Katzenwäsche | Word of the Week | DW | 21.08.2012
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Word of the Week


No time for lengthy grooming rituals?

Cats are actually very clean animals. Aside from sleeping and eating, cats spend a lot of time grooming. They do this in two ways - at least theoretically. They either lick their bodies clean or use water.

But while cats are known to be very adept swimmers, they hate water. Washing themselves in this way means, at most, lightly dipping a paw in the water for a few seconds before quickly retreating.

Since most humans would have difficulty in licking their entire body clean, we're more accustomed to bathing in water. But some people simply don't have the time or the inclination to take a proper soak in the bath, or indeed, drench themselves in a good shower. And that's just why the personal hygiene of those who reluctantly wash themselves with just a few drops of water is known in German as a Katzenwäsche, or "cat wash" - a quick, superficial and not entirely sufficient clean-up job.

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