Are you puzzled by your cat’s newfound fascination with concrete?
If you’ve been wondering why your cat is constantly licking the floor, you’re not alone.
Believe me, I’ve been there!
When my cat started licking the concrete and floor titles around the house, I was filled with questions and concerns.
Is it a health issue? A dietary deficiency? Or just a quirky feline trait?
In this article, we will delve the reasons behind our cats’ puzzling penchant for concrete.
Why On Earth Is My Cat Licking Concrete?
Cats may lick concrete due to its taste or because of its texture and temperature. Underlying medical conditions like Feline Pica Syndrome or anemia can also drive this behavior. Additionally, dietary deficiencies or boredom can prompt this action.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each reason
1. Your Cat Likes The Taste Of Concrete
We 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 our cat’s point of view.
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 intriguing to cats.
Animals are a lot less discrete when it comes to licking and ingesting objects.
It could be that your cat just has a personal preference for the taste of concrete.
In some cases, it’s not even because of the taste of the concrete itself but because of the scent that is on the concrete.
If your cat has been drawn to parts of the outdoor concrete where your family often eat, it might be sensing residual food particles or scents.
These food traces can be hard to spot for us humans.
But 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.
There are cats that even prefer licking smooth surfaces such as window blinds.
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, your cat might be 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, lick or ingest inedible objects compulsively.
This can be anything from plastic, metal, shower curtains and even rubber. Some cats can even like the taste of styrofoam.
A study has shown that Pica can happen anything during the first 4 years of a cat’s life. Some are lucky enough to grow out of this bad habit after 1-2 years.
Doctors are not able to ascertain the cause of Pica.
It could be 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 there 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 who 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 Has A Dietary Deficiency
As obligate carnivores, cats have a unique dietary requirement.
They are pure meat eaters and nutrients found naturally in animal tissues, such as taurine, arginine and specific fatty acids.
If they aren’t receiving these crucial nutrients, cats might instinctively turn to licking or consuming unconventional items to address the imbalance.
If your cat has recently started licking concrete, it can sometimes signal a dietary deficiency.
A dietary deficiency in cats includes symptoms such as:
- A lackluster coat
- Rapid weight loss
- Poor vision
- Heart issues
Concrete contains minerals such as limestone, silica, aluminates, feric minerals, calcium carbonate, etc.
I’m not suggesting that concrete is nutritious for cats but they instinctively know that concrete contains something which their bodies lack.
Are you feeding your cat kibbles or human food?
You need to take a good look at your cat’s diet to determine if it’s balanced and nutritious.
7. 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.
Cats 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 and 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.
Prolonged 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.
Should I Bring My Cat To The Vet?
The occasional licking of concrete isn’t an issue for most cats.
However, there are times when the licking of concrete is a signal for something more serious.
If your cat is frequently licking or ingesting inedible items, it risks consuming something harmful or facing a digestive blockage.
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 when any behavior has an adverse effect on your cat’s health and wellness, it needs to be addressed by a vet immediately.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Licking Concrete?
Stopping your cat from licking concrete first and foremost involves understanding the underlying cause.
You can then implement strategies to deter the behavior.
But what if you cat likes licking concrete just for the sake of it?
Here are some simple strategies that you can implement.
If there’s a specific spot your cat always returns to, consider blocking their access to it.
This could involve using baby gates, fencing or moving objects to cover the area or just prevent your cat from going outside.
Blocking access usually works well for most cats.
But for some, an additional deterrent might be required.
There are commercial sprays available that are safe for pets that have an unpleasant taste or smell to deter them.
For me, I just use normal white vinegar mixed with water.
Applying these solutions to the areas of concrete your cat frequently licks can be an effective deterrent.
Keep Your Cat Occupied
A bored cat is a naughty cat.
The younger your cat is, the more energy and curiosity it will have.
Keep your cat busy with interactive toys or even another cat to prevent it from getting bored and seeking out concrete to lick.