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Why Does My Cat Eat My Hair?

Why Does My Cat Eat My Hair?

ats are adorable pets. Anyone who has parented a feline will tell you about some of the odd behaviors their furry friends often tend to engage in to show their love and affection. One of the weird habits cats often indulge is to bite or eat your hair. Discovering your cat gnawing and tugging your hair as you are watching television, reading a book or lying in bed can take you by surprise, especially if you are a new cat owner. This will lead you to wonder why does my cat eat my hair.

 

However, consider this cat behavior as normal and not an issue to be overly concerned about. To learn more about – why does my cat eat my hair and what you can do to curb this cat behavior, simply keep reading.

Why do Cats Chew or Eat Human Hair?

Socializing Behaviour – Socialized cats who live in groups often exhibit mutual grooming known as allogrooming. The feline creatures often lick, rub or gently bite other cats in the group to interact with them and exhibit their love and affection towards them. When a cat licks or chews your hair, your pet is viewing you as a friend and is trying to socialize and show his affection by indulging in this act.

Calm Down Stress – When your pet becomes anxious or is stressed, the feline creature often gets into the act of eating or chewing your hair. Indulging in the act not only helps your feline friend reassert her claim on you, but is also a way to make her feel reassured of the bond you share, which in turn helps her soothe her anxiety. Eating or biting hair helps a cat calm herself especially when she is anxious or stressed.

Soothing for the Feline – Oral behaviors such as eating hair can also be exhibited by cats due to early weaning. Chewing or eating hair can be related to self-soothing behaviors (like thumb sucking in children) which cats often indulge in times of stress.

Compulsive Chewer – If your cat’s chewing habits have become more intense and frequent, it is more likely that your feline friend has become a compulsive chewer. In such cases, cats often tend to chew anything that catches their attention – including your hair.

Hyperthyroidism in Cats – When you discover that your pet has suddenly started chewing or eating human hair, your pet might be suffering from hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland). Hyperthyroidism in cats tends to be common in senior cats (12- 13 years of age). If your cat is exhibiting this behavior with a voracious appetite and sudden weight loss, ensure that you take your pet to a veterinarian.

Desire to Seek Attention – Most cats often indulge in hair eating to get some much-needed attention. By pulling, eating, chewing or licking your hair, the cat is indirectly telling you to focus on her, even though it is just for that one moment.

About Pica – If your pet posses an uncontrollable desire to eat hair, whether your hair or her own shedding on the floor, she is probably at a high risk of having an obsessive-compulsive medical condition called pica. When pets like cats or dogs develop a preference for eating things that are not edible, it is termed as pica.

How to stop Your cat from Chewing Hair

If a cat has been chewing, eating or licking your hair in a moderate amount, we should consider it to be a sign of showing her affection towards you. However, if we find our pet overdoing it, getting to the cause of this abrupt behavior is important. Cats often resort to this behavior due to various factors such as stress, self-soothing, and medical conditions or for seeking attention. Determining the underlying cause of the behavior can help cat owners get to the root of the problem and take steps to tackle it.

Discourage the behavior – If a cat is chewing or eating hair consistently, get away from your pet. Discouraging the act of eating hair consistently will help your pet understand that it is not acceptable and you won’t play with her if she continues with the habit.

Get your cat distracted – To prevent your cat from eating hair, we should get the cat distracted. Give the cat treats, toys, cat grass or rawhide- things that she can chew on and leave your hair alone. Keeping the cat busy with physical exercise and mental simulation is another great way to keep the feline creature distracted

Help your pet deal with hair eating – Most cats eat hair due to stress or anxiety. Providing a safe space for your pet or spending some quality time with the cat can help make the cat feel safe, protected and loved, helping her cope with the habit of hair eating.

Change your hair products – To prevent a cat from eating hair, we should try switching hair products. Choosing an unscented hair product or using the one that does not have a cat- friendly scent (citrus scented products) is another great way to stop your pet from eating your hair.

Get Professional Help – If we find that taking the above steps is not discouraging the cat from eating hair, it could be a sign of a serious medical condition. Taking the cat to a vet is highly recommended to help lessen and discourage this behavior.

Why Does My Cat Eat My Hair Summary

We all love our pets. Cats live to the “purr of their own drummer”- so a habit or behavior that may seem odd to a person may be just common for a cat person. Chewing or eating hair may be a weird thing to humans, but it does make sense to the cat.

Cats lick or eat hair to show their bond and affection. So the next time you find a cat eating your hair (unless it is not obsessive about), she is probably thinking you are a cool cat – so take that as a compliment and enjoy all the love affection showered on you by your furry friend.

References

Cat Chewing on Your Hair
Why Do Cats Chew Human Hair

Why Does My Cat Eat My Hair Infographic

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