Licking behavior in cats has several possible reasons. Sometimes, cats will lick surfaces as a marking behavior. They are indicating that this surface is theirs.
Other times, they will lick objects or surfaces due to taste preferences. If your cat likes the texture of the wall, or what’s on the wall, like scent markers, they will lick them.
Thirdly, they can lick for comfort. Sometimes something happens that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and licking a surface or object can soothe this feeling.
Disorders that can cause excessive licking include allergies, stress and anxiety, and medical problems such as diabetes and kidney disease. Understanding when your cat licks and why can help determine if there is a problem causing this behavior.
This article will go into more detail about why your cat may be licking and some possible causes for this behavior.
Reasons your cat licks the walls
There are several reasons why your cat might lick the walls. Most of these have to do with the fact that cats love texture and hate boredom.
If your cat has a favorite toy he likes to chase around the house, then he is trying to entertain himself because he hates waiting. When he is hungry, he probably can’t wait until his bowl is filled, so he chases his toy instead.
When cats are young, they tend to spend a lot of time wandering around the house, exploring every corner and investigating every nook and cranny. As they get older, they become more set in their ways and less curious about new things. This is why older cats tend to be more laid-back.
If your cat has been acting out lately and seems unusually active, it might be due to a new pet in the house, a new pet in the house or some other change that has him or her on edge.
Reasons your cat licks the walls
Cats typically lick surfaces for one of two reasons: taste and scent. Taste is the more obvious reason. When your cat licks the walls, he or she is probably looking for something to eat.
Dust can contain small particles of food. If your cat licks the walls regularly, this could be the reason they do it. They are trying to find something tasty!
Scent is the less obvious reason. Cats have a superior sense of smell than humans, so they often use their tongue to sample what smells around them.
If there is a new smell on the wall, your kitty may be trying to identify what it is by licking it. They may also be trying to mark their territory by leaving their scent on the wall.
Either way, you will need to check out the walls to see if there is anything that could be attracting your cat or making them feel insecure.
1) They are trying to mark their territory
Cats have a very strong sense of territory. They like knowing what spaces are theirs and where they are allowed to go and where they are not.
When a cat walks into a room and smells another cat’s scent, they get very upset. This is why when you bring home a new toy, the cat goes into the bathroom and then comes out smelling like a spray, as if it was marked as its territory.
They feel most secure in a space that smells like them. That is why they love to sleep and play in their litter box – because it smells like them!
If your cat is suddenly licking the walls, then it could be due to stress. A change in the household can do this, such as having babies, bringing home a new pet, or having someone leave the house. It could also be due to something outside of the house causing stress.
2) They are looking for water
Sadly, many cats are forced to scavenge for their next meal. They must hunt to get meat and must find water to drink.
If your cat is licking the walls, they may be trying to find a source of water. Sometimes the pipes leak or there is a need to re-water the area they drink from.
It could be that they are thirsty and the wall is an accessible source of water for them.
You should always make sure their bowl is full of water and that the litter box has enough moisture so they can drink and use the bathroom.
3) They find the wall texture pleasurable
While this may seem like a pretty obvious reason, texture is a big deal for cats. They love to rub up against things, so if the wall is pleasing to lick, they will.
Kittens especially enjoy rolling around on soft surfaces and carpet, so the texture of the walls may be what draws them to lick them.
Some cats have been known to spray urine on soft surfaces like rugs and bedding, so it is possible your cat has had issues with urinary control and wants to mark the wall as territory.
If this is the case, you will probably see repeated licking in one spot or traces of urine. If there is no urination issue, then it may just be a texture preference.
Either way, it is important to try and give the cat something more pleasing than the walls so they will stop licking them.
4) They are hungry
If your cat is constantly begging for food, they could be motivated by hunger. If you notice your kitty licking the walls after they eat, they could just be continuing a habit.
Cats often groom themselves and other cats as a form of communication and to show affection. They also lick the walls as a way to mark their territory.
If your cat licks the walls frequently, it may be time to take them to the vet for weight checks and other tests. Sometimes, cats will lose weight quickly due to allergies or diseases and that can be scary for them and you.
You can purchase canned food at the grocery store so that they are full until you can get them to the vet. Try cutting down on their dry food for a few days to see if that changes anything.
5) Your cat is bored
Cats are natural hunters. They love to chase mice and birds, and they love to chase moving objects.
If your cat has nothing to chase, he or she will pursue other things instead. And since cats love to groom themselves and each other, a cat that has no external object to groom may begin grooming the walls instead.
Cats also like climbing and jumping. If your cat has no place to jump or climb, he or she may decide the walls are a good place to do so.
So, if you notice your kitty licking the walls or grooming them or jumping on them, it’s time to get a new cat tree or explore ways to give them more places to play and climb.
Or maybe it’s time for that laser toy you’ve heard so much about.
If your cat is forcefully licking objects, people, or other pets, it could be a sign of anxiety. Licking can also be a way for your cat to claim something as its own.
In cats, grooming is a territorial behavior. If your cat is constantly licking itself or rubbing against things, it might be trying to mark them as its territory.
Of course, if you notice your cat grooming unusually excessive amounts, or experiencing symptoms such as hair loss or skin damage, then see a vet immediately. Hair loss could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Nail chewing can also be caused by stress. If your kitty has an empty belly and spends all day pawing at the walls and the floor, then she may just be trying to keep herself busy. Give her some toys and attention to help fight this issue.