Cat Tongue Safety Tips

Most cats like to lick things. To reduce cat tongue injuries, my advice is to limit access to sharp things that your cats may want to lick.

Cat Food Cans

Sometimes I see stories in cat Facebook groups of cats cutting their tongues on cat food cans.

What may seem obvious to you, may not be obvious to others. Otherwise, why would someone feed a cat from a can?

The risk may be low, but your cat can cut their tongue on the metal ridge on an open can.

And I found this video where the owner said their cat dug a tuna can out of the garbage and proceeded to cut their tongue. It’s an older video, but you can see the damaged tongue. The cat wasn’t able to recover from the injury and died about a month later.

So, it’s just not cat food cans you need to worry about! Cats should not have access to any open cans with food attractive to cats (fish, chicken, anything that smells good to them).

When I helped a friend TNR a cat in her yard, her neighbor was also feeding cats, and open metal cans were scattered across the yard.

If you are feeding outdoor cats, I’ve seen a suggestion to use tortillas (something that other animals will eat) if you don’t want to or can’t use bowls or plates.

Also, many brands now sell wet cat food in plastic, which would be another option. Chewy has many options, such as Sheba (not a recommendation, just an example of the plastic containers).

Open Pop Cans

The opening in a pop can lid can also be very sharp.

Now, maybe most cats would not be tempted to lick an open can, but my cat Buster likes to like the lid on my water glass.

And I recently found an open beer can in my yard. Would a hungry or nosy cat lick the opening? I hope not. I can’t always police my yard for cans (which are likely discarded during the night), but I can keep open cans away from my indoor cats.

Open beer can that I found in my yard

Other sharp things

I recommend not leaving out knives, box graters, pizza cutters, or anything else that is sharp that your cat might want to lick.

Some cats are more attracted to human food and anything that smells good than others.

Don’t leave stuff on the counters or easily accessible in the sink.

For the safety of your cat’s tongue remove any temptation.

I may be more paranoid than other cat people about cats licking sharp things. Reducing their risk of injury (especially to their tongues!) is important to me.

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Heidi Bender is the writer and founder of the Joy of Cats. She enjoys sharing cat information and providing helpful cat tips. She considers herself a cat lady and currently cares for eight cats.

1 thought on “Cat Tongue Safety Tips”

  1. Cat-proof your environment as you would child-proof in a house with kids. And of course, that means covering or putting trash behind a cupboard door, putting sharp/sticky/other potentially problematical objects in drawers or behind cupboard doors, putting guards on electrical cables if your cat(s) show any interest in these, not leaving water (tub, toilet, sink) exposed, etc. It’s just (un) common sense. Also, keep cats who aren’t feral INDOORS ONLY! for their safety and health, and your peace of mind.


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