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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3912
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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Despite healthy prescribed diet, my 12 yr old

Customer Question

despite healthy prescribed diet, my 12 yr old yellowtabby/bobed cat mix has recently (Dec, Jan) started seeking out and vigorsly licking match box strike plate and fireplace hearth bricks. appitite remains same as before; bathroom behavoiur remains same as regular. is there a diet problem lacking or is this a behaviour problem?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about your kitty! Can you tell me if anything has changed in your household prior to this behavior starting ? New pets? New work schedule? Anything of that sort.

Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

We do worry in older cats who haven't had this behavior before about any underlying health problems, or about this being in reaction to a change in their environment (a behavioral reaction). If your cat hasn't had any bloodwork done in the past few month, I would recommend he have a senior bloodwork profile done to screen for any underlying systemic diseases. Even if he isn't showing symptoms (we would look for things like drinking more than usual, urinating more, urinary accidents, changes in appetite, vomiting), it would be a good idea. Sometimes we can catch disease before they progress and make a pet more ill. If everything is normal, perhaps this is a behavioral issue. The article I am linking below does talk about this type of issue, and lists ideas on how to help stop it at home:

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
nothing new in our routine, behaviour, work schedule in over a year. Tigger does have sensitive stomach since got out and ate something bad three years ago, but vet perscribes special diet which is well accepted. has had full blood work up each year, and goes in for regular B12 shot each 4-6 weeks where is checked and tested.
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

Sorry for the delay in my reply! So how long has it been since your kitty's annual bloodwork? If it has been more than a few months and this is a new problem, I would consider repeating it, because things can change over time. In the meantime, I would try to put either bitter spray on the bricks or a barricade of some sort, and perhaps provide an alternative to licking the bricks, such as some cat grass (unless your vet thinks that would disagree with his tummy issues? it will depend on your kitty) or a toy that you can put treats or food inside (there are many of these available at pet stores now). You could also consider getting some pheremone diffusers to put in the room in case this is an anxiety related issue, then sometimes these will help: