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Why Does My Cat Like Emery Boards? (Is It Delicious?)

If your cat seems obsessed with your emery boards you may be wondering why and what you can do about it (Click here to see my best solution, on Amazon #Ad).

Why Does My Cat Like Emery Boards?

Cats like emery boards because they like to rub their body up against rough things. Another possible reason is the glue used to bond the emery paper to the cardboard. That glue may actually be made with fish oil, and while you cannot smell it, your cat can. 

Use these to protect your emery boards:

Description Image My Rating
01. Manicure case (My Best)
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5 stars
02. Nail Organizer Bag
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03. Ziplock plastic bags
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4 stars

So, now you know. But, why do cats lick these boards? What can a cat do to them? Are these boards toxic? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What are emery boards?

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An emery board is used to file finger or toenails. Most people say they are inexpensive. Because they are quite cheap you will find that a good nail technician will not re-use the same one after usage.

Why do cats lick emery boards?

Cats may lick emery boards because of the glue used to bind the emery paper to the board. In particular, it may contain fish oil, which most cats love and likely to smell.

It could also be the cat likes the rough surface of the sandpaper glued to the board. One final reason is the cat may have a medical disorder such as anxiety or some other issue. This behavior is a known reason to see your vet with the cat for a wellness checkup.

Are these emery boards toxic?

Emery boards are NOT known to be toxic. However, if your cat ate one, it is not good and will likely make the cat vomit.

Now, just because they are not toxic does not mean that your cat may be allergic to something in them.  It may cause a mild allergic reaction or a severe allergic reaction.

General allergy reactions to watch for are:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Increased rubbing against a hard surface because they itch
  • Runny eyes, if the cat is rubbing its paws across the eyes more than usual, the eye may be itchy to them
  • Wanting their back and especially near the tail scratched because it itches (generally due to allergy to flea bites or, more specifically, flea saliva)
  • Itching of ears or ear infection
  • Heaving
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by a swollen throat
  • Swollen paws and chewing of paws

If any of these allergy symptoms are present in your cat, call your vet. The vet will either tell you what to do to alleviate the symptoms or have you bring the cat into the office.

Can you cat-proof emery boards?

You can cat-proof an emery board. But, never 100%. There is nothing you can spray or rub on the emery board to make them cat-proof without destroying the emery board. You can try citrus oil in the room you have the emery boards in; cats do not like citrus.

Can you train your cat to leave emery boards alone?

Why does my cat like emery boards?

An emery board and nail polish.

You can train your cat to leave the emery board, however, it is time-consuming, and some cats may never learn it. Some cats can be downright stubborn and go after the things they are not supposed to anyway.

Cats are very independent, and most seem to have the personality trait that they are superior to you. That attitude makes them think they can do whatever they wish regardless of any training.

Will cats outgrow attacking your emery boards?

If it is a kitten, it may outgrow attacking your emery board. And, a kitten will be easier to train to leave the emery board alone. An old cat may eventually become bored with the emery board.

But, chances are it will continue this behavior if you allow it. It may be better to cat-proof and train your cat not to touch your emery boards.

How to cat-proof your emery boards

 A few tips to help cat-proof your emery boards:

Those tips can help you cat-proof your emery boards.

What can a cat do to the emery board?

 There are several things that a cat can do to your emery board. Some of which are:

  • Bite it and or eat it
  • Make it wet from chewing on it and then the emery paper comes loose
  • Lose it
  • Hide it

There are probably other things the cat can do to it that I have not even thought about yet. While emery boards are cheap, there is no reason for the cat to destroy them.

Could a cat hurt itself with an emery board?

A cat is unlikely to hurt itself with an emery board, but all things are possible. Since the emery board is nontoxic, at worst, your cat might have an allergic reaction, choke on it if it gets caught in its throat, or poke itself in the eye with it, which could lead to an eye infection.

None of those are deadly other than a severe allergic reaction or choking. But, an allergic reaction or an eye infection can be costly at the vet’s office.

Should you discipline your cat for touching your emery boards?

You can try disciplining your cat for touching the emery boards. It will at least make the cat aware they should leave them alone. However, negative re-enforcement such as shouting or getting physical is not recommended.

Easy tips to discipline your cat for touching your emery boards include:

  • Shake a can of coins at the cat.
  • Firmly tell the cat No.
  • Give the cat a time out, yes, like children a time out; but for the cat gently shut the cat in the bathroom for 20 minutes away from people

These easy tips will not physically hurt the cat or break your bond with him, but they will teach the cat to leave the emery boards alone.

Can you distract your cat away from your emery boards?

You can distract your cat. Try the following:

  • Putting catnip on the toy may be the fast way to get their attention away from the emery board.  A catnip mouse is a great toy that the cat will go crazy over.
  • Try food or treats to distract your cat
  • Provide a scratching post
  • Try the new cat toy that also files their nails
  • There is also a new toy called the Emery Cat you could try

Catnip is usually a great distractor. Sprinkling some on your cats’ toy or scratching post can get them more interested in that than your emery board. Catnip usually will keep cats busy for several minutes, giving you time to finish your nails with the emery board and hide it.

Today there are several mechanical cat toys that you can turn on and let them go at it. This distraction will keep them busy playing and away from your emery boards.

Lindsey Browlingdon