Cats seem to enjoy their self-grooming sessions when they’re awake. If you have more than one pet you may have observed your cat licks them too. But what is the real deal when they lick you? You are not a cat or a dog that can be your feline’s pack member. So why does your cat groom you or lick your hair? There are several reasons behind it and we are going to discuss all of them in this article. You may find it lovely to know your cat is licking you and maybe showing his affection for you or you may feel annoyed by the cowlicks your cat creates in your locks. Anyway, the behavior is natural, not harmful, and also can be corrected.
Reasons Why Your Cat Would Lick Your Hair
When it comes to grooming, cat licks themselves and their fellow feline buddies in the home. This is a self-taught behavior at a young age. Also, mom cats lick their litters to keep them clean and to stimulate excretion. In a nutshell, licking themselves and other animals is intuitive behavior in cats and there is no surprise why they won’t lick your hair. Here are the reasons.
Love and Affection
This is the prominent reason among others why your kitty would lick your hair. Animal behavior specialists say that when your cat licks you, it means, you’re one of his peer members. They love you and really like you when they lick you. In other words, when a cat is licking your hair, he wants to take care of you and your health.
You may have observed your cat would sit on a higher perch behind you to start licking your hair or when you’re sitting, laying down, or sleeping. Cats feel that’s the right time to show their affection. Doesn’t it seem that your cat deserves huge respect from you for this behavior of theirs? The grooming is our job for them using all those grooming tools. But it’s lovely that cat with a cattitude returns his favor by grooming us in their own methods and ways.
Sometimes cats would do something annoying, for example, snatch your hair or eat some strands. But trust me, that’s totally okay and he doesn’t want to annoy you by any means.
However, if eating your hair and annoyance becomes so frequent, you should start correcting behavior. And if this looks weird and excessive there might be one of the other underlying issues. I will discuss it in one of the later sections.
Your Cat is Concerned About Your Health
Yip, that’s right. When your cat considers you as his peer, he would want you to stay clean and hygienic. It’s funny to think that your cat never sees you licking yourself to clean and they may not be aware of the concept of taking a bath.
If they see any objects in your hair or your hair is wet, he would like to lick off anything present in there. And that’s the cute side of cats with cattitude!
Their Territorial Behavior
No second thought about the highly territorial behavior of cats. They want to put their scent on everything they believe to be their territories. So when your cats decide to lick your hair, they’re actually leaving their scent on you.
This way when you go in other spaces with cats, other felines would stay away from you because you have a cat’s scent. This is how your cat makes you one of their own. Conversely, your cat would try to lick off any scent already present in your hair. In addition to licking your hair, your feline furball may rub along you and may get a little abrasive with licking due to their territorial behavior.
It’s a Stress Relieving Practice
Cats feel good when they groom themselves. It is a fact that excessive grooming is a result of stress. If this is the case and your cat is obsessively grooming you, you should look for other signs of stress in your cat. This will help you rule out any stress-related problem or behavior in your kitty.
Here are some other signs that your cat is stressed.
- Bald spots, skin sores near or around the belly and hind legs due to overgrooming
- Reduced appetite
- Inappropriate eliminating
- Inappropriate scratching
- Clinginess and hiding
If you observe most of the above signs in your cat, seek a veterinarian’s help immediately. Anyway, cats like to groom you and the act is stress-relieving but that doesn’t always mean your cat is stressed.
Why Cats Choose Hair Over The Whole Body
Unlike cats, humans don’t have hairy bodies. Our hair is the most similar to their fur. In fact, cats also lick beards, tips of the hair, and eyebrows too.
Sometimes cats observed pulling on their human’s hair. This can mean a few other things too. That includes cats are overgrooming, they are stressed, It’s something similar to their wool sucking, or even they might have been facing some nutrient deficiency.
Furthermore, a cat might also be observed chewing on hair. Well, this is not normal and should be addressed as soon as possible. This can be hurtful for you, your cat might hack hairballs and anyway, there’s some underlying issue that needs to be eliminated. So, don’t wait to seek help.
How to Stop Letting Your Cat Grooming You
Some of you might find this act of your cat annoying. And that is fine too. But remember, your inadvertent actions may have resulted in encouraging this behavior in your feline buddy. The foremost condition to alleviate particular behavior is you have to completely ignore.
When your cat comes near you and starts licking, don’t shout at her, instruct her, or push her away. This is actually a reward for her actions, and, know that cats are well responsive to reward-based training.
Simply get up and lock yourself in another room. Or you can also hide under a blanket, but make sure your cat doesn’t succeed to get under the blanket as it’s an interesting game for them.
Your cat may also lick your hair because they are attracted to the scent of hair products you are using or maybe it’s just your natural hair oil. Considering this, you can use citrus fragrance hair products. Cats do not like citrus fragrances.
Side by side, you should give your cats some mental stimulation in return. Keep them busy with puzzle toys or catnip when you move her focus away from your hair. Remember, there should always a ‘yes’ with every ‘no’ for your cat or it simply might cause other problems.
Licking their human’s hair is a common behavior observed in cats and there is nothing to worry about it unless something’s weird and your cat goes insane with it. Go through all the sections of this article to know why cats lick or groom their humans. If you want your cat to stop licking your hair, you can also correct this behavior. You can also share your experience with of your cat licking your hair in the comment section below.