Why Do Cats Eat Their Hair?

Have you ever witnessed the cat licking stuff from the floor? The answer is probably yes, but what if that stuff is precisely hair. It might not be new information for the cat owners, but why do cats eat their hair is quite a query. It might hit you with an odd piece of information that a cat can ingest the hair it eats. And no matter where they spot the roll of hair, even a tiny bit, they abruptly swallow it up.

The cat’s inherent instinct to lick things up makes it do to everything it comes across. They spend their day lying happy and lazy over the floor, with constant episodes of licking their fur. The hair eating habits come from pretty much the same line. The strange part to this is their ability to recognize their lost hair, smell it, and eat up. They ingest the last amount of their body hair.

Let’s see if we can dig out the reasons for this behavior of cats and if we can unwind the knots as to why do cats eat their hair?

why do cat eat their hair

Cats Instinct 

Cats are found in a constant obsession with licking up the coat. Thus it is pretty evident and ordinary to get some part of the fur into their mouth. Their habit of eating hair other than body hair, i.e., part of their hair lying on the ground, is also taken up. This can be traced back to their drive to leave no traces of them that can pave the way to get them. This could possibly be a survival instinct to guard themselves against any predator. Indoor cats are pets; thus, they need not do this, but even indoors, they continue to be true to their nature by doing it incessantly.

Most of the time, the indoor cats are seen minimally eating, yet it remains and rare thing. To keep them from doing the cat owner can possibly remove or vacuum the floor for any remnants of their hair.

Hints over grooming 

The cat might be stuck with some exceeded grooming activities or, let’s say, brushing itself up. This means the cat spends way too much time tidying and preparing itself up, which may lead to loss of the fur. Thus, hair loss is often accompanied by sore skin; therefore, it might need a check.

When over-grooming is seen positive with cats, it is essential to check for reasons that keep cats doing it. Most of the time, such an issue arises with underlying stress with the cat, maybe when the cat faces adaptation challenges due to the environment or routine changes.

Some emotional challenges may push the cat to behave pretty much identical. Such cases may include any loss of a closed one, absence of a family member, or presentation of a new pet and even a baby at the house. Also, situations like disordered household and moving to new places boosts similar behavior in the cat.

How to find out over-grooming in cats?

It is simple to identify a cat if it’s showing signs of over-grooming. This is evident via the actions of a cat that involves licking over an identical spot. It is also apparent from bald areas over the cat’s fur, areas with damaged or red skin resulting from pulling off the tuft of hair from the body.

Some of the medical conditions can also be the root cause of over-grooming. Sometimes, a cat is allergic to something, some environmental contributor causing itchiness. In its attempt to release itch, they become a bit aggressive with licking and scratching. This causes loss of hair tuft or skin reddening to a localized area.

You need to find out the actual cause of the allergy and get rid of it with medicine or just by shutting down the exposure. Normally allergies to flies, insects, food and milk are seen in the cats.

 Habitual Chewing

The cat is prone to chewing everything it comes across as a part of its nature. To keep your cat from eating up the hair, it is important to expose it as little a one can or completely removing stuff from its site.

Some other vital things to be done to deviate cat from chewing g habit may include:

  • Mending cat’s diet, bringing in healthier and tastier choices.
  • Roaming around with your cat, devoting some playtime regularly.
  • Feeding cat with an alternative to chewing.

Cat’s lookup for attention 

While we are trying to hunt why cats eat their hair, we are missing some basic things. One such thing is understanding how intelligent this creature is. They need to have a certain level of attention and interest coming from their owner. The moment they sense any changes or decline in either thing, they start doing odd things to grab back their attention.

One such thing they tend to do is to start chewing the oddest thing that comes before them and get you worried. Some initial warning signs are there until they take up something severe and create havoc out of it. One needs to attend to the cat, devote some quality time. Also play around with the cat, so they don’t make odd moves out of boredom.

Accidental Eating:

Sometimes the cat gets so overboard with the grooming. Even under typical licking of the fur, the cat may uptake hair in the mouth. This accidental pick-up of hair leaves with no option but to swallow. The cat is typically not trained or aware of getting it off the mouth. Thus, some accidental swallowing also adds to eating hair by a cat.

Cat dealing with Pica 

Cats may be reported for abnormalities and anomalies. One such cognitive disorder said amongst cats is Pica. This turns out to be a compulsive eating disorder making them eat nonfood stuff. Clay, dirt, and even hair could be one such nonfood item.

This excessive fur eating could possibly be related to Pica in the cat. It could be a matter of seriousness if you find your cat excessively licking the coat. Any licking other there than routine grooming activates shall invite your immediate concern.

Cats having Flea Bites

As seen with most of the animals, fleas could be intruding to the point of irritation. Similarly, flea biting up a cat could make it irritable and wanting to scratch its back. This invokes series of compulsive licking by the cat until comforted.

In case of irritability, they may end up pulling more hair. The more it pulls out from the body, the more it ends up swallowing.

Cats with Dry Skin

Dry, scaly skin is seen with humans. This makes them rub the surface real hard to get off the feeling. The same might be the case with cats; dryness irritates them. It irritates to a point they lick up themselves to excess. This in turn, brings in a pretty amount of hair and ultimate ingestion.

Regular bathing, cleansing, and brushing can help soothe the cat. This, in turn, protects it from eating up any hair.


You might see your cat yawning and cooing around. It seems to lie anywhere in the house and grooming themselves. As discussed above, your Cat might get bored and look for attention.

Mostly cats roam at their house because they are bored and may excessively groom themselves. If your cat is bored, make sure to do something to entertain them.

Addressing FAQs

Do all cats eat up carpet hair?

Cats spend all day long playing or lying around the carpet. In doing so, some hair is shed upon it. Rugs are pretty like their fur, making it lick that too. In doing so, they eat up a tuft of their own hair.

Can we tell if a cat is stressed?

A disturbed or irritated cat behaves peculiarlyIt gets itself self-absorbed, exhibited via self-grooming. It also tends to find an alone place and take little interest in any regular activity. It is a warning sign that demands the attention of the cat owner.

In what ways can one destress the cat?

If one’s cat is throwing tantrums lately and registering behavioral problems. It might be licking a lot more hair. Here is a quick guide to deal with it.

  • Ensure provision of the following items to the cat:
  • Litter boxes of the correct size.
  • Food: the healthier and tastier is a better option.
  • Make it drink a lot of water.
  • Keep them around the plantation gives them a sense of security.
  • Make hideouts; they might need one.
  • Spend time with them and play around
  • Cuddle the cat

Does the cat take in its own hair?

Yes, pretty much it does. Mainly when self-grooming and laid lazily. Under such circumstances, it may engulf a tuft of hair and take it in. It also has an instinct of smelling its hair and licking any fallen hair on the ground.

Is it OK for the cats to ingest hair?

Yes, but depending on the amount ingested by the cat. If the cat takes in little quantum while grooming itself.

But in some cases, it might be excessive due to stress or underlying issue that needs to be taken care of. Ingestion in smaller quantity is OK, but the large consumptions should invite your attention. It might bring up the hazard of choking. Since a tuft of hair is licked from the floor, it can block the track.

How to deal with a cat choking with a hairball?

Hairball might be a prominent tuft, challenging to be swallowed. In case the cat gets stuck in the windpipe, some over-the-counter products can be used. It helps open up the hairball and making the passage clearer.

Why cats lick hair from the floor?

Having sight of your cat licking hairball from the floor is a tricky thing. This might be out of habit coming from licking the body. Or it could be a sign of an underlying issue, usually stress in the case of cats. Moreover, cats can be complaining about Pica, making them eat nonfood items. Other than this, accidental swallowing while licking the body is also seen amongst cats.

Quick Insight: Why do Cats eat their hair?

A pretty much everyday activity, though, yet seen excessively in some cases. Below given is the case:

  • Cat indulged in over-grooming demanding attention
  • Cat feeling bored in the home
  • Cat feeling challenged, either emotionally or physically.
  • Picking up hair accidentally
  • Cat suffering Pica
  • Cat having allergies
  • Cat having a flea bite
  • Cat suffering dry sore skin


Cats may be seen a lot having their fur ingested. This might be on purpose or accident, varying in different cases. However, having too much hair swallowed can indicate some problems. Ingestion of excess body hair will be alarming; thus, it needs to be prevented.

A good insight of reasons and ways of combatting it down helps the cat owner make a way out of this situation. This involves noticing behavioral changes in the cat and dealing accordingly. In case of medical queries, referring a vet is a wise option. Sometimes, chopping down the hair to a small length helps bring down this problem to nil. 

Why do Cats eat their hair is one part of the picture. Why it eats also needs to be figured out. Seeing your cat eat its fur can be challenging, but there are a few options to stop your cat. Plus, understanding why this excessive eating has raged in the cat is also crucial. It could be indicative of eczema or fleas in the fur. Getting rid of such cases is a must for the cat owner or might affect them too. Seeing your cat for the Pica, a disorder or accidental swallowing, must not take any extreme action.

Babysitting the cat is something rare and difficult. Yet, one has to fulfill the responsibility as a care provider to the cat. Instead of roving around the cat, dedicate wise time and make sagacious conclusions of cat condition. Lastly, act aptly but wisely.

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