When you think about it, cats really are fascinating creatures. There are many odd behaviors they exhibit and blanket-licking is just one of them.
Considering you’re here reading this, it probably means you’ve noticed your cat is licking your blanket. You’re wondering: “This is strange – why is my cat licking my blanket?!“
The reason behind it is most likely harmless, but there are rare instances where it can mean something isn’t quite right. Continue reading in order to gain a better understanding of this behavior.
Why Is My Cat Licking My Blanket?
Let’s jump right into it. Here are a few explanations for blanket-licking:
1. It Is Comforting For Them
This is the same answer as for the question Why does my cat knead? Sometimes they do these things because it is comforting or relaxing for them.
Licking a blanket is making them feel safe and there is nothing wrong with this.
Us humans have our own comforting behaviors, such as hugging a person we love. Well, cats have their own little comforting rituals too – and this is one of them.
Alongside blanket licking and kneading, purring is also commonly observed and this is another sign of self-soothing .
2. Your Cat May Have Experienced Early Separation From Its Mother
A few studies have shown a correlation between early separation of a kitten from its mother (and littermates) and blanket licking.
These cats have a tendency to suckle and lick their blankets, probably because it reminds them in some way of their mother.
This usually happens to kittens that have been given up for adoption before they moved on from their mother’s milk to solid food.
Memories of a mother can bring comfort to adult cats when they are feeling anxious.
3. Your Cat Trusts You
If your feline friend is doing this comforting action right there in front of you – it is a huge sign of trust! This may take place while your cat is next to you or in your lap.
This is a sign of affection and it shows you that your cat feels comfortable around you and trusts you enough to express their vulnerability.
Indeed, they are vulnerable when doing it. It shows you that your kitty isn’t only a playful trouble-maker.
Why does my cat knead? Well – for the same reason! They trust you. It’s funny how different behaviors have the same meaning, huh?
4. They Associate The Smell Or Texture With Comfort
It is possible for the blanket to have a scent that reminds your cat of their kittenhood. Being a kitten, with their mothers and littermates is a happy time in your cat’s life.
Cats exhibit a number of behaviors that remind them of those times, and this is one of them.
Also, the scent that brings them comfort can be yours or that of someone else your little friend also loves.
5. Your Cat Might Be Stressed Or Anxious
Cats are known to be able to self-soothe and licking a blanket can be one way of doing so.
Blanket-licking can trigger a release of feel-good hormones, known as endorphins, that makes your pet feel a lot better.
Your task should be to find out why your cat feels stressed or anxious in the first place.
Feline anxiety should not be taken lightly but luckily, it’s not such a terrible problem. It can usually be easily resolved.
6. Your Cat Might Have Pica Disorder
Pica is an eating disorder characterized by cats obsessively licking and even eating inedible items.
Characteristics of pica disorder are easily observable: fabric licking, wool sucking, tearing fabric apart in order to eat it, and actually eating things like hair binders, paper, cardboard, plants, soil and other things that are not food items.
This can cause intestinal blockage, diarrhea, vomiting, general weakness and decreased appetite. Every symptom is dangerous by itself, but intestinal blockage is the most dangerous one because it can lead to a deadly outcome.
Why Does My Cat Lick Fabric?
If you’re asking this question, you’ve noticed your cat licking fabric items more than normal or in a way that you consider excessive.
This is not healthy cat behavior. In the majority of cases, excessive licking of non-food items is a sign of pica disorder, so make sure to go to the vet’s office.
Why Is My Cat Licking The Bed?
Your cat can be licking your bed for a few reasons. It could be that this action is providing comfort to them. This is especially the case if your bed is warm, cozy and has your scent.
If your cat is actually licking the bed-frame, this is in no way a normal behavior and can mean your cat has pica disorder. Excessive licking of the sheets and blankets is not good either, so make sure to devote some time to dealing with this issue.
7. It’s Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
OCD is a behavioral disorder that makes the cat engage in repetitive, excessive acts – and blanket licking can be one.
It can be accompanied by other repetitive acts (such as over-grooming), but sometimes blanket-licking is the only sign.
Either way, you need to visit the vet’s office as they will know best what to do. It must be noted that this is not the most likely answer to Why is my cat licking my blanket, so do not panic!
8. It Can Be Due To A Few Simple (And Funny) Reasons
You pet owners might laugh while reading this, considering how straightforward some of these explanations are.
However, they are the most common reasons for blanket licking, so it’s our duty to mention them.
Your Cat Is Just Bored
Do you know that song by The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself?! Your cat is singing it in its head while licking your blanket.
The reason can be as simple as boredom, so just make sure to provide your cat something else to do in the form of toys and climbing frames.
Interesting read: How Long Does A Cat Hold A Grudge? How’s Your Cat’s Memory?
Your Blanket Contains Some Spilled Food Or Drinks
If you’re a fan of watching Netflix on your bed while snacking – this is a very real possibility.
Try remembering if you spilled something on your bed by accident and pop the blanket into the washing machine.
Your Cat Likes The Texture Of The Blanket
Maybe your blanket is not an ordinary blanket and your (little bit weird) cat likes the texture of it. Occasional meowing may be included too to let you know they are happy.
Licking the blanket, for whatever reason, provides pleasure to your cat. It’s not very likely, but you never know, right?!
Your Cat Simply Likes Doing It
Another very harmless and very possible reason. If you also hear some purrs – it’s a good sign.
Also, some cat breeds, such as Siamese and Oriental cats, are known to enjoy licking more than others. Is your cat one of these two breeds?
Cats are known for having a number of strange behaviors, and this is one of them. Your little friend can simply enjoy the action of licking blankets and who are we to judge?
Is It Normal If Cats Lick Blankets?
An answer to this depends on the frequency of the blanket-licking. Observe if your cat is licking the blanket:
• on occasion/ very rarely
• very often, for a considerable amount of time daily
If it is on occasion, there is absolutely nothing to worry about, just monitor whether it becomes more frequent over time.
If it is often, then you need to devote some time to this issue, considering there may be an underlying issue that is making your cat repeat this behavior.
If it is extremely often, we recommend taking your pet to a vet. Very frequent licking can indicate a more serious problem and the vet will know how to handle it properly.
Why Do Cats Lick… Stuff?
Cat owners might find themselves asking this peculiar question.
Licking is a normal cat behavior and a common thing for them to do.
Licking is normal when your feline friend is grooming itself or expressing love to other cats or humans. In any other instance, such as licking non-food items, the licking should be minimal.
Do cats lick blankets? Yes. Is it normal? Kind of. How much is normal? See below!
How Much Licking Is Normal?
Small amounts of licking items such as blankets or other fabric is perfectly normal, but very frequent or compulsive licking is not.
The main reason for persistent licking is stress. This can be observed in excessive self-grooming (more in females compared to male cats) and licking non-food items.
In this case, a change in behavior is needed and maybe even a quick trip to the vet.
A Quick Tip
Keep an eye on your cat to see if they are scratching and licking themselves too!
Fleas can be a cause of compulsive licking – and we don’t want that. Besides fleas, there are other nasty creatures that cause discomfort to your pet.
Make sure to pay attention to this.
How To Prevent This Behavior? 6 Tips!
Now that you have an answer to Why is my cat licking my blanket?, you might wonder How do I stop my cat from doing it?
The best tips we can give you are the following:
1. Create A Stress-Free Zone
Eliminate all potential stress-triggers around the house.
Avoid changing your cat’s routine or creating a new environment as these are the most common reasons for stress.
For example, don’t change the litter box location and avoid getting a new pet. Reduce the level of noise in your household and don’t cuddle your cat too much.
All of the above mentioned can be a potential source of stress, and by avoiding them, you can reduce the levels of stress your cat experiences, and therefore reduce your cat’s needs for comforting acts, such as licking a blanket.
Pheromones can also help your cat relax. There are pheromone products on the market that come in a spray. This might be a good way of relieving your cat of anxiety.
2. Reward Good Behavior
The same as with any pets (or kids) – good behavior should be rewarded and bad behavior should not.
Avoid giving your cat treats after or during blanket-licking, as this will only reinforce that behavior and that’s something you don’t want!
When your cat completely stops licking the blanket, moves away from it and starts doing something else, you can give your cat a treat as a reward.
3. Find A Better Alternative To Blankets
You can give your cat something else to lick on – try lick mats with food or treats spread out on top. Lick mats are made to make your cat more calm and it is actually entertaining for cats to lick all the crevices and be rewarded by a tasty food item.
4. Get Some Toys
Toys can be a great substitute for a blanket. Cats need mental and physical stimulation and toys provide that. This will solve your problem if your cat is licking a blanket simply because it is bored. You can find some cool toys on Amazon!
Also, if you’re not around (and that’s a potential cause of stress too), toys can occupy your cat’s time and distract your little friend for a while.
5. Make The Blanket Unappealing For Your Cat
You can do this by sprinkling a bit of lavender scent on the blanket. It is a scent cats hate and it will make the blanket completely unattractive for them.
You can also try vanilla scent, but this depends if your cat loves or hates this scent. Alternatively, you can try an anti-licking spray designed for this purpose.
6. Go To The Vet’s Office
Your cat might need medication if pica disorder or OCD are diagnosed.
Diagnosis can be made only by a veterinary doctor so do not diagnose your cat by yourself, even if you observe all the signs of a particular condition.
Wrapping It Up
Now you have an answer to Why is my cat licking my blanket? In the majority of cases, there is absolutely nothing to worry about and blanket-licking means your cat is self-soothing, relieving itself from stress, is just bored, or simply likes licking.
If you’re worried your cat is licking your blanket a bit too much, consider visiting the vet’s office in order to find a solution. Compulsive disorders or pica disorders are not very common, so it’s probably nothing to worry about.
We hope this article has helped ease your mind and given you a better understanding of this cat behavior!
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