Why does my cat eat my hair? As a cat owner, you might have experienced your cat nibbling on your hair. While it may seem cute or funny, this behavior can become annoying and even dangerous for your feline friend.
But why do cats eat human hair? In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this behavior and how to prevent it. The most common reasons for this behavior are due to allogrooming, attention-seeking, and an eating disorder.
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Why is My Cat Eating My Hair?
If you noticed that your cat has been chewing on your hair as often, it prompted you to question its behavior. Here’re some possible explanations:
- Being affectionate
- Playful behavior
- Nutritional deficiency
- Eating disorder
1. Being affectionate
One of the common reasons why your cat likes to eat your hair is because they are expressing their affection towards you.
This is a form of allogrooming—usually done by a cat in its social group. It is their way of telling that they love and care for another feline. And the fact that your cat is doing this behavior means that they love you!
Usually, the closer relationship you have with your cat, the more likely for them to chew on your hair. It is their way of marking you with their scent.
2. Playful behavior
My kitten eats my hair all of a sudden when I make it into a ponytail or let it down. So, if your cat acts the same, it is likely because they see your hair as a ribbon or string they can play with.
Kittens are known to play with anything they can find, including hair. Chewing on hair may be their way of exploring and engaging in play.
This is especially true if you have long hair. It will be hard for them to resist batting and attacking your hair if this is the case.
When cats want to grab your attention, they will do everything for you to notice them. And one of their tactics is to chew on your hair. This technique will get your attention. However, don’t let your cat make this a habit.
When my cat chews on my hair, I try not to respond to its chewing. With that, your cats will get the message that eating your hair is not an effective way to get your attention.
It will prevent your cat from repeating the same behavior.
Eating your hair is one of the ways your cat could feel calm when they feel anxious or stressed. It is a good way for them to soothe themselves.
There are many causes why a cat could be stressed, but the most common reasons are probably a new pet or a recent house move. If your cat chews aggressively on your hair and other household items, including its toys, it could be a sign of anxiety.
Thus, this causes your cat to eat your hair to de-stress and feel soothed by you.
5. Nutritional deficiency
Sometimes, cats might eat hair or other non-food items if they have a nutritional deficiency, specifically lacking in fiber. If you notice your cat eating hair frequently, it’s best to consult a vet.
6. Eating disorder
This eating disorder could start as compulsive chewing, a behavior when a cat chews anything frequently. However, if you notice this behavior has been uncontrollable, your cat might have Pica.
In cats, pica can sometimes lead to the consumption of human hair, which can cause digestive issues and even blockages in their intestines if ingested in large amounts.
This could potentially lead to some gastrointestinal diseases. It is important to monitor your cat’s behavior and seek veterinary care if you suspect it may suffer from pica.
How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Eating My Hair?
1. Find out the cause of such behavior: You need to identify first the root cause of why your cat is eating your hair. From that, you can make a move concerning such behavior accordingly.
2. Discourage your cat’s behavior: Move yourself away from your cat when it starts to eat your hair. Doing this will help your cat understand that chewing your hair is not a good behavior to practice.
3. Provide appropriate toys: Offer your cat a variety of toys to play with, including chew toys and interactive toys. This will redirect their attention from your hair to other things.
4. Increase playtime: Spend more time playing with your cat to ensure they are mentally stimulated and not bored. A bored cat is more likely to exhibit destructive behavior.
5. Provide a safe space: Suppose you notice that your cat is stressed or anxious. In that case, it’s best to provide them with a secure environment or, if possible, put away the reason for their stress. It’s also important not to punish your cat because this will likely cause more stress for them.
6. Make your cat relax: You can do this by gently giving them a relaxing massage or brushing. This will help them to feel soothed by your touch.
7. Consider changing your hair products: Switching to those with lavender or citrus scents will discourage them from eating your hair. This is because cats particularly don’t like these scents.
8. Reward good behavior: Whenever your cat chooses not to chew on your hair, reward them with treats and praise. This will reinforce good behavior.
9. Take a trip to your vet: If you have tried everything to stop your cat from chewing your hair, it’s best to visit your vet to help in assessing the situation because most likely than not, your cat might have a more serious medical concern if this behavior persists such as hyperthyroidism.
Can Cats Get Sick From Eating Human Hair?
Possible. Cats can develop hairballs if they ingest too much hair, which can lead to vomiting and constipation.
If your cat eats a large amount of hair, it’s essential to monitor their behavior and contact a vet if you notice any signs of discomfort or illness.
You may also want to look at the hair and skin products you use when your cat licks and chews on your hair. It might ingest these chemical ingredients as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my cat bite and pull my hair?
It is most likely that your cat is grooming you, just like it does with other cats in your household. It’s their way of telling you that you are a family and it loves you!
Why does my cat try to eat my hair when I sleep?
My cat eats my hair at night! Yes, you’re not the only one who has experienced this.
If your cat happens to eat your hair while you sleep, it’s most likely that they are trying to get your attention.
Cats usually do this in the morning, when they also get bored and need some food.
Why does my cat like to eat my hair after I shower?
Your cat might have smelled your hair after you shower. This is appealing to your cat due to the scented hair product that you have used.
If your cat has tried to taste your hair by licking it first, it might have liked the scent of it and continued to chew on it for enjoyment.
The scents that cats usually like are floral and fruity-like scents.
Why is my cat obsessed with my hair?
If you have been trying to find the answer in Reddit about why your cat is obsessed with your hair, you’re in the right place!
Your cat is obsessed with your hair probably because your cat sees you as a family and you are its source of comfort.
Cats do mutual grooming among their cat familiars. And when they groom you by chewing and licking your hair, it only means that they see you as their cat family.
Not only that, but it could also mean that you are their comfort space. You help them soothe themselves.
How sweet is that?
Why do cats eat hair off the floor?
There are several reasons for this behavior, but the most common are the following:
- Your cat might have an eating disorder called pica, where it eats even non-edible items.
- Your cat has a nutritional deficiency or any other medical diseases.
- Your cat is stressed.
Regardless, it’s best to consult your vet when you notice this as a recurring behavior.
We hope that we have helped you understand your cat better and have answered the question, “why does my cat eat my hair?”.
Cats eating human hair can be a troublesome behavior that requires careful attention. By providing appropriate toys, increasing playtime, and discouraging your cat from doing such behavior, you can prevent your cat from chewing on your hair.
Remember, if you notice your cat eating hair excessively or showing signs of illness, contact your vet for advice.
I am Amy Sawy, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) graduate from the University of Kansas. y husband, Dr. Plummer, and I own a veterinary clinic in Phillipsburg, Kansas. In addition to my professional background, I am a devoted pet owner myself, with a household that includes dogs, rodents, and most notably, cats – a total of five felines in my home.
In 2020, I joined an organization as a professional writer, leveraging my experience and collaborating with my team to deliver the most valuable information for your cat’s care.