cats are neatniks and spend up to 50% of their awake time in some form of grooming. Now since cats sleep up to 18 hours a day, that may not mean much . . . 3 hours a day of grooming . . . but I think that would make a cat pretty clean, don't you? Now not all cats are this clean! StreetCats cats are, of course! Kittens learn to lick themselves by two weeks of age, but cleanliness, even with neatnik cats, is a learned behavior and if Mom doesn't do a good job of teaching them to stay clean . . . well, kitty may not care much about this praiseworthy attribute. Anyway, it's been a busy week for me with lots of sneaking. The cats around here are awake at different times and are, still again, cleaning themselves at different times. That means I got very little rest while judging this contest. But I won't whine because I know I'll be going home soon!
First, I could rule out Mischief immediately. Mischief does like to be clean, but she is more interested in playing than anything else, even napping. You see, Mischief is a kitten and she doesn't sleep as much as an adult cat does and I'm pretty sure she spends about 80% of her awake time, or maybe even 90%, playing! One down, 13 to go!
So I took a look at Angel. At first I thought she might be our winner because of how long her tongue is! I mean that's got to make it easier right?! Here, I'll show you.
Ooohhh, you came close angel, but you're not the winner this week!
Then I thought for sure it would be Adam! Adam is new here and he is sooo handsome! Of course that didn't influence me in the least. I wouldn't have even noticed, myself, but I heard someone else mention it. No, not something I would notice!
Now that's just amazing! I mean how he cleans himself, not how handsome he is. But for whatever reason (other than how handsome he is) I'll show you one more picture of him!
Oh my goodness, he's a pretty boy! At least some of the cats think that.
Now I will tell you which cat won the contest for Cleanest StreetCats Cat. Ta da! No wait, first I need to tell you reasons why cats clean themselves. To stay clean, of course! But that's not the only reason. I must admit that it's the only reason I knew of until I got on this magic machine that I use to write my blogs and it told me about these other things. By the way, I HATE this machine! Sometimes it works just fine, but when it doesn't work I don't have a clue what to do! And then I have to call for help and it is just such a pain! But I digress! Back to cleanliness!
First, cleanliness is a barometer of feline health. If a cat isn't grooming himself it could be a sign of illness! And if she is grooming herself too much, well that could be a sign, too, of illness, either physical or emotional. So pay attention, humans! Also, just like dogs, cats don't sweat. And they don't pant like dogs, either. (If you see a cat panting, that means they're in big trouble and you need to get help fast!) Instead cats rely on the saliva they spread on their fur to keep cool. It evaporates to cool them off! Plus if their fur is clean it is easier for it to stay fluffed, allowing air to circulate to the skin.
Now cats are also very methodical in their grooming and it was interesting to see how each of the StreetCats cats took their baths. They would almost always start in the same place, usually their mouth and chin, like Adam in the picture above! And then they follow a routine until their entire body is scrubbed. I mean let's face it, we are so smart! Now here is something I sure didn't know! Grooming stimulates the production of sebum, which is an oily secretion produced by sebaceous glands at the base of each hair. Licking then spreads sebum over the cat's hair and that lubricates and waterproofs the fur and makes it shine! Ha! Bet I just told you something you didn't know, didn't I?!
Okay, one more thing about grooming and then I'll tell you about our winner. We can also use our grooming to remove loose hair (more about hair balls later!), prevent mats in our hair, remove dirt and get varmints like fleas or ticks off us. I'm telling you there is no other animal that can even touch a cat in regard to how efficient we are! I'm sure you agree!
Okay, here she is, Millie, the winner of the Cleanest Cat at StreetCats contest! Actually, I don't know that she is any cleaner than anyone else, but she won because of her DOUBLE efficiency! Here she is using one paw that she has already licked to wash her ear while cleaning her other leg!. She's a multi tasker and in today's society that's a real plus! And that's it, folks! Bye, bye 'til next time!