Cats are recognized to often groom themselves. Nonetheless, some cats groom their proprietor’s hair by chewing on and consuming it. There are numerous the explanation why cats eat human hair, which shall be explored intimately beneath.
Cats eat human hair to point out affection, bond with house owners, and switch their distinctive scent. Nonetheless, it can be an indication of a behavioral downside, resembling pica, stress, or inappropriate suckling behaviors from being weaned too early. Cats that eat hair might have hyperthyroidism or be feeling hungry.
Whereas human hair is unlikely to be dangerous to cats, it may possibly trigger issues, resembling blockages within the intestine. Equally, it is advisable to watch out with the merchandise you utilize in your hair as a few of them could also be poisonous to cats.
Why Do Cats Eat Human Hair?
Some cats benefit from the style of hair, whereas others exhibit this conduct as a result of well being or psychological points. In the event you’re questioning what it means when cats eat your hair, these are the most definitely causes:
Wild cats residing in teams carry out a mutual grooming course of known as allogrooming. As described by the Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Habits, allogrooming is a type of bodily contact caregiving.
In cats, allogrooming is licking and nibbling, which is why some cats chew on their proprietor’s hair. This can be a method cats use to point out their house owners that they’re bonded with them and see them as a part of their colony.
Instructing Us To Groom
Cats lick and eat human hair to show us tips on how to groom ourselves. Grooming is a discovered reminiscence handed down from a mom cat (queen) to her kittens. As cats grow old and change into a part of your loved ones, they go these abilities on to you.
Cats will eat your hair as a by-product of the grooming course of. They ingest their fur and discard it by way of their feces or vomit, so this isn’t uncommon conduct.
Cats eat their proprietor’s hair in the course of the grooming course of as an indication of affection. You’ll know that your cat eats your hair out of affection as a result of it would:
- Seem relaxed in your presence
- Sit near you
- Maintain its tail upright with a slight curve on the prime
- Purr or vocalize if you contact it
- Preserve eye contact
- Blink slowly at you
In consequence, your cat is grooming and consuming your hair as a result of it likes you and feels comfy round you. Not all cats will really feel relaxed sufficient to do that.
Equally, cats are intuitive and choose up on our moods. If they'll sense we’re feeling unhappy or low, they’ll groom our hair to point out affection and cheer us up.
Cats have distinctive methods of telling us when one thing’s up. If it’s approaching your cat’s common feeding time otherwise you’ve forgotten to place out contemporary meals, it’ll let you already know by licking your head and hair. Relying on its starvation ranges, it'd even eat your hair to maintain itself.
Alongside their hair-eating conduct, cats might vocalize, paw at you, and seem as in the event that they’re begging for meals. Feeding your cat its common meals at common occasions might cease it from consuming your hair.
Hair chewing could be a type of self-soothing conduct throughout occasions of stress or concern. Cats do that for a number of causes. For instance, it may very well be since you’ve not too long ago moved to a brand new home or launched a brand new animal into the house.
On the similar time, many cats will over-groom themselves in addition to consuming your hair. This helps them really feel reassured, particularly in the event that they’ve shaped a powerful bond with you. Licking additionally releases endorphins that may assist relieve anxiousness and emotions of stress.
Whereas this conduct might solely final for a short time, you’ll must get to the basis of the issue in case your cat’s hair-eating is because of phycological concern components. The necessary factor to recollect is to not shout or scold your cat, as this may solely improve its stress ranges.
Chewing, licking, and rubbing permits cats to switch their distinctive scent onto you thru their saliva, claiming you as their very own.
Concurrently consuming your hair, cats will rub their heads towards yours. That’s as a result of cats have scent glands on their lips, cheeks, and brow. They launch pheromones that relay messages, speaking with different animals that you just’re off-limits.
Weaned Too Early
Hair-eating could be a signal that your cat was weaned too early. Due to this, it’s more likely to exhibit a number of inappropriate suckling behaviors because it will get older. Not solely does this embrace consuming human hair, however it may possibly contain sucking on blankets, pillows, or physique components.
Cats which might be weaned too early do that as a result of they've problem studying tips on how to groom themselves. Mom cats educate their kittens tips on how to groom, so when a kitten’s faraway from her too early, it misses out on this important life lesson.
Cats should stay with their moms till they're no less than eight weeks outdated. Some breeds, like Persians, ought to stick with their mom till they're 12 weeks outdated or extra.
When cats have pica, they've a compulsion to eat non-edible gadgets. In keeping with Utilized Animal Habits Science, pica is commonest in kittens and childish cats. Most cats outgrow this conduct, however it may possibly trigger a variety of issues, together with:
- Belly ache
- Fever or low physique temperature
- Lack of urge for food
- Swollen, distended stomach
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lethargy and despair
Some cats are genetically vulnerable to pica. It’s additionally a symptom of phycological stress, dietary deficiencies, early weaning, and being pregnant.
You’ll know in case your cat has pica as a result of it gained’t simply swallow the hair – it’ll grind it with its again tooth first.
Hyperthyroidism is one other time period for an overactive thyroid gland. It’s extra widespread in middle-aged and older cats and is attributable to elevated hormone thyroxine manufacturing from an enlarged thyroid gland within the cat’s neck.
Hair-eating is among the most distinguished signs. As described by the Faculty of Veterinary Drugs, different indicators embrace:
- Weight reduction
- Extreme thirst
- Elevated urination
- Poor fur high quality
- Elevated shedding
In case your cat shows these signs concurrently consuming your hair, take it to the vet for an examination. Remedy normally entails surgical procedure.
Why Do Cats Eat Hair Off The Flooring?
Cats are curious, so in the event that they see hair on the ground and don’t know what it's, they may eat it to find out whether or not it’s one thing tasty. Whereas that is uncommon, it may possibly occur.
Nonetheless, it’s extra seemingly that your cat enjoys the style of hair, particularly if it’s marked together with your scent. Additionally, cats that eat hair straight off the ground could also be affected by a dietary deficiency. The longer it goes with out correct vitamin, the extra hair your cat will eat.
Pica is one other seemingly trigger. We’ve already talked about that this can be a compulsive situation related to non-edible meals gadgets. Cats affected by it usually tend to eat the hair off the ground, as they’ll eat something they'll get their paws on.
As we’ve described, the most typical symptom of pica is that your cat will grind the hair with its molars earlier than swallowing it.
Is It Unhealthy for Cats To Eat Human Hair?
Whereas human hair doesn’t isn’t poisonous for cats, it may possibly trigger issues. For instance, in case your cat eats an excessive amount of, the hair might block the digestive tract. That’s as a result of human hair is made with an insoluble protein known as keratin, which cats can’t digest.
Generally, the hair will go by way of your cat’s gastrointestinal tract, the place it’s excreted out as a stool. If this doesn’t occur, your cat will vomit it out. But when the hairball will get too massive, it might change into lodged in your cat’s small gut, making it inconceivable for the physique to take away with out surgical intervention.
Human hair tends to be for much longer than cat fur, so it may possibly shortly kind massive hairballs. Indicators of a lodged hairball embrace:
- Retching with nothing popping out
- Refuses to eat for quite a lot of days
- Issue respiration
In case your cat often eats your hair and also you discover any of those indicators, take it to the vet for an x-ray.
One other factor to notice with hair merchandise is that these designed for regrowth include minoxidil, which is a drugs for hair loss. That is poisonous to cats and might trigger coronary heart failure. In consequence, keep away from taking these merchandise in case your cat’s vulnerable to consuming your hair.
My Cat Licks My Hair And Bites My Head
It’s common to your cat to softly nibble your head or ears because it licks and grooms your hair. That’s as a result of it’s a show of affection. Equally, some cats benefit from the style of hair or the merchandise on it and will change into a bit too keen when chewing on it.
In these situations, your cat doesn’t imply something by it – it most likely doesn’t even understand it’s hurting you.
Nonetheless, in case your cat bites your head a bit too onerous and scratches you whereas it’s consuming your hair, it may be affected by a behavioral or well being downside that it is advisable to deal with.
You’ll additionally must let your cat know that its conduct isn’t acceptable. You are able to do this by transferring your head away from its mouth and firmly stating “No” each time it bites your head. Don’t reward your cat with a deal with or toy as this may solely encourage it to proceed.
As an alternative, present a scratching put up that enables your cat to destress. No matter you do, don’t trigger your cat extra stress. That’s the most definitely cause why your cat is biting your head – for those who make your cat extra anxious, its conduct will solely worsen.
How To Cease Your Cat Chewing Your Hair
There shall be sure circumstances the place it is advisable to cease your cat from consuming your hair. This may very well be since you don’t benefit from the feeling or as a result of it signifies one thing improper together with your cat, both bodily or mentally.
In consequence, you possibly can forestall your cat from chewing in your hair by following these steps:
Discover The Trigger
Earlier than you do something, attempt to decide what’s inflicting your cat to eat your hair. It may be that as quickly as you enhance the circumstances, your cat naturally stops. Equally, in case your cat’s unwell with pica, hyperthyroidism, or OCD, getting the therapy it wants can scale back your cat’s want to eat your hair.
Nonetheless, in lots of circumstances, your cat doesn’t eat hair for a sinister cause. As an alternative, it’s merely exhibiting its affection or grooming you. If that’s the case, you may wish to permit your cat to proceed, because it’s exhibiting it cares about you.
Scale back Your Cat’s Stress
In the event you’ve decided that your cat eats your hair in occasions of stress, you’ll want to handle the trigger and enhance circumstances to make it really feel extra comfy.
For instance, in case your cat doesn’t get pleasure from strangers in the home, present it with a secure place to go the place it may possibly cover and defend itself.
Or, in case your cat likes to be outdoors, suit your door with a cat flap in order that it has fixed entry to freedom. Domesticated cats aren’t that far faraway from their wild cousins, and a few want a component of outside entry.
Discourage Your Cat’s Habits
Every time your cat makes an attempt to chew your hair, discourage it by transferring away. In the event you stay in place whereas your cat eats your hair, it’ll see this as a sign to proceed and gained’t perceive that what it’s doing is unhealthy.
Equally, for a similar cause, it is best to attempt to keep away from petting or speaking to your cat every time it reveals this conduct. This can confuse the cat and encourage it to hold on.
You will need to act shortly every time your cat begins doing this. Even for those who permit it to chew your hair for a few seconds, it gained’t get the memo to cease. In the event you’re in mattress and don't have any manner of transferring, cover your head underneath the covers or pillow.
Distract Your Cat with Toys
Top-of-the-line coaching strategies is to make use of enjoyable toys and video games to distract your cat every time it goes to groom your hair. That’s as a result of cats love bodily and psychological stimulation. As quickly as your cat will get right into a place near your head, throw its favourite toy throughout the room and encourage it to play.
Equally, you may give your cat treats to encourage it to keep away from your hair. Nonetheless, watch out to not overfeed your cat, as you would make it acquire an excessive amount of weight with out realizing it.
Change Your Hair Merchandise
Some cats benefit from the style of sure shampoos and conditioners. In the event you discover your cat consuming your hair extra typically when utilizing sure merchandise, attempt utilizing a unique one for some time to see if it improves issues.
Equally, cats don’t just like the odor of citrus, so attempt utilizing merchandise scented with orange, lemon, or grapefruit. Cats may also keep away from mint-scented merchandise, so tea tree oils might keep at bay hungry cats.
You may want to use a component of trial and error with this methodology, however after you have a hair care product that your cat appears to keep away from, use it for a short time till it breaks the hair-eating behavior.
Whereas hair-eating isn’t irregular cat conduct, it may very well be an indication of an underlying problem. In case your cat solely eats your hair occasionally, it’s not price worrying about. Nonetheless, if that is one thing your cat commonly does, you should be conscious of hairballs.
To forestall this, select meals that’s designed to assist hairballs go by way of the intestine simply. There are additionally a number of hairball management merchandise obtainable in pet shops that assist take away hairballs and assist digestion.