Cats are not humans. As a result, they engage in a wide range of behaviors that can seem very strange to their cat owners. One excellent example would be cats chewing on their cat owners’ hair, which can come as a surprise to those who weren’t expecting it to say the least. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single cause for this kind of thing, meaning that figuring out what is going on can be a real challenge in its own right. Here are some of the reasons that cats choose to chew on people’s hair:
Cats aren’t famous for their affectionate nature. In fact, there is a stereotype that they are cold creatures with no regard for their cat owners whatsoever. However, this isn’t perfectly accurate. It would be an exaggeration to say that cats are as social as, say, cattle, but at the same time, it would be an exaggeration to say that cats are as social as, say, bears. For proof, look no further than the fact that cats are known to engage in the grooming of other cats as a way of expressing affection. This isn’t something that cats will do with just any other cat. Instead, this is the kind of thing that tends to be reserved for close relatives such as parents and siblings, which speaks volumes about the strength of such bonds. In any case, this is relevant because cats chewing on their cat owners’ hair can be a sign of affection. Essentially, there is still much that remains unknown about how cats regard cat owners, but there are definitely indications that at least some of the cues of cat-cat interactions can be carried over to cat-human interactions. Due to this, it is possible that a cat chewing on a cat owner’s hair is showing their affection in what is a normal manner for cat-cat interaction but becomes much, much stranger in the context of human-human interaction.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, cats can get stressed in the same way that humans can. Naturally, when this happens, they can engage in such rather strange behaviors as a way of managing their stress as best as they can. To an extent, this could be the cat drawing upon their bond with their cat owner in a similar manner to how humans might seek to relieve stress by spending time with their friends and family members. However, chewing on things can also be a stress relieving process in its own right. Something that isn’t that uncommon among cats.
Cats can experience mental health issues in the same way that humans can. As such, it is possible for their chewing to be the sign of some kind of compulsive behavior. The exact cause can see a fair amount of variation. For instance, it is speculated that being weaned too soon can cause cats to develop an oral fixation, which can manifest in forms such as chewing as well as sucking. Meanwhile, some cats might be so stressed out that they have started chewing on a constant basis. Regardless, compulsive chewing is the kind of chewing that cat owners should look into sooner rather than later. After all, it can get quite unpleasant for the cat owners whose hair is getting chewed upon on such a regular basis. On top of that, mental health issues aren’t exactly pleasant for the cat to live with, so it is best to get them professional assistance sooner rather than later.
Amusingly, cats have been known to chew on the hair of cat owners because they enjoy the taste. Chances are good that this is connected to the shampoo and hair conditioner that is being used. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus very much for good reason, but it isn’t uncommon for people to use other hair products with other tastes. In any case, this is also something that cat owners should seek to prevent. Hair products aren’t meant to be eaten. For that matter, there are substances that are harmless to humans but more than a bit dangerous for cats, with citrus fruits being an excellent example.
Medical issues can cause cats to start behaving in strange ways. One excellent example would be hyperthyroidism, which would be an overactive thyroid gland. This particular symptom tends to show up in older cats that are around 12 and 13 years of age, so cat owners might want to watch out if such cats are also showing weight loss as well as an insatiable appetite at the same time. Another excellent example would be pica, which is just when people start consuming non-food items. Sadly, pica can show up in cats as well, meaning that this is something that interested individuals need to watch out for. Of course, such medical issues should be more than enough to get cat owners to bring their cats with them to see their veterinarian. With cats as with humans, swifter intervention tends to make for better outcomes.
What Should You Do about Your Cat Chewing on Your Hair?
In any case, the urgency of the situation depends on various factors. For instance, if the cat owners don’t mind their hair getting chewed upon, they aren’t going to have much incentive to stop their cats. On the other side, the exact cause of the cat’s chewing determines the degree of the need for intervention. If the cat is chewing when they are being petted and otherwise treated well, it is reasonable to speculate that they aren’t doing so because of one of the more alarming reasons. However, if the cat is chewing while also exhibiting other strange symptoms, that could be very worrisome to say the least. If assistance is necessary, cat owners should seek out the veterinarian for professional expertise and experience in determining the problem as well as resolving the problem. If cat owners are lucky, they will just need to train their cats out of an unwelcome behavior. If they are not, well, suffice to say that the veterinarian is the right place to start, particularly since they can point them in the right direction of other cat-related experts who can help out in various ways.
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