As any cat parent will tell you, feline children have a lot of odd habits. So if your kitty enjoys chewing on your hair or eating its own fur off the floor, you aren’t alone.
These curious creatures will put practically anything in their mouth, so this is pretty run-of-the-mill behavior, especially for young kittens.
Why Do Cats Eat Hair Off the Floor?
There can be many reasons why your cat is eating hair off the floor, and before you can start dealing with this behavioral issue, you need to understand why it is acting this way.
A little-known fact is that cats are as susceptible to stress as humans. If you’ve recently brought home another pet, taken your cat to the vet, changed furniture, or invited guests into your home, your cat may begin to feel anxious.
There could also be a problem with its food or litter box. All of these issues can cause stress, causing your cat to eat the hair off the floor.
To resolve it, pay close attention to your cat’s routine, any changes in its behavior, or worrisome interactions. If you’ve made any recent changes like a new cat food brand, undo them. That should stop your cat from eating hair off the floor.
Your pet could simply be bored. If your cat is alone for a large part of the day, it may begin eating hair because it has nothing else to do. Often cats will do this at night time when you’re asleep and they’re alone.
The best solution is to interact with your cat more often during the course of the day. That includes at least an hour of daily playtime with plenty of cuddles. You can also try leaving out some cat toys for it to play with, especially at night.
- Lack of Attention
Felines have certain inbuilt behavioral patterns. When multiple cats live together, they tend to groom each other, with plenty of licking and biting.
It is a playful way for them to engage with each other and showcase their affection. In single cat households, they will try replicating this behavior on the owners.
Your cat may lick you, knead you with its claws, or even try to grab ahold of your hair. These are all signs that it loves you and is trying to show it. There is no need for concern.
The next time your cat starts nibbling on your hair, simply remove it, and your cat will note your response.
- Chewing Obsession
Some cats like chewing on things. This can include furniture, toys, walls, strings, clothes, or, you guessed it, hair.
The best thing you can do is make sure there’s as little hair on the floor as possible. Brush your cat regularly, vacuum rugs, and mop the floors. Also, if your cat likes nibbling on your hair on top of its own, try changing your shampoo. It may just be attracted to the scent.
- Medical Condition
Another possibility is that your cat is suffering from Pica, an obsessive-compulsive disorder where it feels an uncontrollable urge to eat inedible items.
This disease is common among not just cats but dogs and humans too. And if they develop a habit of eating your hair, or their own shed fur, it’ll be hard to beat later on.
What Happens if A Cat Eats Hair?
If your cat develops an appetite for eating hair and you let it go unchecked, there can be devastating consequences.
Pet owners of Persian cats and other double-coated breeds can attest to these issues. When a cat overly grooms itself or ingests an excess amount of hair in any way, that hair can build up in its throat. The result – hairballs.
Your cat will vomit up these hairballs since they are stuck in its esophagus.
However, they can also cause severe discomfort, which will result in dietary issues. In other words, your cat will stop eating food and become weaker. Other side effects of this condition can include respiratory or digestive concerns.
What to Do if A Cat Eats Hair?
To get ahead of these potential concerns, you need to pay close attention to your pet and identify the root cause of this behavioral issue. Spend more time playing with your cat and give it plenty of attention.
Also, improve their grooming habits by brushing them regularly.
The truth is that most people don’t have to worry about these severe consequences because their cats don’t eat enough hair for it to matter. The only way for your cat to ingest an excessive, potentially damaging amount of hair is if it’s lying around your house.
So the best thing you can do is clean your home regularly. If you have carpets, vacuum them every alternate day and make your house kitty-safe!