a ginger and white cat rubbing teeth on a door frame

Why Does My Cat Lick The Wall?

You walk into your living room to see your cat licking the wall. As a cat owner, you expect weird behavior; it’s part-and-parcel of having these special creatures in your life.

It’s common to see your cat lick themselves for hours, and some cats can spend almost half their waking hours relentlessly grooming themselves.

While cats love licking themselves and their companions – and you, they also lick plenty of other objects around your home.

It’s not uncommon to enter the room to see your kitty licking the walls, plants, or furniture like it’s a Carvel soft serve.

In most cases, this behavior is totally normal and no cause for concern. However, some cats might develop obsessive-compulsive disorders around licking.

Why Does My Cat Lick The Wall?

a tabby cat crouching licking their nose with a long tongue

There are a couple of reasons why your cat might lick the wall. Cats get plenty of sensory feedback through their tongue, and it’s one of the reasons why they enjoy licking you.

You’ll notice that your cat’s tongue is abrasive. It feels like sandpaper against your skin, especially on your face.

Here are the top reasons why your cat enjoys licking the walls around your home.

Your Cat Likes The Smell And Taste

Cats have a hypersensitive sense of smell and taste. Its nose is up to 40-times more sensitive. The “Jacobson’s” organ in its mouth allows it to taste the air around it, adding to the cat’s sensory experience.

Your cat might smell some residue on the wall from a spill it finds appealing., even if it’s already dry. Cats also have an attraction to “Volatile Organic Compounds” (VOCs) found in paint.

Most paint manufacturers add these compounds to the paint to provide additional properties, and the VOCs “gas-off” as the paint dries.

That’s one of the reasons why your cat seems to go crazy for packaging, and it wants to hide in plastic bags. The cat senses the VOCs in the material and wants to see what they taste like, even if it’s plastic.

Some experts say the VOCs provide your cat with a psychoactive effect, providing a similar feeling when your cat snacks on catnip.

However, they don’t realize the choking hazards plastic bags present. Make sure you don’t keep any packaging materials or plastic bags around your cat after receiving a parcel from Amazon or any other web retailer.

Your Cat Craves The Moisture

orange tabby kitten outdoors looking into a bowl of water

If you live in a humid climate, you might find that your cat is licking the wall because they like the moisture.

If your cat feels thirsty, and the wall is there, they’ll start licking instead of taking a trip to the water bowl.

If you live on the coastline, your cat might enjoy licking the walls to capture the salt from the spray that sticks to the paint. Your cat needs minerals like sodium to maintain its natural kidney function and blood pressure.

Your Cat Likes The Texture

Sometimes, your cat might like the texture of the wall. As mentioned, the tongue is a huge sensory medium for your cat.

They use it to “touch” you by licking you. The tongue’s rough surface has thousands of taste buds, and combining that data with that from the Jacobsen’s organ gives them a different taste experience when licking the wall.

Your Cat Is Bored

If your cat doesn’t receive enough mental stimulation, it might develop compulsive behavior. Playing with your cat is a vital part of adjusting it to your home and your lifestyle.

Owners that don’t play with their cats end up causing them to experience boredom, especially if they don’t have a friend to play with at home.

white kitten playing around a cat tree

As a result, some cats like to wander to find other friends, especially if you leave them outdoors during the day.

Other cats that don’t have the opportunity to get outside might start exhibiting signs of mental distress. Cats are curious and active animals, especially at night.

Suppressing this natural need to explore and investigate in your cat leads to them experiencing boredom.

When your cat experiences boredom for extensive periods, it might develop signs of compulsive behavior. Some cats might lick the walls obsessively, while others might chew on their claws.

Your Cat Has Anxiety

Another mental disorder suffered by cats that don’t get enough exercise, and love is anxiety. Your cat feels “separation anxiety” when the breeder removes it from its mother for the first time.

Fortunately, you get to take over, and with love and care, the cat starts to attach to you as its new mother. Cats that don’t receive this care often enough grow up with behavioral disorders due to high-anxiety.

Your Cat Has Pica

Licking walls and other objects around the house could also be a sign of Pica in your cat. Pica is a medical term describing your cat’s habit of attempting to eat non-edible items around the home.

Pica is somewhat common in Asian breeds like the Burmese, Siamese, and Tonkinese. Some of the reasons why cats develop this condition are the following.

Behavioral Disorders – As mentioned, stress and anxiety in your cat can change its behavior, making it do strange things in response to boredom and a lack of owner interest in its life.

Dietary Requirements – Cats need the right minerals and vitamins to maintain a healthy body. If the owner neglects its diet, the cat can develop Pica to respond to hunger or malnutrition.

Underlying Disease – Pica can show up as a sign of underlying disease in your kitty. Serious illnesses like anemia, hyperthyroidism, leukemia, diabetes and dental disease are a few of the underlying health issues causing the onset of Pica in your cat.

If your cat is showing signs of Pica, take them to the vet for a checkup.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Licking the Wall?

Getting your cat to stop licking the wall is pretty easy. Cats hate citrus products like oranges and lemons. Take some pure lemon juice and dilute it.

Add it to a spray bottle and spray it on the walls where your cat likes to lick, and they’ll reel in disgust the next time they start licking.