Cats are complex creatures. In a way, their complexity gets a bad rep: they can be seen as selfish or not affectionate enough, but that could not be further from the truth. Cats are supremely affectionate, they just sometimes show their love in different ways. While a dog is all about wagging their tail, slobbering you in kisses, and knocking you over when you get home just to show their excitement, cats are ones to take things in stride. But once you gain their trust, they'll curl up next to you in bed while you're watching TV or on your computer, roll over to show you their belly, or even chew on your hair! Yes, that's right — your cat chewing on your hair is a sign of affection. Keep reading to learn more!
Why does my cat chew my hair?
Besides being a sign of affection, it has to do with your living situation. According to veterinarian Dr. Ignacio Casali, DVM, "Cats that live in communities tend to spend a large period of time grooming each other. This behaviour includes licking, biting, and snuggling." When cuddling with you, your cat will often try to reciprocate the petting they receive. "Frequently, they will choose to lick body parts or even bite an owner's hair as a form of grooming," Dr. Casali explains. So that hair chewing isn't just because your coconut shampoo tastes good — it's an instinctual way of saying they love you.
Veterinarian Maria R. Mendoza, DVM agrees: "Cats that are very attached to their owners target the owner's 'furry' parts (i.e. their hair) to share the family scent with proper grooming." In fact, since their tongue acts as a comb for themselves, as its covered with little barbs, when cats lick or bite you they are exhibiting social grooming behaviours that signify they see you as one in the same. It can also be a sign they are calm, or that they are simply including you in their pack.
Is it bad if my cat chews my hair?
Even though a cat chewing your hair is a form affection and is often freaking adorable, be aware of what products may be in your hair. "Hair regrowth products that contain minoxidil, like Rogaine, can be very toxic to cats and cause heart failure," Dr. Casali told POPSUGAR. If using these kinds of products, you should stop your cat from chewing on your hair.
Hair chewing might not always be a social behaviour, either. "Sometimes, if your cat is excessively biting your hair, and/or eating other non-food objects (like kitty litter), the cat may have a condition called pica, possibly related to dietary deficiencies," Dr. Casali says. If your cat is excessively chewing objects or eating things he shouldn't, talk to your vet.
How can I show affection back to my cat?
Cats spend around 30 percent of their lives grooming themselves, and when they're feeling all lovey-dovey, grooming you. A great way to show affection back, apart from a nice little massage or petting, is to groom them back. Many cats love a relaxing brushing session, and it can be just the way to continue the bonding experience with your feline pal. If they're not into that, making them a fun DIY cat toy would be great, too!