Keeping Your Cats Licking Behavior In Check
Cats can lick inanimate objects for a variety of reasons. While in most cases, the behavior is not necessarily bad, it is still a good idea to stop it before something bad happens to your pet.
More importantly, it is crucial to find the underlying reason behind this behavior so you can address it immediately.
Stopping Your Cat From Biting And Kneading A Blanket
Most of the time, this behavior is benign and should cause you no worry. It is also possible for your cat to outgrow biting and kneading on his favorite blanket. And as long as the behavior does not cause serious harm to him or your garments, you can just let your pet be.
If you wish to stop your cat from doing this, be aware that your cat may be traumatized, especially if you do it abruptly.
You can try weaning him from biting and kneading a blanket by offering something different, preferably one with your scent. Rummage through your closet and you might find an old piece of clothing you no longer need which you can give to your feline.
For a more drastic approach, you can use a repellent spray on his favorite blanket. You can make your own spray using cat repellents like citrus, citronella, lavender, lemongrass, or peppermint, the smell of which cats hate. Alternatively, you can rinse his favorite blanket in a fabric softener with one of the scents mentioned earlier.
Should I Be Concerned About Blanket Sucking
Most kittens outgrow this behavior around 10 to 12 months of age, as it’s when they reach social maturity, Dr. Herman said. That said, some cats may continue to exhibit this behavior with reduced intensity and frequency later on in life. You should consult your veterinarian if the behavior becomes excessive or destructive, she said.
This is because in some cases the behavior may intensify, affecting your cat’s normal daily activities like playing and eating, Dr. McCarthy said. In other instances, the behavior may transition from sucking on fabric to ingesting the fabric, which can lead to a life-threatening gastric or intestinal blockage.
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Why Do Cats Bite Blankets
Biting a blanket is a common behavior in kittens, as thats how they play. Young cats learn how hard they can nibble and bite from their mothers and littermates, according to Science Direct.
Like sucking, constant biting may signify that a cat was separated from its mother a little sooner than it would have liked. It may be expecting the blanket to respond in some way.
Even as cats grow up, they will continue to do this. Male cats, in particular, associate biting with pleasure. This is because they gently bite the neck of a female while mating. Dont forget that biting and chewing is also fun and relaxing for cats.
You may notice your cat almost entering a trance-like state while biting, eventually falling into a deep sleep. If you dont want your cat biting a blanket, try offering it dog toys. These are usually bigger and sturdier than cat toys. They will give your cat something to sink its teeth into.
Also, think back to how biting and sucking blankets simulates feeding on their mother for cats. Like a breastfeeding child, if a kitten is struggling to feed, it may bite in frustration.
If it feels that the blanket should be providing food, theyll get fed up when it doesnt. Like most behaviors associated with kittens, this should pass before your cat reaches the age of 3.
You should also monitor your cats oral health. A cat showing signs of gum disease or tooth decay will be in some pain.
Your Adult Cat And Blankets
When you think about it, a kitten suckling on a blanket makes some sense, but when an adult cat sucks on a blanket it can seem to be even more of a mystery. It is less common for adult cats to suck on fabric, but it is not unheard of. Usually, a kitten who sucks on blankets will naturally grow out of the habit, but some cats continue into adulthood.
It can be easy to worry about your cat sucking on blankets, especially if you dont understand it, but the behavior itself is actually quite benign. However, there is a risk of pica if they swallow an excessive amount of thread from the blanket or other inedible items, which can cause stomach issues or vomiting. If your cat sucks on blankets, check the blanket to make sure they arent biting off threads and watch out for other symptoms of gastrointestinal issues, such as:
Pica is a serious issue, but dont be alarmed, blanket sucking does not automatically result in pica. It is much more important to understand why your cat is sucking on blankets in the first place. If there is a serious reason, such as fear or a medical problem, then you will want to know about it in order to deal with it.
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Provide All Of Your Cats Environmental Needs
If you look at all the possible reasons why a cat likes to lick inanimate objects, the common thread that you will see is the unavailability of one of a felines environmental needs.
As much as possible, you should provide your cat with space where he can feel safe. It is a good idea to give him separate areas for feeding, sleeping, and elimination.
These spaces should also include areas where he can escape and hide, especially if you own more than one cat.
Why Does My Cat Lick Fabric
Fabric licking, like blanket licking, is usually a sign of contentment and leftover nursing behavior in your adult cat. However, just like blanket licking, its essential to pay attention to your cat to ensure the behavior is innocent and not a symptom of some more significant problem.
Thankfully, since this is essentially the same behavior, the warning signs are the same. Rapidly losing or gaining weight, obsessive licking thats hard to stop or redirect, and licking/chewing the results in swallowed threads or bits of fabric are all signs that something is wrong.
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Cat Biting Blanket While Kneading
Cats often exhibit quirky behaviors that baffle their humans. These include licking or biting blankets and kneading or what many people fondly refer to as making biscuits.
But what does it mean when you see a cat biting blanket while kneading? When a cat sucks or bites a blanket while kneading it, it means that your pet is mimicking the time he was suckling at the teat of his mom. For him, this behavior is an attempt to feel relaxed and comfortable.
Is It Normal For Cats To Lick Blankets
Yes, its very normal for cats to lick and even suck on blankets. Its especially common for your cat to have a favorite blanket that they prefer for this behavior or for them to develop a favorite type of fabric.
Not all cats will lick blankets, but it isnt too concerning if your cat does it from time to time.
Some cats, particularly Persians and Oriental Shorthairs, are more prone to blanket licking than others.
What isnt normal is getting obsessive about blanket licking. If your cat is continuously licking blankets or refuses to stop, then you might be dealing with more concerning behavior.
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Why Do Cats Lick Everything
Have you ever stopped to wonder, Why do cats lick everything?
The floors, the furniture, themselves, us, clothes, and sheets can all wind up being the target of a cats tongue. Nothing seems to be out of the question regarding what a cat is willing to lick.
Cats might be licking everything that isnt food if they are suffering a condition called pica the eating of non-food items. A major cause of Pica is a nutritional imbalance. However, this is only one of several possibilities and should be considered if the licking is excessive.
Pica can be the reason why your cat is obsessively licking carpets, floors, couches, furniture, walls, curtains, blankets, bedsheets, and litterboxes. Pica can happen if a cat suffers from anemia, which in most cases, can be treated with supplements.
Other reasons could be things that we cant see or smell, that the cat is picking up on, and feels the need to take care of it the only way they can- licking. Not every strange thing a cat might get caught doing has to mean that theres a health issue.
However, health concerns can play a role in excessive licking when it comes to cats. It can help you to narrow reasoning down if you pay attention to the different spots that theyre licking.
Sometimes, a glance can tell the tale as to why theyve concentrated on a particular spot or an item.
In an effort to separate the natural and concerning reasons why a cat would feel like licking odd things, each section below is broken up into two parts.
Train Your Cat With Positive Reinforcement
Did you know that positive reinforcement can also help to stop your cat from licking your blanket? Not only will this address the behavior, but it will also train your cat to be more behaved in an enjoyable way. The main gist is to reward your cat when hes doing something you want .
Reward your cat with treat or affection immediately when he did the desired action to help him understand that its because of that action. Perhaps its after he jumped to the bed and laid down without licking the blanket. However, remember that theres no need to physically punish or yell at your cat because it teaches him nothing besides fear or insecurity.
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How To Make Sure Your Cats Needs Are Being Met
1. Make sure to meet the environmental needs of catsalways! Virtually every stress-related behavior in cats can be attributed to a lack of proper resources.
Separate eating, elimination and sleeping areas are paramount to a cats sense of well-being. Providing both hiding spaces and vertical escape areas, like cat trees, as well as making sure there are adequate, separate resources for each cat in a multiple-cat household, are vital to preventing most behavioral disorders in cats. AAFP reference
2. If cat suckling seems to be caused by stress, try to eliminate or minimize stressors by using a synthetic pheromone, like a Feliway plug-in diffuser, or by giving your cat extra attention and playtime.
3. Provide access to something that satisfies their suckling urge but wont harm them. Long strands of wool or other linear material can be problematic and should be avoided. Keep blankets, sweaters or other articles of clothing out of their reach, and if the cat’s desired object is a piece of furniture, isolate her from that room.
4. Provide your cat with some mental stimulation. Boredom can be a part of the suckling, so it is a good idea to try playing, exercising, using puzzle toys or offering cat treats or small amounts of cat food to redirect the behavior and satisfy some of their other natural predation urges.
If the cat does not have another cat in the household to play with, consider adopting another cat.
Image via KanphotoSS/Shutterstock.com
Reasons For Your Cat’s Newfound Blanket Sucking Habit
Kittens and adult cats alike can develop some interesting habits that we humans find strange. Cats behaviors largely stem from evolutionary instincts and behaviors they learn as kittens from their siblings and mothers. One somewhat strange behavior cats may partake in is sucking or chewing on blankets or similar types of fabric.
The sucking behavior is often accompanied by purring and kneading. This behavior might perplex some pet owners or even make them nervous, since blanket chewing could potentially lead to upset stomachs or intestinal blockages. The habit can also lead to the destruction of some of your favorite blankets or sweaters.
As it turns out, there are more than a few reasons why cats might take up a blanket sucking habit either as a kitten or an adult. The reasons may differ with age, and each cat is unique, but the following three are the most common causes.
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How To Stop It
OK, youre not enamored by the thought of cat drool everywhere, so maybe its time to give kitty something to take his mind off things. If hes under a year, the chances are good that hell just grow out of it.
The first thing to do is remove the offending blanket from kittys sight! If he cant see it, he cant suckle it. Sometimes this is enough to put him off forever, but there are some kitties who are so determined that nothing will stop them. Then employ diversionary tactics
As soon as you see him getting into a pre-sucking mode, start with the distraction techniques.
Why Is My Cat Licking My Walls And Curtains
Cats can either lick or chew right down to the sheetrock if they do it often enough on the same spot. And licking curtains rarely end with licking alone when allowed to continue.
You may wind up finding your curtain with wear or discoloration in the spot of the curtain that the cat has been busy with.
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Your Cat Sucking On Blankets Or Other Fabrics Is A Form Of Relaxation
Another answer to Why do cats suck on blankets? Like thumb sucking in little children, nursing wool is a behavior that provides a sense of comfort and safety. A sensitive kitten may grow up into a fabric-sucking cat because that behavior reminds her of being safe and surrounded by her mother and littermates.
Is Cat Suckling A Symptom Of A Disease
The diseases that would be direct causes of adult cat suckling would be behavioral disorders. These include a lack of environmental stimulation, various anxiety disorders and environmental stress or conflict.
There is no known organ-specific disease that cat suckling is related to however, if it begins fairly spontaneously, it could be a sign of pain or other stress, and the cat could be suckling as a coping strategy.
In this case, a veterinarian should definitely be consulted. A full health history, medical exam and possibly bloodwork should be done to determine an underlying medical cause.
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Your Cat Is Suffering From Pica
Pica is the behavioral urge to ingest non-food items like fabrics, paper, plastic, and cardboard. Cats usually have this urge as a means to soothe or entertain themselves or to satisfy dietary cravings. Cat experts believe that certain breeds like the Siamese are more predisposed to suffer from pica.
These are some of the causes of pica:
- dietary deficiencies
What to do if your cat has pica:
If you suspect that your cat has pica, you should bring her to the vet for a thorough evaluation. Remove any objects she wants to chew like cords, blankets, or carpet within your cats vicinity. Give your cat safe objects to chew like catnip-filled toys and puzzle feeders and spend at least 30 minutes with your cat each day for some playtime. Also, consult your vet on the nutritional requirements needed for your cats diet and if there is a need to switch her food.
Your Cat May Be Having An Obsessive
Cats may develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder which is manifested by repetitive and compulsive behavior. Your cat may groom herself repeatedly in the same spot and extend the grooming to other items like the carpet. The main causes may be genetic or stress-induced due to changes in your cats routine or the presence of new pets or strangers.
Here are other signs and symptoms of feline OCD:
- may obsessively suck, lick, or chew fabric wool-sucking
- tail-chasing and self-mutilation
- repetitive pacing and vocalizing
- sensitivity to touch and twitching of skin on the back,also called feline hyperesthesia syndrome
To alleviate the condition, provide your cat with stuffed or plush cat toys to keep herself active and occupied. Place cardboard boxes and safe havens for your cat where she can retreat and have privacy. Keep her litter box clean and avoid further routine changes. Synthetic pheromones like Feliway Classic may also be helpful to make your cat calm and relaxed.
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What Motivate The Average Cats To Lick And Chew Blankets
As mentioned above, there are multiple probable causes behind the cat’s obsession with blankets. That also means the answer to the question of “why do cats lick blankets” varies greatly from case to case. Here are a couple of reasons why ordinary cats got attracted to blankets as well as fabric items in general.
Why Do Cats Lick Blankets: Probable Causes And Expert Suggestions
why do cats lick blanket
Generally speaking, while cats are indeed adorable creatures, they would behave in a rather eccentric manner every now and then. Given the pet well-known reputation for unpredictability, you don’t really have to worry too much about the quirky behaviors of your fluffy friend. Your cat have a compulsion to lick, suckle and chew blankets? That is a bit annoying but no big deal. However, in certain cases, there is a good chance that something is wrong if cats are repeatedly drawn toward nonfood items around the house. Prompt attention is essential in order to ensure that your pet is in good health.
“So why do cats lick blankets anyway?” you might wonder. In case you are searching for a straight answer, this article is for you. Right down below is all the information about wool sucking and fabric eating in cats that you need to know. Overall, a lot of things could make your cat become obsessed with licking and chewing blankets in its immediate vicinity. Nonetheless, once you get the hang of the fundamentals, it’s not too difficult to do away with that behavior. just put what you learn here into practice and the situation would likely improve in a blink of an eye.
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