Cats may bite or lick the hair of their owner for many reasons including simply showing affection or letting of stress. On the other hand, this behavior can also be a sign of serious health issues or compulsions. They can also bite their humans’ hair as a sign of affection, just like they groom their feline brethren. Learn why your cat is so interested in your hair, then you can take the appropriate steps to curb this behavior.
Is your feline friend a hair biter? Here are some reasons that may explain why your cat is biting your hair:
1. To show Affection
Grooming is a way for cats to show affection and to bond in what is also called allogrooming. Cats often do this on the necks and heads of their grooming partners so it is quite possible that it is the same for their human friend. Grooming can be very smoothing and relieve stress for the cat.
2. Soothing and Stress Relief
If your cat has become anxious, scared or stressed, chewing your hair could be a way for your cat to feel reassured of the bond you share, which in turn will help soothe her anxiety. If this action doesn’t bother you and it’s only in moderation, you can sit back and enjoy the affection. If it persists or gets more frequent, look to any situation that may be stressing your cat out like a new addition to the family, a recent move or if you’ve recently lost another pet.
3. Compulsive Chewing
Has your cats hair chewing habit become more intense and more frequent? Than he may have become a compulsive chewer. You will know this has happened if you can’t distract the cat with a more tempting offer, so you may have to seek the input of a veterinarian or a pet therapist. This professional can help you identify possible triggers that provokes chewing, or if the trigger has now moved into a behavior your cat needs to fulfill. The person should also be able to provide you with ways to help channel your cats response in a healthier manner.
One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats (over active thyroid gland) is the sudden onset of human hair chewing. This disease tends to be more common in older cats around the age of 12 and 13 years-old. If you have a senior cat that is exhibiting this behavior along with sudden weight loss and a voracious appetite, be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
5. Chewing is pleasurable to the Cat
Not all hair biting behavior is based on a negative, sometimes a healthy cat just finds pleasure in the action. A happy kitty will get a rush of those feel-good endorphins and will want to continue to do so. Your cat may also be showering you with affection the same way they show affection for among themselves with mutual grooming. If you’ve just bathed or washed your hair, your cat may simply be enjoying the smell and/or taste of your freshly groomed locks.
6. Cat likes the taste
This may come as a surprise, but maybe your cat simply likes the taste of some hair product that you are using. Cats do not usually like strong or citrus -like scents but maybe you are using something with a milder scent that they find appealing.
7. Cat is experiencing Pica
Your cat may have Pica, which is a condition that is typically caused by nutritional deficiencies, which causes the cat to chew on non-food things like hair.
A Couple More Reasons
Did you just get a very young kitten? The hair chewing could be a response from being separated from its mom too early. Many cat behaviorists theorize that a kitten being taken from its mother under eight to ten weeks-old may bite, chew and lick more than a properly weaned kitten.
In addition, kittens also tend to explore their new world by taste, just like puppies and children do.
Sometimes the hair biting behavior is breed specific. The Asian breeds Burmese, Tonkinese and Siamese (to name a few) – love to bite and chew fabric, paper, toys and, yes, even your hair.
If you’ve noticed any other odd behaviors in your cat such as biting your nose or the hair biting has become more frequent and intense then it’s always better to make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your fur baby thoroughly checked over. Whether it turns out to be nothing or something, it’s better to know and follow up (if need be) with your vet’s advice.