Cats lick themselves, and this is a natural thing to do for them. In fact, they spend at least five hours a day grooming, cleaning and licking themselves. However, it can become worrisome for a cat owner if their cat becomes obsessed with licking herself, or household objects and surfaces. Read on for some insightful tips on how to stop your cat from excessive licking.
Home remedies to stop cat from licking
1. Provide more entertainment for your cat.
You can distract your cat from excessive licking by giving her things to do. Invest in safe, good-quality scratching posts and buy laser pointers and cat toys to entertain your cat. This encourages her to play, stay active and beat boredom. Spend quality time with your cat and allot time for play sessions with her.
You could also get another cat so that your cat can have company at home while you are away for the day.
2. Feed her nutritious meals.
Cats may lick non-food items because of a condition called pica. If a cat is missing something vital in her diet, she will seek an alternative source, so she may lick the walls or furniture if she is missing salt or minerals from her diet. To prevent this, feed your cat healthy meals that provide the appropriate vitamins and minerals.
Make sure that your cat has access to cold, fresh water. Her water bowl should be replenished regularly, especially if you are away for long periods during the day.
3. See to it that surfaces like tables and countertops are clean.
Cats are enticed to lick surfaces that have remnants of food on them. This usually happens on the tops of tables or countertops. Clean the surfaces and make sure the surfaces around or near your cat’s food bowl are also kept clean, so your cat won’t have the urge to lick them.
4. Use a citrus spray on surfaces and walls.
Cats abhor the smell of citrus, so when they detect it they will be discouraged from licking where the smell is. Use a citrus spray on walls and floors, but avoid spraying it on furniture as it could ruin the fabric. To make a citrus spray, mix some water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Avoid commercially available lemon juice as it is full of additives.
5. Use mint to discourage your cat from licking.
Cats also hate the smell of mint, so use this to your advantage so stop them licking. Add some mint to warm water and let it steep for a few hours. Apply the liquid directly to surfaces like walls and floors, or put it in a spray bottle so you can liberally spray surfaces and household items.
6. Use essential oils to deter your cat from licking surfaces.
Essential oils can be prepared as sprays to discourage your cat from licking certain areas. Lavender, lemongrass and cinnamon essential oils are safe to use and cats generally hate their smell. Be sure to dilute them before spraying on certain areas, as concentrated sprays could put cats off entering the room at all. Check the ingredients of the essential oil you intend to use to ensure it won’t be harmful to your cats.
7. Train your cat to stop licking.
If you are a patient cat owner, you can also train your cat to stop licking through positive reinforcement. If your cat jumps near a surface that she has been licking, or starts to lick herself, give her a treat before she licks. Eventually this will take her mind away from licking, but you need to exercise patience because you may not get results right away.
Be consistent and expect your cat to want treats each time. If you fail to give treats before your cat licks, do not give one after the event since that will make your cat believe that licking leads to a treat.
Reasons cats lick compulsively
- Dry skin
- Boredom, anxiety or compulsive disorder
Cats normally lick themselves as part of their cleaning and grooming routine. However, it becomes worrisome if they lick themselves, objects or surfaces excessively. To discourage your cat from licking too much, provide her with entertainment such as cat toys and scratching posts. Feed her with healthy meals to prevent her from developing conditions such as pica. You may also use citrus or mint sprays and if you are patient enough you can train your cat to stop her excessive licking behavior.
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