Cats have weird tendencies: bringing us unwanted hunting gifts, tearing through the house and acting crazy at bedtime, either squishing themselves into small spaces, or licking everything in sight.
Over than those, cats spend a lot of time licking themselves to keep clean, and for some, it’s almost an obsession.
Although it’s common for cats to be curious and check things out by licking them, it may be a cause for concern if the cat is excessively licking items such as plastic, cement, fabric, and wood.
Specifically, once your cat is constantly licking the floor, it could result from many reasons.
Reasons My Cat May Be Licking The Floor
It happens every time in your daily life with cats. When you’re in the kitchen preparing a meal, and the cat comes running hoping you will drop a tasty crumb or two onto the floor.
As soon as you do, your cat pounces on it like it’s alive and quickly devours it, then wait patiently for more.
Reasons your cat may lick the floor:
- The scent of food still on the floor. Maybe you dropped the food before, and its scent is still on the floor. They think there is food for them, so they lick to be ready to eat that.
Cats have a powerful sense of smell and can pick up scents for days if an area has not been cleaned properly. Although we may not smell a lingering scent, a cat can, because of their olfactory epithelium. This is the tissue found in the nasal cavity responsible for our sense of smell. A cat’s olfactory epithelium much larger than humans, which offers them the ability to smell items at a rate of sixteen times more than we ever could.
- Behavioral disorders. Behavioral disorders in cats can be displayed in many ways. Licking the floor and other surfaces could be signs of stress and anxiety. If this behavior is allowed to continue, it may develop into an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Heath conditions. Medical conditions of a cat such as pica, diet deficiencies, diabetes, and hypothyroidism may all be contributing factors leading to why a cat is licking the floor.
- Thirsty. Cats that lick concrete or ceramic flooring could be showing signs of thirst as these types of flooring will sometimes form condensation.
Could Licking The Floor Make My Cat Sick?
Some cats are more sensitive to chemicals and other substances found in flooring products. Prolonged exposure to some of these harmful chemicals can cause irritation in the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Although hardwood flooring isn’t toxic in its natural state, once it’s sealed with a protective finish, it can emit a chemical compound called volatile organic compounds which can be released for years in small amounts.
Laminate flooring can also cause symptoms because of the adhesive, which is used to bond the top layer to the pressed wood.
Toxins found in the adhesive and the top layer of laminate can consist of formaldehyde, aluminum oxide, and others. Exposure to these chemicals can cause allergic reactions, breathing problems and have the potential risk of causing cancer.
Carpeting can contain chemicals usually infused into the carpet during the manufacturing process. These chemicals help in combating mites, mold, and bacteria.
However, if you have a cat that enjoys licking the carpet, watch for symptoms such as breathing problems, dizziness, vomiting, and weakness.
Consult with your veterinarian if you think your cat may have come into contact with any of these harmful substances.
If you’re thinking of replacing your existing floors, the safest options for your family and pets are genuine wood sealed with a natural sealer, polished concrete, natural carpet, and tiles.
How To Stop Your Cat From Licking The Floor?
There are a few methods you can try in hopes that your cat will stop licking the floor. However, if you have concerns, a trip to the vet may be warranted to rule out any health issues.
Clean The Surfaces
If your cat seems to have a favorite area of the floor to lick, focus solely on that spot.
Change your cleaning product if you find your cat still licking that area of the floor after you’ve cleaned it.
Try mixing equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Spray the area, let it sit for five minutes, and wipe with a clean rag. This should rid the area of any food scents left behind.
Some other products recommended are vinegar and citrus-scented cleaning products.
Redirect Your Cats Attention
Cats are habitual creatures. Licking the floor may have been brought on by a scent and then developed into a habit thereafter.
If you notice your cat in the act, try redirecting by stimulating it with some new toys to play with. A cat water fountain is also a great option if possible to keep it focused on other things.
Does My Cat Have A Health Problem if it licks the floor often?
Growing up, I had a cat with a habit of licking plastic bags, shower curtains, and leather. Turns out, the vet diagnosed him with a condition called pica.
Pica is defined as eating, chewing, and licking anything that is non-food-related. It is classed as a compulsive behavioral problem in cats and can lead to gastrointestinal distress.
If your cat is addicted to licking the floor, contact your veterinarian to rule out this condition. Causes of pica in cats can sometimes be related to:
- Immunodeficiency Viruses
- Dental Disease
Non-medical conditions may trigger pica in some cats and can include:
Pica can become worse when bored and used as a way to self-soothe.
If your cat feels rejected, it may continue to exhibit pica behavior.
Cats may resort to unwanted behavior such as licking floors and other objects if they experience a loss of a close family member or a pet sibling.
Any type of stress can provoke pica. From moving to another city, adopting a new pet, loud noises or visitors.
Treatment Methods For Pica In Cats
Every cat experiencing this condition will probably be treated differently depending on the cause of pica.
Play with your cat or redirect it to a favorite toy.
Cat grass is a safe alternative. New toys, and puzzle food bowls are all great ways to keep your cat busy doing fun things.
A white noise machine may be beneficial for your cat if it has separation anxiety. Introduce visitors and other pets slowly.
If all other attempts have failed, your veterinarian may prescribe anxiety medication which has been proven to help with pica in some cats.
Redirection is all that might be required to curb your cat’s problem of licking the floor. Tune into your cat’s needs and if all else fails, take a trip to the vet to ensure the health of your feline companion.
- 1 Reasons My Cat May Be Licking The Floor
- 2 Could Licking The Floor Make My Cat Sick?
- 3 How To Stop Your Cat From Licking The Floor?
- 4 Does My Cat Have A Health Problem if it licks the floor often?
- 5 Treatment Methods For Pica In Cats
- 6 Final Thought