Fascinating Feline Behavior: Why All the Licking?!Published October 6, 2009
I run across the "darndest" questions while helping cat owners on a popular question and answer website in a cat community. A few days ago I almost fell off my chair giggling when I found this rather unique inquiry by a cat owner who wanted help with his kitty's apparently odd behavior. It sure caught my eye! The subject line read: "What's up with my cat's tongue fetish?" The question was: "The little freak licks anything and everything. Sometimes she's going after moisture; licking the sides of the sink, bathtub and the condensation off the outsides of drink glasses. (Yes, we keep her water bowl full.) She licks other things as well. She licks me. I've caught her licking the sticky tape on the lint roller several times. But her very favorite thing to lick is the television remote control. She's positively obsessed with that. I'm guessing she likes the hand sweat on it. What's up with my freaky kitty?" Memories of our beloved now angel-seal point Siamese cat washed over me, and even through my laughter, I could not help reminiscing with some sorrow that still remains following the loss of our amazing seal point Siamese several years ago. He behaved almost identically. I paused for a few moments remembering our wonderful cat and the joy that we shared with him for far too short a time. He passed away after a long and complicated illness when he was only 8-years-of-age; far too young and much too soon. He was indeed my soul-mate kitty. Then I cleared my throat and wrote this reply. Photo: Mousie Tongue by Jo Singer "Several years ago we shared our heart and home with a Siamese cat named Mousie Tongue. He received that name when my husband and I observed that every time we touched him his very long and active tongue became activated, as if we had pushed a button on a battery powered toy. Of course we named him as a play on words and a pun on Chairman Mao Zedong. Mousie Tongue licked almost anything if he was petted. Every time our kitty was touched by a human hand, his tongue immediately got busy. It didn't seem to matter what the target was. In fact, one particularly poignant moment stands out in my mind. A now very dear cat loving friend was visiting me for the first time. She was wearing a low cut dress. The second she began petting him, that long and highly active tongue was out and moving in the blink of an eye. He immediately aimed for her cleavage and, trust me, he never missed his mark. Fortunately my friend thought it quite amusing. We still recall that moment with great affection. This said, I suspect your TV remote is impregnated with your scent making it attractive. Her licking you may be what she considers "grooming you"; a strong show of affection and trust". This is an honor! Of course I would be careful to thoroughly cat-proof anything that may be in reach of her eager tongue to ensure her safety. Cat's tongues are covered with barbs so once any soft material gets caught on it, they cannot spit it out. It is then on its one-way trip down into the stomach and may cause intestinal damage. Also please be cautious with beverages that contain caffeine or chocolate if she is eager to lick the outside of glasses. These are both toxic to felines. Your cat is not a "little freak". Many cats share this passion and "fetish" so enjoy her just the way she is. Do your cats have any bizarre habits that you consider "fetishes"? Leave a comment and share.