As much as 50% of your cat’s waking hours are spent grooming himself. So it may come as a surprise to you when you see him licking anything else that is not his body. No matter how adorable they are, cats are indeed unpredictable creatures. You could simply assign his licking tendency towards inanimate objects to the list of the hundreds of quirky behaviors he has. But what point is that alright?
This is why, you might ask yourself, why is my cat licking my blanket so much? Cats have a tendency to lick and chew blankets for reasons that could range from stress and boredom to OCD or Pica disorder. Depending on the frequency and manner of the cat and the object in question that he is licking, you can decipher the meaning of what is concerning and what is just playtime for your cats.
In this article, you will find details on the bigger reasons and the ways in which you can prevent the licking behavior of your cat toward non-food items to make sure that he is always in good health.
Why is my cat licking my blanket?
The reasons why your cat could be licking your blanket can include an early separation from his mother, anxiety, a sign of happiness, pica disorder, OCD, or when he is searching for flavors.
Kittens should not be usually separated from their moms unless at least 12 weeks old. This is important for a well-socialized and healthy cat. But when you take a younger kitten, you may find it licking the blanket as it reminds him of his mother. This is most common in Siamese cats.
When your cat has been newly moved into your house, or you have moved somewhere else with your old cat, he may feel stressed.
To keep his anxiety normal, you can find him grooming items he doesn’t regularly lick, and that is sure to include the blankets. Things usually get better, and your cat stops licking once he is used to the environment.
Sign of Trust/Happiness
Cats often lick their humans to show signs of happiness. Licking your blanket or your clothes can be a sign that your cat trusts you. This licking behavior means that he is in a safe space with you, especially when strangers are present in the room.
When your cat is chilling and relaxing, you will often find him kneading on things that you own. If your blanket is nearby at that time, this can be a good reason why your cat is licking the blanket.
Nutritional Deficiency/Pica Disorder
Licking your blanket can be a sign that your cat is deficient in some nutrients and can indicate him being afflicted by Pica. In the latter case, he may not be just licking clothes but also dirt.
Pica comes off as the urge to eat anything that is inedible. It arises when your cat wants to have fat or fibers in the diet. If your cat’s dietary needs lack these, and if this is tied with him licking blankets desperately, it could signify Pica.
If there are actually deficiencies in your cat’s current diet, then you need to take him to the vet and check for Pica or signs of diabetes. Without proper treatment, Pica can cause intestine blockage in the cat.
Searching for Flavors
Since they can smell really good, when they identify the smell of spilled food or drink on the blanket or carpet, they may lick it out of a sense of curiosity.
Even without food, if you have any other scents on your blanket by mistake, your cat would jump and lick on it to discover what the smell means. As long as it does not eliminate a chance of licking noxious chemicals, this is mostly harmless.
Cats with OCD tend to lick blankets continually even when the reasons above aren’t present, just because they can’t control themselves and for no apparent reason. Licking the same spot over and over again, be it on the blanket or other clothes, can induce self-harm in cats and can even indicate a sign of persistent stress-turning-OCD, which they could use as a coping mechanism.
Why does my cat lick fabric?
Your cat can lick fabrics to relax. If you have a sensitive kitty, you may find it licking fabric more often than other cats as the fabric may remind him of his mother and littermates.
It can also come off as a compulsive behavior in the cat, which may further signal frustration or stress. If you find that besides licking fabric, your cat is rapidly gaining or losing off pounds, and his licking cannot be redirected to something else, this needs to stop as licking/chewing the fabric can cause him to swallow threads.
Why do cats like fuzzy blankets?
Cats like fuzzy blankets as they make them feel warm and protected. They love the feeling of the fuzziness, which makes them cozy. The affinity towards a fluffy texture may increase more when it is snuggle season.
In that case, you can cover your cat in blankets. If they do not like being covered but instead want to just lay on the blanket, let them have their own one so that they can play with it when they want.
Why is the cat licking carpet?
Your cat can be licking the carpet if you have recently or months ago spilled food or drink on the carpet, and it hasn’t washed off well. It could also be a sign of pica disorder.
Pica comes off as an urge to lick all that is non-edible and inanimate. While Pica can include several reasons that may need addressing and you can’t pinpoint a single cause for the behavior, it may include the reasons such as being weaned when your cat was too young, having dietary deficiencies in the regular meals, genetics which was inherited from pure breeding, boredom arising from stress or compulsive disorder.
There may be underlying issues such as diabetes or even leukemia. So you should see a vet if your cat has been doing it for too long.
Does my cat know it’s my hand under the blanket?
It actually depends on the cat if it knows that you have your hands under the blanket and are playing with him.
If your cat has seen you take your hands under the blanket to play with him, then he knows for sure. Also, if it’s a relatively thinner blanket from which your cat can get your smell, he knows it’s you.
However, if the cat hasn’t seen you sneak your hand into the blanket, and it is a thicker one, then he may not be able to tell that it is you. But in most cases, the cat actually knows it’s you and that you are trying to entertain him.
Why is my cat sniffing and licking the floor?
Your cat can sniff and lick the floor if he is anxious, stressed, or simply bored. He may also be trying to get your attention by licking the floor as he knows that you will come to a stop him eventually.
However, if it’s been a couple of weeks now that your cat has been doing this, it can lead him to develop OCD, so it is better if you take him to the vet.
Why does my cat lick the floor when I scratch his back?
Your cat can lick the floor when you are scratching his back; then it may be a sign that your cat has a connection with you just like it did with the mother.
When you are scratching the cat, it reminds him of the kitten times when the mama used to groom his coat to find out everything in it, like fleas and dirt, and get it out for him.
Cats associate your scratching with grooming, and they do what they did near the mama, and since they can’t lick you at the time, they lick the floor, showing that they feel secure and also peaceful when you are present.
How do I stop my cat from licking blankets?
If you want to stop your cat from licking the blanket, you could try reducing his stress, using deterrent sprays on the blanket, and improving your cat’s diet.
You can do the following:
- Try to socialize your cat by increasing playtime with him, with the family and with other cats so that he does not grow stressed when you are not around and can keep himself happy with toys and his own company.
- Talk to your vet and improve your cat’s diet according to his health. Have an allergy test conducted to find what works and doesn’t work for him.
- You need to use milder detergents to wash your blankets and fabrics that do not have a really strong smell and do not entice your cat to come to observe and lick them. Also, use a non-toxic deterrent spray on the blanket.
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