. . . and why does my cat lick plastic, wood, glass, concreat
If your cat licks you, you can be sure that your cat likes and trusts you.
Licking is part of grooming; a mother cat will clean up her kittens with her tongue right after birth and continue to groom them in this way in the following weeks.
Young litter-mates will lick and groom each other as well as themselves.
Older cats too will engage in mutual grooming with their tongues, they find it pleasurable and they can groom places on each other that they can’t reach by themselves.
But they will only groom another cat that they are
friendly with and are confident with.
So to have your cat groom you, you can be sure that your cat has affection for you and you are someone that she or he is comfortable to be with.
If your cat has never licked you does it mean she has no affection for you? No of course it doesn’t. It is only some cats that show affection by licking, many others show it with the head bump, or rub and some are not demonstrative at all.
A cat may also lick because a human’s skin can taste slightly salty.
There are those that believe a cat licking your face means more than affection, it means the cat accepts and respects you as a leader. It is only some people’s theory but, who knows, it could be so.
This can seem puzzling, it’s almost as if your cat is saying she likes and hates you at the same time! It’s not that at all of course.
The bites that we are talking about here are little nips.
It’s all part of grooming; the cat uses both her tongue and teeth to groom, so again, she is showing her affection for you.
Those little nips can hurt though.
A human’s nerve endings are much closer to the skin than they are for a cat, and there is no protective fur covering, so a nip that doesn’t hurt a cat at all can be quite nasty for a human.
Your cat means no harm when she licks and bites you.
Nobody knows for certain why some cats lick or chew plastic. It thought that the slight odor is what attracts them to it and they find licking the smooth, cool surface a pleasant experience.
Gelatin and animal fats are ingredients in the manufacturing process for some types of plastic; it is possible that the cat can taste them.
Your cat licking plastic is probably harmless enough, but it is best that you don’t allow her to lick photographs.
Chewing plastic is a different matter and should be discouraged; pieces can be chewed off and swallowed.
Licking concrete, or cement, could be a symptom that your cat is anemic.
There are many other symptoms of anemia, such as very pale gums, but if your cat is in the habit of licking concrete it would be advisable to consult your veterinarian.
Some cats have passion for licking wood. If it is a particular spot on a wooden surface that gets the cat’s attention, it could be that something has been spilled on it sometime and the cat can taste it. Harmless as long as there is no danger of splinters or varnish being licked off.
It is not unknown for cats to lick glass or mirrors; they probably find the smooth surface cool on their tongue.
Some people find having their feline lick them becomes a little irritating after a while. A cat’s tongue is rough and some cats can become quite obsessive about licking.
It is not enough for them to give their human the occasional groom with their tongue, they have to show their affection by continually licking each time they are picked up and cuddled.
If this is your problem, how do you stop it?
You can try a quiet but firm “No” each time your cat starts to lick and then gently putting your cat down. This is not likely to be successful if the habit has become ingrained in your cat however.
In that case try distracting her with one of her favorite toys, take her attention away from you. If you play with her each time that she tries to lick you, her licking habit might be transferred to the toy.
All cats spend a lot of time grooming their coats, it’s important for them to keep their coat in top condition. But if a cat continually licks at one particular spot on her coat it could be an indication that there is a problem.
Not only that, but the excessive licking could cause a bald patch, or even break the skin. See Cat Excessively Grooming.