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Why Does My Cat Rip My Hair Out? (3 top reasons)

If your cat is pulling your hair out you may be getting frustrated and wondering why this is happeing, and what can be done about it. 

Why Does My Cat Rip My Hair Out?

Your cat may rip your hair out for several reasons such as it simply wants your attention, a way to groom you, or it is looking for fleas. In your cat’s mind there is no big issue with it. But, obviously, this may not be convenient for you.

So, now you know. But, should you let your cat do this? How can you prevent this, if its annoying you? Why do some cats pull at your hair when you sleep? Keep reading for these answers, and much more… 

3 Top Reasons Why Your Cat May Rip Your Hair Out?

Lady holding her hair.

Lady holding her hair.

Your cat might rip your hair out with its teeth and claws with the intention of grooming and cleaning you. It may also be because it is trying to find any fleas on you. Or perhaps your cat simply has a painful way of demanding your attention.

Whatever the reason may be behind this bizarre quirk of your little furry friend, you cannot deny how true it is to the affectionate yet feisty nature of cats.

01. It’s Grooming You

Everyone is familiar with how cats are meticulous about their grooming. It is believed that adult cats spend half of the time they’re awake just cleaning themselves. Grooming each other is very common among friendly cats and littermates.

Your cat grooming you is a sign of affection. Mother cats often pull the hair of their kittens to show love as well. It means your cat loves and trusts you, but it just has a special, pretty painful way of expressing this love.

02. Looking For Fleas

As a cat owner, worrying about your cat catching fleas is natural. Fleas agitate cats a lot, which results in the cat scratching and biting itself excessively.

A flea infection can cause major behavioral changes in cats, which quite literally drives them crazy. Your cat may even resort to ripping your hair out to find the fleas. This might be a sign to get your cat checked for any fleas and update your flea treatment routine.

03. Wants Your Attention

Cats are highly independent and graceful animals, yet they’re also clingy and needy when they completely trust and adore their owner. Excessive meowing and knocking things from their place are how most cats usually demand attention, but if that’s not working, then ripping your hair out is their next trick to get what they want.

Do Cats Like Human Hair?

Some cat do like human hair. When cats form special partnerships with humans, they express their care by licking and cuddling and grooming you. Obviously, your hair belongs to you, so licking it is included in their grooming process.

Long hair movement resembles the motion of a string a lot, so your cat may view it as a toy to play with too.

Should You Let Your Cat Pull on Your Hair?

While your cat pulling your hair to show its affection is heartwarming, this habit should not be encouraged. Your tiny kitten pulling at your hair with its small paws is an adorable sight for sure, but once the same kitten gets bigger and stronger, this habit is no longer endearing.

Your cat may end up ruining your hairdo. Not only that, but having the sharp teeth and claws of your cat so near your face is generally considered to be a bad idea. If your cat is particularly feisty, then its hair-pulling habit spells excessive hair loss for you as well.

How Can You Prevent Your Cat Ripping Your Hair Out?

Here are some steps you can take to curb this behavior:

01. Use a Different Shampoo

Cats have excellent olfactory senses. If you use a shampoo whose smell attracts your cat, then switching to a different one just might be it. Try using a citrusy shampoo; cats are not fond of citrus smells.

02. Move Him to Your Lap

Who says cats can’t be disciplined? As soon as your cat starts approaching your hair, set it down on your lap immediately. Be sure to be consistent in this; if you allow your cat to chew on your hair at times, but set it down the other times, then it will just end up confusing your cat and maybe even make it irritated.

03. Reward It When It Stops (Positive Reinforcement)

This one is self-explanatory. Your cat might sulk and even be cranky when you don’t let it pull your hair, so giving it a treat or a toy when you set him down will do wonders.

04. Cover Your Hair

If your cat has a habit of sliding into your bed when you’re sleeping to pull your hair, then try covering your hair with a comforter or pillow. Or just wear a silk scarf to bed. Wear any sort of other head covering (a hat, scarf etc.) during the day to keep those pesty paws off your head.

05. Put Your Hair Up in a Bun

Maybe your cat likes pulling your hair because it reminds it of a string toy, in which case, keeping it up in a bun is the smart thing to do. You can use scrunchies, and even go to bed with your hair in a bun to discourage your cat from pulling at your hair when you’re sleeping.

Why Does My Cat Pull My Hair When I Sleep?

Your cat may pull your hair out when you sleep is because it wants your attention. Cats don’t care for what time of the day it is: if a cat wants your attention, then it will do everything it can to gain it.

If you have a habit of waking up to feed your cat, then your cat might be pulling your hair when you are sleeping to get you to feed it. If excessive purring and kneading fail to do this, then hair-pulling is a sure way to get you up.

How Can You Prevent Your Cat Pulling Your Hair When You Sleep?

No-one likes having their sleep interrupted this rudely. Here are some ways you can get your cat to stop pulling at your hair when you’re sleeping:

Play With Your Cat Before Bed (Use Up Its Energy)

Approximately an hour before you go to bed, have a play session with your cat. Use any sort of interactive toy, such as a fishing rod with a mouse toy at the end, and try to stimulate hunting time.

Move the toy at different speeds and allow the cat to catch it from time to time. Make this as energetic and interesting as possible. Playing for about 20 minutes is sufficient.After this playtime, give your cat a small treat. This, and the rigorous playtime before, are almost guaranteed to make your cat sleep for the entire night.

If this doesn’t work and your cat still interrupts your sleep (click here if it bites you), give it absolutely no attention. If it climbs the bed and starts pulling your hair, simply put it down quietly and pretend to sleep. Within a few nights, the cat will get the message.

Close Your Bedroom Door

Sometimes, the solution is ridiculously simple. If you sleep with your bedroom door open, then keep it closed. Make sure any windows and other openings through which your cat can enter your room are also closed.

Why is My Cat Licking My Hair?

Cats, affectionate yet awkward, lick hair to show their fondness for you. It’s a sweet and endearing expression of love for them.

Cats also groom hair as a sign of social behavior. They groom each other all the time when they have good and amiable relations with one another. The same principle applies here- your cat licks your hair to show how you, their owner, have a special partnership with them.

Marking their “territory” is also made possible by licking, as licking spreads scent. To your cat, you don’t smell like one of them, so it chooses to share the family scent by grooming the furry part of you, namely, your hair.

Lindsey Browlingdon