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CattyCorner: Why does my cat lick plastic and other surfaces?

Say hi to my paw-like human minions and cat cohorts.

Forrest the cat back with more information that might shed some light on why your cat is doing strange things! And today’s topic is one that people often scratch their heads about, not because of fleas.

I am a curious guy. It comes naturally and I’ve used the trait to my advantage. I’m the smartest whisker on the block and almost everyone knows me here. Which is good because my curiosity gets me into trouble, as mom calls it. Like I said, you call it a cat crime, we call it a lifestyle.

@ hamandchees / Instagram

A treat

For example, I recently wandered through the garden into the neighbor’s yard. People were bringing groceries and the door was open so I slipped into the cat friend who lives there.

When mom discovered me there thanks to my collar tracker, she was nervous, but that doesn’t matter. Visiting my cat friend is the flesh of our topic today, even though Mother says I should write an article on what stress about a missing cat means to a person’s heart. Good sauce, a cat can’t have fun sometimes!

Cats lick surfaces
@ suzlescat / Instagram

Anyway, let’s get back to my neighbor friend, a Siamese of strangeness. She only sees the world a little differently through her crossed blue eyes. She must have a few quirks and today she licked the bags her mother had brought out of the car. Mrs. Meezer went into town, a silly cat was licking plastic bags. There wasn’t even any cat food in those shopping bags!

When her mother walked in and saw Mrs. Meezer licking the bag, she shook her head. When I saw the whole scene, she asked me, “Forrest, why is my cat licking things?”

I helped unpack the groceries and earned a tuna treat in the process. There were also several reasons cats lick non-food surfaces.

Cat licks metal
@ gabriel_and_bonnie / Instagram

Why cats lick plastic and other surfaces

I used to care for a cat who was obsessed with licking the base of a lamp. He had come from a house where he didn’t get a lot of attention or stimulation. For entertainment, he licked surfaces that felt strange on his tongue. He said magazines were his favorite because they were so slick.

Our foster mother took Cliff to the vet worried about pica, a fancy word for craving or consuming non-food items.

But what causes pica?

Some breeds, such as Ms. Meezer the Siamese, are more prone to pica. In addition to the Siamese, other Eastern races like the Birman and Tonkinese lick rather strange things.

Pica cats
@ kitcat.the.biter / Instagram

In Cliff’s case, the licking behavior developed due to under-stimulation. Cliff the cat licked things because he was bored. It was his only kind of fun. That and tear the carpet. What found him jumped from this house to the shelter. Sorry, but now I’ve heard that he lives with two other kittens in a fancy house with their own catio.

Although we could never be bored in our nursing home, he kept the habit with the lamps. He said the cold metal felt good on his tongue.


@ lu_the_british_cat / Instagram

Fortunately, Cliff wasn’t sick. Pica can also indicate poor health or malnutrition in cats.

At the shelter, nervous cats licked things as they lifted their fur. Stress made the cats lick everything to calm their stunned nerves. Maybe my mother has to lick a magazine to calm herself down. She’s still grumbling at me about visiting Mrs. Meezers.

Cat licks surfaces
@ orphansofthestorm / Instagram

By the way, Ms. Meezers has an appointment with the vet this week to see if she has any problems with the nutritional imbalance. I think their diet is fine and their breed answers the question behind their leaky quirks. But all that talk about cat nutrition reminds me …

Don’t forget to feed the cat.

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Feature Image: @ orphansofthestorm / Instagram

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