If you’ve ever wondered why your cat licks your blanket, you’re not alone. While common among felines, this peculiar behavior can be attributed to factors such as seeking comfort and security, weaning and nursing behavior, stress and anxiety, scent transfer and bonding, and the taste or texture of the blanket.
In this article, we’ll explore the various reasons behind this behaviour and offer tips on how to discourage it if necessary. Let’s dive in!
Understanding Cat Licking Behavior
To understand why your cat may be licking your blanket, it’s essential to recognize why cats generally lick. Here are some common explanations:
Cats often lick themselves or other objects to find comfort and relaxation. This behaviour can be an instinctive response to stress or anxiety, soothing the cat.
b. Grooming and self-care
c. Marking territory
Cats have scent glands in their cheeks, which produce pheromones. When they lick or rub objects, they leave their scent behind, marking their territory and communicating with other cats.
Reasons Why Cats Lick Blankets
Now that we understand the general reasons why cats lick let’s explore the specific factors that might cause your cat to lick your blanket:
a. Seeking comfort and security
Cats may lick blankets because they find the texture soothing and comforting. The covering may remind them of their mother’s fur or a similar sensation from their kittenhood, offering a sense of security.
b. Weaning and nursing behaviour
Suppose your cat was weaned too early or experienced a stressful weaning process. In that case, it might engage in blanket licking to mimic nursing behaviour.
This action can provide them with a sense of comfort and help them cope with stress.
c. Stress and anxiety
Cats may lick blankets when they’re feeling stressed or anxious. This behaviour can serve as a coping mechanism, helping them calm down and regain control.
d. Scent transfer and bonding
Licking your blanket maybe your cat’s way of transferring its scent onto it, marking it as territory, and strengthening its bond with you.
This behaviour helps them feel more secure in their environment.
e. Taste and texture
Some cats are simply attracted to the taste or texture of certain materials, such as wool or synthetic fibers. If your cat enjoys licking your blanket, it may be due to these factors.
How to Discourage Blanket Licking
If your cat’s blanket licking becomes excessive or you’re concerned about the behaviour, consider trying these tips to discourage it:
a. Provide alternative textures
Offer alternative cat items with similar textures, such as a soft toy or a designated “licking blanket.” This can help redirect their licking behaviour to a more appropriate object.
b. Offer mental stimulation and playtime
Boredom and lack of mental stimulation can contribute to blanket licking. Ensure your cat has plenty of toys and engage in interactive play sessions to keep them entertained and mentally challenged.
c. Ensure a calming environment
Reducing stress and anxiety in your cat’s environment can help minimize blanket licking. Create a safe, comfortable space for your cat with cosy hideaways, perches, and familiar scents.
d. Monitor for health issues
If your cat’s sudden or excessive blanket-licking behaviour may indicate an underlying health issue. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical concerns.
Understanding why your cat licks your blanket is essential for addressing the behaviour and ensuring your pet’s well-being.
Recognizing the underlying reasons and providing alternative solutions can help your cat manage stress, anxiety, or boredom more effectively.
1. Is blanket licking harmful to my cat?
In most cases, occasional blanket licking is harmless. However, excessive licking may lead to the ingestion of fibers, which could cause digestive issues.
Consult your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your cat’s blanket licking.
2. Can I use a deterrent spray to stop my cat from licking the blanket?
While deterrent sprays may be effective in some cases, addressing the underlying reasons for the behaviour is essential.
Deterrents should only be used as a last resort, and you should consult your veterinarian before using them.
3. How can I tell if my cat’s blanket licking is stress-related?
If your cat displays other signs of stress, such as hiding, excessive grooming, or aggression, their blanket licking may be stress-related.
Creating a calming environment and providing mental stimulation can help alleviate stress.
4. Is blanket licking a sign of an underlying health issue?
In some cases, excessive blanket licking can be a symptom of a health problem, such as dental issues, skin irritation, or gastrointestinal discomfort.
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect a health concern.
5. Why do cats only lick certain types of blankets?
Cats may be attracted to specific materials or textures, such as wool, fleece, or synthetic fibers.
The blanket’s texture may remind them of their mother’s fur or provide a comforting sensation.