Why do cats eat our hair and their fur?

Why do cats eat our hair and their own fur?

Cats, those enigmatic and often quirky companions, never cease to amaze us with their peculiar behaviors. One such behavior that can leave cat owners both baffled and intrigued is the tendency of cats to nibble on human hair and their own fur. While this behavior might appear unusual at first glance, it is rooted in their natural instincts and unique sensory experiences. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons behind why cats engage in this curious habit and how it relates to their evolutionary history.

1. Grooming Instincts

Cats are renowned for their meticulous grooming routines, often spending hours each day keeping their fur impeccably clean. While cats are incredibly proficient at grooming themselves, they sometimes require a helping hand from their human companions. When cats groom themselves, their tongues catch loose fur, and occasionally, they might ingest some of it. Consuming small amounts of fur is usually harmless and will naturally pass through their digestive system. However, when it comes to human hair, it's a different story.

2. Texture and Sensory Exploration

The texture of human hair might intrigue a curious feline. Its long, fine strands can resemble some of the natural prey they might catch in the wild. Cats are tactile creatures, and their paws and mouths serve as their primary exploratory tools. When they encounter something new and unfamiliar, such as human hair, their curiosity drives them to touch, nibble, and even taste the object to understand its properties better. This behavior is akin to how infants explore the world by putting objects in their mouths.

3. Bonding and Comfort

Cats have a unique way of showing affection and forming bonds with their human companions. For some cats, gently nibbling or kneading human hair could be a form of comfort and companionship. Just as kittens knead their mother's belly to stimulate milk flow during nursing, adult cats often carry this behavior into adulthood as a sign of contentment and relaxation. Nibbling on hair might also be reminiscent of their kittenhood, a time when they used to suckle their mother's fur.

4. Stress and Anxiety

In some cases, hair munching can be a sign of stress or anxiety in cats. Just like humans might bite their nails or fidget when nervous, cats can engage in compulsive behaviors like chewing on hair or fur when they feel anxious. If you notice excessive hair consumption accompanied by other signs of stress, it's essential to address the underlying issue to ensure your feline friend's well-being.

5. Preventive Measures

While occasional hair munching is usually not a cause for concern, it's essential to minimize the risk of your cat ingesting too much hair. Regular grooming, especially during shedding seasons, can help reduce the amount of loose fur that your cat might be tempted to nibble on. Providing plenty of interactive toys, scratching posts, and mental stimulation can also redirect their curiosity away from hair and toward more appropriate objects.


Cats' fascination with human hair and their own fur is a complex blend of instincts, sensory exploration, bonding behaviors, and, at times, stress-related habits. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help us better connect with our feline friends and provide them with the care they need. While hair munching might seem peculiar, it's just another thread in the intricate tapestry of behaviors that make cats the captivating and enigmatic companions we love.

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