Cats are known to be very particular with their habits like licking their fur but it’s another thing when they start licking items like plastic bags and shower curtains.
The most common reasons why a cat licks the shower curtain are that she may have developed a liking to it because of its texture or pheromones that she detects on the curtain, or it may be that she detected something in the curtain that awakens her carnivore tendencies. These and a few other factors are the usual culprits for your cat’s licking spree.
Why does my cat lick the shower curtains? The probable reasons
Cats have their own unique quirks and strange behavior but sometimes it can be puzzling for pet parents. While they normally lick their fur and paws, licking random items as a shower curtain can be supprising for you. Here are probable reasons why cats lick shower curtains:
It may be because of the texture.
The reason why your kitty likes to lick surfaces like the shower curtain or the wall may be because of the smooth texture which feels pleasant against her tongue. The temperature may also be a plus factor and if the shower curtain is wet it may encourage your pet to lick repeatedly because of the moisture.
A cat’s tongue consists of tiny, backward-facing barbs called papillae, which explains the rough sensation. These help cats in rasping meat from bones of prey and also in collecting loose hair from their coat. Licking the smooth surface of a shower curtain against their rough and sand-paper like tongue produces a feel-good sensation for your pet cat which may explain why she’s constantly licking the shower curtains.
Your pet cat may be attracted to the “animal fat” component of shower curtains.
Let’s admit it, we usually use plastic shower curtains in our bathrooms but did you know that this type of material contains animal ingredients? Products made of plastic, from plastic bags to shower curtains, contain slip agents that reduce the friction. These so-called slip agents are made of animal fat. Now, we should remember that cats are obligate carnivores and they’re driven to consume meat. The “greasy or fatty” scent that they detect from the shower curtains could be the reason why your pet cat has a fetish for licking it.
Interestingly, cats can detect certain scents like animal fat on shower curtains with the use of their auxiliary sense through the aid of the Jacobson’s organ that connects the mouth to the nasal passage. Cats use this organ to taste-smell things around them, including shower curtains, along with what’s known as a Flehmen response. The behavior includes curling back the upper lip then the tongue is rubbed on the roof of the mouth. It allows the mouth, nose, and the Jacobson organ to enable your pet cat to sense and detect the essence of the flavor as well as the smell of a particular object.
Your pet cat may have detected pheromones in the shower curtain.
Just like what was earlier discussed, your pet cat may have detected hormone scents in your shower curtains like pheromones. Plastic materials tend to contain chemicals that can duplicate attractants and pheromones which normally causes a social response among felines. A study in Environment Health Perspectives indicated that most plastic products release chemicals that mimic hormones. This may explain why your pet cat is acting strangely and is consistently licking the shower curtain.
It’s a cat’s way of exploring his environment.
Your cat may be licking the shower curtain as her way of exploring and getting to know the environment. Things like plastic bags and shower curtains may seem strange for cats and one way for them to assess its components is by licking it and as a way of expressing curiosity. It’s perfectly okay for your cat to lick things like the shower curtain but make sure that she doesn’t start chewing on them. Chewing and ingesting plastic and other things may be fatal for your pet cat and may cause damage to the cat’s body.
Your cat may have anxiety.
One obvious sign of anxiety among cats is over-grooming wherein they can’t stop licking their fur, body, and paws. This may somehow extend to licking other nearby objects including shower curtains. Be very observant of your cat’s behavior and if she manifests other signs like aggressiveness, constantly hiding, and meowing excessively. If these signs are present along with the licking behavior then you should bring your pet to the vet as once.
Your pet cat may be thirsty.
Your kitty may be licking the shower curtain simply because she’s thirsty and she’s drawn to it because it’s dripping with water. Pet cats usually have this practice of sneaking in your bathroom after your bath time because they instinctively know there’ll be water nearby especially in your shower curtain.
What to do to discourage your cat from licking shower curtains?
If you caught your furry baby a few times lounging around in your bathroom and happily licking your shower curtains then keep your calm and don’t freak out. There are ways that you can stop her from making it an obsession of sorts. Here are some steps that you can do to prevent your pet from licking shower curtains:
1. Close the bathroom door.
An effective way to curb your cat’s licking practice is to close the door to your bathroom or better yet always keep it locked if not in use. This will deter your cat from getting inside the bathroom.
2. Spray a cat deterrent on the shower curtains.
You can also use a cat deterrent spray to prevent your cat from going near your shower curtains. However, wet shower curtains may affect the degree of effectiveness. Recommended commercial cat deterrent sprays include Pet Mastermind Cat Spray and PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent. You can also prepare a homemade deterrent spray by mixing apple cider vinegar and water at a one is to one ratio or by using citronella, lavender, or lemongrass essential oils on a 1 part oil and 3 parts water ratio.
3. Swap your plastic shower curtains with eco-friendly curtains.
You may opt to use eco-friendly and chemical-free shower curtains instead of PVC plastic ones and observe if there will be changes with your cat’s tendency to lick your shower curtains. Shower curtains are made of eco-friendly materials and examples of these are organic cotton, polyester, bamboo, linen, or hemp.
Discovering that your cat is licking the shower curtain is quite alarming but shouldn’t discourage or stress you out. Closely observe her behavior and identify the triggers or causes why she’s doing it. Cats usually lick shower curtains out of curiosity, because they detect familiar scents like pheromones or animal fat, or because they’re anxious or thirsty. It’s vital to take proactive measures to curb and correct it and also by seeking professional advice from your vet.