Seeing your cat lick your dusty blinds with great gusto can make you scratch your head in puzzlement.
Cats are known for their weird antics but ‘window blind licking’ has to be one of the weirdest things that a cat can do.
But why is your cat so drawn to the blinds?
Some cats might have a thing for blind licking due to them liking the taste of the blind material or they might enjoy how the texture of the blind feels on their tongue. It could also be due to your cat just having a weird habit.
I know that it is hard for us humans to even start to comprehend how licking dusty blinds can be enticing to our feline friends.
But let’s try and see it from a cat’s point of view.
Your Cat Likes The Texture Of Blinds
If you have ever seen your cat’s tongue up close, you can tell that it isn’t just an ordinary tongue like a dog’s or a human’s.
A cat’s tongue consists of hundreds of tiny backward-facing barbs or spines called papillae.
This is the reason why your cat’s tongue feels like sandpaper when it licks you.
It is made from keratin and it is useful when it comes to tearing meat from bones when eating captured prey.
These barbs also act like a comb to remove loose hair when cats groom each other or engage in some extended self-grooming session.
When cats lick the smooth texture of blinds with their rough tongue, it creates an intriguing sensation.
This could also explain why some cats like licking concrete due to its smooth texture and cool sensation.
Your Cat Likes The Taste Of The Blinds
Many cats lick stuff because they enjoy the smell and to a certain extent, the taste of it.
But how can licking blinds be tasty or yummy in any way?
That is because we are not ‘tasting’ it like a cat.
Cats have sensory organs and features that are many times more sensitive and complex than humans.
The cat’s nose itself contains up to 200 million odor receptors making their sense of smell 14x more sensitive and acute than ours.
Cats have a process called the ‘Flehmen Reaction’ that helps them taste the scent of pheromones and particles in the air.
Flehmen means ‘lip curl’ in German which gives your cat that cute sneer or grimace expression when doing it.
The cat will make this expression when it has trapped the scent particles on its tongue and is trying to analyze the smell.
The majority of the blinds found in homes are made from vinyl which is a type of plastic or more commonly known as PVC.
Given vinyl blinds have a plastic component to them, it could be why cats are attracted to this material.
Plastic is made from a number of ingredients that can also include animal by-products.
To humans, the smell of animal matter in plastic or vinyl is non-existent.
But for your feline friend who has such a sensitive sense of smell, it can smell like a delicious treat.
This could also be a reason why many cats find licking plastic-based items so appealing.
Licking Is Calming And Soothing For Cats
Cats are rather emotional creatures and can get stressed out or anxious very easily.
One thing that most cats do not enjoy is change.
If you were to observe your cat, its daily schedule runs almost like clockwork.
Big changes like moving house, a new pet or a family member can throw a cat off its tracks so to speak.
Why is this so?
Cats rely largely on smell for communication and major changes bring new smells that can confuse your cat.
It can develop a displacement behavior like excessive licking to help calm and soothe itself which usually lasts as long as it takes for the cat to adapt to its new environment.
It can become habitual if the root cause isn’t addressed and resolved.
Blinds Are Fun To Play With (For Cats)
Cats are known for their insatiable curiosity and penchant for play.
Everything can be a plaything to your cat, even your window blinds.
Blinds might seem like just another household item to us but let’s view them through a cat’s eyes for a moment.
The thin slats of the blinds rustle when touched, mimicking the sounds of birds or small rodents, which triggers a cat’s hunting instincts.
The gaps between the blinds make them perfect for peek-a-boo games. Cats love spaces they can peek through, hide behind, or even bat at.
The dangling cords can look like tempting playthings for cats to swat at, similar to their favorite string toys.
Do note that there’s a risk of your cat getting entangled in the cords and hurting itself.
My friend’s cat had a close call when it accidentally looped the string around its neck.
Thankfully my friend was around to free the cat before things got out of hand.
Food Residue On Blinds
Make a mental note of the blinds that you notice your cat licking often.
Is the blind in the kitchen or dining room?
If that’s the case, it could be the smell of the food that has been carried over to the blinds and stuck on it.
This can be more prevalent in blind materials that are more porous like wood and fabric.
If your cat licks the blinds after each time you are done cooking in the kitchen, it is attracted by the smell of food stuck on the blinds.
Your Cat Might Have A Behavioral Issue
For some cats, licking of the blinds could be due to behavioral issues.
One of the common behavioral problems in cats is Pica. This condition causes cats to eat, chew or lick on non-food items.
This can include materials such as fabric, metal, glass and in this case, blinds.
Doctors don’t have an exact idea as to what might cause this. But it is said to be from a bad diet or genetic disorder.
Another possible behavioral issue is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
This condition causes your cat to engage in repetitive behavior which can impact its quality of life.
OCD in cats can be caused by:
- Past trama
Licking or interacting incessantly with blinds is one such repetitive act.
Is It Safe For My Cat To Be Licking Blinds?
There’s no harm to your cat when it comes to licking blinds.
You might want to give those blinds a good wipe and wash if they are dirty to prevent your cat from ingesting the dust.
A dirty blind can trigger a dust allergy in some cats.
However, this problem can get serious when your cat starts to chew and ingest pieces of the blind.
These pieces are sharp and digestible which can injure your cat’s mouth and digestive system.
How to Stop My Cat From Licking The Blinds?
Even though it can be harmless for cats to lick blinds, it isn’t one habit you would want to encourage.
It can progress to your cat chewing and eating it if left unattended.
Redirection Of Attention
You will need to put an immediate stop when your cat starts to lick the blinds.
The best way to do it is to promptly remove your cat from that area and move it to another room where it can be kept busy with other stuff like interactive toys.
You should be diverting your cat’s attention to something more desirable instead of just scolding your cat when it is near the blinds.
Use A Deterrent
If you aren’t always around to train your cat, using a cat-friendly repellent spray can work well when you’re not at home.
Don’t just make a spray and start putting stuff like chilli, lemon or pepper in it. These ingredients are toxic to cats and can cause serious harm.
It is best to get the spray from your pet store just to be safe. Those sprays do a good job of keeping your cat off prohibited areas and are non-toxic for cats.
You can also spray some natural lemon juice or white vinegar on the blinds to help keep your cat away.
Change Or Remove The Blinds
If your cat is still too adamant about licking the blinds despite all the above measures, you can consider changing your blinds or removing them altogether.
If you plan to change your blind to another material, you should first ascertain if it is the plastic that your cat is drawn to.
Otherwise, the same problem might still persist if you change it to metal or wood.
Another alternative would be to use curtains instead of blinds to stop your cat from licking them.
Seek Medical Attention
If your cat displays unusual behaviors like obsessive licking or persistent chewing of your blinds, you need to seek a veterinarian’s expertise.
This is to ascertain if your cat’s behavior isn’t due to a medical or behavioral issue.
During the consultation, the vet might conduct diagnostic tests to pinpoint potential causes or refer you to an animal behaviorist for specialized strategies.
Why Does My Cat Lick The Curtains?
You could find your cat licking your curtains instead of your blinds. I’m guessing your curtain isn’t made out of vinyl but fabric.
The same reasons would apply to why cats lick blinds.
It is most probably due to the texture and smell of the fabric or even the smell of food on it if it is near the kitchen.
As a cat owner myself, it is normal for cats to have a couple of weird habits. If we humans have them too, why not our cats?
If blind licking is your cat’s cup of tea then let it have its few minutes of satisfaction every now and then.
As long as your cat doesn’t spend hours on end licking the blinds and doing nothing else or starts eating the blinds, you shouldn’t be too overly concerned about it.
Nora is a passionate writer with a love for books, animals, and gardening.
Her writing is inspired by her two cats and a loyal dog, who serve as her muses, as well as the tranquility she finds in her garden.
With a knack for storytelling, Nora offers a unique blend of book recommendations, heartwarming animal tales, and gardening insights.
Whether you’re interested in paws, petals, or page-turners, Nora’s world is a treasure trove of engaging content.