Your cat licks the condensation from windows because it is attracted to the salt in your sweat.
The same holds true for licking ice cubes, which are made of water and contain a high concentration of salt. Cats also enjoy licking mineral deposits from rocks or tree bark, as well as human skin, since we are about 40% salty by weight.
Here I’ll discuss the science of why cats lick condensation and provide some explanations for this behavior.
Why Do Cats Lick Condensation?
I know what you’re thinking—it’s gross! But as it turns out, licking condensation is a perfectly natural behavior for cats. Here I’ll discuss the science of why cats lick condensation and provide some explanations for this behavior.
1. Salt: An Instinctual Craving
Cats are attracted to the salt in your sweat, as well as the sodium chloride that is present in condensation. Cats have a strong instinctual craving for salt thanks to their evolutionary diet, which was high in sodium.
2. Hydration: Quenching Their Thirst
Cats can naturally acquire some hydration from licking condensation as well. Even if a cat has access to water, moist surfaces like windows still provide additional moisture that cats need for proper hydration.
3. Grooming: Keeping Their Unique Smell
In addition to their strong taste for salt, cats lick condensation as a form of grooming. Cats have scent glands around their face and chin which secrete unique pheromones that help cats identify each other and mark their territories. When cats lick themselves, they distribute their scent throughout their fur. Licking condensation can help cats maintain the unique odor they need to mark their space and identify themselves.
4. Boredom: Filling Time
Cats also may lick condensation out of boredom or curiosity, especially if there are not many other stimulation opportunities available. Since licking is a natural activity for cats, they may use this behavior to pass the time when there is nothing else to do.
5. Comfort: A Calming Activity
Finally, licking is a calming activity for cats and can help them cope with stress or anxiety. Some cats may lick windows as a way to soothe themselves or provide comfort in stressful situations. According to the Humane Society of the United States, licking is also a form of self-expression for cats.
Overall, cats lick condensation for many different reasons, from instinctual cravings for salt to finding comfort in a stressful situation. By understanding why cats lick condensation and other surfaces, it can help us provide our cats with the stimulation and comfort they need to lead a better life. With proper care, you can help your cat lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Is There Any Health Risk Associated with Licking Condensation?
Generally speaking, licking condensation is perfectly safe for cats and poses no health risk. However, it is important to keep a few things in mind. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to your cat’s licking habits:
1. Ensure There are ‘NO’ Chemicals
From my research, cats should never lick condensation that has been treated with chemicals or other cleaning agents. Ensure that all windows and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before allowing your cat to lick them. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, chemical cleaners can be toxic to cats and may cause serious health issues.
2. Make Sure Windows are Clean
It’s also important to make sure that your windows are clean and free of dirt or debris. Cats can easily ingest any contaminants that may be present on surfaces and this can lead to illness.
3. Check for Broken Glass
Finally, you should also check your windows for any broken glass or sharp edges as these can injure cats who are licking them. Cats tend to lick the edges of windows and if there is a crack or chip in the glass, they can easily cut or scrape their tongues.
My Cat is Obsessed with Licking Windows!
Yes, it’s true: some cats can become fixated on licking condensation and other surfaces. If you find that your cat is excessively licking windows or other surfaces, it may be time to look into why your cat is exhibiting this behavior.
In some cases, excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety and stress if the cat isn’t getting enough stimulation or exercise. You should also make sure that your cat has access to plenty of fresh water and other stimulations such as toys or scratching posts.
If you’re concerned that your cat is excessively licking windows or other surfaces, be sure to speak with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. Some cats may exhibit excessive licking behaviors due to an infection, injury, or illness such as kidney disease.
What May Happen if My Cat Eats Condensation?
It’s important to note that licking condensation isn’t the same as eating it. While cats may lick condensation, eating it can be potentially dangerous. If your cat ingests condensation, it may contain bacteria or irritants that could cause an upset stomach or even poisoning. In short, it’s best to keep your cat away from any potential sources of condensation ingestion.
If you suspect that your cat has ingested condensation, contact your veterinarian immediately. They can provide advice on what to do and may recommend taking your cat for a physical exam or medical tests depending on the severity of the situation. By monitoring your cat’s licking behaviors, you can help ensure that they stay healthy and safe.
How Can I Stop My Cat From Licking Condensation?
Here I’ll go through from my experience, some things you can do to help prevent your cat from excessively licking windows and other surfaces.
1. Provide Adequate Stimulation
Sometimes cats lick condensation out of boredom, so providing adequate stimulation can help reduce the behavior. Make sure your cat has access to plenty of toys and other activities that they can engage in, to help distract them from their licking behavior.
2. Increase Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Exercise is important for cats to keep them active and engaged. Make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your cat to get exercise and mental stimulation, such as interactive toys or puzzle feeders.
3. Provide a Variety of Food Options
Providing your cat with a variety of different food options can help keep them interested and give their taste buds something new to try. This can also help reduce boredom and keep them from excessively licking windows or other surfaces out of hunger.
4. Speak With a Veterinarian
If your cat’s licking behavior persists, it’s best to speak with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be causing the problem. They will be able to provide advice on what steps would be best for you to take.
My Final Thoughts
Understanding why cats lick condensation and other surfaces is the first step to helping them stop the behavior. Providing plenty of stimulation, exercise, and mental stimulation can help reduce the behavior, but if it persists be sure to speak with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. By monitoring your cat’s licking behaviors, you can help keep them safe and healthy!
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your cat stays happy and healthy while reducing their excessive licking behaviors.