Why Do Cats Lick Windows – Tongue Behavior & Senses


Cats are notorious lickers: from giving themselves frequent baths to grooming each other, to licking their food bowl clean, they put their tongues to good use. Even after witnessing all of this, it still might come as a surprise to see your cat licking something like a window. So, why do cats lick windows?

Cats lick windows to taste the condensation on the windowpane. They also lick off salt, bugs, dirt, and other items that may be attached to the window. Cats also engage with things they see outside the window and may lick them as a response.

Licking windows is pretty normal for cats, but there is a meaning behind it. We’ll explore that in the rest of this article!

Five Reasons Cats Lick Windows 

It’s true a cat licks windows for pretty much any reason, but there’s always an explanation!

Cats Love To Lick Anything  

Sometimes it is just beyond human logic to try and understand why cats do certain things.

We know that cats enjoy the activity of licking, and they may be intrigued by the window on especially hot or cold days because it is a different temperature than other materials in your home. 

Sometimes, cats can become compulsive with their habits, and they may start licking things like an activity when they are bored.

If you think it is an anxiety or boredom tick for your cat, shoo them away from the windows and redirect their attention towards something else in your home. 

Your Cat Smells Something

Whether someone accidentally spilled a coffee and it splattered on the window, or your cat likes the scent of a window cleaning product, cats will lick windows if they like what they are smelling.

This scenario can potentially be dangerous for a cat if they are licking chemicals or coating a harmful substance of the window.

Suppose you notice that your cat frequently licks windows or any other inanimate surface in your home. In that case, you may want to invest in natural cleaning products to make sure that your cat is not ingesting any harmful chemicals while they are licking something in the home.  

There Are Condensation Droplets On The Window

Licking condensation off of a window is usually the most likely scenario when you see your cat vigorously licking your glass window pane. This is not necessarily a habit that is just confined to windows. Cats love freshwater, and they will go to great lengths to enjoy it.  

Your Cat Is Exploring

We all have our goofy days when we do silly things. Cats certainly have a lot of these too! It’s hard without getting into their heads to know why they feel compelled to lick windows, but sometimes when your cat is feeling playful, they will lick things in their surroundings, as licking is one of the main ways they get their bearings in an environment. 

They Are Licking Salt Off The Windows

This scenario is only likely if you live close to a saltwater body, such as an ocean. If you live near a saltwater source, sometimes a very fine layer of salty precipitation can coat your windows on, especially wet or humid days. Your cat can taste the salt, and they are taking advantage of this to lick it off.

If you do not live by a body of saltwater, it’s unlikely that this is why your cat is licking your window. Additionally, not all cats are going to like the taste of salt. They may do this once and then realize they don’t like it.  

Is It Normal For Cats To Lick Windows?

It is normal for cats to lick windows when they are doing it to lick off tiny condensation droplets. Cats love how fresh water tastes, and they will drink water anywhere they can find it.

Whether that is on your windowpane, straight out of a dripping faucet, or from a toilet that was left open, if there is fresh water in a house, your cat is probably not far away. 

This can ultimately be a frustrating problem for pet owners if you notice your cat does this frequently, as you don’t want them to lick anything gross and pick up germs and bacteria. Make sure to keep your toilet seats down and close your blinds when you notice your cat doing any excessive water licking.  

Why Does My Cat Lick the Window Screen?

Your cat licks the window screen because, at some point, they tasted or smelled something good on the screen. Whether it was water, droplets of food, or how a particular cleaning product smells, cats may be drawn to the window screen because they are still catching the scent. 

If you notice your cat doing this, clean the window screen with a nontoxic product, and your cat should stop. If you continue to catch them licking the window screen in the same place, then it may be prudent to evaluate whether your cat has an anxiety disorder that manifests through licking. 

This is more common than it may seem, as cats tend to act out when they feel stressed. While this is not a super-serious health concern, you should still get your cat evaluated if you suspect they may have an anxiety disorder.

The vet will put them on medications or suggest lifestyle changes mitigate their stress moving forward.  

Why Is My Cat Licking Window Condensation

Your cat is licking window condensation because they are thirsty. While there are easier ways to get a water source, if cats notice condensation on the windows while feeling a little parched, they are likely to lean over and lap it up with their tongue. 

Windows may have condensation on them if they are close to an air conditioning unit or inadequate insulation in your home. Keep your window panes dry and clean by wiping them down with a clean microfiber cloth, and your cat should stop licking them as frequently.  

How To Stop A Cat From Licking Windows

If you want to stop your cat from licking windows, either keep the blinds closed so that your cat cannot see the condensation or make sure the window stays dry. The issue is not that cats love licking windows- they love drinking and playing with water! 

If you catch your cat frequently licking water from window panes, you probably have also noticed your cat trying to drink water out of your bathtub or a water glass you left out in the kitchen. Cats will turn anything into a game, and they find it more fun to drink water out of anywhere that isn’t their water bowl.  

Things To Consider

Cats are mischievous animals, and being a cat owner means accepting their various quirks and personality traits. They may continue to do strange things you don’t understand, and that’s ok as long as their odd personality quirks are not harmful to you or your cat. 

If you have a cat that suddenly loves to lick everything, they may have developed the disorder, Pica. It’s a disorder where cats suddenly become prone to licking or sucking bizarre objects.

There are many reasons your cat can develop Pica, ranging from gastrointestinal problems to kidney disease to a mental disorder. Cats develop Pica to help cope with tension or stressful situations. Licking, chewing, or sucking on things can release endorphins for cats, allowing them to relieve stress. 

Any activity that releases endorphins is believed to help release pain-relieving hormones. This helps cats regulate their emotions and also acts as a coping mechanism while dealing with stress.

However, there are healthier ways for your cat to do this. If your cat loves to chew, get them a rope chew toy to lick and bite instead. 

If you are worried your cat has a licking problem, consult with your vet. The good news is that they can outgrow or overcome anxiety disorders that cause them to lick obsessively. Make sure to change the water in their water bowl several times a day to prevent them from licking windows and getting their water elsewhere. 

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