Cats do the weirdest things at times from sleeping in shoe cabinets, being afraid of cucumbers, running all over the house like their tail is on fire and too many more to mention.
My cat has the habit of running up to people in the house and ‘flop down’ heavily at their feet. It can be cute when he was a kitten but not as a 13lbs cat.
But what if your cat has started doing something rather off the charts like licking the window blinds?
Is this something that you should be concerned about?
Think I’m exaggerating?
Why Do Cats Like Licking 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 friend.
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 human’s.
A cat’s tongue consists of hundreds of tiny backwards-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 a captured prey. And it helps cats to trap water in their tongue to make drinking easier.
Given that the texture of most blinds is smooth, it can make for quite an interesting sensation when your cat likes the smooth texture of the blind with its rough tongue.
Most cats have a preference for licking objects that are smooth and cool. Thus your blinds fit the bill perfectly.
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 Smell Of Plastic
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 to cats who have 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.
Dangers Of Plastic Bags For Cats
Many cat owners will agree that their cats love to play with plastic bags. This can be due to the texture, taste and smell of plastic that is so appealing to cats. Some cats are known to also pee on plastic bags.
Although it might seem harmless to let your cat play with plastic bags, it can turn dangerous when your cat goes overboard and starts chewing and ingesting plastic.
This can cause serious digestive tract blockages that require immediate medical attention. It is also easy for your cat to get entangled in the handles and suffocate.
Make sure to always watch your cat when it is playing with a plastic bag.
Cats can also enjoy the smell and taste of other materials that blinds are made of besides plastic. This can be in the form of wood or metal.
It might not always be the main material that your cat is attracted to but it could be the finishing or some other trace ingredient.
Licking Is Calming And Soothing For Cats
Cats are rather emotional creatures and can be easily stressed out or made to feel anxious. 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. It usually lasts as long as it takes for the cat to adapt to its new environment. But it can become habitual if the root cause isn’t addressed and resolved.
Food Residue On Blinds
I’m not trying to imply that both you and your family members are messy eaters. But take a mental note of the blinds that your cat licks.
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.
Is It Safe For My Cat To Be Licking Blinds?
Most of the time, licking blinds is harmless for cats. You might want to give those blinds a good wipe and wash if they are dirty to prevent your cat from ingesting the dust.
It can get serious when your cat sticks to chew and ingest pieces of the blind. This can be toxic as well as dangerous for your cat.
Your cat might be suffering from Pica if it starts to chew and eat inedible objects. 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.
You need to bring your cat to see a vet if it starts chewing and eating stuff that it has no business eating at all.
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.
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 in 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 in keeping your cat off prohibited areas and is non-toxic for cats.
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 all together.
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.
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.