Cats are known for their grooming habits, but it can be confusing and even concerning for owners when their cat starts licking inanimate objects, such as a blanket. There are several potential reasons for this behavior, and it is important for owners to understand the underlying cause in order to address the issue and provide appropriate care for their feline companion.
Causes of blanket licking in cats:
There are several potential causes for a cat licking a blanket, including:
- Grooming behavior: Licking is a natural grooming behavior for cats. Cats have a rough tongue that they use to groom themselves and remove loose fur and debris. They may lick a blanket as a way to groom themselves or as a substitute for grooming another cat or animal.
- Oral fixation: Some cats may develop an oral fixation, where they excessively lick or chew on objects as a way to cope with anxiety or stress. This behavior is often seen in cats who have been declawed or have had dental issues that have resulted in pain or discomfort.
- Nutrient deficiency: Cats may lick blankets or other objects as a way to obtain nutrients that they are lacking in their diet. This is more common in cats who are fed a poor quality diet or who have a medical condition that affects their ability to absorb nutrients.
- Medical conditions: In rare cases, blanket licking may be a sign of a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism, dental issues, or an abscess.
Preventing blanket licking:
There are several steps that can be taken to prevent a cat from licking a blanket or other object:
- Provide appropriate grooming: Regular grooming can help remove loose fur and debris, reducing the need for the cat to lick the blanket.
- Address underlying medical issues: If the cat is licking the blanket due to a medical issue, it is important to address the issue with the help of a veterinarian.
- Provide a nutritionally balanced diet: Ensuring that the cat is receiving all the necessary nutrients in their diet can help prevent blanket licking.
- Provide mental and physical stimulation: Cats who are bored or stressed may be more likely to lick blankets. Providing toys, puzzles, and plenty of playtime can help prevent this behavior.
Cats may lick blankets as a way to groom themselves, as a result of an oral fixation, to obtain nutrients, or due to a medical condition. To prevent blanket licking, it is important to provide appropriate grooming, address underlying medical issues, provide a nutritionally balanced diet, and provide mental and physical stimulation. If blanket licking persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is important to consult a veterinarian for proper evaluation and treatment.