Why Does My Cat Lick The Shower Curtain?

Cats licking shower curtains refers to the behavior of felines using their tongues to lap at the vinyl or plastic material that hangs as a barrier to keep water inside bathtub or shower stalls. This seemingly strange conduct has puzzled many cat owners who find their pets engaging in it regularly.

“Why does my cat lick the shower curtain?” This peculiar question has crossed the minds of countless cat owners who have caught their furry companions partaking in this unusual activity. The reasons behind this quirky feline behavior remain a mystery to many.

There are several theories that attempt to explain why cats are driven to lick shower curtains. Some speculate that the plastic material or soap residues left on the curtains may appeal to a cat’s sense of taste and smell. Others believe features of the curtain’s texture or the presence of water droplets attract licks as a form of play or grooming. More concerning explanations involve nutritional deficiencies, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorders.

Table of Contents

What Nutritional Deficiencies Prompt This Interest in the Shower Curtain Despite Access to CATFOOD?

Some veterinary specialists believe that dietary deficiencies, such as a lack of fat or insoluble fiber, may drive cats to seek out missing nutrients by chewing on and ingesting strange items like fabrics and shower curtains. 

Cats with deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals may also exhibit pica behavior in an attempt to obtain the nutrients they need. Specific deficiencies that could prompt curtain chewing include taurine, arginine, vitamins A and B, and fatty acids.

 So even if a cat has access to cat food, if that food is not meeting all of the cat’s nutritional needs, the cat may still try to compensate by chewing and eating other items.

Is My Cat Missing Key Minerals and Vitamins in Her CATFOOD That Lead to Curtain Chewing?

Yes, it’s possible your cat’s cat food is not supplying adequate levels of certain vitamins and minerals, leading to nutritional deficiencies that drive her to chew shower curtains12. Key micronutrients she may be missing include taurine, arginine, vitamins A and B, as well as beneficial fatty acids like omega-3s. 

Many commercial cat foods don’t contain optimal nutrient levels. Checking your cat food’s guaranteed analysis on the label could reveal if it’s lacking in vitamins, minerals, fats, or protein your cat needs. Switching to a food designed to prevent deficiencies may curb her curtain chewing.

Could My Cat Be Craving More Protein Than Her Current CAT FOOD Provides?

It’s quite possible your cat is craving more protein than her current cat food provides, prompting her shower curtain chewing. Cats require high levels of quality protein in their diets. 

If her food contains plant proteins like corn, wheat, or soy instead of quality animal proteins, this could drive protein-seeking behavior like chewing shower curtains which contain traces of human proteins like skin cells and oils. Switching to a cat food with higher animal protein content and less plant protein may satisfy her protein needs and end shower curtain chewing episodes.

What CAT FOOD Ingredients Improve My Cat’s Nutrient Intake and Curb Shower Curtain Chewing

Some beneficial cat food ingredients that can improve your cat’s nutrient intake and potentially curb shower curtain chewing include:

  • Animal-based proteins: High-quality proteins from chicken, turkey, lamb, beef or fish help meet amino acid requirements.
  • Taurine: Added taurine promotes heart and eye health.
  • Prebiotics and probiotics: Improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids: Help skin, coat, joints, and other areas.
  • Vitamins and chelated minerals: Prevent deficiencies leading to pica.

Choosing a cat food optimized with digestible, bioavailable ingredients like these can help supply the nutrients your cat seeks when chewing shower curtains. Consult your vet on the best food for your cat’s needs.

Does My Cat Have an Oral Fixation – is the Shower Curtain Licking Not About CAT FOOD At All?

It is possible your cat has an oral fixation not related to hunger or nutrition. Some cats simply enjoy the texture, taste, or activity of chewing on items like plastic or rubber. This could explain persistent chewing on shower curtains despite having adequate access to cat food.

Cat Drinking A Lot Of Water After Surgery underlying issues like dental disease, nutritional deficiencies, stress, or boredom could still be driving the behavior.To determine if an oral fixation is the primary driver, provide your cat enrichment through playtime, toys that appeal to their natural chewing instinct, and observing their behavior after their other needs are met.

If chewing persists on shower curtains and other household items unrelated to hunger, then the oral fixation itself should be addressed through alternatives rather than adjusting their diet.

Does My Cat Simply Enjoy the Texture and Activity of Nibbling the Vinyl Shower Curtain?

It’s quite possible your cat enjoys nibbling on the shower curtain simply due to the texture and activity. Cats have a natural instinct to chew and nibble on items. The plastic vinyl material of a shower curtain can appeal to this instinct because of its flexibility and texture when bitten or sucked on. 

The act of chewing itself releases pleasurable endorphins for cats as well.To test this theory, provide your cat plentiful alternatives that mimic the texture and chewing satisfaction derived from the shower curtain, such as soft rubber toys, cardboard scratchers, or cat grass. 

Monitor if redirecting to appropriate chewing outlets curbs the plastic nibbling behavior. If the curtain chewing continues despite alternatives, then other factors like nutrition, stress, or boredom may be stronger drivers. But the texture itself could still be a reinforcing factor to the behavior.

Is There an Anxiety or Boredom Component Driving This Behavior More Than CAT FOOD Content?

Is There an Anxiety or Boredom Component Driving This Behavior More Than CAT FOOD Content?

It’s quite possible anxiety, stress, or simple boredom is a bigger driver of plastic chewing than pure nutrition. Cats experiencing changes, conflict, or insufficient enrichment can turn to inappropriate chewing for comfort or stimulation. The behavior then becomes reinforced over time.

Analyze if chewing arises, worsens, or lessens depending on your cat’s environment and activity levels. Provide calming aids like pheromones during changes. Rule out medical issues that cause discomfort. 

Most importantly, enrich their routine through play sessions, puzzle feeders and toys, vertical spaces to climb, and positive interactions to relieve stress and boredom. If chewing then declines, these were likely strong components unrelated to nutritional fulfillment from the plastic itself.

What Alternative Oral Fixations Can I Introduce My Cat to Beyond the Shower Curtain

Some healthy alternatives to redirect your cat’s oral fixation from the shower curtain include:

  • Cat grass – Allows nibbling satisfaction and aids digestion
  • Cardboard scratchers – Mimics texture of chewing plastic
  • Dental treats or chews – Appeals to chewing instinct
  • Puzzle feeders – Provides mental and physical stimulation
  • Rubber cat toys – Flexible and resilient for biting
  • Catnip – Encourages playful chewing behavior

Providing multiple tempting textures and outlets for your cat to chew and nibble that are safe and designed for cats can curb interest in plastic shower curtains over time. Ensure alternatives remain novel and engaging by rotating options. Ultimately a combination of appropriate oral outlets and enough enrichment is key to break the habit.

Could There be a Medical Reason Behind My Cat’s Fascination with Licking Plastic Despite Access to Cat Food?

Yes, there could be an underlying medical reason why a cat is obsessed with licking plastic even when they have access to cat food. Some potential medical causes include nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal issues, dental disease, anxiety, stress, or other behavioral disorders like pica or obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Cats may lick plastic bags or other objects as a way to cope with discomfort or compulsions related to these issues. Providing proper nutrition, treating any underlying illness, and reducing stressors can help resolve plastic licking behaviors.

Does My Cat Have an Underlying Condition Like Pica or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

It’s possible your cat may have pica or OCD if they compulsively lick and chew on plastics and other non-food items. Pica is an eating disorder characterized by consumption of inedible objects. OCD involves repetitive behaviors driven by obsession and anxiety. 

Oriental cat breeds like Siamese have a genetic predisposition for pica5. To diagnose pica or OCD, your vet will rule out medical causes through bloodwork, urinalysis or other tests. If results are normal, pica or OCD may be likely, especially if licking is excessive and hard to deter.

What Tests Help Diagnose Any Medical Issues Driving This Curtain Chewing Cat Food Won’t Resolve?

Diagnostic tests like complete blood count, serum chemistry panel, urinalysis and thyroid tests can uncover medical problems causing plastic licking that cat food alone won’t fix

These tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte levels, blood cell counts and look for issues like infection, kidney disease, diabetes or hormonal imbalances. Your vet may also order imaging like X-rays or endoscopy to check for foreign bodies or gastrointestinal disease if your cat actually ingested plastic.

What Treatments Work Best for Compulsive Shower Curtain Licking in Cats

For compulsive plastic licking, treatment involves behavior modification, environmental changes, medication and addressing underlying medical issues14. Remove access to plastics and offer alternative chewing toys. Deter licking with unpleasant tastes. Reduce stress by enriching their environment. 

Medications like fluoxetine and clomipramine may be prescribed for anxiety or OCD. Nutritional supplements can also help in cases related to deficiency. Check-ups to monitor progress are important. Addressing root causes leads to the best outcome.

How Can I CATFOOD-Proof My Bathroom to Stop My Cat Licking the Shower Curtain?

S.NoSolutionDescription
1Use Cat Deterrent SpraysSpray cat deterrents on the shower curtain to discourage licking.
2Provide Alternative DistractionsOffer cat-friendly toys or treats to redirect their attention.
3Apply Double-Sided TapeCats dislike the sticky texture, making the curtain less appealing.
4Utilize Citrus ScentsCats often dislike citrus smells, so use citrus-scented sprays on the curtain.
5Use Bitter Apple SprayApply a pet-safe bitter apple spray to deter licking behavior.
6Try Motion-Activated DevicesInstall devices that emit sound or motion when the cat approaches.
7Use Cat Repellent MatsPlace mats with cat repellent properties near the shower curtain.
8Keep the Bathroom Door ClosedPrevent access to the bathroom when not in use to limit exploration.
9Create a Cat-Friendly Space ElsewhereDesignate an area with cat-friendly items to distract them from the bathroom.
10Consult with a Vet for Behavioral IssuesIf licking persists, consult with a veterinarian for potential underlying issues.

Feel free to customize or add more solutions based on your specific situation.

What Deterrent Sprays and Devices Discourage My Cat from Chewing the Vinyl?

There are several commercial deterrent sprays made to discourage cats from chewing and licking certain areas. One of the most popular brands is Sentry Stop That! It uses pheromones and scents cats dislike to deter them from problem behaviors like chewing vinyl shower curtains.

Another effective option is to use an ultrasonic repellent device. These devices emit high frequency sounds only cats can detect. The sounds startle them which deters chewing and licking behaviors. Popular ultrasonic cat deterrent brands include PetSafe SSSCat and Hoont Ultrasonic Repeller.

What Physical Barriers Work Best for Restricting My Cat’s Access to the Shower Curtain?

Installing physical barriers offers an effective way to deny cats access for licking shower curtains. One simple solution is attaching adjustable shower curtain liners on both the inside and outside of the curtain rod. The extra layer prevents cats from reaching the main curtain to lick it. 

You can also install corner shower caddies to store bath products. Positioning the caddies in the corners blocks additional access points to the curtain.For a more permanent restriction, consider mounting acrylic or polycarbonate panels around the tub area. 

These clear panels allow light in but serve as impenetrable physical barriers cats cannot get around. Screens and mesh barriers also work well for blocking access while still allowing ventilation and light1. These barriers can be custom measured to fit around tubs.

FAQ’s

Is it normal for cats to lick shower curtains?

Yes, many cats exhibit this curious behavior of licking plastic items like shower curtains.

Does licking the shower curtain mean my cat is thirsty?

Not necessarily, cats likely lick shower curtains more for the texture or residues rather than needing water.

Could licking the shower curtain be harmful for my cat?

Possibly, if they ingest soap or chemical residues it could cause gastrointestinal issues.

What should I do to stop my cat from licking the shower curtain?

Redirect their attention, restrict access right after showering, or use a non-plastic liner that won’t entice them.

Why does my cat specifically target the shower curtain to lick?

They may be attracted to the warmth, moisture, smooth texture, or fatty residues left behind after showering.

Conclusion

Cats lick shower curtains for a few reasons. They are attracted to the taste and smell of substances like shampoo residue. Licking curtains also satisfies cats’ grooming instincts. Finally, cats may lick strange things when they are bored.

In conclusion, cats lick shower curtains because of the appealing tastes and smells. Curtains also allow cats to express natural grooming behaviors. Additionally, shower curtains provide mental stimulation for bored cats looking for activity. Understanding these reasons can help owners provide alternatives to curtain-licking for their cats. 

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