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Question
Hi
my girlfriend and her cat recently moved in with me. a few days ago her cat has started licking my couch seat cushion. he never did that where he used to live.
if it is a matter of what the cushion is made out of, here it is..
70% polyurethane foam and 30% resin treated polyester fiber.
i hope to hear back soon with an idea on how to stop him, because it is causing white stains every time he does it

Answer
Ben,

Since this is a recent behavioural change I think that it's important for you and your girlfriend to take the cat to the vet to ensure that there isn't some sort of medical issue causing him to suddenly enjoy licking couch cushions. Your vet will likely recommend blood tests to look at the cat's overall organ function, nutritional status, etc.

To rule out the obvious - you haven't potentially spilled food on your couch that might be attractive to a cat have you? If so simply steam cleaning the couch should curb the behaviour since there won't be any reward in him licking the couch because you will have removed the odor/taste of food.

If all of that comes back completely normal you can try simple fixes like adding pure canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling as this has sugar and spices in it that the cat won't need) to some of his canned food to see if increasing the fiber in his diet decreases his desire to lick your couch. Other solutions I would recommend if there isn't a change in his medical status include paying more attention to this kitty through the use of play - a couple of sessions a day may be all that it takes to shift his interest from licking your couch to napping on it. If a change in diet and increasing his play time don't help please contact me again with more specifics (when this couch licking happens, if there seems to be a pattern to it, etc) and we'll try to come up with a different plan to help him overcome this issue.

To sum up, I've left you with first ruling out any medical issues via a visit to your vet. IF everything checks out and this kitty doesn't have any health issues then it's quite possibly a behavioural issue and due to the recent changes in this kitty's world it could be stress... The increase in fiber that I suggested might help to decrease his interest in non-food items. Also draining his energy through play can be a crucial piece to this puzzle... When you and your girlfriend play with him try using interactive toys like Neko Flies or Da Bird - these are fairly realistic toys that act like prey and will most likely keep his attention during playtime for longer. The longer and harder he plays the more tired he will be, the more tired he is the less likely he is to lick your couch.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me again at any time - I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,

Ali

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Ali

Expertise

I am the proud guardian of 5 mixed breed cats ranging from 12 weeks to 13 years old and one purebred ragdoll. I have 20+ years experience working with mixed breed cats from a variety of different situations. I have fostered cats/kittens with special needs/behavioral issues. I have rescued/rehabilitated/re-homed a variety of stray/abused cats. I can offer advice on managing feral cat colonies, rehabilitating strays and finding them forever homes. I can help you to determine whether a cat is stray or feral, there IS a significant difference. Improperly introducing a new cat/kitten can result in aggression between newly introduced cats because cats are territorial by nature and they don't like sudden changes in their environment. To learn more about a peaceful way to introduce a new cat into a home with other cats please check out my previous answers on this subject. Proper nutrition for cats can be confusing, I recommend checking out catinfo.org which was created by a veterinarian (Dr. Lisa Pierson) who takes a common sense approach to explaining feline nutrition. Cat behavior and instincts are different from those of humans, I can help you understand your cat's needs so that you can meet them adequately and have a balanced, psychologically and physically sound kitty. Cats vary in personality, energy level and intelligence, different approaches may be required to achieve results in terms of training and interaction with your feline companion. An intelligent, high energy cat must be kept busy or they will make their own fun. I am NOT a licensed veterinarian and I can't offer medical advice. If your cat is ill/injured my advice is always the same: get prompt medical treatment provided by a veterinarian. If finances are an issue I will try to find resources in your area that can help with medical costs or make other choices to ensure the welfare of your cat.

Experience

I have fostered feral and stray cats, rehabilitated and homed cats that many people recommended euthanasia for. I am willing to make an effort to do the research and ask questions because I care enough to find solutions to behavioral problems rather than giving up. I have an interest in the use of alternative therapies to help provide the best possible care for all cats and I can say in all honesty that I've seen some incredible things happen for some incredible cats and their human caregivers when the right alternative therapeutic modality is used by a qualified veterinarian with expertise and experience in the field.

Education/Credentials
I've earned my diploma as a veterinary assistant with honors.

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