How To Stop A Cat From Licking You
Whatever the cause of your cats licking, you may find the licking uncomfortable or even annoying.
Never use punishment, including scolding, squirting water, shaking a jar of coins, or applying bitter-tasting spray. This may compromise your bond with your cat and may make your cat more anxious, which may exacerbate your cats licking.
Here are some tips to minimize the licking:
Cover your skin with long-sleeved clothing or a small towel when you interact with them, and provide a food puzzle or toy.
When your cat starts licking, get up and walk away. If your cat is licking for attention, ignoring the licking should cause the behavior to subside. Dont ignore your cat completely, but only when they lick you. If it does not stop after a week, there is likely another motivation for the licking that needs to be addressed, and you should talk to your vet.
Try tossing a cat toy or treat away from you. When your cat follows the toy or food, then you can get up and walk away.
When your cat interacts with you without licking, reinforce the behavior by rewarding them with praise, petting, or play.
Give your cat plenty of environmental enrichment. There is never too much! Purchase a variety of toys, hide all but 5-6 toys, and rotate them every few days to create novelty. Provide vertical spaces such as cat trees and perches, along with other hiding places for your cat, and devote at least 15 minutes to interacting with your cat three times daily.
Is It Safe For Cats To Groom Humans
Anything your cats tongue makes contact with could end up being ingested, so if you use medicinal products on your head or skin, dont let her lick that area, Kirby-Madden says.
There certainly are topicals that humans put on their skin that can be dangerous to cats, she says. For example, some dandruff shampoos can be toxic.
While it is theoretically possible for cats to ingest human hair, they would have to swallow a good amount of hair before it caused any health problems, Kirby-Madden says.
Ultimately, you know your cat better than anyone else, so if she starts grooming you out of the blue, it could be a sign that somethings wrong, Kirby-Madden says.
Cats have a limited range of expressions to tell us how theyre feeling, she says. brand new behavior, or if its excessive or increasing in frequency, then it would be time to go to the vet.
If you dont enjoy being your pets personal ice cream cone, you can discourage the licking but do it gently. Try to distract her by petting her or giving her a fuzzy mouse, fishing line or other appealing toy to play with, Johnson-Bennett says, adding that its important not to become angry with or reprimand your pet for licking you. Whatever you do, dont get angry.
Try to enjoy and understand what a sign of affection it is, Johnson-Bennett says. Dont push your cat away. Its very damaging to the relationship if you yell at the cat or push her off the bed. You want to keep it positive.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Has Pica
If your cat is starting to eat your hair than simply lick it, you should have it checked for pica. Pica is a condition on which a human or animal eats inedible things. Feline pica can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and other health complications.
While its normal for cats to chew items for play, its a different story when they start swallowing it. Some of the potential causes of pica are being weaned too early, extreme boredom, nutrient deficiencies, stress, and compulsive disorders.
Feline pica can manifest as early as three months on a cats life. Most cats with this condition will outgrow the habit once it reaches one to two years.
However, you must be careful since pica can lead to choking. Its best to ask the vet for possible solutions to stop the weird behavior.
Also, if your cat is licking your hair, you must check if its ingesting hair in the process.
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Video Answer: My Cat Licking My Hair
Dog are overall clean animals, and will often “clean up” after being outside, including paw licking.
They also groom the genital area after voiding.
Some dogs will lick themselves out of boredom, which tends to be a benign behavior.
However, abnormal licking can stem from anxiety and other obsessive behaviors.
- According to veterinarian Dr. Katie Grzyb, dogs who keep licking their lips for no reason are most likely feeling nauseous, have allergies, or are dehydrated. Constant lip licking and smacking can also be caused by abnormal medical conditions or learned behaviors.
When dog scratching gets out of hand, it is often the result of allergies to food or environmental triggers, including mold and pollen.
Dogs may also develop a skin irritation called contact dermatitis when they encounter substances like pesticides or soap. Boredom or anxiety.
Dogs may lick because they like the salty taste of their owner’s skin, as a sign of affection, or out of habit and boredom.
When behavior driven licking is excessive, resulting in hot spots, hair loss, or skin irritation avoid punishing your dog.
Dogs, just like people, have individual ways of expressing affection.
This eventually becomes a ritualistic greeting behavior that the pups and subordinate adult Dogs may also show towards their human caregivers.
Mostly, with domestic Dogs, it’s a sign of affection.
Why Does My Cat Bite My Hair After I Shower
There are a few reasons your cat might bite your hair right after a shower.
One, they’re trying to get their scent back on you. You erased all their hard work of scenting you with your shower!
Two, they might like the smell of your shampoo. As mentioned above, catnip is in the mint family, so you may want to avoid mint-based shampoos and conditioners.
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You Remind Me Of Mother
When Milla licks my hair, she always kneads and purrs as loud as possible. She is over a year old, but she still seems to be looking for a place to nurse when she does that.
So, if your cat does the same, they might be acting as kittens who miss their mother. They see you as a surrogate, and licking/kneading your hair brings back happy moments of their mother and siblings.
Usually, kittens who have been such behavior, but not always.
Milla remained with her mother for about four months, so she had plenty of time to nurse and grow out of this behavior.
For me, some kittens are mamas girls and boys, and when their mother isnt around, they attach to a replacement.
Since your hair is the only furry spot on your body, such kittens are likely to lick and nuzzle your hair.
READ MORE: Why do cats lick you then bite?
Think Of Their History
If your cat goes a bit overboard, perhaps attempting to suckle or chew your hair, this is a telltale sign that they were weaned far too young. You may have seen cats do this before with blanketsbut some choose to do it with your hair on your head, too. Thankfully my cat Pepper who was found alone and abandoned as just a wee kitten only reserves his suckling and chewing for his favorite baby blanket and not my blonde mane.
Did you learn anything new and interesting about odd feline behavior? Be sure to share this article with other cat lovers you know so they can learn something, too!
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They Like Your Hair Product
There is a chance that your cat may not be trying to be friendly or mark you with their scent at all. If your cat suddenly started grooming your hair, when they have not done it previously, then perhaps they simply have discovered that they like the smell or taste of your new hair products. If you have recently switched products, then you may want to try switching back or switching again, if you dont want your cat to continue trying to lick your hair.
You can use citrus scented or flavored products if you want to repel your cat from your hair. Cats hate citrus, and they will definitely not want to groom you if you taste like citrus. You also should keep in mind that if your cat is licking your hair products, then they are probably ingesting a lot of product that is certainly not meant for feline ingestion. You should look at the ingredient information on your specific hair products to make sure that your cat is not ingesting anything that could possibly make them sick.
Can My Cat Be Harmed From Licking/eating My Hair
Your cat would have to eat a very large amount of your hair for it to experience health issues. However, do remember if your cat is also licking you at the same time it could easily ingest some of any creams or products that you use on your skin or hair so do be careful particularly if you using some strong for a cold sore or eczema etc.
Keen to get your cat out and about? Check out my posts on Is Cat Walking Possible?, 7 Best Escape Proof Cat Harness Options, 5 Best Carrier for Cats choices, 14 Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel options and 4 Top Travel Litter Box options.
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Does Your Cat Like To Lick Your Hair
Heres the typical scenario: youre sound asleep in bed when a very strange feeling wakes you up. You reach up to your head and feel a section of your hair is wet. Looking over, you see your cats face. She looks at you for a moment and then goes back to what she was doing licking your hair. You realize, by the soggy strands on your head, the cat has probably been doing that for quite a while. Why would a cat want to repeatedly keep licking your hair?
Look For Medical Issues
First, your veterinarian will need to rule out medical problems.
Infections or allergies can be treated with the appropriate medications, which may include antibiotics, antihistamines, and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Keep your cat on flea medication year-round to help with flea allergies and ear mites.
If your cat is in pain, your vet can determine whats causing it and how to manage the pain.
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More About Cats Licking And Grooming
At some point, you may notice that your catâs tongue feels rough and prickly. That’s because it has small barbs called papillae that face backward. These barbs serve several purposes for your cat:
- Storing saliva in the scoop shapes
- Scooping water while drinkingâ
- Removing dirt from fur while licking and grooming
When licking and grooming is obsessive. Cats tend to lick places on their body that are itchy or painful. Your cat may have an injury or something bothering their skin. Signs that your catâs licking is obsessive may include frequent hairballs, bald spots, or fur loss. Too much licking can break open your catâs skin and lead to infection. If your cat licks and grooms a single spot too much, take them to the vet for a checkup.
Should You Let Your Cat Lick Your Hair
If you dont mind the sandpaper-like texture of your cats rough tongue and getting a sticky cowlick, then letting your cat groom your hair or face once in a while is considered okay BUT not necessarily risk-free.
Hair products like dandruff shampoos contain harmful ingredients that can wreak havoc to your cats body when ingested. Also, your cats saliva may have antibacterial properties but its not completely bacteria-free.
Fact is, your cats tongue is home to various kinds of bacteria. So, if you have an open wound or if youre immunocompromised, it would be wiser to avoid getting licked by your cat.
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How To Stop My Cat From Licking Me
While the affection is nice, its a little annoying to have our cats saliva in our hair and bodies. Not to mention that they could groom us for hours while we humans get a little sick of the stimulation. So, how do you stop this behavior?
Every time you give your cat attention while they groom you, it reinforces the behavior. One of the only ways to get them to stop is to avoid them altogether. You have to remove them from your side and not look at, speak to, or touch them. If this doesnt work, you can even pull a blanket over your head until she goes away. If you suspect that they just like the smell of your hair, you should consider switching shampoo brands.
It Isnt Just Your Hair
One element of note with cats, is they tend to not just lick the hair. Some cats are very diligent about doing it, and some of the other areas that they may groom include the following:
- The top of the head
- The edge of the hair tips
- The brows in some cases
With cats, the length of the hair is sometimes irrelevant, but if its wet, they may actually like the water thats there too.
Cats do this for a variety of reasons, and here, well talk about this and why they may be doing it.
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Your Cat May Lick Your Hair As A Way Of Marking You As His Or Her Territory
Cats scent and sometimes will even urinate to mark things as their territory.
Their saliva also contains their smell, and so it would make sense that licking things may also be a form of marking things as their territory telling other cats that essentially a person, place, or thing is theirs.
If you have a cat whos regularly quite protective or territorial over you, do let me know in the comments if this is the same cat who licks your hair.
Do you think theres a connection? Does it make sense to you that territorial marking may be a part of the explanation for why your cat licks your hair?
Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Licks You
Although it may be impossible to say for sure, researchers, veterinarians, and cat behavior experts have suggested a number of reasons why your cat may lick you every now and again. Lets dig in
1. To show affection
For cats, licking is not only used as a grooming mechanism, but also to show affection. By licking you, other cats, or even other pets, your cat is creating a social bond. Part of this behavior may stem from kittenhood when your cats mother licked to groom them, as well as to show care and affection. Many cats carry this behavior into their adult lives, licking their humans to pass along the same sentiment.
Many cats carry this behavior into their adult lives, licking their owners to pass along the same sentiment.
2. To mark their territory
Although there are a number of ways that cats mark their territory, including cheek rubbing, scratching licking is another behavior that cats might use to claim something as their own.
In this case, if your cat is licking you, theyre trying to ensure that other cats or animals know who you belong to them!
3. To groom you
Even though your cat might not realize that licking you isnt actually helping you get clean, this behavior is completely natural to them. As we mentioned earlier, mother cats groom their kittens in order to teach them to do it for themselves, show them affection, and create a bond.
4. To taste something interesting
5. To get your attention
6. To cope with anxiety or stress
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Its A Sign Of Affection
This is usually the most prominent reason. Cats that like a human will groom them simply because of the fact that they just like you.
When they groom you a lot, chances are theyre communicating the following:
- Your cat has selected you to be a part of the preferred group
- They really like you a lot
- They do want to take care of you
If you notice your cat is doing this whenever youre lying down or asleep, they think thats the appropriate time to groom you.
Sometimes though, some cats think that they are doing the right thing when they groom you like that, but they dont realize that theyre eating hair, and that feels annoying. Sometimes, they have the following accompany it when they groom:
- A rough tongue
- Sometimes they pull on your hair
- It can be frustrating, but it is also a sign that they love you, so dont take too much offense to that
Signs Of Emotional Distress
If your cat is very frequently grooming you, some experts believe that it could be because they are stressed or unhappy in some way. Some studies show that if a cat was taken from their mother when they were too young, that they will groom more frequently as adults than cats who were left with their mothers until they reached an appropriate age. Cats find the act of grooming to be comforting, so if they are grooming excessively, it could be because something is upsetting them and they are trying to self-soothe.
If there is a recent change in your household, like adding another pet or if you have moved recently, this could be triggering anxiety in your pet. If you feel like your cat is having trouble with excessive grooming, and you cant pinpoint the stressor in your cats surroundings, it could be a good idea to take them to the vet.
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