She said “This might sound weird but I think Tabsy likes the taste of concrete.”
Tabsy is her four year old male cat whom she adopted as a kitten.
I had to ask her to repeat herself as I thought she said ‘chicken’ instead of ‘concrete’.
Apparently, my friend’s cat has been licking the concrete flooring in her backyard rather frequently.
Do cats really enjoy licking concrete?
Or is a concrete licking cat suffering from a medical condition.
Let me explain.
Why Does My Cat Lick The Floor Outside?
Cats licking concrete could be due to a few reasons. There are some cats that have developed a liking to the taste of concrete floor. Some even like the cool sensation of a concrete slab. There’s also a possibility of your cat suffering from Pica syndrome or a poor diet.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each reason
1. Your Cat Likes The Taste Of Concrete (Or sort of)
I’m sure many of us don’t have to actually lick concrete to know that it tastes bad or weird. But it might not be the case for cats.
We need to see it from a cat’s point of view.
Firstly, the nose of a cat is super sensitive. It is 14x more sensitive than a human’s sense of smell and even more sensitive than some dogs.
What smells neutral to us can smell totally amazing to cats. And what smells bad for us can smell like someone farted directly into your cat’s nose.
Secondly, animals are a lot less discrete when it comes to licking stuff.
Cats licking concrete might not be doing it because they actually like the taste of concrete but because of a scent that has stuck on the concrete.
If your cat has been licking parts of the concrete outdoors where you and your family would eat or bbq, then there could be traces of food bits and food odor that is on the concrete but we can’t see without naked eyes.
Your cat is able to pick up and identify these spots with its amazing sense of smell. Cats that are more drawn or motivated by food are more likely to indulge in such behaviors.
2. Your Cat Likes The Texture Of Concrete
Your cat might like licking concrete due to its texture. Some cats are rather tactile in nature and they can’t reach out to touch and feel something.
Most animals will lick the surface of an object to get a sense of how it feels, even cats.
Concrete can have either rough or smooth surfaces. The general consensus from cat owners is that their cats prefer to lick smooth surfaces. But don’t be surprised to have a cat that has a thing for rough surfaces.
It’s just a personal preference.
3. Your Cat Likes The Temperature Of Concrete
Cats can regulate their body temperature by increasing or slowing their blood flow which regulates the amount of heat that is lost through their ears.
Cats are very sensitive to temperature changes and can regulate the flow of heat via their ears. Their paws are sensitive enough to even detect a 1 degree Celcius change in temperature.
In some cases, your cat might be licking concrete to help cool down or warm up even more. If the weather is cold, you might find your cat licking concrete that is near a fireplace. Or if it’s a warm day, you might find your cat licking concrete that is shaded or near the AC.
4. Your Cat Might Have Feline Pica Syndrome
Pica is a condition that makes the cat chew and eat inedible things. This can be anything from plastic, metal, shower curtains and even rubber. Some cats can even grow to like the taste of styrofoam.
The cat might not eat what he is licking or chewing but can have a compulsive licking disorder.
Some cats can exhibit such a disorder from as young as three months of age. Some can grow out of this bad habit after 1-2 years.
Doctors are not able to ascertain the cause of Pica. It could get due to a genetic disposition passed down from the cat’s parents, stress, being weaned too young and dietary deficiency.
Pica syndrome can be a hard one to resolve as they are so many causes that are linked to it. The best thing that you can do if you suspect that your cat has Pica is to see a vet and help manage the symptoms.
5. Your Cat Might Have A Medical Condition
Cats that have anemia are known to have a thing for licking concrete and eating soil or cat litter. Anemia is when the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen sufficiently around the body.
Cats are more susceptible to having anemia than other animals because their red blood cells have a shorter life span.
Anemic cats can show the following symptoms:
- Kidney failure
For cat parents that notice these symptoms along with their cats licking concrete, please take your cat to the vet for a blood test to determine if it is suffering from anemia.
6. Your Cat Is Bored
Cats lick concrete out of boredom as well. In fact, a bored cat can engage in many weird and destructive behaviors.
Even though cats are more independent than dogs, they still do need a certain amount of quality time every day from their cat owners.
Cat’s aren’t packed animals but they still like to bond with their owners through playtime, grooming or watching TV together.
Some feline friends require more attention than others. Breeds like the Persian, Ragdoll, Siamese, Bengal are needy cats and are not suitable for cat owners who are away for most of the day.
Is Cement Toxic To Cats?
Cement that has dried up isn’t toxic to cats. Nothing will happen to your cat if it decides to incorporate some dry cement into its diet.
However, there are certain times when you need to be careful with your cat’s licking.
Licking wet concrete can be dangerous for cats. Wet concrete is made from cement, gravel, sand and water. Cement by itself is caustic and abrasive. Prolong contact with skin can actually cause the skin to burn. Not something you want your cat eating.
And you definitely don’t want dangerous stuff like sand and gravel in your cat’s tummy.
Do not let your cat lick or go near cement dust as well. Cement dust consists of many fine particles and can affect the respiratory system and cause problems that affect the proper functioning of your cat’s lungs.
Be careful when your cat is licking the concrete of your driveway or garage. There’s a chance that your cat might be licking up antifreeze drippings from the car which can be fatal to cats.
Antifreeze is a solution that is used in cars to help regulate the car’s engine during extreme temperatures.
Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol which is toxic to cats. Ingesting an amount as little as one teaspoon is enough to poison your cat.
Your cat may exhibit the following symptoms if it ingested ethylene glycol.
- Loss of appetite
- Drunken behavior
- Kidney failure
Please do not wait to bring your cat to the vet if it has licked this compound. It only takes 1-2 days for your cat to develop total kidney failure.
When to Bring Your Cat To See The Vet?
I would think for most cat owners, noticing their cats lick concrete won’t be much of a problem. There will be certain times when you need to get your cat checked out by the vet.
When you find your cat licking not only concrete but licking, chewing and swallowing inedible things, it is only a matter of time before your cat eats something dangerous or has an obstructed digestive tract.
When you find your cat foregoing his usual cat food and spending hours on end just licking concrete. This is bad for your cat if it doesn’t eat which can result in liver failure.
The rule of thumb is any behavior that has an adverse effect on your cat’s health and wellness needs to be addressed by a vet immediately.
A cat’s behavior can be somewhat erratic at times. Some weird actions like licking concrete could just be a passing phase or a sign of an underlying medical condition.
For all you know, your cat just likes the taste of concrete patios.
Just make sure to keep an eye out for any adverse reactions or symptoms.