“Why are cats the way they are?” you wonder while you’re watching your fluffy friend going completely crazy. “Why does my cat keep licking the carpet?” you utter under your breath, knowing there’s nobody there to hear you and answer your pleas.
Maybe you’re thinking of getting a fluffer to help you get through the winter. Or you’re planning on snuggling with a mischievous monster you found at your doorstep. But, chances are you caught a glimpse of the strange, bizarre behaviors we’re talking about.
Cats are capricious, curious, and absolutely adorably entertaining!
Who, other than your feline friend, would ever think to do the “elevator butt” thing to get your attention? Who, other than that guilty-looking gentleman lounging on your lap, would think to knock down the flowers your boyfriend’s parents bought you to assert dominance?
And who, other than that precious purrincess purring her day away, would think to mark her territory by destroying your Urban Outfitters velvet sofa? Not that you’re annoyed (or anything of the sort). But, you would think she would have some manners considering she thinks she’s the Queen of England most days.
“Do other cats like licking the carpet?” you go back to your monologue while you’re watching your four-legged friend switch carpets. Truth be told, the kitchen carpet probably tastes better, considering the fact you dropped the entire thing of lasagna on the floor yesterday. Oh, that’s why she’s doing that, right?
More times than not, carpet licking shouldn’t be a cause for you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. But, for the sake of sleeping better at night, we’ve gathered a bunch of reasons why your kitty might be taking advantage of your carpet’s hors d’oeuvres a little too much.
Why does your cat keep licking the carpet?
“Why does my cat keep licking the carpet!? Don’t get me wrong, she licks everything that comes her way, but carpets are where she should draw the line!”
As much as your fluffer makes you the happiest human ever, you have to agree – you don’t always understand her. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Cats don’t shy away from employing odd communication methods. They don’t necessarily have other ways of saying how “hungry they are after eating two servings of Fancy Feast.” But, nothing prepares you for what that thing of fluff does when she doesn’t suppose anybody’s watching her.
“She licks the carpet. She licks the floors. And, she even licks the shower curtains when she’s done listening to my rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted To You” over and over again.” Truth be told, there doesn’t seem to be a day when you don’t wonder whether she’s gone off the deep end.
But cats employ licking as means of communication all the time. As a matter of fact, they think of licking as something comforting. That’s why they lick the kittens when they’re crying for food or you when you’re crying because you broke up with your boyfriend… Again.
Of course, you might need a little help understanding what your cat’s trying to communicate when she’s licking the carpet. That’s why we’re here. We’re bringing you eight different reasons why your fluffer might be licking your Halloween ghost rug from HomeGoods.
Let’s get started, right?
1. She’s suffering from a condition known as Pica
“What on Earth could Pica be?!” sounds like something you would utter right about meow. Pica’s a health niggle (an eating disorder, to be more precise) that compulsively causes your fluffer to munch on things that aren’t food – things such as floors, sofas, blankets, and carpets.
Now, the origins and the causes of Pica aren’t known. But that’s not to say that there aren’t theories galore suggesting why the two of you might be dealing with such a strange health problem. First things first, one of the most common culprits seems to be stress.
Maybe your kitty’s been having a hard time getting used to the apartment. Maybe you brought a dog home. Or maybe your neighbors got a set of drums they haven’t stopped playing for the past couple of months (and badly, too).
Whatever the case might be, your fluffy friend might have gotten Pica due to stress and anxiety.
On the other hand, a dietary deficiency could be the cause of compulsive munching on carpets and other wooly bits and bobs, too. Whatever the case might be, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Make sure you rule out Pica before you move on to other reasons.
2. She tastes that dinner you dropped on the floor
Whether your cat keeps licking the carpet because she’s dealing with a health problem, or because she’s munching on that lasagna you dropped on the floor, you can never get used to the fact that she’s doing that.
Come on, she’s been scoffing down Fancy Feasts and Meow Mix morsels aplenty. And these two weren’t able to prevent such an embarrassing ordeal?!
Before you start freaking out and FaceTiming your vet at 10 p.m. on a Sunday, you might want to check whether she’s eating something off of the carpet. She could be chewing on a cat treat that escaped her mouth earlier that day.
Or she could be licking something you dropped but didn’t clean because you thought your Roomba would do the trick. But, on the off chance that she’s licking the carpet each and every day, you might want to clean your carpets a little more often (wink wink).
3. She’s stressed out over something
Here’s the thing – you’re forgetting about the fact that kitties resort to odd behaviors when they’re stressed out. Sure, maybe she’s not dealing with Pica and munching on carpets because she’s under the weather.
But maybe she’s scared of something that’s happened beforehand. Maybe she’s annoyed with the fact you haven’t been spending enough time with her. Maybe she’s stressed out because she hasn’t been getting enough physical activity or playtime.
Cats deal with a lot of emotions, contrary to popular belief. Whether they appear standoffish or detached, they’re communicating whatever they’re going through. And your cat might be licking the carpets because she’s having a physical response to whatever’s going on.
Observe her behavior and ask for help when necessary. Other than that, give her plenty of affection, cuddles, and snuggles to make sure she feels loved.
4. She’s “grooming” the carpet
“Oh no, my cat’s licking the carpet! She must be doing that because something’s wrong!” Pet parents around the world say things like that because they’re scared of health problems, behavior problems, or anything wrong happening to that curious creature sleeping on the sofa.
But make sure you’re not overlooking an obvious answer because of your fears.
Chances are your kitty probably groomed herself while you were petting her at least on one occasion. And, she’s probably (accidentally or on purpose) licked your hand, your fingers, or whatever part of your body was closest to her mouth.
Of course, there was nothing to freak out over because you knew she only did that because she wanted to groom you. And that’s probably why she’s licking the carpet. Maybe the texture of the carpet reminds her of her fluff. Or maybe she’s appreciating the fact that she can groom something other than herself.
5. She’s bored
Be honest – how many times have you caught yourself doing something weird because you were bored? Playing with your younger brother’s toys? Throwing a ball against the wall? Or scoffing down an entire can of Pringles moments after you’ve eaten your dinner?
There’s nothing to be ashamed of, but your cat might be doing the same thing. Make sure you’re paying attention to other cues to know for sure whether she’s not getting enough playtime, physical activity, and attention.
While cats adore lounging around and doing nothing for most of the day, they need to have at least some mental stimulation. And, you’re responsible for providing your cat with that. Licking the carpet might be your cat’s way of saying, “Umm, there’s literally nothing to do other than lick the damn carpet!”
6. She’s hungry and you haven’t fed her “for days”
We need to break this one down. First and foremost, your kitty might actually be hungry. Maybe you were busy working from home and you completely forgot to feed her. Maybe she didn’t like the food you gave her. But you didn’t notice she hadn’t eaten anything for the majority of the day.
Whatever the case might be, there’s a pawsibility she’s licking the carpet to suggest she’s looking to munch on something.
On the other hand, cats are sneaky, manipulative little rascals. Trust me, we’re not stepping over the line when we suggest your kitty might be playing tricks on you. She’s communicating that she’s hungry even though she scoffed down the entire thing of Meow Mix you gave her fifteen minutes ago.
Tricky situation, but don’t succumb to her wishes.
7. She wants your attention
Oh, the things cats would do to get your attention! Licking the carpet seems to be the least of your worries because your cat would probably nibble on your fingers, wait outside your bedroom door while you’re sleeping, and knock things down off of your kitchen counters – to get your attention.
But the good news seems to be the fact that there’s probably nothing wrong with her. Make sure you observe her behavior when she’s not licking the carpet and determine whether she’s lacking attention. Remember – some kitties are more clingy and needy than others.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with giving your cat the attention and appreciation she needs. But don’t encourage anything you’re not comfortable with doing for a long period.
8. She feels safe and secure
Last but not least, a fluffer feeling safe and secure has to be the best thing a pet parent can ask for! But that’s totally a pawsibility, considering that cats communicate how they feel through body language, strange sounds, and even stranger behaviors.
Therefore, when your cat’s licking the carpet, she’s probably communicating how comfortable she feels around you.
As we’ve mentioned beforehand, licking makes for a pretty paramount part of every kitty’s life. Cats employ licking as a form of grooming, comforting, soothing, and even showing love (mothers lick kittens all the time).
Maybe she’s licking the carpet when you’re petting her and that’s her way of showing she’s having the best time of her life – how adorable!
When does carpet licking become a problem?
As you probably figured out, your cat might be licking the carpet for a bunch of different reasons. Some sound scary and might make you rethink everything you thought you knew about cats. Others make you sigh with relief, knowing there’s nothing wrong with your favorite fluffer.
Whatever the cause for such strange behavior might be, when does carpet licking become a problem?
Other than the pawsibility of your cat having Pica (make sure you check that with your veterinarian), you might not want her munching on something dirty, beaming with chemicals, and might rush her to the ER.
Not to mention she might be munching on something she found on the carpet. Trust me, a foreign object might easily become a choking hazard.
Make sure you’re always keeping an eye on your kitty! When you notice she’s licking the carpet or munching on something she found on the floor, always check whether you should stop her before she does something stupid. Good luck!