One day, you were getting ready to go out. You took a shower and got dressed. But then you remembered you need to go back to the bathroom to fix your hair. Your cat was there. You instantly go to pet her, but then you see something odd. What is she doing?! “Wait, why does my cat lick the shower curtain?”
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one wondering the same thing. All of us cat owners have been through this. It’s just one of the million weird things our cats enjoy doing. Since most of the cats do the exact same thing, it helped us figure out the reasons behind it and I’m here to give them to you.
Why does my cat lick the shower curtain? 10 possible reasons
It’s just difficult to find a logical explanation for that action. However, there are 10 of them, and I can’t wait to share them with you. So, what are we waiting for?
Cats are wild animals. It’s in their blood to look for things that will keep them alive. Water is definitely one of them. They can hear and notice moving water pretty quickly and they always go towards it.
It happens even when they have their own bowl full of fresh water because the moving liquid reminds them of hunting and wilderness.
Your shower curtains are full of little drops of it that will definitely attract your kitty. It seems to us like we’re living with a little weirdo, but when you think about it, it all makes sense actually.
Moving towards water is their natural instinct. And even when she has her own full bowl, and she’s not thirsty, she’ll still run towards those drops on the curtains. Why? Because she likes having different options.
2) It’s because of the chemicals
When it comes to plastic, we’re surrounded by it. However, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Some of the chemicals can imitate the smell of pheromones which can cause different reactions in cats.
Pheromones can be the reason why a cat chooses to lick shower curtains. It can also cause cats to urinate on other plastic things in the household.
If your cat decides to lick the plastic, it’s likely that it’s connected to flehmen response. That’s a manner in which an animal, in this case, your cat, curls back its upper lips, breathes in, and afterward holds that posture for many seconds.
This shows that there are some things in plastic that we can’t identify because of our “weak” senses however, our cats definitely can.
3) She enjoys the texture and temperature
Did you notice that your cat likes to lick other things too, not just the shower curtain? Those are usually smooth textures like ceramic tiles in the bathroom or your kitchen, tables, washing machines, and so on. Why do you think she does that?
It’s because those smooth textures feel good against her tongue. And the temperatures are definitely different so it’s interesting for your cat. It often happens if there’s a wet shower curtain because the moisture attracts her.
Did you know that a cat’s tongue consists of papillae? These make her feel the rough sensation of a surface. They also help to rasp meat from bones and to collect loose hair.
And licking the smooth surfaces, like the shower curtain, makes your cat feel good. That could definitely be one of the reasons she always comes back to licking your curtains after you’ve taken a shower.
4) She likes the taste
We all like trying out new food that consists of some ingredients we love to eat. Then it should come as no surprise that cats, who are generally very adventurous animals, like to do the same thing.
Beef tallow, lanolin… These are some things that might be found in plastic and that your cat finds interesting.
Feline senses are much better than ours, so she can smell and taste some things that we can’t. And that greasy part of plastic is what attracts her to your shower curtains. It’s tasty and she wants to come to that “restaurant” again.
5) Maybe your shower curtains contain corn starch
Not every cat is attracted to tallow or gelatin that is found in plastics. But there’s something else hidden in your shower curtains that your kitty can like. That’s the corn starch that we can find in many types of plastics.
It’s not something our cats would pick to eat. However, many lower-quality cat foods contain traces of it. And most of the cats are pretty happy with the way it tastes. So if she had the opportunity to taste it once, and now she smelled it on your shower curtain, that means she really enjoyed it.
Maybe you can try to find some of those foods that consist of corn starch and give them to your cat. If she stops licking the shower curtains afterward, you can be sure that this was the right answer.
6) Your cat wants more attention
Sometimes you just get so busy that you don’t have enough time to spend with your pets. I get it. Balancing work, family life, friends, your own time, and taking care of your cat might be really tough. But I know you’re still doing your best to have time for everything.
However, your fluffball doesn’t really understand the concept of human life and obligations, so she’ll try everything she can to grab your attention. Not because she’s angry at you, but because she really misses you and wants you to notice her more.
That’s why she might do some weird things that will make you ask yourself “Hey, why does my cat lick the shower curtain?” They are very smart animals, and they’ll try everything in their power to get what they want.
7) She’s anxious
Here’s a fact that will probably make you sad, but you need to know it. Just like us, cats and other animals can suffer from anxiety. It’s just that we don’t show it the same way. And it’s much more difficult to notice an anxious cat, than a person dealing with it.
Usually, when a cat behaves in a certain way, people think that she’s just a moody cat who doesn’t like to play by the rules. Which could be true; cats can be like that. However, it’s not always true because some of their behaviors can be explained by anxiety.
People who stress a lot often bite their fingernails or chew pens. Cats don’t do that, but they often start excessively licking things around them. That’s why her licking your shower curtains, might be a sign that she’s dealing with some negative feelings.
8) Your kitty likes to explore
Cats are adventurous animals. Their cousins still live in the wilderness and they are spending days exploring different areas, hunting prey, playing, learning new skills, looking for new water sources, and trying to stay safe from predators.
Even though your cat and her closest family members have been living in houses and flats for years, she still has the same blood as her wild cousins. And she loves to explore things. Since she’s not out there in the wilderness, the only place she can explore is your home.
And don’t fool yourself by thinking that she’s seen everything. Cats always notice the smallest changes and things can easily grab their attention. So the new drop of water in the bathroom, or a small piece of food on the kitchen floor might make her go crazy excited.
9) She wants to keep the shower curtains clean
What animals are among the cleanest in the world? That’s right, cats! As we said, they spend most of their days playing, eating, and learning new skills. However, there is one more thing they often do and they’re very famous for it. Cleaning themselves!
Those are the animals that can’t stand being dirty, eating and drinking from a filthy bowl, or doing their business in a litterbox that you’ve forgotten to clean. They are one of the classiest animals in the world, and they take care of themselves very well.
However, if they think you need help with cleaning, they’ll be happy to give you a paw. Your cat will probably lick the shower curtain because it’s interesting to her. But she’ll also be proud of herself for helping you clean, as cats have a good memory and she probably remembers you cleaning the bathroom.
Have you ever heard about pica? It’s a syndrome both, animals and humans can suffer from. It is described as a condition that forces you to eat or lick things that are inedible.
There are some TV shows that talk about people who eat things such as sponges, paper, or even wall paint. If you’ve seen this at least once in your life, then you actually already heard about pica. As I said, animals can also suffer from it.
That’s why it’s not rare to see them licking the floor, stoves, bathtubs, shower curtains, and basically anything that seems attractive to them. If you feel like your cat will lick the shower curtain no matter what you do, then you should call your vet and ask them for their opinion, as it can easily be pica.
How to stop your cat from licking the shower curtain
Now you know the answer to “Why does my cat lick the shower curtain?” But we still don’t know how to make her stop. Luckily for you, I prepared that too!
You don’t have to worry about her licking those curtains, but motivating her to do something else instead is a good idea. Because doing the same thing on and on might cause some behavioral problems, that would require a vet’s help. Let’s check some of the ideas about how to keep her away from the curtains.
1) Always close the bathroom door
I know that having a cat whose favorite hobby is to lick your shower curtain is not something you expected. Even though it’s not necessarily bad for any of you, it’s still sometimes annoying and you want to find a way to stop her from doing it all the time.
Well, the first thing and the thing that will probably help you the most is to always close the bathroom doors. I know we all sometimes forget to close them, but if you start doing it all the time it will prevent your cat from entering the bathroom easily and she’ll be forced to find a new activity.
This is the most common thing people do when they want to prevent their cats from doing something. If she’s constantly scratching the bed in your bedroom, then close the door so she gets busy exploring other parts of the house. You can do the same with the bathroom and save your shower curtains.
2) Put more water bowls around the house
As I already mentioned, cats love finding new water sources. And she probably likes to spend time licking your shower curtains because it’s running water and it reminds her of nature and wilderness. It’s like a 3D movie cinema for her. No wonder she finds it fun.
However, cats are also very picky animals. And they’ll even refuse to eat and drink if they don’t like their bowls, or if they’ve seen something dirty on them or near them. That might lead to them searching for new sources of water around the house because they are thirsty.
That’s why it’s a good idea to put a few more bowls with fresh water in different corners of your house. That way your cat will get the option to choose her favorite, and she won’t risk getting dehydrated.
3) Use a cat deterrent
If you feel like these two options won’t work and you need something less common. Then I have a good idea for you. We all know that cats have much better senses than we do. That means that they can also smell some things much more than we can.
When you have a power like that, you have tons of smells that you like, but also a lot of them that you hate. Cats don’t like the smell of vinegar, citruses, and lavender. So you can try and make your own cat deterrent that will keep her away from your curtains.
Try mixing water and apple cider vinegar or citronella, lavender, or lemongrass essential oils. However, I would suggest that you don’t use lemongrass essential oils, but real citruses because most essential oils are toxic for our cats.
4) Buy an eco-friendly version of curtains
Okay, we know that your cat loves to lick the shower curtain. You tried to stop her, but nothing seems to work. Her attraction toward it is just too strong. Well, here is another idea I have for you.
We said that it’s likely your cat is licking it because she likes the taste of the plastic material. It reminds her of some of the ingredients of her food, and it smells nice. So, what can you do? Buy an eco-friendly version of curtains.
They aren’t made out of that kind of plastic, so if your cat is attracted by the taste or smell, the eco-friendly version should help you.
5) Give her more attention
And last but not least, you should try giving your cat more attention. You probably remember that I told you your cat will do some weird things if she misses you and wants to make you pay more attention to her.
Licking the curtains is definitely one of those things. So, try to make some free time, especially for your fluffy buddy. It doesn’t have to be long, but make it fun for her. Play some games, cuddle, or do anything else you know she’ll enjoy.
Trust me, it will relax both of you and you’ll enjoy the time spent together.
And we’ve reached the end. “Why does my cat lick the shower curtain?” and “What can I do to keep her away from it?” are now two questions that you have answers to. You’ll no longer have to worry about that anymore as you finally understand your fluffy friend even more. Isn’t that an amazing feeling?!