Why Does My Cat Lick Everything? This is One Surprising Fact You Need to Know

Have you witnessed any odd behavior from your cat? I certainly have. In fact, one of the weirdest questions I have ever asked is – why does my cat lick everything? While I find it adorable and quite affectionate for my furry pal to lick me, it somehow disturbs me that it constantly licks everything around her.

In order to feed my curiosity and relieve my worry, I did my own research to find the answer to that million dollar question. Here’s a quick roundup of the possible reasons behind such odd behavior.


The Reason Cats Lick Themselves

Let’s start by stating the obvious here – yes, cats like to lick themselves too much and the fundamental reason is personal hygiene. One unique quality of the cats is that the are naturally equipped to do self-grooming with ease.

This is made possible with three body parts: the barbed tongue that does the licking, the teeth that help eliminate the debris in the coat, and the moistened fore paws which act as a natural washcloth. Note also that cats are quite systematic with self-grooming.

They also instinctively follow a licking pattern that begins with the head, down to the legs, shoulders to the flanks, genital areas, and the rest. In addition, cats normally spend about 30-50% of their day licking. This is according to Pamela Perry of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Nature of Problematic Licking


There’s good and healthy licking or self-grooming and there is also problematic licking. For instance, excessive licking or self-grooming is one behavior that can cause anxieties among cat owners. Let’s take a closer look at the possible reasons for this behavior.

Psychogenic Alopecia

A condition called Psychogenic Alopecia which is demonstrated by excessive self-grooming in some prime example of problematic licking. This condition is considered one of the predominant compulsive disorders among feline. One of the main causes is a sudden change in the environment which could prompt cats to lick excessively as their own coping mechanism.

If your cat has been diagnosed with such condition, it is imperative to go for environmental modification to help her cope with the problem. By setting up a cat’s play area made from cardboard, creating a pole to help the cat demonstrate its natural climbing instinct or by providing toys for cats, your furry pal can cope with the changes more easily.

Feline Anemia

Compulsive and excessive licking is also a symptom of another medical condition called Feline Anemia. As with humans, cats can also experience a low count of the red blood cells which reduces the absorption of iron. When the body cannot get enough iron, it usually leads to more serious health problems.

Pica in cats

I have likewise come across pet owners worried about their cats odd behavior such as chewing everything around here. The condition that is associated with a cat’s excessive licking of strange things such as the floor, carpet, clothes, etc is Pica. This condition is characterized by a cat’s licking and eventual chewing and eating of these items.

Bear in mind that when your feline pal suffers from chronic nutritional deficiencies and intestinal parasites could also prompt your pet to lick and consume materials that are both non-nutritious and non-edible.

By being mindful of your cat’s nutritional needs and by giving her the best cat foods available, you can help her ease her cravings. Aside from the usual visit to the pediatrician, it would also be immensely helpful to seek the expert’s advice of an animal behaviorist to better understand your cat’s behavior.

Pain and Stress


When your cat excessively licks the same spot all the time, it is highly likely that she is experiencing discomfort in that area. As for male cats, if their penis is showing, it is a sign that they are experiencing Feline Urethral Obstruction (FUO). When this happens, you would see them licking their penis. As FUO is a life-threatening condition, seeking a professional’s advice is a must.

Stress can also trigger cats to demonstrate odd behaviors such as licking everything. Compulsive licking, chewing, and scratching could also be triggered by anxiety and boredom. These behavioral problems typically happen in indoor cats which have little opportunity to exercises and outdoor fun.

What To Remember

Compulsive and excessive licking should be taken seriously. While self-grooming in natural for them, there are other possible causes for them to lick the things around them. Although it may seem funny at first, you should keep in mind that there are medical and behavioral problems should be checked immediately. More specifically, you may opt to try the following:

  • Provide your cat with more nutritious food choices
  • Give your feline friend toys to play with
  • Have your cat checked by a veterinarian or animal behaviorist

Show your cat the best care possible by being observant even to the minor behavioral changes. I hope I was able to share something relevant and information-packed today. For questions or comments, leave them below. Until next post.

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Debby Jackson

Hi there, I am Debby. I am your modern-day cat lady who is just utterly crazy about cats. I am always thirsty for new knowledge on how to keep my feline friends happy and healthy all the time.

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