Why does my cat lick tile?
January 28, 2009 11:25 AM   Subscribe

My cat has taken to licking the bathroom tiles, poor thing. What to do?

My female cat is healthy and happy (if a little overweight), but lately she has taken to licking the bathroom tiles. Not obsessively by any means, and when I distract her, she forgets all about it. This doesn't fit into any larger behavior pattern-- it just seems to be its own quirk.

I feed her dry food (Nutro) with just a few ounces of wet.

If this indicates that she's lacking nutrients, can anyone recommend a feline supplement of some kind?

Yes, I will contact the vet. I just noticed this behavior a couple of days ago.

Thanks, guys.
posted by cymru_j to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you use a product containing bleach to clean your tiles? Because two of my cats go catnip-crazy over the scent of bleach to the point where I find them rolling around in the bathtub after every cleaning.

You can test it by dabbing a bit of well-diluted bleach on a bit of cloth and letting her sniff it. Mine will fight over the cloth and the winner will drool all over it.
posted by jamaro at 11:37 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


My cats lick the shower after I get out. It's possible she's tasting salt from your feet or she likes the taste of whatever mung comes from the bottom of your shoes or socks.

Most behavior issues with cats can be attributed to the fact their brains are the size of a walnut.

I'm not a vet, but I have both a cat and a bathroom.
posted by bondcliff at 11:41 AM on January 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


One of mine licks the plastic trash can, another likes to sniff her mom's tail when mom comes inside, a third likes to pull the kleenex out of the box one at a time and shred them. If it's not obsessive, maybe it's just one of those things. I like to chew ice - maybe she likes them because they're cold or something. I really wouldn't worry, if she seems happy and healthy. (IANQA crazy cat lady.)
posted by fritley at 11:44 AM on January 28, 2009


In my experience, cats love tile. And licking things. Especially in ways that make humans go "huh?"
posted by desuetude at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mine likes to get in the bathtub and chase his tail. Then poops. It might be the water, it might be the texture, it might be the cleaning solution, it might be anything. If she's not eating the tile or grout, I wouldn't worry.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:58 AM on January 28, 2009


Like bondcliff, my cat loves to lick a recently-used shower. And plastic shopping bags. It's just something he does; I never considered there was anything wrong with him. He's in great health and always has been.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:14 PM on January 28, 2009


Ha! I feel a lot better. I'll just chalk it up to weird but non-dangerous cat behavior. (Aren't you glad I didn't say "caulk it up"? Sorry. Horrible.)
posted by cymru_j at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2009


The only worry sign I can come up with is if he is licking off condensation, but then that would only be worrisome if coupled with lots of drinking and peeing in general (and could be a sign of diabetes, it's how we found our cat was diabetic). But just dry tile, probably no biggie.
posted by agentwills at 12:27 PM on January 28, 2009


The only worry sign I can come up with is if he is licking off condensation, but then that would only be worrisome if coupled with lots of drinking and peeing in general (and could be a sign of diabetes, it's how we found our cat was diabetic).

If the cat isn't diabetic, it could be doing this because apparently left over droplets of shower water are irresistibly cravable. Apparently.
posted by desuetude at 12:45 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you want it to stop, you could spray some Bitrex on the floor
posted by delmoi at 1:05 PM on January 28, 2009


Oh hmm, the Wikipedia article says that it doesn't affect cats very much.
posted by delmoi at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2009


apparently left over droplets of shower water are irresistibly cravable. Apparently.

Oh, for one of my girls, those leftover droplets were only irresistibly cravable if they could be licked off a person's legs, usually mine. Count yourself lucky that your cat is only going for the tiles.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:30 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've heard something about sprinkling cayenne pepper on soil of plants that cats keep eating - they supposedly never go near it again after the first time of tasting the pepper. Maybe try the same thing on the bathroom floor for a day or two and that'll teach them not to do it?

Maybe double check to make sure cayenne pepper won't kill the kitteh, but I've definitely heard of this being used for plants.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 1:43 PM on January 28, 2009


My brothers two cats stalk outside his shower door for the moment when they can leap in (even risking getting pretty wet) to lick the water from the edge of the tub, or wet footprints on the floor. You'd think he was dehydrating them on purpose, but no, they're just loons. And what bondcliff said. What goes through a cat's brain doesnt have a long way to travel.
posted by elendil71 at 1:47 PM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


They lick the tiles off and look whether there's mice behind.
posted by Namlit at 2:09 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


My feline companion animal will lick any smooth surface - specifically, the window. I think it's the combination of cold + smooth that's appealing.

She's also currently asleep on a backpack. We've tried putting pillows in her favorite sleeping places, but she prefers to sleep on bags, preferably black ones.

Cats are so weird.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, cats are just weird. She might do it forever, and might stop tomorrow. Sometimes my cat licks the sink and wants to drink from the faucet, even with a bowl full of water. Sometimes she lays in the tub and licks it. Sometimes she lays with her hind half in the bathroom and her front half in the hallway.

They are weird, weird animals. But they look at us like they can't figure us out either.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:39 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mine licks bicycle spokes and metal guitar stings. I think they just like the cold sensation on their tongues?
posted by delladlux at 2:41 PM on January 28, 2009


I provide fresh water for my cat many times per day, but she still (for whatever reason) prefers to jump up into the kitchen sink after I've run the water and lick the leftover droplets.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:02 PM on January 28, 2009


One of my cats likes to lick the carpet. The other likes to sit in any bag that's available, like grapefruitmoon's cat. So, yeah, I think the "cats are just weird" theory seems to fit.
posted by weathergal at 5:57 PM on January 28, 2009


Yeah, cats... had one that would sit outside the shower and beg to be let in, loved water pouring down on her. Had a dog that would lick tile, dad tried to put tobasco sauce on the floor, dog just moved further into the bathroom.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:10 AM on January 29, 2009


I once found mine sopping wet out in the rain playing in a downpipe trickle. Like mucking in it, trying to catch it with his paws and teeth. Getting it up his nose. He's a dick :)

But yeah, are these wet tiles? Cats like to drink water and lots of it. If you're thinking "No, not my cat" - yes, your cat... and from out of the toilet by the sounds of that.
The fresher the water the better though. Ick.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 10:21 AM on January 29, 2009


Maybe the tiles are cool and slippery to the touch and so the cat thinks they're wet so it licks them.
posted by atm at 7:57 PM on January 29, 2009


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