For the past several years I have wanted a place where I could talk about, discuss or answer all of the questions we get from our customers. The questions cover a wide range of topics from nutrition and supplements to training and funny stories. The great part about having a place to post these questions and stories is that the answer never relates to only one person or issue. You can now look forward to this weekly Question of the Week post and hopefully will find it useful.
Here's last weeks question.
"My 10 year old Maine Coon cat has been ( increasingly over the last two weeks ) licking photographs. He pulls photos out of drawers to do this, even! Any ideas? Is he deficient in some sort of vitamin, or is he simply getting weird? "
While I understand the inclination to believe that our animals develop strange habits, ( or act out intentionally to drive us crazy ) that is rarely the case. I did a little digging around to find out what exactly a cat may find attractive on a photograph and discovered some interesting facts. First, it turns out that there a lot of cats out there that do this. They also have been known to eat and lick tape, wires ( so not safe! ) wood, and ceramic tiles. This normally is observed in kittens and young cats. Not so unlike dogs, it is usually a teething issue, or boredom.
I figured that since this cat is 10 years old though, it may have to do with the fact that there is a chemical called hydoquinone that is used to keep pictures from oxidizing over the years. Most cats become deficient in anti-oxidants as they age. (Also why you may find your cats licking the moisturizers that keep your skin looking young!)
A simple way to check if this is the problem is to increase the anti-oxidant/vitamin intake in your cats diet. GreenPets carries a product from Ark Naturals called Nu-Pet Feline Granular Greens. Loaded with powerful antioxidants and essential vitamins not found in a cats diet alone, it is a supplement that should be used in any aging cats meal.
Keep in mind that there could be several different factors that contribute to a cat's desire for photo licking, but starting with something simple and safe, like adding a vitamin supplement is certainly a good place to start.