Why Does My Cat Bite My Hair?
Some cats have a lot of strange behaviors and often times, they are as unique as the cat itself. But there is one personality trait that many cats seem to have in common; hair biting. When this first happens you are probably asking yourself; "why does my cat bite my hair?"
Before you have your kitty's head examined, read this article! We have consulted with the experts to find out why our felines have suddenly become obsessed with our locks.
Reason 1: Social Interaction
Known as allogrooming by the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (2004 edition), when cats in communal groups groom and lick each other it is a source of social interaction. In fact, pheromones are secreted through the feline species via its mouth, forehead, chin, and cheeks which places the cat's scent on the animal. This is also why you may notice your cat rubbing his or her face along you or inanimate objects - and it is also a way for the feline to "mark" it's territory.
Nibbling, licking and biting of your hair is a way for your fur baby to mark you as her own and is actually a highly regarded way to say "you're mine and I accept you." Basically, your cat just wants you to know that she loves you!
Reason 2: It Tastes and Smells Good
From gels to mousses, shampoos and hair sprays, our daily stylin' fragrances may be the catalyst to Kitty's sudden interest in hair biting. According to one renowned cat behaviorist, Pam Johnson-Bennett (owner of the Cat Behavior Association in Nashville), some scents from hair products could be attracting your cat to your hair like peppermint or menthol. After all peppermint, menthol, and catnip are all in the mint family!
If your cat's hair biting action is becoming problematic, Johnson-Bennett suggests switching your grooming products over to a citrus blend containing oranges, grapefruit or lemons. Cats generally do not like these scents, so the hair biting will most likely cease.
Reason 3: Health Condition Known as Pica
According to WebMD, Pica is a disorder commonly found in both cats and dogs. Pica is defined as the eating of strange or non-food items. The main cause of Pica can simply be that the kitten was taken away from its mother too early and therefore wasn't weaned properly. If this is the case, your kitten may not just chew on your hair, but it could also try to suckle your neck, earlobes or even stuffed or fuzzy objects.
The good news is, usually this behavior will pass as the kitten grows and matures.
Other Reasons for Pica
If your feline friend has been indulging on more than just cat kibble and your hair, the following ailments could also be causing Pica;
- Medical Issues; Diabetes and brain tumors can trigger Pica, as well as feline leukemia and feline Immunodeficiency virus.
- Dietary Deficiencies; Eating a lot of plant material could be a sign of something missing in your cat's daily diet. If your cat is eating cat litter, it could be a sign of anemia.
- Boredom; Some cats eat strange objects purely out of a lack of social interaction.
- Breed-Specific Behavior; Breeds like the Birman and Siamese tend to suckle on "foreign" objects according to animal behaviorist, Alice Moon-Fanelli, PhD, CAAB.
When to Worry About Your Cat Biting Your Hair
If your cat makes a beeline for you every time you sit down, then he may be feeling stressed. Look for the reasons why this may be occurring. Have you moved or brought in a new addition to the family (person or pet)? Then your cat may simply be showing you that he's feeling neglected. Give Fluffy more one-on-one time by playing, grooming him, or just sitting and spending some quality time together. If the behavior continues, then it's always best to seek out a veterinarian's professional opinion while Fluffy is having a checkup for any underlying health issues.
In addition, watch for intestinal upset such as constipation or an excessive amount of hairballs. Your cat's hair chewing habit could be allowing him to swallow more hair which could cause intestinal blockage, especially if your hair is long.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Biting My Hair?
Although, the feline species can be very demanding and persistent, if your cat's hair biting is becoming a problem you can put a stop to it. Each time your feline embarks on a hair biting session, simply get up and move to another location. You can also try to gently redirect his behavior to a more suitable action. Engaging your cat in play or giving him his favorite catnip toy can all be productive ways to stop the hair biting habit.
Do I Need to Stop My Cat's Hair Biting?
For the most part, a cat biting your hair is nothing to worry about; however, if you feel there is more behind the action then just simple love and affection, then don't hesitate to make an appointment with your cat's veterinarian. A thorough checkup can answer all your unanswered questions so you can perhaps, just sit back and enjoy your cat's hair biting session together. 🙂
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