I believe that each of you has encountered your feline friends licking on all kinds of things.
This can include your kitchen counters in an attempt to get the taste of the tasty meal you just prepared. Some cats will lick floors, while others may focus on weirder surfaces, like your shower curtain.
Some cat owners could also notice their cats licking their blankets. While doing this, they also may purr at the same time.
What is happening? Why does my cat lick my blanket and purr?
There are nine common explanations for this feline behavior. Let’s look at each of them and see whether you should prevent your cat from doing this.
1. Sense Of Security
You’re the food provider for your cat, as well as the person who keeps it safe, warm, and protected. Your home presents a safe haven for your feline friend.
This means that your cat trusts you as its human and finds you as the person it takes the best care of it.
Your cat licking your blanket and purring while doing this may indicate that it finds your smell as a sense of security.
Even in your absence, your cat can still detect your scent on your blanket and covers. This way, it’s keeping itself safe while you’re gone.
The happy purring occurs because it’s lucky just to sense your scent, almost as if you were right next to it.
Cats show affection in various ways, some of which are highly unexpected.
But, the point here is that they develop strong emotions towards their owners. I know many people who aren’t strongly convinced that felines are as good friends to people as dogs are, for instance.
I’m sure all cat fanciers will strongly disagree with this. Also, there are even scientists who confirm the emotional component of a cat-human relationship.
As Mauro Ines and his associates  explain, cats are social animals, able to form stable cooperative interspecific relationships with humans and with other domestic species.
This ability is closely related to some of your cat’s specific behaviors, like licking your blanket and purring.
This can be your cat’s way of showing affection towards you. Some cats will lick their owners’ hands, while others will concentrate on their belongings, such as a blanket.
Since they’re happy to express their love, they will pur as a sign of pleasure.
3. Early Separation From Their Mother
If you have a young kitten that has been separated from its mother early, the early separation could be the reason for this type of licking behavior.
According to Vet Help Direct, blankets and clothes are common objects for a kitten’s replacement for nursing. The act of licking the blanket is often accompanied by purring and kneading.
The role of the mother cat is priceless for newborn kittens. The newborn kitten survival rate is decreased when they lack their mother’s care.
However, you can step in here as a decent replacement. It’s necessary to feed the kitten appropriately, keep it warm, clean it, and protect it from any danger.
The blanket-licking behavior and purring usually stops as the kitten grows up.
Your cat probably just loves lying on your bed or your sofa. After all, this is just a part of every cat’s nature. Even the most energetic breeds appreciate a nice nap and stretching on a comfortable surface.
Therefore, your cat licking your blanket and purring could simply happen due to it looking for some nice relaxation.
Is there a more comfortable place than a bed? Of course there isn’t! There is nothing we enjoy more than just lounging around after a long day.
Our feline friends love this feeling too, and might show this by licking the blanket and loudly purring.
5. Territory Behavior
All cats are territorial, especially those living in a multi-pet household.
A cat that’s licking the blanket could be marking it and the bed, too, as its territory. Licking is a common way for cats to mark their territory and make the other pets understand that this is the area they’re claiming as their own.
As for purring, felines don’t only purr when they’re content. Loud purring can also be a part of a cat’s territorial behavior.
This type of vocalization usually doesn’t indicate that a cat is likely to be aggressive. It just purrs to let the others know of their territory in a friendly way.
6. Attention Seeking
Your cat all of a sudden started licking your blanket and purring?
It could just be bored and lack decent entertainment. This is its way to attract your attention and make you focus on it more.
Cats can’t use words, so they need to find an alternative way to alarm you about their needs.
Perhaps your pet just wants you to play with it. Or it needs some new toys or any kind of activity. If you have a busy schedule, there’s a high chance that your cat simply lacks your company and activities as well.
Make sure your cat has something to do even when you’re not around. Change its toys frequently to prevent it from becoming bored.
Also, provide your cat with a nice cat tree and scratching post to have a chance of a nice view and napping at all times.
Boredom may not seem like a serious problem, but, with time, it can escalate to destructive behaviors in felines.
7. Liking The Taste
There is also a chance that your cat enjoys the taste of your blanket’s fabric. It finds pleasure in licking it and expresses contentment through purring.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, licking at wool can feel very soothing to a cat.
This can remind them of nuzzling with their mother and littermates in their early days. Wool licking is most commonly seen in young kittens, but some adult cats could retain this habit, too.
8. Stress Relief
If your cat starts licking your blanket often and purring while doing this, there is a chance that it’s stressed.
Cats can show they’re stressed by compulsively grooming themselves, or by licking other things in their surroundings.
Once again, purring doesn’t only indicate that a cat is happy and relaxed. This could also be its way of asking for help from you.
There are plenty of potential reasons for stress in cats. This could be a minor change in their surroundings, such as changing the place of their food bowl.
On the other hand, this can also happen due to a significant change, such as a new family member or a new pet in their house.
Many cats can be stressed due to loud noises, the presence of strangers, or veterinary visits.
The most important thing here is to recognize the exact cause of stress. Then, it’s crucial to eliminate it from your cat’s surroundings.
If you continue to notice compulsive licking and purring in your pet, the best would be to reach out to a veterinarian.
9. Health Problems
Finally, a cat licking the blanket and purring could be facing some medical problems.
These can include dental problems or skin irritations that can cause discomfort in your cat, leading to compulsive licking behavior.
You should be aware that cats are extremely good at hiding their own pain. This is their natural instinct from living in the wild.
They had to hide their vulnerability so as to not become easy prey for predators. Although sometimes it won’t be easy to recognize your cat is unwell, you can achieve this by observing its behavior.
Excessive licking and purring can be a warning that it’s time you take your cat to a veterinarian.
Why does my cat lick my blanket and purr?
There are a couple of explanations for this type of behavior. Most likely, your cat is just doing this to express its affection towards you. Or, it can be its way to feel secure and protected.
This can also happen due to an early separation from their mother. Some cats simply do this to feel relaxed.
However, this behavior can occur when a cat is not stimulated and feels bored in its surroundings.
Furthermore, compulsive licking and loud purring can indicate stress and even some health problems.
Make sure you observe your cat carefully and even check with your veterinarian if you find its behavior worrying.
In most cases, your cat licking your blanket and purring isn’t a sign of anything serious.
However, just to be safe, I recommend you supervise it and react if this behavior keeps occurring.
 Ines M, Ricci-Bonot C, Mills DS. My Cat and Me-A Study of Cat Owner Perceptions of Their Bond and Relationship. Animals (Basel). 2021 May 29;11(6):1601. DOI, Retrieved November 24, 2023.