Cats sometimes have quirks that escape our logic, yet everything they do is totally normal to them. If you have a cat that licks its hair, it may be doing so for a number of reasons, usually related to affection.
In this article I explain why he licks your hair and how to stop him if it bothers you without making mistakes that would harm the relationship you have with your cat.
Cat licking hair: The main reasons
Cats are hygienic creatures who can’t stand being dirty, if you have an outdoor cat, you will see that it is very rarely dirty even if it is in the foliage and in the ground. Their tongue, composed of keratin and very catchy allows them to clean the dirt in depth immediately.
In addition to washing themselves very often, it is very common for them to wash each other, especially if they belong to the same litter and the same pack. Cats spend half of their waking time engaging in grooming behavior.
But does your cat lick your hair because he finds you dirty? In fact, the reason is generally different and is very often linked to the affection he has for you.
A sign of affection
Licking, in addition to its cleansing function, allows cats to share their scent with their fellow cats. If he licks your hair or any other part of your face, he considers you part of his pack and he wants you to carry his scent.
Cats also rub to deposit their scent and mark you as one of their troop.
In any case, this sign of affection is linked to a deep tenderness he has for you and which generally manifests itself when he considers you part of his family.
You have smells he doesn’t like
This doesn’t mean he finds you dirty, but maybe you smell something he doesn’t like, such as another animal or perfume. Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell, which allows them to compensate for their rough eyesight .
If you don’t have a smell he likes, he’ll tend to lick you off. Cats do not like certain smells that are pleasant to us. Like for example lemons, grapefruits and oranges, which can also be used to prevent cats from accessing certain places.
Yes, said like that it’s very weird but cats like the salty flavor of sweat and if you’ve just played sports he may lick your scalp to drink your sweat.
This one has no danger for him and if you don’t mind, you can let him do it.
Your shampoo can also whet your appetite if your scent is still on it. It’s the same if you apply beauty products to hair that smells good.
He takes you for his mother
Young cats sometimes take their owner for their mother and will have the same behavior as with them. These include licking. If your cat was weaned too early, he will probably take this behavior to calm down.
To calm down
Cats that have had early weaning often like to lick hair to calm themselves down, still seeking a maternal bond and allowing them to comfort themselves. They are not yet ready to be fully independent thanks to this early weaning.
He is stressed
Licking is sometimes pathological in cats and if you notice that your cat is very restless on a daily basis, it is likely that the licking is due to stress. Perhaps there have been changes in the house that he cannot stand, such as a change in his living space or the arrival of a new animal.
It is essential to find the cause of this stress and remove it so that he is no longer anxious. Watch for any changes that may have taken place as cats hate changes and it can cause them great stress. Sometimes going to the veterinarian will be necessary, especially if it is an old cat who may suffer from a pathology requiring treatment.
How do I react if my cat licks my hair?
This feline habit should not be punished. Cats only lick those they like. They will then take this punishment as an assault and you will lose the trust he has in you. He will then stop all these gestures of tenderness.
So, if it bothers you, pet it or play with it to divert its attention without upsetting it. It will stop this behavior if you gently distract it from it each time. You can hand him a toy or tease him so he can expend his energy and get your attention in other ways.
You can also offer him food he likes to distract him.
What if he bites me in addition to licking me?
Biting is associated with play in cats, especially young ones. If he bites you, playing with him will allow you to calm him down and channel his energy.
Many games will also calm him down during the day if he is an indoor cat and you are not there. The ideal being that it can be spent without you being there to avoid boredom during the day.
To exercise, a cat wheel is perfect because it allows him to spend a lot of energy without breaking everything in the house. You can also use the famous electric catfish.
Cat licking hair: The final word
A cat usually licks hair out of affection, whether direct or indirect, so don’t punish it and just divert its attention by playing with it or giving it something it likes.
If he suffers from a pathology leading him to excessive licking, only a veterinarian can properly treat the problem.