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Why Do Cats Lick Blankets? Harmless Fun Or Harmful Habit?

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets? Harmless Fun Or Harmful Habit?

“Why do cats lick blankets? Why do cats do anything that they do!?” you utter under your breath because you don’t want to hurt your precious purrincess’ feelings. “You’re a weirdo, but you’re my weirdo!” you mumble, knowing she doesn’t understand a word you’re saying.

Argh, being a pet parent is such a demanding and nerve-racking thing! You absolutely adore your fluffy friend, but you’re pretty frustrated with the fact that she keeps doing things you don’t understand. You’re pretty sure her quirky antics have peaked – and she’s not even a teenager yet!

“How can you be adorable and annoying AT THE SAME TIME!?” You almost feel like you’re back at your ex’s apartment trying to decipher what the heck he meant when he blurted out “You remind me of my mother!” That’s the level of what-the-heck’s-going-on your cat’s reaching!

What’s the thing with winking and sneering, for example? She keeps doing that whenever you are having a Netflix night together. She seems like she’s flirting with you and you can’t stop wondering whether you’re making things up. You’re not – winking is known as a “cat’s kiss.”

And, what’s the deal with head butting? She rubs her head on you whenever she sees you – when you come home from work, when she wakes up from a long nap, and even after watching Netflix (and napping) for four hours. Worry not, she’s simply claiming you as one of her own.

But, what about the blanket-licking thing? Why do cats lick blankets? Your mischievous monster licks and sucks on every blanket she can get her paws on (she even “makes biscuits” on your clothes!) Cute, sure, but what about your spit-soaked bedding!? We’ve gathered all the intel you need!

Why do cats lick blankets?

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets Harmless Fun Or A Harmful Habit

You’re looking at your fluffy friend while she’s sleeping on your bed. You don’t necessarily let her sleep on your bed, but how can you say no to her beautiful, fluffy paws and begging eyes? You don’t even have the time to regret your decision when she wakes up, lets out a little purr, and starts licking your blanket.

“Wait, what? Why do cats lick blankets? Are they hungry? Are they trying to munch on the woolen thing because it reminds them of something they’ve eaten before?” You’re not the only pet parent wondering about these things. Cats have been licking blankets, sofas, clothes and floors for a while now.

And, there’s nothing wrong with it. You can relax, your feline friend hasn’t gone off the rails – she’s simply communicating with you with the help of her tongue. As a matter of fact, cats often use their tongues as means of communication.

More times than not, the whole licking thing means “I’m happy” or “I’m safe.” Trust me, cats aren’t that complicated to figure out and your cat’s probably somewhere laughing her little butt off at you trying to decipher her licks. Take a look at some other meanings below (thank me when you’re done!)

And why do cats suck on blankets?

“Licking isn’t the same as sucking, right? When my cat licks on the blanket, she’s pretty much done within 30 seconds, but when she sucks on the blanket, she does it for the rest of the day! What does that mean?

You’re not wrong; licking and sucking are two completely different things in the feline world. And yes, cats can suck on blankets for a really long time without getting tired.

As a matter of fact, one of the main reasons cats suck on blankets is that they find the whole sucking thing super soothing. Sucking on a blanket reminds them of suckling on their mothers when they were little kittens.

How cute, and utterly heart-wrenching does that sound? Makes you want to buy every single woolen blanket on the market to keep your furbaby happy and healthy forever. And yes, the blanket has to be woolen because the very “sucking on the blanket” thing is known as “wool sucking.”

So, go ahead and put your cat’s heart back together with the softest, warmest blanket you can get your hands on. But, don’t forget one thing – there’s a pretty decent pawsibility your cat’s not sucking on the blanket because she’s remembering her mother. She might be doing it out of boredom, anxiety, or even stress!

Why do cats do the “kneading the dough” thing on the blanket?

“There’s more – she keeps doing something weird with her paws. She looks like she’s kneading dough, but she’s certainly not following a Martha Stewart recipe! She keeps pushing the blanket in and out with her paws as if she’s making biscuits!”

That sounds like the most common cat behavior. Every single cat, regardless of the breed, kneads with her paws because they consider the motions soothing, stress-relieving, and reminiscent of their mothers. Kneading is pretty similar to kittens’ motions when they latch onto their mother’s belly to drink milk.

Kneading is known as “making biscuits” because it’s reminiscent of a baker making and baking dough. And, we can’t forget that kneading is often accompanied by meowing, purring, and even drooling – telltale signs your fluffball’s having the best time of her life.

That’s why you have nothing to worry about. More times than not, cats knead the blanket because they’re happy, letting you know they’re comfortable where they are, or even marking their territory. None of these things are bad – feel free to breathe a sigh of relief.

8 reasons cats lick blankets

When you catch your fluffy friend licking your blanket, you might think to yourself “That’s the single most adorable and most disgusting thing she’s ever done… How’s that even possible!? Has she gone completely crazy!?” She hasn’t, and she’s most definitely not the only fluff sampling her blanket.

Cats do such things ALL THE TIME! They lick your blanket while you’re sleeping, suck on it while you’re not looking, and knead it when showing affection. They’re pretty much obsessed with blankets, especially when they’re made out of wool.

And, more times than not, the licking doesn’t mean something’s wrong with your fluff. She’s likely showing that she’s comfortable around you or that she’s hungry (are you sure she’s not licking the marinara sauce you spilled the other day!?)

Take a look at some of the reasons we’ve gathered!

1. Cats love playing with their prey

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets Harmless Fun Or A Harmful Habit

“Umm, she’s playing with the blanket, not her prey!?” Yes, but cats aren’t necessarily bothered by the fact that their “prey” isn’t moving. Domesticated cats, even though they don’t have to hunt, find hunting and honing their skills pretty pleasurable.

Have you ever seen your feline friend playing with a mouse or a bird she’s just caught? Or bringing a grasshopper to her kittens to check what they’re going to do? Your mother might have taught you to never play with your food. But, a feline mother does the opposite to teach her kittens how to hunt.

Now, we understand that a blanket isn’t something we’d refer to as “prey.” But, when your feline’s having fun, she’s not looking for the real deal; she’s simply looking for something to play with.

2. Cats can have pica syndrome

On a more grim note, your fluffy friend could be displaying symptoms of something known as pica syndrome. On the off chance she does suffer from this, she will show signs of eating things that aren’t edible – blankets, carpets, sofas, paper, and even dirt.

While that might not sound dangerous, chewing on things that are hard to chew and digest could easily lead to choking and blockages. Not to mention gastrointestinal problems and diseases! That’s what you need to make sure to contact your vet the moment you suspect something odd in her dietary choices.

3. Cats can be obsessive-compulsive

“My cat might have OCD!? What!?” That’s right – while cats don’t have the same type of OCD that humans do, they can develop certain obsessive-compulsive behaviors that typically suggest something else could be wrong, too.

Other than licking the blanket, your four-legged friend could be displaying behaviors such as overgrooming, chasing its tail, pacing, twitching, and persistent meowing. Such behaviors can appear normal for the time being, but when they keep repeating, they’re a cause for concern.

4. Certain breeds of cats are more likely to lick blankets

That’s pawsible – certain breeds of cats such as Siamese or Oriental tend to wool-suck more than others. Humans believe they do that because they remember doing the same thing with their mothers. And interestingly enough, these breeds are known to have a longer weaning period than other cats.

But your feline friend doesn’t have to be of a certain breed to lick the blanket. The concept of having a longer weaning period doesn’t seem to be reserved for Siamese and Oriental cats only. Even tabby cats can go through the same process and end up being comforted by the wooliness of their blanket.

5. Cats can be under a lot of stress

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets Harmless Fun Or A Harmful Habit

“She doesn’t have a 9 to 5 career and a mortgage! What does she have to be stressed about!?” There, there, no need to be annoyed with your fluffball because she’s a sensitive soul. Cats have plenty of reasons to be stressed – childhood trauma, problems with other animals, and even health problems.

“Why do cats lick blankets?” seems like an odd question to ask, but you shouldn’t forget that humans find blankets comforting, too. There’s nothing better than coming home from work, tired from dealing with everyone and everything, and making a blanket cocoon for yourself to spend the rest of the day in, right?

Cats can feel those same feelings. Blankets are great and your furbaby finding pleasure when licking them shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

6. Blankets can have food residue on them

Now, would you look at that? Are you surprised to learn that you might be the reason your little stinker can’t stop licking the blanket? Don’t worry; we’re not here to publish your secrets for the world to read – nobody has to know that you spend every Friday night under the covers dipping Doritos into marinara sauce.

But, your little friend has certainly taken note of your sneaky, midnight shenanigans. She’s been licking your blanket because there’s leftover marinara sauce (and even some Dorito dust) on there.

She’s been living vicariously through your blanket hoping one day she would be able to have a lick straight from the source.

7. Cats can lick blankets out of happiness

How endearing does that sound? Not endearing enough when you remember that your blanket’s permanently tarnished by your cat’s drool, but… That’s not to say that you’re not happy to hear your curious creature’s been trying to show her affection towards you (or towards the blanket!)

“She loves me, she loves me!” you croon as you get ready to head off to the nearest Target to buy her every single woolen blanket you can find. And let’s be honest, you don’t really care that she’s ruining every single cover you own. You simply want to see your favorite fluff happy and healthy.

8. Cats can be separated from their mother early on

Circling back to certain breeds being more likely to lick blankets, that’s especially the case with cats that have been separated from their mothers early on. Whether the mother died, left them to take care of themselves, or rejected them for one reason or the other, kittens tend to carry that trauma with them.

Pretty heartbreaking, right? Check whether your cat’s licking on the blanket when she’s feeling particularly stressed out or anxious – whether she’s refusing to eat, meowing and purring a lot less than usual, hiding under the blanket, and sleeping for most of the day (more than usual).

Give her as much love as you can and be sure to consult with your vet.

Why Do Cats Lick Blankets? Harmless Fun Or Harmful Habit?