Friday, June 1, 2012
Classic Cat Allogrooming
The tabby and white cat on the right is licking the all grey cat on the ear. The grey cat seems to have presented his right ear to the tabby cat for a spot of grooming.
This is called "allogrooming" by scientists. We call it a friendly kiss, as has Giane Portal.
Allogrooming happens more often between cats who are friendly ("preferred associates") than non-preferred associates (see The Sociable Domestic Cat).
Sometimes, as might be the case here, one cat invites another to groom her/him.
The cat being grooming is "highly cooperative". I bet he is! I would be too. I'd love a bit of allogrooming from time to time.
Cats in colonies and groups can be very sociable with each other. This appears to be an adaptation to domestication as the small wild cats do not have the same lifestyle.
However, when there is more space and food sources groups are less likely to form up. It is about these things: food source and available to space to form a home range.
The domestic cat is adaptable. They do choose their buddies though. We can't force that.