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We have all seen it. Your cat is grooming and suddenly has a tuft of hair in its mouth. You run to get it out, but before you get there, your cat swallows it whole. So you start to wonder: why do cats eat their hair?
Cats eat their hair due to excessive grooming and stress. Sometimes your cat can get a disease like pica if your severe cat eats excessive amounts of its fur. In most cases, cats accidentally eat their hair.
Cats groom themselves with their tongue, so sometimes they eat their hair out of necessity. You might be shocked to know that your cat’s habit of eating hair is more prominent, so keep reading to learn more.
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7 Reasons Why Cats Eat Their Hair
Hair-eating cats are actually quite common. Below are just a few of the many reasons your cat eats her hair and what you can do about it.
While cats are grooming, your cat may eat some of its hair. Your cat may not be doing it on purpose, but grooming himself with a tongue means he can eat it.
Your cat accidentally eats its hair
Sometimes your cat is more likely to eat her fur because she can’t spit it out while grooming. If they can’t get it out of their mouth, the only option is to swallow it.
Pica affects your cat
Eating fur may be due to a cognitive disorder called pica, which causes your cat to eat things it shouldn’t, such as its fur. This is most noticeable if you see your cat deliberately trying to eat her hair outside of normal grooming activities.
Your cat has flea bites
Flea bites can cause your cat to bite its body and fur more than usual. If your cat is uncomfortable, he may be pulling more fur than usual to stop the itching.
Your cat may have dry skin
Dry skin can cause your cat to eat more of its fur as it tries to relieve its dry, itchy skin issues.
Stress affects your cat
A stressed cat is more likely to tear its fur. It may not be part of grooming but a nervous habit.
Your cat is bored
My cats sometimes tug on their house because they are bored and can groom themselves excessively. If your cat is bored, be sure to do something to entertain it.
Can cats eat their own hair
Cats can eat their own hair, but if they eat their fur while grooming, they can cough up a hairball.
When cats groom themselves, their goal is not to eat their fur, although you may catch your cat pulling a knot or piece of fur. Unfortunately, since cats groom themselves with their tongue, it is not possible to spit out every last hair. This is especially difficult for long-haired cats.
If a cat eats its fur, it doesn’t just digest it like a piece of food. If you digest too much fur, your cat will get a hairball. I can say from experience that hairballs are no fun for you or your cat!
Is it normal for cats to eat their hair
It is normal for cats to eat their hair, especially when grooming.
Since cats use their tongue to groom themselves, they tend to eat at least a little of their fur every day. You’re probably worried about your cat only eating its fur when you see a large piece of fur hanging from its lip. If not, do you think your cat eats its fur by licking itself? Probably not.
Some cats are also very clean. If your cat tears pieces of fur from his body, he may eat them too, even after spitting them out. It may seem like a weird habit, and it probably is, but cats do it anyway.
Is it bad for cats to eat hair
If your cat eats his hair while grooming, it won’t hurt him, but it’s not necessarily good for your cat to ingest. Eating hair while grooming is not dangerous for your cat.
Eating fur can be a sign of underlying conditions like pica, which we’ll discuss later. Sometimes, however, cats eat their fur while bathing.
If you catch your cat eating a large piece of fur, you risk pulling it out of its mouth, which is a good idea. Small pieces of fur are not too dangerous for your cat.
Is cat hair dangerous if swallowed?
Cat hair poses a small choking hazard, but typically your cat will vomit up hair in the form of a hairball.
You may think your cat eating its fur is terrible. While it’s not the best thing your cat can eat, her body knows how to get rid of the hair. If your cat eats a large amount of his fur, expect him to vomit up a hairball within the next few days.
Hairballs can be scary because you will hear your cat heave if the hairball is giant. You can give your cat over-the-counter products to dislodge hairballs and help your cat pass the hairball.
Why do cats eat their hairballs
Watching your cat eat its hairball is disgusting, but it’s important to remember that your cat is an animal, no matter how much of a part of your family it is.
Cats do rude things sometimes. At the top of this list, you’ll likely see your cat eating his hairball. However, there is no good reason for your cat to eat its hairball. I always assumed it was because your cat is an animal and might not know better than to eat its own furball (or another cat’s!).
Why do cats eat their fur off the floor
Seeing a cat constantly eating its fur on the floor is a concerning habit that may indicate that your cat has pica.
Simply put, pica is the urge to eat things you shouldn’t be eating. People with pica may want to eat something other than food, such as fabric, chalk, plastic, or even inedible plants. People can suffer from pica, but so can animals, such as cats.
Cats can start eating their fur if they have pica, even if their hair has already fallen off their body and is on the floor.
If your cat puffs up her fur once or twice, it may be an accident or a misconception of what the fur may be. Eating fur once does not mean your cat has pica.
How to Tell if Your Cat Has Pica
You know your cat has pica if it urges to eat fur off its own body or on the floor after it has fallen.
Unfortunately, there are few warning signs if your cat has pica. You can self-diagnose your cat by closely monitoring its behavior to find out if it is cleaning itself or suffering from pica.
A cat with pica will often eat its fur outside of cleaning. You may see your cat tearing off its fur and eating it rather than spitting it out. If there’s fur on the floor — whether it’s from your cat or another cat in your household — a cat with pica is likely to eat it off the floor like it’s cat treat. .
How to Fix Pica in Cats
It is not possible to cure pica, but there are ways to help a cat with pica.
If you notice your cat eating large amounts of things it shouldn’t, there are things you can do to help your cat, even if you can’t cure pica.
- Keep your floors clean and free of objects your cat is trying to eat
- Play with your cat to redirect its attention
- Give your cat treats to keep her from eating different things
A cat that tries to eat more dangerous items like plants or things containing chemicals may be more difficult to monitor. Talk to your veterinarian for more tips on how to help your cat.
How do I get my cat to stop eating its fur?
Watching your cat eat its fur can be difficult, but there are a few options to stop your cat.
Suppose your cat is long-haired and eats its fur, the easiest option to keep your cat’s fur short where it can easily reach it. You may not have adopted a long-haired cat to keep its fur short, but it’s the best option for your cat if it eats its fur.
Also try to figure out why your cat is eating its fur. Is his habit of eating fur due to pica? Is there a potential he has flas or eczema?
Since cats can’t talk, it’s harder to diagnose cats, but it’s important to remember that you need to understand your cat’s behavior to treat it properly.
Things to consider
Eating fur is a strange thing to see your cat eat their fur. If your cat swallows a large knot or piece of fur, I understand how concerned you may be after seeing this. Keep in mind that eating fur is a normal part of a cat’s life, but it’s also an important habit to watch out for.
With fur in particular, you’ll want to keep an eye on your cat’s habits. If your cat accidentally eats fur once in a while, you’ll probably know it’s just a weird thing that’s happening. However, if you notice your cat continually eating its own fur, it may be a more serious problem like pica.
None of us want to keep our pets all the time, but it’s essential to consider all the other things that go into pet ownership. You don’t have to be a helicopter cat parent, but you do need to learn how your cat acts to pick up potentially serious habits.