If you’ve ever had a cat that enjoys licking blankets, you’re probably familiar with this cute (and sometimes worrying) behavior. The good news is that blanket licking is a common behavior among cats, so there’s no need to worry if your cat occasionally goes for a blanket. Naturally, as cat owners, we’re curious to know why cats lick blankets.
Cats lick blankets because it feels good and makes them feel cozy. When cats lick blankets, it can mean they are relaxed or anxious. Cats with Pica also lick blankets.
Seems pretty complex, huh? No need to fret; we’ll explore the main causes of cats licking blankets in this article, along with some advice on how to handle it and distinguish between a content blanket licker and one that requires extra care and assistance.
5 Reasons Cats Lick Blankets
Cats frequently lick blankets, but there are a couple of main reasons why they engage in this behavior.
Blanket Licking Is Relaxing and Comforting To Cats
Experts believe that cats lick and suckle on blankets because it provides them with comfort. The feel of various fabrics may bring back memories of nursing as kittens or grooming and snuggling with their siblings.
Your Cat Might Have Been Separated From Their Mother Too Early
It is believed that this behavior is more frequent in cats that were separated from their mothers at an early age. These cats may have a stronger desire to nurse due to the separation, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that licking and nursing blankets is harmful to them. It might just provide them with extra comfort.
Your Cat Trusts You
When cats lick blankets, especially if they bite them and knead their paws as if they are nursing, it makes them more susceptible to harm. If they engage in this behavior while sitting on your lap or beside you, it indicates that they have a high level of trust in you. Your cat is communicating that they believe you will protect them or give them a heads up if there is any danger approaching.
Your Cat Might Have Pica
Sadly, there are occasions when licking blankets can be worrisome. One such situation is if your cat has a habit of biting and devouring anything it sees. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to consult your veterinarian to explore the possibility that your cat has Pica.
Pica is a condition where both people and cats have an eating disorder. This means that your cat has a habit of eating things that are not meant to be eaten. It can be quite dangerous in severe cases, so it’s important to consult your vet for advice on how to handle it. They might suggest treatments to help decrease your cat’s inclination to consume non-food objects.
Stress Is Impacting Your Cats Behavior
Another reason why cats lick blankets is because they might be feeling stressed, especially if the stress has been going on for a long time. In this case, your cat is trying to comfort themselves and make themselves feel better about the situation. This could be why your cat licks blankets more when they are upset or in unfamiliar situations.
It’s similar to purring, which can indicate happiness or discomfort. Cats resort to the same behaviors they exhibit when they are happy as a way to deal with negative emotions.
Is It Normal For Cats To Lick Blankets
Yes, it’s totally normal for cats to lick and even suck on blankets. It’s pretty common for your cat to have a favorite blanket that they like to do this on or for them to have a preferred type of fabric.
Not all cats will lick blankets, but it’s not a big deal if your cat does it occasionally.
Certain breeds of cats, like Persians and Oriental Shorthairs, have a higher tendency to lick blankets compared to other cats.
It’s not usual for cats to become excessively fixated on licking blankets. If your cat keeps licking blankets non-stop or won’t stop despite your efforts, it could indicate a more worrisome behavior.
What Does It Mean When Cats Lick Blankets
When your cat licks blankets, it can have various meanings. Usually, it indicates that your cat feels secure and comfortable in the environment, showing trust and behaving like a kitten.
Sadly, this action can also indicate that your cat is feeling stressed or frightened and is attempting to comfort themselves.
Sometimes, when cats lick blankets excessively, it could mean they have feline pica or that they are not getting enough nutrients from their food. If it’s due to a lack of nutrition, it is believed that cats lick blankets as a way to nurse and find an alternative source of nourishment.
If your cat begins licking blankets and experiencing weight loss, it’s likely a good idea to take them to the vet to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition from their diet.
Why Won’t My Cat Stop Licking My Blanket
There are a few reasons why your cat may continue to lick a blanket. One possibility is that it is their preferred blanket for this behavior, as they may consider it to be their own. However, if your cat is engaging in this behavior more frequently than usual, shows no signs of stopping, or begins to remove fabric or threads from the blanket, then you may be dealing with a cat that is stressed or experiencing pica.
If your cat appears to be overly fixated, it’s probably a good idea to reach out to the vet or schedule an appointment.
Why Does My Cat Lick Fabric
When your cat licks fabric, such as blankets, it usually means they are happy and exhibiting behavior from when they were nursing. However, it’s important to observe your cat to make sure this behavior is harmless and not a sign of a bigger issue.
Fortunately, because this is essentially the identical behavior, the indications of a problem are also identical. Losing or gaining weight quickly, compulsive licking that is difficult to cease or redirect, and licking or chewing that leads to swallowing threads or fragments of fabric are all indications that something is amiss.
How To Stop Your Cat From Licking Blankets
If your cat is licking blankets, there are a few things you can do to make them stop. However, the most important thing is to figure out why they are doing it in the first place. Here are some suggestions to help you begin:
- Help Your Cat Relax: Experiment with giving your cat more attention (if they enjoy socializing), providing them with additional toys, or giving them some alone time away from other animals and humans to see if it lessens their tendency to lick blankets.
- Alter or Enhance Your Cat’s Food: Seek advice from a veterinarian regarding dietary choices suitable for your cat’s age and weight. Think about incorporating moist food if your cat primarily consumes dry food. If this approach proves ineffective, contemplate conducting tests to identify any allergies or food sensitivities your cat may have.
- Clean Your Blankets with a Gentle Soap: If your cat is targeting specific blankets, you can try applying a mild detergent on the blanket to discourage them. The taste of the detergent is likely to deter the behavior. However, ensure that the detergent is safe for pets and has a scent that doesn’t bother you!
- Try Anti-Lick Sprays: Another effective option is using sprays or drops specifically made to discourage cats from licking or clawing. However, it’s important to note that not all pet products are safe, so it’s advisable to choose a trustworthy brand or seek advice from a veterinarian for cat-friendly alternatives.
Things To Consider
It’s crucial to keep in mind that when it comes to your cat’s behavior, it’s more like a negotiation rather than actual training. Cats don’t typically respond well to negative reinforcement, so simply taking away their beloved blankets may not be a lasting solution.
Shouting at your cat or trying other methods to stop the behavior doesn’t work well either. Yelling can make your cat more stressed, which could make them lick blankets even more.
Instead, attempt to understand why your cat is licking blankets and how you can modify their surroundings to be more supportive, enjoyable, or beneficial for them.
It’s important to keep in mind that some cats may lick blankets and fabric consistently, even if you don’t want them to. If you think your cat is one of those, you can try providing them with their own blanket or fabric in a designated area where they can engage in this behavior without bothering you. Keep an eye on the blanket to ensure its safety, clean it from time to time, and discourage your cat from licking other blankets using the methods we mentioned earlier.
If you believe that your cat licking blankets is a way of showing affection and trust, but you find it unpleasant and don’t appreciate it, that’s fine! Just try redirecting your cat’s attention to other signs of affection that are more manageable for you. A cat that enjoys licking blankets might also enjoy being brushed, cuddled, or playing with a favorite toy, as long as you’re engaging with them.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are situations where you can’t fix all of your cat’s issues on your own. If your cat has pica or is experiencing a lot of stress, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad cat owner, that you don’t love them enough, or that their surroundings are not good enough.
Certain cats are naturally more prone to stress.
If your cat is experiencing those situations, it’s important to seek assistance from a veterinarian. Asking for help in caring for your pet is nothing to be embarrassed about; it’s completely acceptable.