As a cat owner, you may be asking yourself, “Why does my cat lick my hair?” If so, you’re not alone. Cats are known for their love of hair, but why? On the surface, it appears to be a way for them to groom themselves. Cats are well known for their social grooming habits. They spend on average 50 percent of their waking day taking part in some form of grooming behaviour.
Here are some common reasons why your cat may lick your hair and some solutions to help fix the problem if you are not keen on your cat licking you.
Why does my cat lick my hair?
Licking is instinctive cat behavior. There are several reasons cats groom one another.
A mother cat will start to lick her kittens straight after their birth to clean them, stimulate them to release urine and faeces and provide comfort. A kitten will usually start to groom itself at around 4 weeks of age. At 5 weeks of age, a kitten will also start social grooming its littermates as well as the mother cat.
Scent plays a huge role in a cat’s life. Cats recognise each other by their smell. If you have more than one cat, you may find that they enjoy grooming one another. By grooming other cats in their family group, they spread their scent and, therefore, unify the family. If your feline is licking, or chewing, your hair, it will likely be using grooming as natural social behavior. Although your cat is not mistaking you for a feline, the licking can be seen as an expression of affection, with your cat wanting to share their scent with you. Humans express their feelings of love by hugging and kissing someone-cats demonstrate their affection by using their tongue.
Additionally, cats may lick human hair because it smells like their food. Cats have a unique sensory organ in their mouth called a vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson’s organ, which they use to “taste” smells. It’s possible that the vomeronasal organ is also used to detect pheromones in human hair.
How do I stop my cat from licking my hair?
You love your cat. But there are times when she can get a little too enthusiastic about her affection for you. Maybe you don’t enjoy the feel of your cat’s barbed, rough tongue. If your cat’s licking habit is starting to drive you insane here are some tips for reducing the hair-licking.
- Do not look, talk to or touch your cat when they start to lick your hair. Instead, get up and leave her presence immediately. Refrain from petting your cat when she exhibits this behavior.
- Remove your hair from your cat‘s reach as soon as she starts to lick
- Provide other oral outlets in your cat’s environment that are acceptable for your cat to lick or chew, such as food dispensing toys or a furry toy.
- Spray your hair with a scent that does appeal to your cat, such as citrus.
- Try changing your hair product.
Is my cat licking my hair dangerous to my cat?
While your cat licking your hair is not immediately dangerous to your cat, anything your cat’s tongue licks could end up being ingested. If you use medicinal products on your hair or skin, such as anti-dandruff hair product, don’t let your cat lick that area.
If your cat appears to want to eat your hair or exhibiting excessive licking, it would be advisable to take your feline friend for a check-up with your veterinarian to make sure nothing is problematic. Sometimes stress can cause a cat to partake in excessive grooming. As a pet owner, if you have concerns with your cat’s licking habit then make sure you discuss them with your vet.