Why Does My Cat Lick My Hair?

Why Does My Cat Lick My Hair

Your cat licks your hair usually because she is attracted to its scent or taste, as a way to show her affection to you, or as a way to bond with you as her preferred human.

Why does my cat lick my hair?

Cats have endearing behaviors that sometimes surprise us. Take, for instance, licking your nose, hair, or even your face at any random moment. Most cats will lick their owners to gain attention, as a means of petting, or to express anxiousness. 

So, why does your cat lick your hair? There are many potential reasons why cats do this:

It is a cat’s way of showing affection. 

Cats normally groom each other by licking especially if they are siblings. It is their way of showing affection towards each other. If your cat licks your hair she is extending the same gesture to you. Her show of affection towards you is a sure sign that she is happy and comfortable and that she considers you as part of her family.

Your feline likes the taste and scent of your hair. 

Your cat may be licking your hair with gusto because she detected a particular taste and scent in it that she likes.  You may be using a shampoo or hair styling product that your cat finds appealing. She may even go further by biting your hair which should not be encouraged.  

It is a cat’s way of bonding with you as her preferred human. 

Licking your hair may also be your cat’s way of bonding with you as her preferred human. Cats seal their bond with each other by licking and she may be doing the same thing to you. Cats also tend to lick each other to remove other scents and as their way of saying that you are part of her pack. 

It gives your cat fond memories of her kittenhood.

Your cat may be giving you a tongue bath as her way of showing you that she feels secure in your company. It gives her a chance to continue what she has learned as a kitten when her mother used to give her tongue baths to groom her. This gesture may be her way of telling you that you’re a member of the family and nurturing you by keeping your hair “clean”. 

How to stop your cat from licking your hair?

How to stop your cat from licking your hair
Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Jacobi

While licking your hair may be a cute and affectionate gesture, you do not have to tolerate it. Your cat may ingest chemicals from the hair product you are using. It may also tend to be annoying since your cat’s sharp tongue could get your hair snagged and tangled. 

Here are steps that you can do to stop your cat’s licking spree:

  • when your cat starts to lick your hair do not talk, pet, or engage with her
  • move to another part of the room 
  • if you are in bed, put a barrier between you and the cat such as a pillow or you may cover your head with a blanket
  • move your head away when your cat starts licking your hair 
  • use citrus-scented hair products to deter your cat since cats do not like the smell of citrus
  • redirect your cat’s attention by giving her food-dispensing toys or even treats 

Why does it hurt when your cat licks you?

Sometimes your cat licking may even hurt. This is because a cat’s tongue has special back-facing barbs called papillae. It is of the same material as her claws making a cat’s tongue feel like sandpaper. 


You are one fortunate cat parent if your kitty openly expresses her affection to you. Gestures like head bunting and sleeping between your legs are heart-melting and licking your hair can be cute yet goofy. She may also lick your hair because she finds it appetizing and as a way of bonding with you. However, you may choose to not tolerate this behavior if you find it annoying, and also because it may harm your cat if you’re using hair products that contain chemicals. 

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