Some owners find that their cats like to sit behind them on the back of the couch and lick their hair.
As it happens, it can be quite funny and seen as a little quirk that they have, but you are probably also asking yourself why they are doing it.
As you can probably guess, when a cat is licking your hair it is because they are grooming you, and is not only done because your hair is tasty.
But that only answers a fraction of the question because you still have to get to the bottom of why your cat is grooming you in the first place.
Knowing why your cat is grooming you can give you a lot of information on your relationship together, and you may even pick up on a message that your cat is trying to tell you.
As funny as it is, we will also talk about how to put a stop to your cat licking your hair because for some people it can be irritating especially if you have finally gotten that perfect hairstyle, but your cat will also thank you in the long run as they won’t have to hack up as many furballs!
Why Is My Cat Grooming Me?
There are actually a few reasons why your cat is grooming you by licking your hair. One of these reasons is because they are showing you affection.
You have most likely seen cats groom one another, especially if it is between a mother cat and a kitten, so it is easy to see why they carry that way of communicating care and affection in the same way – even if you are a human.
Instinct is another factor that comes into why your cat is grooming you because cats groom themselves as well as one another.
It not only keeps them nice and clean but also has great benefits for their skin because it stimulates the production of an oily secretion called sebum which is made by special glands at the base of each strand of hair.
By grooming, this sebum is spread throughout the hair which gives it a better level of protection and a good shine.
If your cat has long hair, grooming is very important for them to do because it works wonders for the prevention of mats and also removes parasites such as fleas and dirt.
Sometimes, your cat is licking your hair because they feel that you are simply in need of a good clean.
Cats love to stay clean and if they see a bit of dirt or debris in your hair, they will waste no time in getting into position and getting rid of it.
Unfortunately, your cat might be grooming you as a way of intimidation as some cats use it to chase off others.
It can also be because your cat is stressed because grooming is a way to help relieve this stress whether it’s grooming themselves or another being.
Some cats lick their owner’s hair because it is a way for them to mark their territory which is still from an affectionate standpoint but can translate to other cats in the household as a threat to not get too close to you.
This may especially be the case when you bring home a new pet and your cat is starting to feel jealous so will mark you as their territory as a way to keep them at bay.
Compulsive disorders such as pica is when cats eat things that they shouldn’t, including things that aren’t food.
In this same vein, the licking of your hair can also be triggered because your cat is trying to get nutrients and minerals from your hair that they are not getting from their diet.
Finally, your hair might just taste delicious to your cat which is making them want to lick it.
If your cat loves to eat foods such as fruits and vegetables, it makes sense that they will want to lick your hair after you have washed it with strawberry-scented shampoo.
Is It Ok For My Cat To Groom Me?
Generally, there is no harm in your cat licking your hair because it would take a lot of hair for them to experience problems, and it very rarely gets to that point.
It’s not very good for your cat to be licking your hair if you use a lot of chemicals in it such as hairspray or mousse as the cat can ingest them and make them ill.
Even if it is not harmful to your cat to lick your hair, it can be harmful to you especially if they are doing it excessively.
Your scalp can get irritated as the tongue of a cat is quite rough which can even break the skin or cause bald patches with enough licking.
A cat that is strictly indoors and is up-to-date with all of its vaccinations and tablets will also have lots of bacteria in its mouths and on its tongues which they are then adding to your hair and scalp.
If these bacteria finds its way into broken skin then infection can be a side effect.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Grooming Me?
If you are not a fan of your cat licking your hair and the thought of them licking their private parts before licking you makes you cringe, then there are things you can try to get them to stop.
The first technique to try is ignoring them as soon as they start licking you by not talking or engaging with them and moving to another chair.
If you are lying in bed, you can try moving to the other side if you can or just far enough for your cat to be out of reach from your head.
If you can’t move away from the cat, put a blanket or pillow between your head and the cat to stop them from being able to get to you.
By stopping the reinforcement of the behavior, your cat will soon realize that licking your hair is not worth the hassle and will forget about it altogether.
If your cat is still adamant about licking your hair then it is a good idea to take them to the vet for a checkup to see if they are deficient in any nutrients that they were trying to get from your hair.
They will also be able to break down your cat’s behavior in a way to rule out any neurological issues.
Learning that your cat is licking your hair because they are grooming you and showing affection is lovely, but sometimes it is due to them liking the taste of your shampoo or as a way to mark you as their territory which is not as wholesome but still endearing in its own way.
Unless your cat is doing it excessively and has ingested a lot of hair and chemicals, then it is not harmful to them but keep in mind that it can be harmful to you if they lick you enough to break the skin.
If you don’t like your cat licking your hair, or it has become a problem, then you’ll be happy to know that you are not doomed to put up with it forever.
With just a few simple changes, you can put a stop to the behavior.