If your cat has been licking your clothes a lot, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what you can do about them.
So, why does my cat lick my clothes? A common reason why your cat will lick your clothes is that it likes the taste. It could also be that you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior, it makes it feel more secure or that it is a compulsive behavior.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your cat might lick your clothes and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Why your cat licks your clothes
Below are a number of possible reasons why your cat licks your clothes and what would make each of them more likely.
It likes the taste
Sweat and dead skin cells can gather on clothes which taste salty. The reason why your cat licks your clothes could be that it likes the way that they taste. This would be more likely if you can get quite sweaty and your cat only licks the clothes you have not washed yet.
If it does seem to be doing it due to liking the taste, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with its diet. This would be more likely if it started doing it after a change in its diet.
It has some separation anxiety
The reason why your cat licks your clothes might be that it has some separation anxiety and the smell of your scent on your clothes calms it down. This would be more likely to be the reason if your cat licks your clothes when you are not around and if it shows signs of being anxious when you are about to leave.
It might be the case that it is a compulsive behavior that it has developed. This is where your cat does a repetitive behavior a lot without seeming to be able to stop. It would be more likely that your cat does it compulsively if it has been licking it a lot for months.
If it does seem to be doing it compulsively then it would help to take it to a vet.
You have been inadvertently rewarding it
The reason why your cat licks your clothes could be that you have been inadvertently training it to do so. This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants such as attention, treats or toys when it licks your clothes.
It likes the scent or smell
It is likely that your clothes have a strong scent on them. It could be the case that your cat does it because it likes the smell of your scent on your clothes. This would be more likely if your cat also licks you in a similar way.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your cat has been doing it. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.
When your cat first started licking your clothes
It would help to consider the timing of when your cat started licking your clothes. If your cat didn’t always do it then it could be that there was an event that triggered it to start doing it.
Some things that could have happened could be:
- You started using a different smelling laundry detergent
- You were very sweaty in the clothes
- You changed its diet
When your cat licks your clothes
The timing of when your cat licks your clothes would also be something to consider. If your cat tends to do it more at certain times, it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if you notice that your cat starts licking them when you are about to leave, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
How to get your cat to stop licking your clothes
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Reduce its separation anxiety
As mentioned above, if your cat does it when you are not around, a part of the cause could be separation anxiety. In this case, it would help to limit reasons why it might get anxious without you such as by giving it access to a safe space to lie down, food, water and a quiet room.
Make sure that its diet is right
It might be the case that an issue with its diet has been contributing to the behavior. It would help to make sure that your cat has been getting the right diet and that it has access to water whenever it might need it.
Reduce its access to your clothes
It would also help to reduce its access to your clothes when getting it to stop doing it. Ways to do so would be to leave the dirty clothes in a laundry basket and the clean clothes in a wardrobe.
If your cat has been licking your clothes excessively, it would help to take your cat to the vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular cat and to rule out medical causes.