Why Do Cats Lick Blankets?

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets
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Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Cats may lick blankets due to a comfort-seeking behavior or as a way to self-soothe. Blankets may also provide a sense of security and familiarity to cats.

Cats are known for their unpredictable behavior and quirky habits, including licking blankets. While some cats may lick blankets occasionally, others may do it excessively or even suckle on them. This behavior can be puzzling for cat owners, leading to questions about why their feline friends display such a habit.

Several theories suggest that cats lick blankets due to their comfort-seeking nature or as a way to self-soothe. Blankets may also provide a sense of security and familiarity to cats, reminding them of their mother’s fur or a safe and cozy spot to sleep. Understanding why cats lick blankets can help pet owners better understand their cat’s behavior and provide appropriate care and comfort to their beloved pets.

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets?

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Understanding The Behaviour

The Act Of Licking Blankets Is Common Among Cats

It’s not uncommon to see cats licking blankets. While it may seem like a strange behaviour to us, it’s completely natural to cats. Let’s take a closer look at the possible reasons behind this behaviour.

  • Grooming: Just like how cats groom themselves, licking blankets can be a way for them to keep themselves clean. The motion of licking helps to remove dirt and loose fur from their coat.
  • Comfort: Many cats associate blankets with comfort and security. The act of licking can be a soothing and calming sensation for them.
  • Marking territory: Cats have scent glands on their tongue, and licking a blanket can leave their scent on it. This can be a way for them to mark their territory and let other animals know that this is their space.
  • Behavioural issues: Cats that engage in excessive blanket licking may have underlying behavioural issues such as anxiety or boredom. It’s important to keep an eye on this behaviour and seek veterinary advice if needed.

Understanding why cats lick blankets can help us better understand our feline friends and ensure they’re healthy and happy. If your cat exhibits any other strange behaviours, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.

Possible Explanations

Cats are known for their peculiar habits, such as scratching, meowing, and licking themselves. However, some of their behaviors may seem odd, even to cat lovers. One of the most unusual habits observed in cats is licking blankets. So why do cats lick blankets?

Let’s explore some possible explanations.

Dietary Deficiencies

One possible explanation for your cat licking blankets is that it might have a nutritional deficiency. Although rare, cats may develop anemia or other medical conditions that affect their appetite. Due to this, you might find your cat licking blankets as the fabric may contain traces of salt and other minerals that are essential for the cat’s health.

  • Lack of essential nutrients in your cat’s diet may cause them to lick inedible objects like blankets.
  • The cat’s instinct to supplement its diet can lead it to seek out minerals in unusual places such as fabric and fleece.

Stress And Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are known to cause several behavioral changes in cats. Cats may respond to stress by compulsively licking themselves or objects like blankets.

  • Cats can use self-grooming as a coping mechanism when they are stressed or anxious.
  • Cats may lick blankets for reassurance when their owners are not around or if their usual routine is disrupted.

Boredom

Cats are creatures of habit that engage in certain activities out of boredom. Blanket licking may be one of them.

  • Cats that are left alone for long periods can develop bad habits such as licking blankets out of boredom or to pass the time.
  • Cats may also lick blankets for sensory stimulation and to satisfy their curiosity.

If you notice this behavior in your cat, it is essential to observe when and where it is happening. Understanding the root cause behind your cat’s behavior can help you tackle the issue more effectively. Moreover, you should ensure that your cat has enough water, toys, and attention to avoid behavioral problems caused by boredom or anxiety.

Management And Prevention

Cats are strange creatures and their behavior is often difficult to understand. One odd behavior that leaves cat owners confused is their habit of licking blankets. If you have a furry friend who cannot resist licking your blankets, you may be wondering why they do it and how you can prevent it.

Here is what you need to know about managing and preventing this behavior.

Identifying Symptoms Or Concerns That Could Require Veterinary Assistance In Treating And Preventing This Behavior.

Before we dive deeper into how to stop your cat from licking blankets, it is important to identify any underlying problems that could be causing this behavior. Here are some symptoms or concerns that could require veterinary assistance:

  • Excessive licking: If your cat is licking blankets more than usual or for long periods, it could be a sign of excessive licking, which may indicate an underlying medical problem.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (ocd): Just like humans, cats can suffer from ocd, which could manifest as compulsive or repetitive behaviors such as licking blankets.
  • Dietary deficiencies: If your cat is not getting enough nutrients from its diet, it may develop pica, a condition that causes animals to crave and eat non-food items, such as blankets.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it is best to take them to the vet for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment.

Tips To Help You Stop Your Cat From Licking Blankets

If your cat is healthy and there are no underlying issues causing its blanket-licking behavior, you can take some steps to prevent it from happening. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Provide an alternative: If your cat likes to snuggle and knead blankets, provide them with a soft and snuggly cat bed that they can knead instead. This could be more appealing to them and reduce their need to lick blankets.
  • Use deterrents: You can use deterrents such as bitter sprays or double-sided tape to discourage your cat from licking blankets. Apply the spray on the blanket or place the tape on the areas that your cat likes to lick.
  • Keep the blankets out of reach: If your cat cannot access the blankets, they cannot lick them. Keep the blankets in a closed room or in a drawer that your cat cannot get into.
  • Increase interaction: Sometimes, cats lick blankets out of boredom. Increase interaction with your cat by playing with them, providing them with toys, and engaging them in games to keep them entertained.

Understanding why cats lick blankets and how to prevent it can help maintain your cat’s health and well-being. By identifying any underlying issues and following the tips provided, you can reduce your cat’s blanket-licking behavior and provide them with a healthier and safer environment.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Why Do Cats Lick Blankets?

Is It Normal For Cats To Lick Blankets?

Yes, cats licking blankets is normal behavior. They may lick blankets as a way to self-soothe or show affection.

Can Licking Blankets Harm Cats?

No, licking blankets is not harmful to cats. However, if they ingest loose thread or fabric, it can cause health problems.

Is Blanket-Licking A Sign Of Anxiety In Cats?

Sometimes cats lick blankets as a way to calm anxiety or stress. If excessive, it may be a sign of underlying anxiety.

Could It Be A Sign Of Nutritional Deficiencies?

Cats typically lick blankets for comfort, not because of nutritional deficiencies. However, if you’re concerned, consult your vet.

How Can I Discourage My Cat From Licking Blankets?

Provide alternative sources of comfort such as toys or bedding. Try redirecting your cat’s attention when they start to lick the blanket.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve explored the various reasons why cats may lick blankets, it’s important to remember that every feline is unique. Some cats may simply enjoy the texture or comfort of a soft blanket, while others may be exhibiting a more concerning behavior related to anxiety or stress.

If you notice your cat obsessively licking blankets or other materials, it may be worth mentioning to your veterinarian. Overall, as cat owners, we can only do our best to provide a safe and happy environment for our furry friends.

Observing their behaviors and quirks can help us better understand and care for them in ways that cater to their individual needs and preferences. So the next time your cat cuddles up with a cozy blanket and starts to lick away, you can have a greater appreciation for this feline quirk.

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