This is a question asked on social media and it’s a good one. I think the answer will be quite short. I have seen, as have others, domestic cats licking plastic bags which also appears to be mystifying.
It is my belief that corn fibre or cornstarch fibre is being used a lot more nowadays to create fibres and yarns which can be used to manufacture household products such as blankets. I also know that cornstarch is used to make plastic bags. The reason? Cornstarch is environmentally friendly or certainly a lot more environmentally friendly than conventional plastic-based materials.
Conventionally, oil is turned into plastic. Digging up oil out of the ground is environmentally unfriendly. And plastic pollution from, for example, plastic bags and bottles, is one of today’s major environmental problems across the planet. It is killing the oceans and marine wildlife. It takes 1000 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade.
Plastic bags made from cornstarch are biodegradable and therefore relatively environmentally friendly. The same applies to other household products such as blankets made from corn fibre.
This is a trend towards protecting the environment which is needed with scientists looking for all kinds of ways to achieve that goal.
There is something in cornstarch which attracts the domestic cat and makes them want to lick it whereas there is nothing in conventional plastic which attracts them other than perhaps to play. Conventional plastic materials do not taste nice to domestic cats.
I can’t find out what it is that tastes interesting because I don’t think people have investigated that at the time of this article. But cornstarch is pretty well tasteless it seems. Still, there is something in it for cats 😎. It is actually edible. It might just be the fact that cats perceive it as a food source: tasteless carbohydrates.
But, as you can see in the photograph and social media, anecdotally, there is strong evidence that cats are attracted to products made with cornstarch fibre sometimes.
Alternative reason why cats lick blankets
There is an alternative which is that a blanket is bedding and the scent of the cat’s caregiver might well be on it. Cat companions are attracted to the scent of their owner. They might like to lick the scent from the blanket. In other words, it isn’t only the smell of their owner which they like but the taste of their owner!
And cats like the taste of their owner because they are friendly with them. Cats are friendly with their owner because they are provided by their human caregiver as their surrogate mother. That is the probable default relationship between the adult domestic cat and owner. It is almost a relationship of mother cat to kitten in terms of its structure and the mentality of both human and cat.
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