cat licking metal cabinet

Cats may lick metal for various reasons including nutrient deficiencies, boredom, stress, sensory stimulation, or a condition called pica. While occasional licking might be a quirk, consistent behavior warrants a visit to the veterinarian.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Hey there, cat owners! Have you ever walked into a room and found your feline friend licking a piece of metal like it’s the tastiest thing in the world? If this sounds like your cat, you’re probably wondering why on Earth they would do such a thing. Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Licking metal might seem odd, but understanding the reasons behind this quirk can be crucial for your cat’s well-being. In this guide, we’ll dig deep into the causes and find out when there’s a reason for concern. From boredom to nutrient deficiencies, we’re going to cover it all, so keep reading!

Is It Normal for Cats to Lick Metal?

You’re probably asking yourself: “Is my cat just quirky, or is this a sign of something more serious?” Well, let’s get one thing straight—licking metal is not really normal for cats. It’s more of an unusual behavior, but it’s not always a reason for concern.

If it’s an occasional thing, and your cat seems otherwise healthy, it might just be a quirk. However, if you find that your cat is consistently chewing on metal or licking metal objects, you should definitely consult your veterinarian.

5 Reasons Your Cat May Lick Metal

Nutrient Deficiency

First things first, if you see your cat licking metal, it could be an indicator of a nutrient deficiency. Cats require a range of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Sometimes, a lack of essential nutrients like zinc or iron can make your feline friend develop this disorder.

In such cases, your cat could also be anemic. So, you may want to consult your veterinarian for professional advice on the best cat food to meet those nutritional needs.


Cats are highly playful creatures, but when they don’t have enough to do, boredom kicks in. If you notice your cat licking the metal, it could be related to boredom. Simple as that! So think about toys and activities to keep them occupied and steer their focus away from that random piece of metal.


Hey, even cats get stressed out. Whether it’s a new environment, or maybe a noisy household, stress can be causing your cat to lick metal. Stress-related behaviors in cats can develop into habits.

And let’s face it, licking a metal object is not the kind of habit we want for our furry friends. So, if stress is the culprit, you’ll want to figure out the root cause and maybe even consult a veterinarian for some behavioral advice.

Sensory Stimulation

Cats have super-sensitive tongues. Sometimes, they just want to explore different textures and tastes. The taste of metal might be intriguing for your kitty. They might like the cool, smooth surface or even enjoy the noise it makes.

But remember, some types of metal could be toxic to cats. So, be cautious and remove any harmful metal objects from their reach.

Pica in Cats

Now, let’s talk about a condition called pica. Pica is mostly known as the habit where cats chew on non-food items. If your cat is licking metal, it’s possible that your cat is suffering from pica.

This behavior could be an indicator of a deeper issue—either medical or psychological. In some cases, cats with pica might even ingest the metal, which can lead to blockages.

This behavior is especially common in oriental cat breeds like Siamese, Oriental Shorthairs, and Burmese. These breeds are known for their curious and playful nature, but they also have a higher tendency to develop behavioral issues like pica.

Experts believe that genetics may play a role in this predisposition. So, if you own an oriental breed, you’ll want to be extra vigilant.

When to Seek Veterinary Advice

Nutrient Deficiencies and Anemia

If you think nutrient deficiencies might be causing your cat to lick metal, don’t play the guessing game. A trip to the veterinarian can offer you professional advice. They might conduct tests to see if your feline is anemic or lacking in essential vitamins and minerals.

Treatment of Pica

Remember, pica in cats isn’t something to overlook. If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from pica, it’s time for a veterinary check-up. The vet will help diagnose the condition and provide the appropriate treatment for pica, which can range from medical remedies to behavioral modifications.

cat licking metal bowl

How to Discourage Your Cat from Licking Metal

Remove Access to Metal Objects

First up, make it hard for your cat to find metal to lick. Keep metal objects out of their reach. For items you can’t move, consider covering them up. Your cat will find it less appealing if it’s out of sight or difficult to access.

Mental and Physical Stimulation

You want to keep your cat’s mind and body busy. A bored cat is a cat that finds odd things to do, like licking a metal object. Toys, puzzle feeders, and regular playtime can go a long way in keeping your cat occupied.

Use Taste Deterrents

If you find that removing or covering up metal objects isn’t doing the trick, it’s time to make those objects unappealing. Use a bitter spray to deter your cat. Once they get a taste, they’ll likely steer clear.

Offer Alternative Chewing Options

Give your cat better choices. Safe chew toys can help satisfy the urge to chew or lick something. This can be a particularly effective strategy if pica may be causing your cat’s interest in metal.

Conclusion: A Better Experience for Both Pet Owner and Cat

There you have it, folks! From nutrient deficiencies to boredom, and even a condition called pica, there are various reasons your cat may want to lick metal. But as a responsible cat owner, it’s up to you to figure out the why behind this behavior.

Sure, every cat has its quirks, but unusual habits like licking metal might be more than just a funny story to tell your friends. Pay close attention, consult your veterinarian for a comprehensive diagnosis, and offer a range of activities to keep your cat happy and healthy.

Remember, a stimulated cat is a happy cat, and a happy cat makes for a happy pet owner!

Feel free to leave a comment below with your own experiences or questions, and don’t forget to share this article on social media to help other cat owners!

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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Why is My Cat Licking Metal?

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One Comment

  1. I’m also imagining that if your cat has a metal bowl as their food bowl, the metal would remind them of when they are fed, so it is connected to a nice memory. Thank you for this information.